Monday, January 12, 2009

My Thoughts on Patrick Swayze, His Arabian Horses and Cancer

I don't know if you saw the interview that Barbara Walters did with Patrick Swayze last week. These videos are the five parts of that interview without commercial interruption.

I watched because I know that Patrick Swayze is an Arabian horse enthusiast. He was at the US Nationals one year when I was there. I never saw the star but did hear about the poor behavior of some of his fans hanging over the rail as he was riding his class and shooting pictures, not to mention all the screaming.

Swayze hasn't tried to show his own horses since. That somehow has made me feel connected to him. The thought of not being able to pursue one's passion seems to haunt me, so I can understand how it must feel to Patrick to have one of the things he loves most (acting) cause interference with another great love in his life........Arabian horses. I'd always hoped that maybe someday his fans would get wise and let the man live and maybe he'd get to show a horse again if that's what he wanted.

Then Swayze was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year. Again, I felt a connection having battled demon cancer as it attacked my child. I hung onto my Arabian horses as a way to give me strength and get both of us through. I hoped that Swayze's Arabian horses were doing the same for him. Also I hoped he could find that same solice in their company that had been there for Lindsay and me.

When I heard that Barbara Walters was airing this special, I was immediately drawn to was Lindsay. I wanted to see how he is doing. I also wanted to get a glimpse of his Arabian horses wondering if they are helping him along this difficult journey. It didn't take long to get that answer.

There are clips of Patrick with his Arabian horses throughout this interview. He may not come right out and say Arabian horses are part of what's keeping him going but it is obvious by the prominence they play in this interview. For me the fact the horses are groomed to a tee with even their ears clipped says it was part of the plan the horses would be in the interview, it wasn't just happen stance. It tells me these horses are an integral part of their lives even now...........probably especially now would be a more appropriate to say. I'm glad the horses are there for both of them, Patrick and his wife.

I haven't really known much about Patrick Swayze other than some information about his horses and know the important horse stuff. After watching this interview I must say there's a lot of wisdom here as Patrick speaks about the quality of his life, what he's willing to do to stay alive and what's important to him.

"I'm not going to chase staying alive!" is a quote from Swayze that really struck me. I knew instantly what he was referring to. Chasing a cure was something we tried to avoid with Lindsay. I remember seeing parents so caught up in beating the cancer that their children had no time to live. The quality of their lives had long since been sacrificed for a cure. I didn't want that for my child and I sure wouldn't want it for me.

Patrick Swayze shows his strength with quotes like this "If it's about pain, I can deal with it" in referring to his fight. It's clear the fact he is still alive despite the odds is directly related to his attitude.

"We're all dying..........that makes me feel good from time to time........we're all dying, it's just a matter of when." says Swayze and he's right. It's not the thought of dying that will do you in, it's the fear of it. If we can accept that our life is limited and make the most of it, then we won't get lost in our fear and miss out on living.

Barbara Walters asked Partrick and his wife about their decision to renew their wedding vows this year. On a spur of the moment whim in four days they put together an intimate gathering on their ranch which Patrick described as " very Prince Charming and Snow White , I rode in on a snorting steed.........white stallion " as he spoke these words you could hear the significance of the horses to their commitment to each other and their lives. As Richard would say, "Good Stuff!"

There were statements along the way that told of Patrick's disillusionment with humanity. Maybe those things like fans robbing him of the ability to show his horses had contributed to that pain, but this new journey had brought a response neither he nor his wife had expected as the studio did the right thing and let Swayze do his new series despite his illness and the letters poured in from strangers lending their support, offering their comforting stories and prayers.

" It's amazing what ..what love can change and what courage love can breed in other people. " said Swayze as he said the studio doing the right thing and those letters of support have restored some of his faith in people after all.

When Barbara asked him how much time he had left one of his answers was "I plan on spending a lot of time on the back of a horse........back in the mountains.........." his message that he still has things to do before he is done with this life..........and those things involve horses.

Walters asked " Patrick, In your heart you're a cowboy"
His response was simple, "Yes, Mam........I am........just like my dad."

She also asked him if he thought about Ghost to which he replied. " Bigtime............ because the biggest line out of Ghost 'It's amazing Molly,.......... the love inside........... you take it with you.' "

I'm not really a Hollywood type person. I'm not real big on movies and I usually forget who starred in the ones I do see and like. I do, however, remember Patrick and Demi Moore from Ghost I will admit that when I first heard of Swayze's cancer I thought about that role and wondered if it would turn out to be prophetic. And I will always remember those particular lines.........I know they are true and they somehow make death not quite so scary to me.

Watching this interview with Barbara Walters and Patrick Swayze didn't quite turn out the way I had expected. Instead of just catching glimpses of some beautiful Arabian horses, I learned a lot about the man, his wife and their values.

Some, I know, think that this interview will do a lot for the Arabian horse and certainly Patrick Swayze has done that in the past. There was a clear message that Arabian horses are a huge part of the man's life. But for me the most powerful message of the interview is " It's amazing what ..what love can change and what courage love can breed in other people. "

This weekend Patrick Swayze was admitted to the hospital. He told reporters it was just precautionery to deal with pneumonia.

No one knows more than me what that can mean. It's not the cancer that kills most people it is the chemotherapy. It weakens the body and opens the door for things like pneumonia. I hope that Patrick Swayze gets to have that time in the saddle he was referring to.............I wish him many more hours in the saddle on the white Arabian stallion...........

Laura, in the comments provided this link for info on Patrick Swayze's Arabian Horses

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  1. I didn't watch the interview. I didn't feel like I needed to. Mr. Swayze has always struck me as a very practical man based in reality. Hence his not chasing for a cure. Sure he'll fight til the end, but he won't give up on living to get there. I didn't need to watch the interview to know that.

    As for the horses, there has never been any doubt in my mind that they are an integral (sp?) part in his life. I always have thought it sad when people don't let 'stars' be people too. Unfortunately that happens, but it never stopped him from keeping his horses near and dear.

    I hope that Mr. Swayze beats the odds, but I am also content to know that he's content to 'go', having lived a good life and having never stopped living.

  2. Thanks for posting all those video clips. I missed it on TV. I ended up watching the clips through your site instead of watching the Bachelor, which is getting to be predictable. Everyone is "amazing" on that show. But I digress, I do adore Patrick. They never mention his absolute best movie, which is Point Break. I've probably seen it half a dozen times, and his acting always gives me chills. I did not know he owns Arabian horses until you did this post.

  3. I watched most of the videos, and it was touching and impressive. I have never known much about him, just heard the name a couple times before. His horse are gorgeous, definitely, but the love between him and his wife is dazzling to me. I will be praying for them now.

  4. Great post. I missed the interview on TV too. I also completely understand about having horses (mine are all Arabs) in our lives. It would be hard to imagine life without them.

  5. Thanks for posting those videos. I had read about his arabian horses awhile ago. A local breeder here had a couple of horses out of his stallion. I forget the names/bloodlines now, but I toyed with buying one of them.

    Interesting for him to take his struggle public - you have to admire him and his wife - being married 30+ years in Hollywood is something special.

  6. I know we all wish him the best. I hope he gets to spend much more time with his horses, and get to take that mountain ride.
    Such a shame this has to happen to people.

  7. In case anyone is interested, here is a link about Patrick and his horses. They seem to be mostly Egyptian Arabs...

  8. I love Patrick Swayze!! And i had no idea he rode horses!! I watched a few of the clips you posted and he is such a strong man.

  9. A really touching post MiKael.

  10. This brought tears to my eyes MiKael. I missed most of this interview, so am glad this has given me an opportunity to see it, and yes he is an amazing person and I also am sad that he can't be left to do what he loves and hope that he does still get that opportunity. I have watched Ghost many times and it always makes me cry. I hope you dont mind but I linked this post to my blog today because after reading it I am emotional and was going to start a series on Wiggle but can't stop thinking about this man his wife and their beautiful horses and hoping that they are left in peace for the time he has left. When he was filming Dirty Dancing I believe he had severe back problems and the role was physically demanding but he sucked it up and gave an outstanding performance despite the pain, another testiment to his spirit and devotion and commitment.

  11. LOC, well, then you knew more about the man than I did. I knew plenty about his horses but not much about him.

    I'm sure it doesn't suprise anyone the horses were my focus. LOL

    Nuzz Muzz, I've never heard of that movie, I'll have to ask Dave about it. He's the movie buff here.

    Patrick has been into horses all of his life but I'm not sure when his interest with Arabians began. I think I read once he had a half-Arab when he was young but I don't know that for sure.

    Original L, you're right about their relationship. It is clear that they are very close and this journey has only drawn them even closer.

    Karen, I don't want to imagine life without Arabians in my life either. I am right with you on that.

    Laura, he's been doing some fundraising for cancer research. I think that may be part of his being so public, that and being sick of the exploitation by the tabloids that has hurt them so.

    Arlene, I'm with you there. Cancer is something no one should have to go through. It is so devestating, some families don't even survive after being ravaged by it. I'll be glad when the day comes that all cancers can be cured.

    Laura, thanks for the link. I added it to the post. Also you are right about straight Egyptians. Their trainer was Tom McNair of Gleannloch Farms. I think in the late 1960s the Marshalls (owners of GF) made the decision to change over to breeding straight Egyptians horses. I believe that many if not all of Patrick Swayze's horses are from Glennlock stock.

    I know that Tammen was. He was the chestnut stallion that Patrick tried to show that year I was at US Nationals. There is a very famous poster that was made of Tammen with a shirtless Patrick standing with his arms outstretched along side this stallion. The poster was done as a fund raiser for one of the big Arabian horse organizations, maybe even, the Arabian Horse Trust. It's a very artsy and beautiful picture.

    Andrea, he not only rode horses. He really was a cowboy growing up on a ranch. He's a darn good hand with a horse too.

    Kahless, thanks, I'm glad you appreciated it. I wasn't sure if I should post it or not. It's not my usual fare on this blog.

    Lori, yes, I'm a sucker for Ghost! From the sounds of it, Patrick has spent many times in his life sucking it up and working despite the pain. He's definitely an amazing guy.

  12. This is a beautiful post. You pointed out many things I was not aware of. Thank you!

    Having lost my daughter I cannot imagine anyone being so callous as to ask her or her family how much time she had left. .

  13. I have always had the highest regard for Patrick Swayze...loved how gorgeous he was and then I found out that he raised Arabians and really, truly knew how to ride and loved horses, suddenly I didn't care how good looking he was anymore...he was real to me. Of course, you have to realize that was 20 years ago, but he has always seemed so down to earth and NEVER involved in Hollywood scandals...I chalk that up to the love he and his family had of the horses they raised. When a person has a true passion like that, everything else seems trivial.

    I hope they catch his pneumonia and that he is home soon. For once, wouldn't it be nice to see a "good" guy win?

  14. It's funny, Craig and I just watched "Roadhouse" this weekend. It was playing on some cable channel so it was probably heavily edited, but I still enjoyed it. I'm glad he still has his horses.

    I never saw Ghost, because it came out right when Blair disappeared, and I just couldn't bear to go see the movie. Don't think I ever will either, even though it's supposed to be a very good film.

  15. I have not watched the videos you posted but I will. I saw Patrick at the Nationals where the crowd whooped it up when he rode by and spooked his horse. It's a shame that celebrity cannot be treated the same as other folk.

    He was living in northern New Mexico for a while on a ranch. I used to wonder (and hope) I'd see him in the store sometime but I never did.

    Funny thing about the poster, I showed it to some fellow coworkers and all the girls oohed and ahhed Patrick's bare back except one lesbian whose comment was, "The horse is nice."

    Almost 2 years ago my husband lost his fight with Pancreatic Cancer. He was hiking 13,000 foot mountains on Labor Day weekend and then diagnosed a few weeks later. By Thanksgiving he was hospitalized with infection and forced to quit work. From then on, only his will to live kept him going until even that wasn't enough.

    I send heartfelt prayers to the Swayzes. It's a horrible disease!

  16. Darlene, sorry to hear about your daughter.

    I must admit I bristled at that question as well, but it didn't seem to bother Patrick. He seems to genuinely like Barbara Walters. Maybe that's why she could ask it.

    BrownEyed Cowgirls, I heard today he is supposed to be getting released from the hospital in the next day or two.

    I agree it would be great to see a good guy win! Here's praying that Patrick is the one.

    Dressagemom, I can see why Ghost would have been tough for you to see. That loss of Blair was a difficult one for you.

    I think she was lucky to have you as her friend.

    Fantastyk Voyager, I'm glad I didn't see the specticle. I think I'd have had to say something to the inconsiderate people. A couple of my friends actually worked on that show committee and got to spend some time visiting with Patrick in the middle of the night when he was schooling his horse. They did everything they could think of trying to keep the people in check and it just didn't work. But he seemed to really appreciate their efforts. Truly a nice man.

    Funny about the lesbian.....LOL

    Sorry to hear about your husband's illness. Cancer is ugly stuff and I think pancreatic cancer is one of the ugliest. It must have been hard for you.....

  17. MiKael, I am a friend of Lori Schmidt, and she suggested on her site to look at your article. Thorohly injoyed it. I have met Patrick Swayze, we were at the Arabian Nationals the same year you mentioned. He rode in the Opening Ceremonies for the Finals on Friday and Sat, and my daughter also rode in the ceremoneis. She rode the Mascot for the Indianapolis Colts the Arabian Stallion Real Mac they came into gether on matching grey stallions. It was really neat. Nice to meet him and see that he was a very down to earth person. He was not overly impressed with him self, and it was a thrill of a lifetime for my daughter then 16. She was riding the horse for the 1st time as the original rider was afraid she could not control him, so Terry Leek asked my daughter to ride him, she did and went on to be a regular rider during the colts games. So it was a weekend to remember for her. Thank you so much for bringing back the memories.

    Annette Pitcher