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Pancreatic Cancer Health Center

Lisa Niemi: Healing From the Loss of Patrick Swayze

The dancer, writer, and horse woman channels her grief into advocating for pancreatic cancer research.
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What are the other benefits of yoga for you?

Once I saw another woman in the dressing room out of the corner of my eye. I thought, "Oh my God, this woman looks like me when I was 18." When we got to class, I got a look at her face, and she wasn't 18 years old. She was in her late 50s or early 60s, but her body ... that's the true test right there. You look at these woman who are older and who have a really good yoga practice  -- they're healthy and strong, and their bodies look young.

What do you do to unwind after a tough day?

I try to find relaxation in the things that I do. I'm working with some horses this summer, and I'm trying to get some miles on them. In the morning, I'll think, "I've got two hours to work the horses and do this and that." Then I get on the horse and the whole time I'm working the horse I've got a big smile on my face. I find those moments in all the things that I do.

How is your health now?

I think it's OK. I'm actually due to get a checkup. In the grief process, there are a lot of times where your body just doesn't feel like your own. You feel stuff in your body and you think, "It could be something, it could be nothing."

The story about your brother's neighbor is funny. It's interesting that people would read Time of My Life not already knowing who Patrick is.

It's interesting because generally people's experience of him is in roles or in interviews. I get asked how I feel about seeing him on the screen now, but I don't have that much of a problem with it because every time I see him come up like that, it's a character. He's playing a role and it's not the Patrick that I know.

Which was your favorite of Patrick's movies?

It's hard to pick a favorite. Ghost, of course, is a fantastic movie. I've always liked Dirty Dancing; I think it's still around for a reason. I love it when he falls out of the back of the airplane in Point Break. I love Red Dawn because that whole area is where our ranch is. I like City of Joy for the opportunity to be in India and have your eyes opened in a way that you never imagined they could be and in a wonderful, human way.

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