Lisa Ray

The Yellow Diaries

I wish me a long remission…

And now for a public service announcement:

Let’s make Myeloma Matter…

And a cancer carol…

I wish you a long re-mission, I wish you a long re-mission…

I wish ME a long re-mission

And a Happy, New Life.

I got trained in ‘key messaging’ before filming a PSA for Myeloma Canada on Thursday. As in: what do I want people to hear?

Or as Kissinger put it:

Do you have any questions for my answers?

Why am I here?

To Make Myeloma Matter…

Why?

Because I have to remember…its not over yet. Because autumn frost follows the abundance of summer. Because the Jacaranda flowers unblossom and carpet the ground before I can commit them to memory.

Because everything changes. From worse to better. Better to…

Relapse?

While I worked to find the right tone for the 30 second spot, the Benny Hill theme ran through my head: Yakety Sax. Sandra, my makeup girl had played me a youtube snippet with the insidious tune in the green room and the damn music got lodged in my cranium.

Yakety Sax. Look it up.

Incongruous? Maybe. But not entirely inappropriate for the message I was trying to deliver.

Make Myeloma Matter. Quickly please!

John, one of the co-founders of Myeloma Canada, sat behind the monitor. Occassionally he leaned over to the director to offer an opinion on one of the takes. I didn’t speak to him until we took a break and he walked up to me to share his story.

I want you to know I’m a 12 year survivor.

And after I was first diagnosed, there weren’t many of us around.

He meant survivors. Of 10 years or more.

Whoa.

I feel so good now, it’s like it never happened. But that doesn’t mean it never happened.

I have to remember. Because right now, I simply feel like it never happened. I’ve been back to the business of living. Schedules and opportunities. Fielding phone calls and making plans. Stepping out, wearing snugly cut clothes. Posing for the camera…again.

Finding love…

Falling in love…

Yes, I have fallen in love with a man who understands. And who inspires me to be better and to make it all matter…

And he’s the list.

More on the ‘Raja’ later.

Not two months ago, I bought a home in Nelson and planned my retirement.

Now here’s what I’ve been up to

At the beginning of September I flew out to Mumbai to inaugurate the Fortis Cancer Institute, a one stop, comprehensive care facility. Cultural observers will be happy to note that the C- word unanimously inspires dread across the world.

Malvinder and Shivinder Singh, the driving forces behind the Fortis Group of Hospitals are inspired to overhaul the approach towards Cancer Care in India.

Oh yeah.

We also announced the Lisa Ray Fortis, Spirit of Life Award for Cancer Conquerors

Hopefully much more on that later…

I’m pleased to report the fashion commentary on my appearance at this event was mostly positive. Except for my shoes it seems my outfit passed muster.

Incongruous…yes

Making Myeloma sexy? Trying…

Celebrating my ‘graduation’

My Raja, the man who cradles my heart with tenderness and an undeniable sense of belonging, introduced me to this idea…

We are graduates, he tells me. Graduates of the Cancer programme…

And yes. He’s a graduate too.

While I was in India I shot for Elle Magazine with my friend Farrokh, iconic Indian photographer, who has never met a dwarf he doesn’t like and who has a passion for aviation, though he doesn’t like to leave the ground. Farrokh and I have known each other for twenty plus years, and when I was in India weeks after my stem cell, he inadvertently became my primary care giver and wrangler. One day he escorted me from Jaslok hospital, bandaged and step-tripping after an operation to excise the nasty crop of cysts on my eyelids known as chalazion which were another fallout from chemo and soon afterwards, he took pictures. Restored to sight, and he recorded the moment. A gesture which was both compassionate and enpowering for me.

So its only fitting that the images he captured of me in early September will make the cover of the magazine. I am proud of the images. Are they about Cancer? No. They are about celebrating my graduation.

Thank you Nonita for lobbying to put images of an almost 40 year old graduate on the cover of a beauty magazine.

And…

I will be speaking at an Evening Celebrating Science for the McEwan Centre for Regenerative Medicine on September 23rd in Toronto.

Basically, taking stem cell talk out of the lab, onto the streets.

Taking the miracle, the promise out on the streets.

Why?

Without stem cell research, I would not be here.

And if you saw what I did, in the labs, through the microscope, you’d feel like using both hands to scoop those secrets out into the world

I’m just saying…

So I’m feeling fine. I’m drug free, out of choice and because there’s no conclusive compelling evidence to prove that remaining on ‘maintenance therapy’ will prolong my remission.

I’ll do that on my own.

Well, not entirely on my own.

With my Raja.

And you.

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