Lisa Ray

The Yellow Diaries

Let's all floss

Bobcat fixed my teeth.

Teeth are important. Especially if you eat all the time, like I do. It’s good to have a full time job.

Teeth by Bobcat. Body by Dex.

Bobcat has excellent teeth. And a dentist he is slightly scared of, who wears very short skirts.

Me, I kept a thousand mile stare in my eyes every time he mentioned ‘dental work’. I avoided any kind of an examination- dental, mental, or otherwise- for more than ten years. It was my crusty badge of honour, and made me feel like ‘the most interesting girl in the world.’

That should tell you something about me.

Bobcat: International Cat of Mystery

Bobcat: International Cat of Mystery

Or at least about me pre- Cancer Club.

I never planned anything. I moved, constantly. And in my bones, a typhoon coming.

A word about Bobcat.

Yes, he’s real. Yes, he’s a man.

And yes, he’s a cat.

He lives and works in the city. He’s deeply methodical, effortlessly successful at anything he tries and he lines things up. Sometimes without looking at them. His eyes belong to the mountains and once when he was cycling in the dessert, he told a me about a bobcat who would silently watch him from the edges of civilisation.

‘Did you recognise him?’ I asked

‘well….no?’

‘Your brother. You’re a bobcat too.’

He also confesses he didn’t understand a single thing I said for the first three months we were together. And he keeps wanting to rip off my steristrips before they fall!

grumph.

buh.

Can you tell I adore him? Can you tell I pluck from that harp?

just don’t tell him now. He’s a serious bugger too. And he has a reputation.

So we are, on the surface, total opposites. But we both vibrate at the frequency of Yellow which gives us understanding beyond the nuisance of words and meanings.

It was Bobcat that sent me for the tests that led to my Membership into the Cancer Club. It’s a good thing he has strong teeth and didn’t back off. And shortly after that, he got my teeth fixed.

See, dental health is very important for Members of the Myeloma Club. That’s what they tell you when you first get membership. That’s because there’s a risk of osteonecrosis or ‘abnormal death of the jaw bone’. So you are advised to complete all your dental work before beginning treatment.

I laughed. Of course.

‘I’m not sure what normal death of the jaw bone is, but fortunately, I’m not married to the idea of talking for my whole life. Besides. I think I’ve talked enough. I can always be mute in Key West. Tragic and mute. ha. ha.ha?’

Bobcat smiled but his face got all like hardened honey. Or one of those Easter Island Statues.

And then I just knew. It wasn’t just a shift but the breeze working harder inside me. Looking at his face, I knew that now life was going to change. I had just been diagnosed with MM, the ‘call sheet’ of treatments was hanging by a magnet on my fridge but I could not start the treatment without some gesture, some ritual to acknowledge this passage. In India, you can break a coconut.

Me, I learned how to floss. For the first time in my life. I began my War on the ‘bitse’ with a little bit of string.

Sometimes you need that one pause, before the progression to the next level. A moment. An acknowledgement that you are passing through a new membrane.

Sometimes you just need to floss.

goop.

‘Bitse’ is Bobcat’s word for ‘The Cancer’. He likes to call it by this code name.

He’s the Tactical General of Operation Yellow. He’s tactifying me all the way towards ‘Full Remission’. I’m just the recruit. Every successful operation needs a Visionary. Especially one with good teeth.

So in a strange way, fighting with the ‘bitse’ has give my life a grounding which wasn’t there before.

I wonder what other graces will melt from my marrow.

This morning Bobcat talked about turbo-charging the Yellow, making it fluorescent, stepping up the pace. Patrick Swayze passed away yesterday from Pancreatic Cancer and there’s a sober atmosphere over the film festival.

The response to the Yellow Diaries charges me. Every word goes straight into marrow. I feel tiny wings scorching through the darkest bits of my bones. The unhealed bits.

This morning in particular I read all the messages that arrived in the night and feel the breeze working harder inside me again, lifting. This is another passage. A reboot.

Share shock. The recurrent shock of sharing, openly.

From the message board: Warner is coming off Dex so his pants fit this week. And ‘let’s struggle together’ to understand my english. Open invitation!

I feel optimistic as a hippie who has remembered the cause.

And by mid-morning I’m at the Intercontinental, having an omelette with the cast and my director of ‘Cooking with Stella’. The film is getting a really warm reception. I can’t wait to see it tomorrow night.

Somewhere on the ride to the hotel I change out of my wetsuit into my ’stay-puff marshmallow girl’ suit which is an upgrade, or not, depends on how you look at it. All through the morning’s round of interviews and photos, my moonface keeps growing. It’s one thing to have a moonface and quite another to feel it spread into a billboard. And I’m clearly vibrating now, a million little maws yelling for my attention. I’m imagining little mouths gossiping and spitting and chewing pepperettes all over my body.

Maybe all the love and messages have overcharged me. Too much emotion. I’m short circuiting now!

Tripp-ing!

Not like its not happened during a film fest before, but this MM ‘Reaction’ is unique for me.

I say, spunky to that cancer, but jeez- I don’t wanna explode.

So I wrap up at the hotel, and get myself over to PMH to report this. Dr Galal is out of town for a conference but fortunately Dr Donna Reese, who is the Director for the Program for Multiple Myeloma at Princess Margaret and a respected researcher in the field is able to see me.

Of course not before I have a snack. Fortunately I have to wait for 20 minutes. Druxy’s. Bagel and lox?

Yesterday it was dimsum at Rol San. I mean, I couldn’t roll down to my fitting at NADA without shrimp dumplings and sticky rice lotus leaf balls.

BILLBOARD Moonface at PMH- rare moment between snacks

BILLBOARD Moonface at PMH- rare moment between snacks

Ah, life on Dex.

I go through all my symptoms with Dr Reese. I’ve learned to be precise. This is a big change for me, I used to be disdainful of details. Now I’d draw them Bold hype on a canvas.

I’m not unduly alarmed but I’ve learned to listen to my body.

I missed a lot of messages before.

Dr Reese instinctively understands. I”m listening in on my marrow. Living inside and out at the same time.

We talk about what I’m feeling. I have a lot of questions and it’s relief to joke and talk everything openly. The drugs I’m on make you pulse, make you jitter, they make vibrate. But it’s also going to help me kick the bitse so I won’t complain. I’ll giggle when the vibe amps up, or call up Bobcat and describe it until he begs for a bone marrow biopsy.

Ha.

The simple fact, it seems that this ‘reaction’ I’m experiencing will become more of a guest on the couch now, rather than a delivery at the door. I can’t just accept a small package and turn him away. He’s gonna be eating from my fridge. It’s part of the MM Marathon.

Another passage.

No problem.

Let’s. All. Floss.

And tomorrow morning I’m opening the Toronto Stock Exchange with Don. Ain’t that a hoot?

Got a preview of my dress. The colour- unbelievably- matches my Myeloma Bracelet. I’ve got a different colour on my mind now. Red. I even said it to Bobcat when he asked about the Gala. He said, ‘What’s the dress code?’

Previewing the Colour of Yellow on the Red Carpet

Previewing the Colour of Yellow on the Red Carpet

Red tie.

I’m going to be loopy, and it’s ok. I’ve got the Cancer, remember.

http://www.thestar.com/article/695707

Thank you for all the support and love. And for spreading Yellow. Don’t stop, together we can Find the Cure for MM

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