Gently Carbonating

Gently Carbonating is fun in Orange

I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma on June 23rd. Started my first cycle of treatment July 2nd. Not long ago.

For me, it was a relief to hear what was wrong. The plasma cells in my bone marrow were rampaging, multiplying, squeezing out the red blood cells and it was time to begin doing something about it. I was also tired of being tired all the time. And you just know when something is not kosher with your body. So when I sat there with Bobcat- my life partner and reservoir of Yellow- and got the news I didn’t react and I didn’t cry. I’m an actress, believe me, I can be dramatic. Not just then though.

First the facts.

Myeloma is incurable.

It’s a relatively rare cancer of the bone marrow that affects about 6000 Canadians. Every year, approximately  2100 more cases are diagnosed.

I’m a junior Member in many ways, having been diagnosed at 37, while the average age is 65. Makes the disease not quite as ‘Sexy’ as other Cancers. But we can change that.

In the industry I’m in, you could say, its motive alone that gives character to your acting.

So today with Velcade and, Revlimid and other promising new treatments in the pipeline our survival rates are improving. But only with an ever expanding toolbox of treatments and awareness can this Cancer be beat. So I’m going to do everything I can to wrench the spotlight onto Myeloma and Cancer Awareness.

I believe it can be cured.

That’s the Dirty Realist in me.

So back to the ‘Yellow’ Diaries. And more on ‘Yellow’ and charging your yellow later…

On Steroids: you are HUNGRY ALL THE TIME.

When Dr. Ahmed Galal, my Warrior-Hematologist at Princess Margaret Hospital gave me my first cycle of meds, he capped his recommendation off with a charming gesture that meant: Beware of sweets.

Well. Sweet things aren’t the only temptation.

Every cycle of treatment, I’m on Dexamethasone for four days on, then four days off.

Who knew it would turn me into a free range chicken, pecking the landscape freely. I find it distracting to walk down my patch of Queen St without stopping for a nibble at the Pie Shack, scoping some sushi or sampling up kimchi and eggs.

I’m currently obsessed with the pepperettes at Meat on the Beach. I had a Gollum-worthy breakdown at the counter recently when I found out they haven’t restocked. So I’ve always been fond of food, fought my battles with food (having been a model) and finally at 37 discovered balance. Until the ‘roids hit that is. Then I see a plate of ‘Reliable Halibut and Fries’ and my stomach goes: THAT IS MINE.

I know I should be doing other things. Like, uh…healing. But so far I’ve kept up a punishingly normal schedule even during treatments. I take meetings, write, sign contracts, read scripts, buy and barter furniture, teach yoga, buy a house, begin to renovate said house. It’s the covert type ‘A’ in me. My years of drama school and manufacturing an alternative reality for a role have also come in handy. I know I’m not trusting the situation. I’m treating my battle like its inconvenient, managing the stage like a tyrannical Bollywood choreographer, but worst of all, I’m not looking it in the eye. I’m letting the situation tyranise my heart. I need to ask for help and support.

They say, name it, then you can recognise it. Then deal with it.

Yup. In time.

Back to Life on Roids. The wetsuit.

It’s an entirely unique experience. When I’m on steroids, I can feel my skin stretch and expand and move in ways and sensations I haven’t felt before. It can be fascinating (for some like myself) to meditate on the pathways of your organism. I bloat up to three times my normal ’size’. It’s like putting on a wetsuit. Except its kinda permanent. Until you stop taking the roids. Then I deflate again.

Now all this time, I understand that the meds are doing their work. Swimmingly. I can feel it. Bobcat named it. We call it ‘Gently Carbonating’. It means the plasma in my bone marrow is getting beaten back. And its all good. Sometimes it feels like I’m wearing vibrating mitts. Or those thick Nova Scotia artisanal socks. Full of fleas.

I’m getting better. My prognosis, given my ‘Junior’ status and stage of disease, is very good. I’m aiming for Full Remission- and with Dr Galal and Velcade as my co-conspirators- this mission is in the bag. That’s my claim and I’m plowing it into the mountaintop. Though I’m not sure why I keep mixing up ‘Remission’ with ‘Transmission’ and ‘Transgression’- maybe that will get clearer down the line.

On August 4th, TIFF announced its lineup for its Galas and Special Presentations for the Canadian Section this year. I have history and a successful and seriously affectionate association with the Toronto International Film Festival festival. My first Canadian film, Bollywood/Hollywood had a Gala opening at Elgin Theatre. Then ‘Water’ the source of so many positive beginnings in my life, opened the Festival and went on to acclaim and an Academy Award Nomination. Four films opened at the fest since then over the last few years and now this year, fittingly, Dilip Mehta’s ‘Cooking with Stella’ gets a Gala Red Carpet Premiere. ‘Defendor’ by Peter Stebbings also gets a slot. I went for the press conference but had to bounce down to PMH for my chemo treatment. And blending that energy felt just fine. Though at the time I didn’t tell anyone, I felt more invested in my day. Less juxtaposed. So the two worlds can blend: its okay to cross over from ballroom to chemo daycare. There was one difference: the press conference was more stressed. And no juice boxes. Bummer.

So I have two films in this year. Celebration.

Do I go?

Do I deal with the current red carpet obsession with pursuing the ‘of the moment’ perfection? I have after all, set myself up in this world.

I’ve also been groomed in subversion. By the film makers I’ve worked with and the stories they chose to tell.

I don’t want to hide. I want to celebrate. In my wetsuit. This is going to make the week and evening very interesting.

I’m going to listen to my marrow. Again.

NADA brought a spark to my appearance at when they dressed me at the recent MMM festival in Toronto when I appeared there right after getting diagnosed with Myeloma in July. Feels right.

Down to the name. NADA. Nothing. Let it go. Drop it.

Previous post
Leave one

10,645 Responses

  1. < ![CDATA[I remembered you told me, you are always HUNGRY ... now I know why. "I’m aiming for Full Remission" this is the best news I heard for days... :) Please don't mixing up ‘Remission’ with ‘Transmission’ and ‘Transgression’, specially not Transgression... :) Thanks for the smiles faces ... i can see them]]>

  2. < ![CDATA[Lisa,
    We are not giving up on you. You have the right attitude and we are here to support you in any ways possible.
    Life can be cruel and unfair sometimes.... but it's the determination and will power that gives us strength to cope.
    You have all the right ingredient and therefore will overcome this obstacle.

    Keep us updated and keep fighting!]]>

  3. < ![CDATA[Lisa,I will support you no matter what.]]>

  4. < ![CDATA[Lisa ,Everything will be okay!!!
    i've got faith in you like always...
    Please take care!!

    Love you,Yanyan
    form China]]>

  5. < ![CDATA[Just wanted to share this with you...

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Hope Abides

    Hope abides; therefore I abide.
    Countless frustrations have not cowed me.
    I am still alive, vibrant with life.
    The black cloud will disappear,
    The morning sun will appear once again
    In all its supernal glory.

    ~by Sri Chinmoy]]>

  6. < ![CDATA[I want to tell you,i will support you forever.In my heart,you always so beautiful,has courage,charming and has confidence in yourself.If you can do it,i think you should go to your two film.Just be happy and enjoy your life:)]]>

  7. < ![CDATA[hi am so heart broken to hear that you have myeloma..i cant bring my tearz to stop i dount even know you but i feel asthou i do through your work and your movies are some of the best work av ever seen aspeaciali i cant think straight. am glad you are thinkin very possitive about it and i know itz scares you inside cause darling you are only human. your are by far a very good actress and i love you personality. you inspire me in so many wayz you wount balive.. chin up darling you will get better cause your a remarkable lady and a look up to you..loave sam x]]>

  8. < ![CDATA[Hey Lisa,
    what the hell man.......please do the tests again....I just know that it's not true.
    I love you dude.

    Aseem xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]]>

  9. < ![CDATA[To hear this message, I really feel very sad. lisa sister, you must be strong, I believe that the also identified lisa sister will be fine together and everything would get better. Please ensure that you will be more strong and brave to face we would not want to see. We will always will always support lisa ray. You are my first idol, in the lisa saw a lot of worthy of my learning, such as your candid, courageous, beautiful, kind, strong and sometimes very lovely ... you are our eternal lisa ray. will forever love you! For tomorrow's hope, let us forget the pain of today, there are more fans and I will always been supporting her sister, the sister go on Smile...
    希望可以帮助解决一些什么,真想把我的骨髓捐给姐姐。]]>

  10. < ![CDATA[Hi Lisa,

    It is again sad to read of a new MM sufferer and I just wanted to wish you well with your journey.Your may if you so desire, read Hamada's journey on http://www.susiehemingway.blogspot.com
    and also on:
    http://www.susiehemingway.com

    Sincere regards and wishing you well.
    Susie Hemingway Moursi]]>

  11. < ![CDATA[I'll pray for you getting better and better all the time.
    I believe in you.
    We all believe you'll recover from it.]]>

  12. < ![CDATA[Firstly, i want to say it's admirable to see you being so brave about this.
    Secondly, i think you should also look into alternative medicine. Chinese herbs, Acupuncture and drinks loads of fresh coconut water and cook with coconut oil. they have antiviral qualities to them.

    Stay Strong
    xoxo]]>

  13. < ![CDATA[If you did not cry, who else has the reason to cry for you?

    You are strong enough to survive in every situation no matter how hard the situation is. I believe in you. Please use the potential that embedded in your internal life to fight with Multiple Myeloma. It is now cancer until it is not. And I believe you are the one who will change the history of the disease.

    Take care and hold on, Lisa Ray, the strongest lady I have ever known.

    PS: Share an article with you. :) pls click the website of mine.]]>

  14. < ![CDATA[Hey!
    If you intend to create awareness you already have. Before reading your blog I wasn't aware of Myeloma, however now I have googled enough.

    In life the bend in the road sometimes doesn't turn exactly the way we imagined. And believe me this experience is going to turn out much more enriching , much more exhilarating than you can possibly imagine.
    It is just another reason for change. Don't get intimidated , fight it.
    There are worst things , worst situations happening to people all around , yet they deal with it. That's the spirit of life , the never dying hope . You are never alone in misfortune or illness.
    God knows why I am giving this lecture , using waste words.
    It's not a comment , I just wanted to get the word across
    and I am too tired to use my engineering skills to find a point of contact to you, so this place. sorry !

    Lisa,
    I am going to read your every single tweet , I am going to read every blog you write, I am going to see every interview you give. I don't have a trace of doubt as to what now will follow will be exemplary and a source of inspiration for many.

    Good Luck , and you have all the help and support from unknown quarters , from nooks and corners in this world.

    Whenever you feel low , just pour it in here. We will share it with you.
    Now if I am not trespassing can you please tell .. I mean I was just wondering .
    Is it Symptomatic myeloma cause I thought you were anemic requiring a blood transfusion ? What is the ISS?
    There are some other technical Qs I have , but then I don't know whether you will ever read this in the first time.

    You just educated me on myeloma.

    BR,
    Neil.

    PS: I saw 'Water' a week back and then "ICTS' day before yesterday. I never could find Lisa Ray , it was always Tala and Kalyani. I googled and read random snippets on you . I learnt of your unconventional choices. And my curiosity grew. And so I decided to follow every other movie of yours.

    I am too much of an individual to be a fan of someone. Yet in all that I can muster I appreciate you a lot.
    So , Mam fight back . I want to see many more of 'Water' . I am just not ready to let you go yet.]]>

  15. < ![CDATA[Lisa is , I believe, you are a very strong woman who can overcome any situations - even though cancer is not something to be taken lightly and having said that, like Hanan and Shamim - I truly support you in any way I can and the first step is to join the Myeloma Canada (even though I am thousands of miles away). Last but not least, Lisa...take each day as it is ... take time to smell the flowers and feel the sun on your face...eat well, sleep well, most importantly, always smile even though some days can be tough. ps: am watching an episode of Blood Ties where you star in season 1 ... as usual , you are lovely and look the same :D]]>

  16. < ![CDATA[Lisa, just want you to know that I truly admire the way you have accepted and tackled this. Life's a b***h but keep fighting coz we're all rooting for you.]]>

  17. < ![CDATA[honey, everything will be ok, we love u ..]]>

  18. < ![CDATA[Lisa,I love you.
    Never Stop Fighting.
    You'll get well.]]>

  19. < ![CDATA[Dear Lisa, thank you so much for the happiness that your films brought to me this summer, your smile is the most beautiful thing in the world. I'm shocked tonight when know the news about the ca, and I am so sorry. But I believe everything would be fine, it could be cured, because you are so kind and not weak, you can definitely handle it. Never stop fighting. I will pray for you everyday.]]>

  20. < ![CDATA[Dear Lisa,

    I love you... we all love you.... and we all support your persistance and will to embrace life in all forms... you are wonderful... keep your spirit high.]]>

  21. < ![CDATA[Best of luck. Never Stop Fighting!!!!]]>

  22. < ![CDATA[Dear Lisa, I’m not sure if you could see these words.
    Actually I have only one word - Love.
    Lisa, we love you!
    Lisa, we support you!
    Lisa, all fans from China are waiting for you!
    No matter how seasons change, no matter what comes to you after treatment, our love will never change! We will love you forever! Forever and ever!
    We all have confidence and faith,
    We all believe you can do anything,
    Lisa, you will all win. We never doubt!
    Please, please...
    Win again! Be our favorite forever!
    Cheer on! Fighting! Lisa
    We are always with you!
    We can’t hold you hands to transfer our energy and forces,
    While our hearts are accompanying you!
    The hearts of all fans from China are following you!]]>

  23. < ![CDATA[The power to heal comes form within thyself. Never go into battle with dis-ease, for battle begets more battles. You have been chosen to lead with a higher grace than what you chose for yourself. For your wisdom gained will inspire other people. This is just another tool you can teach with. Become in tune with all the healing frequencies that surround you in this moment and every day. Once we have the knowledge of the cause and source of our dis-ease we then begin to wholy heal honestly. Elevated intakes of oxygen help tremendously in eliminating C cells, as well as a concious awareness of what we put into our bodies. A nutrition of raw veggies and fruits and flaxseed oil with cottage cheese has proven to be excellent and its yummie with toast. I think I'll have that for breakfast. Be healed soul sista ( we share the same B-day ). You are now in the distant healing networks of the Universe. I send you infinite blessings, love and joy.

    Namaste,
    Audrey Denise Lagares Lama]]>

  24. < ![CDATA[I am kinda sad with the news. I just hope you will get well with your treatment. I like your movies with the director Shamim Sarif. I wish you well so that you will make more movies. Take care!]]>

  25. < ![CDATA[lisa, you will be fine .don't worry about this trouble. no matter how,you are the best one .we all love you .
    come on .my dearest lisa ray~!]]>

  26. < ![CDATA[lisa, you will be fine .don’t worry about this trouble. no matter how,you are the best one .we all love you .
    come on .my dearest lisa ray~!]]>

  27. < ![CDATA[lisa..we support you heart and soul...
    you are gonna be the winner of this fight...
    i've got faith in you like always...
    真的不知道该说什么
    看的泪奔,Lisa请你一定照顾好自己的身体,坚强如你,加油!!!!
    有很深的无力感,唯一能做的就是支持你,一如既往!!!!]]>

  28. < ![CDATA[you will be ok! best wishes to you.]]>

  29. < ![CDATA[lisa..we support you heart and soul...
    you are gonna be the winner of this fight...
    i've got faith in you like always...
    真的不知道该说什么
    看的泪奔,Lisa请你一定照顾好自己的身体,坚强如你,加油!!!!
    有很深的无力感,唯一能做的就是支持你,一如既往!!!!
    love you!]]>

  30. < ![CDATA[Lisa...Never Stop Fighting!
    Win again! Be our favorite forever!
    We are always with you!
    Love you]]>

  31. < ![CDATA[Dear Lisa,

    I am one of your fans from Malaysia

    Just drop by to say
    Take good care of yourself
    and soon you will recover

    I will always pray for you

    Loves,
    -pian-]]>

  32. < ![CDATA[We love you,Lisa Ray,we believe undoubtedly that you will be the winner of this fight,you are the godness in our hearts forever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!]]>

  33. < ![CDATA[Lisa,

    Never stop the fight. The number of persons behind you is uncountable. The love which we have for you is inconceivable. Then, you have the strength, the courage, you have everything, to win .
    All my love. And all my tears...

    <3]]>

  34. < ![CDATA[Hi Lisa,

    Below is a list of websites you may find useful. Also, please get in touch with someone at the
    the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (www.multiplemyeloma.org). There are new treatments
    coming out every day.

    1. Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation: http://www.multiplemyeloma.org/about_myeloma/index.php

    2. More videos on the MMRF’s YouTube channel:
    http://www.youtube.com/TheMMRF

    3. The MMRF (theMMRF) on Facebook :
    http://www.facebook.com/theMMRF

    4. The MMRF (theMMRF) on Twitter:
    http://twitter.com/theMMRF

    5. Increasingly Treatable: Advances in Multiple Myeloma (Conquest – Spring 2009/By Scott Merville) Link below:

    http://www.mdanderson.org/news-and-publications/publications/conquest/current-issue/conquest-spring-2009-increasingly-treatable-advances-in-multiple-myeloma.html

    Remember, you are not alone in this. Everyone knows somebody that is affected by cancer. I have a dear friend who was diagnosed with stage 4 Nasopharyngeal Cancer in 2005, but thanks to aggressive treatment, prayer, and the will to survive, he will soon celebrate his second year of being cancer-free.

    That’s why I firmly believe that if you want to be healed, you will be.

    Last but not least, as beautiful as you are, your greatest asset is your inner beauty you show, so don’t be
    concerned when treatments change your appearance. You will always be one of the most beautiful and spiritual beings I know.

    Enjoy your day. Don’t push yourself too hard and focus on the positive. Here’s my motto: every challenge is a blessing, like a shadow in the light.

    Much love and light,
    Sabrina]]>

  35. < ![CDATA[Only learning of this "obstacle" (that's what I'll call it...not a "tragedy" not a "sickness" not a "disaster"...simply a "bump in the road") just now, I am writing to express my support...an extra "voice" in your quest in awareness of this rare form of cancer.

    I'm off to do my own research...

    A fan]]>

  36. < ![CDATA[Don't give up
    I hope you get well soon
    I'm always with you]]>

  37. < ![CDATA[I am so sad to hear that you have cancer. I pray for you and for your partner! May God give you both the necessary power and energy to overcome this disease.
    All my sympathies are with you dear and I want you to know that I am here whenever you need me day and night.]]>

  38. < ![CDATA[Dear Lisa:

    I will pray for you. And I would like to share my experience with you.
    Although I am not a devout Buddhist, but when I was sad, pain, helplessness, hopeless , I will still chant “ná mó Avalokiteśvara”. (“Avalokiteśvara” is a bodhisattva)
    After I chant “ná mó Avalokiteśvara” many times, I would feel better. This is what I want to share with you.

    I know it sounds silly, and maybe you have other beliefs.
    I did not want to offend you or your beliefs, I just want to do something for you, and hope to make you feel better.
    If I offended you, I apologize.

    My English is very poor, if I used the wrong words or wrong sentences, please forgive me.

    Your fans from Taiwan]]>

  39. < ![CDATA[My Aunt used to have cancer.
    She found it on 62. She felt depressed at first.
    But she never give up on it. She's just fight back!
    Now All the cancer is gone!
    She's now very healthy and stay strong as her age 65.
    You are now just 37! Still young ,Healthy and "Sexy".
    I believe you can beat it!

    Best Wishes from Thailand

    TLW Webboard Thailand
    http://board.thaimisc.com/rukyom>

  40. < ![CDATA[you are such a fantastic girl, you must hav the courage and strength to fight you know you're not alone. when I heard this news ,I can hardly work the whole day. Be strong for all the people love u and care u.]]>

  41. < ![CDATA[Dear Lisa,

    Was shocked by the first two lines and can not control my beating... But the more I read along, the more I love you and find you are wonderful. You are just as full with courage as every character you've made on the screen.

    No matter how, I believe you can beat it! I know this road could be painful and there could be so much ahead you might be put through... But we are always by your side. So, be with us too.

    Forever, love u.]]>

  42. < ![CDATA[Lisa,

    Continue playing that hand you've been dealt well!]]>

  43. < ![CDATA[Dear Lisa
    just like what you say "Never stop fighting"..

    please take care yourself & don't give up

    love you forever!

    your fan from TAIWAN]]>

  44. < ![CDATA[Lisa you are sure to win this battle
    pls get enough rest and then go on working

    love you always]]>

  45. < ![CDATA[My partner and I are sending you positive thoughts for a fast recovery.

    Big hugs from the UK.]]>

  46. < ![CDATA[you are the strongest fighter...
    i have faith in you as always!
    you are gonna win this battle and put an end to the incurable history of this disease...
    love you lisa...
    always gonna support you...]]>

  47. < ![CDATA[Dear lisa,come on!go go go !
    FIGHTING!FIGHTING!FIGHTING!
    Everything will be ok,I do believe you can do it!
    Love you forever and ever!]]>

  48. < ![CDATA[Dear Lisa:
    If you need to do “bone marrow transplant”, and you can’t find the suitable donor in Canada or USA, please try to contact with Buddhist Tzu Chi Stem Cells Center (BTCSCC).
    There are many donors in Taiwan, BTCSCC is in Taiwan, and manage donors.

    Website:http://www2.tzuchi.org.tw/marrow/index.htm
    (Chinese)
    email:btcscc@tzuchi.com.tw
    Tel:886-3-8561825 ext2452
    Fax:886-3-8574324

    I will always support you! Love you!

    Your fans from Taiwan]]>

  49. < ![CDATA[OMG! Lisa, have courage and please get well soon.

    The lesbian community all over the world loves you and thanks you for being a part of 'I can't think straight' and "World unseen".]]>

  50. < ![CDATA[Hi Lisa,

    I was shocked to find out that you were suffering from multiple myleoma. You know they say it is always the good ones. But from reading your blogs, you are truly an inspiring individual. Carrying on with your normal routine and hectic lifestyle and not breaking down into depression, which could be so easy. I hope and pray you always keep the faith and stay strong like you are doing.
    Your films have moved me and encouraged me to become more comfortable with who I am. However, the real Lisa Ray has given me such hope and inspiration. Thank you for that.

    I hope to see many more movies starring you in the future :)

    x]]>

Leave a Reply