Lisa Ray

The Yellow Diaries


I went away to Nelson BC.

There is something lyrical about heading west. Freedom-seeking. With or without a wagon containing all your worldly possessions.

I love the mountains for how they free me of excess. Words, for instance. The ones in my head and otherwise. In Nelson I stayed with my friends Rose and Michael who are urban refugees and run a B&B in an old convent. Rose calls her establishment ‘Simply B&B’. And that’s what we did. We cooked together. We soaked in the hot springs together. We ran errands together and draped ourselves on the sofa in front of the fire together.

I was simply ‘being’.

In Nelson, I saw a healer called Michael Smith. He spoke to me about many things I’d heard before. About what to eat. About what to avoid. About how to shift my nervous system out of the stress response and into the relaxation response. About ‘Larry the Lizard’. In fact, he called his brand of medicine, ‘And’ medicine because of all the approaches he throws in.

‘And’ I understood. Everything he spoke to me about.

Maybe because I had more room inside.

And I had time to grieve. For my mom. I lit candles at the Catholic church for her. And I cried.

Maybe because I had more room inside.

What I need now, is simplicity. Even in my writing. I don’t want to be clever and agonise over new ways of telling you about what I’m going through. There must be a direct current from my heart to the keyboard and I’ll keep trying to find it.


A lot of anniversaries. Over a year since I was diagnosed. June 23rd, 2009.

Dr Galal has left PMH for Saskatoon. While it’s too arrogant to believe he was stationed at PMH to save me, just me, he was there for a critical period of my treatment and his departure makes me sad even as it neatly bookends one chapter of my experience with MM.

I had a check up with Dr Reece who is running the David Bloom Research Chair for Multiple Myeloma at Princess Margaret. She’s just lovely. Bloodwork shows I am still in remission, the beast remains in its cage. I am more at peace with monitoring myself for the rest of my life. It’s a new normal, as they say.

I have decided not to go on any maintenance therapy. Living drug- and specifically Dex- free is sweet. My quality of life is better than before. Now that I’m learning to ’simply be’.


Naturally, a lot of folks in Toronto think I’m nutty. Or lazy.

Why do we feel so compelled in North America to always be productive? And how do you measure the intangibles, but non-negotiables, of your quality of existence? Happiness? Self-actualization? What are the metrics involved? Can we move back to a place where we trust our own inner compass?

Well, yes. Yoga helps.

I went to my Moksha Yoga graduation one weekend ago at Jess’ farm. It was over a year ago, in Kerala during my Moksha Yoga Teacher Training, that I knew something was wrong.

And then it took me longer to stop denying my feeling.

Moksha Yoga has taught me the power of community. The value of approaching each task, no matter how small, with commitment and focus.

Buh. It’s been one of my toughest lessons. And I suspect I’m a slow learner.

I recently had lunch with the Queen and Prince Philip. I know- its just one of those events which are hard not to flog. The lunch for Her Majesty was held at Toronto Pinewood Studios in order to highlight our film industry. So it was an honour to MC the event. And sit at the head table, next to Prince Philip. Who says Multiple Myeloma doesn’t get you places? While I’ve suspended my Cancer Club membership, it seems there’s been more extracurricular perks than being a member of the Toronto Lawn and Tennis Club.

Prince Philip was engagingly irreverent, warm and ironic. By the time we started dessert, I had forgetten about the five pages of protocol I received before the event, culminating with ‘Subjects of Conversation: It is not appropriate to offer opinions on the Royal Family in discussion, complimentary or otherwise. Giving unsolicited opinions is not advisable.’


When you’ve been through Cancer, protocol moves way down your priority list, in my experience. However, I’m Indian, so I welcome some amount of ritual and spectacle. And I do have an affinity for Royalty, having spent many anecdote-worthy evenings with a deposed Indian blue blood or two. So I enjoyed the circumstance and a bit of the pomp and acquitted myself reasonably at the luncheon.

You know why?

Because now for me, its all about chasing the joy. In any situation.

And it was the Queen, after all.

God bless the Queen.

Enough said.

I will be filming on Tuesday. A guest role and my first acting gig since…BC.

Before Cancer.

I got some images from Rado which I shot shortly after my stem cell. As one friend said, ‘Loving the short hair so much. Leaves more room for you to be there.’

Rado has been steadfast in supporting me through this new terrain.

And my friends. I am so grateful. But you know what else Cancer taught me? Love is an action. It’s not a feeling. And its not love until there’s evidence of action. So I’ve been very busy, loving my friends. Sometimes that means cooking basil pesto salmon, or staying on the phone an extra 15 minutes or it means travelling to Nelson.

Or it means practising compassion.

Both with another and with myself.

A friend of a friend was recently diagnosed with MM. I called her up and offered up my support. I coached her through the the upcoming stages of treatment. When I mentioned ’stem cell transplant’ she blurted out that she was terrified and couldn’t bear to think about it. Then I suggested she read this blog.

‘NO. I can’t. It will make it too real, too soon.’

After getting off the phone, I felt disdain. That’s right. Disdain. I felt this woman was weak and confused. I wanted her to be a trooper and take charge of her health with a zen-like attitude. Pull your head out of the sand, for chrissakes!

And then I remembered. One year ago. I was invited to attend a south asian festival in Toronto. And I agreed.

It wasn’t an act of bravery, but my own personal response to getting diagnosed. I was in denial.

So what’s the difference between myself and this newest member of the MM Club?

Well, she’s braver than I. Or, at least she is sharing what she feels. Completely and without self censorship.

That makes her braver than I.

I’m a slow learner, as I mentioned. But I get there. Deny nothing, good or not so good, and you have a chance to both heal and experience the fullest spectrum of living.

The MM5K Walk Toward the Cure to raise funds for Multiple Myeloma Research at Princess Margaret Hospital is coming up soon. Even if I’m not in Toronto, I hope we can all galvanise together. Like last year.

I’m also searching for a charity or foundation which specifically targets Multiple Myeloma in India. My friend Lisa Hayden in Bombay did some research and referred me to Dr Advani’s foundation. Dr Advani has been treating her mom for MM. And Lisa has been bringing my photo to Patrick the Healer. Sometimes this cancer thing has connected me with remarkable beings in the most unanticipated manner.

Curse or blessing.

Maybe I should just stop judging.

Oh yeah. I got another rejection from an insurance company for a new mortgage. Another year, another rejection.


I may be marked, but maybe it will make you listen. Despite my ‘pre-existing condition’.

In another few months, I will be promoting, 1 a minute, a docu drama featuring female celebrities around the world who have some experience with Cancer. I hope to be in India for the promotions and I hope to donate some of the proceeds to a Multiple Myeloma charitable foundation.

Work on my first book begins shortly. Before then I need a cautionary sign: ‘Woman at Work’, as much a reminder to myself as a warning to others. Of course, I have found the perfect collaborator for this project, someone who will both inspire and discipline me.


If you really want to know how cancer has changed me, I offer this poem:

We shall not stop our exploring
And at the end of our exploring
we shall arrive where we started. and know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remember the gate
through the last of earth left to discover
is that which was the beginning
At the source of the largest river
the voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple tree-
not known because not looked for
but heard, half-heard in the stillness,
between two waves of the sea
Here now a condition of complete simplicity
costing not less than everything.

TS Eliot

Leave one

4,294 Responses

  1. I don’t know if it’s just me or if everyone else
    encountering problems with your website. It seems like some of the written text in your
    posts are running off the screen. Can somebody else please comment
    and let me know if this is happening to them
    too? This may be a issue with my web browser because I’ve
    had this happen previously. Appreciate it

  2. You got a very fantastic website, Gladiolus I noticed it through yahoo.

  3. My brother recommended I would possibly like this web site.
    He was entirely right. This publish truly made my day.
    You cann’t believe just how much time I had spent for this information! Thank you!

  4. Even though it doesn’t allow for buttons before or after your articles,
    you will find the possiblity to make use of the floating
    bar for the left-hand side. If you can come up with a resounding “yes”, you enter the correct niche
    in your case as of this time. If you cannot find your
    unique niche term for a site, this is simply not the end
    from the world.

  5. buna ziua
    Der gesamte Donaupark wird zur bewegten Naturlandschaft.

  6. Hi all, here every person is sharing these know-how, therefore it’s nice to rea this blog, andd I used to pay a visit this weblog daily.

  7. So while Election Year, comes across as an occasionally
    silly socio-political horror action film, its objective may be to condition the general public
    in accepting specific notions and perhaps even specific political outcomes domestically in the US – something which already appears to be occurring.

  8. What’s up, I wish for to subscribe for this weblog to get most
    recent updates, so where can i do it please assist.

  9. Great site you have here but I was curious about if you knew of any forums that cover the
    same topics discussed here? I’d really like to be a part
    of online community where I can get feed-back from other experienced people that share the same interest.
    If you have any recommendations, please let me know.
    Thank you!

  10. graine de lin pour maigrir forum acupuncture maigrir lasertherapie maigrir maigrir avec pilates melon jaune pour maigrir jus detox pour maigrir manger soupe soir maigrir avoine pour maigrir maigrir sans regime zermati epub maigrir forum remede miracle pour maigrire calorie par jour
    pour maigrir femme luxopuncture pour maigrir exercice de sport pour maigrir vite ceinture abdominale
    maigrir reduction calorique pour maigrir l ortie pour maigrir maigrir boire eau
    chaude l hypnose pour maigrir the pour maigrir vite maigrir
    vite et bien conseil pour maigrir sans faire de regime

  11. Hi thегe, I discovered your website viaa Google evben as
    searching for a comparable matter, your website got here up, it applears good.
    I’ѵe bookmarked іt іn my google bookmarks.
    Hі there, јust bеcome aware of your blog thruu Google, ɑnd located thаt it iѕ гeally
    informative. Ι’m gonna watch out foг brussels.Ι’ll apρreciate should you continue this in future.
    Numerous people ϲan bbe benefited fгom yߋur writing.

  12. I’m gone to inform my little brother, that he should
    also pay a quick visit this website on regular basis to obtain updated from newest gossip.

  13. Hi there, just wanted to mention, I loved this article.

    It was helpful. Keep on posting!

  14. If some one wants expert view regarding running a blog afterward
    i propose him/her to pay a quick visit this web site, Keep up the pleasant job.

  15. regime simplifie agricole 2015 regime ig bas montignac regime simple et efficace pour ado regime cosmonaute
    14 jours forum recette poisson au four pour regime exercice
    physique regime sinusoidal regime naturhouse forum menu regime alimentaire
    gratuit perdre du poids sans regime et sans sport regime d’assurance maladie quebec regime selon groupe sanguin o positif regime sous traitement avk regime equilibre pour perdre
    10 kilos recette oeuf regime chat regime alimentaire jus de pomme
    regime sans residu water regime regime dukan express 2015 regime alimentaire grossesse fille menu regime amaigrissant gratuit idees menus regime pour la semaine recette
    lasagne saumon regime

  16. Транспортная догистическая компания в Новосибирске

  17. Howdy! Do you know if they make any plugins to protect against hackers?
    I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked hard on.
    Any recommendations?

  18. Hi there, I check your blog like every week.
    Your humoristic style is witty, keep doing what you’re doing!

  19. It’s going to be finish of mine day, but before ending I am reading this enormous paragraph to improve
    my knowledge.

  20. Howdy! This article couldn’t be written much better!
    Looking through this article reminds me of my previous roommate!

    He always kept talking about this. I will forward
    this post to him. Pretty sure he will have a very
    good read. Thanks for sharing!

  21. Hey there! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new
    iphone 3gs! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to
    all your posts! Keep up the fantastic work!

  22. Hello it’s me, I am also visiting this web site regularly, this
    site is genuinely fastidious and the visitors are
    genuinely sharing good thoughts.

  23. I begin considering how food can cause such intense associations with memory.
    Consumption of herbal products like tea containing black cohosh, ought to
    be done after checking the ingredient label. Building Brand Awareness – This is key and promotional gifts
    will be the most beneficial relationship drivers yet known.

  24. maigrir avec les plantes naturelles aimant pour maigrir l’eau chaude a jeun pour maigrir pilule
    maigrir maigrir en arretant de fumer forum blog maigrir
    le jeune maigrir eliminer se desintoxiquer fnac produit efficace pour maigrir comment suivre un regime pour maigrir comment maigrir vite et
    facilement comment bien maigrir en 1 mois boire de l’eau avant de dormir pour maigrir pilates maigrir tisane de cannelle pour maigrir
    le velo est il bon pour maigrir exemple de menu pour maigrir vite le citron fait il
    maigrir si oui comment proceder maigrir vite en 3 jours
    le cardio fait il maigrir maigrir avec chirurgie esthetique
    comment maigrir des fesses maigrir a 50 ans

Leave a Reply