Lisa Ray on her tryst with cancer, her blog, and learning to live again
Lisa Ray is back, looking as gorgeous as she did when she first wowed audiences with her hour-glass figure, porcelain skin and a walk that set the ramps on fire. And, but for her blog (Yellow Diaries — http://lisaraniray.wordpress.com), you really wouldn't know what she's been through — her battle with multiple myeloma saw her getting puffed up, losing hair, and undergoing long, painful treatment sessions.
A warm smile envelops her face as Lisa, looking a million bucks in a figure-hugging ensemble, begins to talk about what prompted her to write. Her first entry was on September 6, 2009, and the very next day, she told the world what had been ailing her. Letters of support poured in by the hundreds. “I've always been passionate about writing. It's something I've always wanted to do, but life took on a different direction. When I was diagnosed with cancer, writing was a great way to cope with it. And, I'm delighted people have responded to it in the way they have. It was cathartic writing about my experiences,” says the former model, who was in town to launch the new RADO boutique at Ampa Mall.
And, Lisa manages to get people to smile even when she's talking about recuperating from a recent stem cell transplant. She writes: “Now, I'm full of cheerful stem cells, like fields of sunflowers. I travel inside and watch them turn their small, yellow faces towards me…” Lisa says this positive attitude comes from the fact that she has treated cancer as “just another adventure” in her action-packed life.
“Honestly, I don't know where this attitude comes from, but this was how I dealt with it. Initially, there was an information overload. Slowly, I began to process what was happening. And, writing helped me see it in better perspective. It was reflective of what I was going through at that point in time.”
She says it helped that she landed in a great clinic (Princess Margaret Hospital, Canada) and that there are newer modalities for treatment now.
Lisa also took the time on hand to introspect and raise awareness about things such as insurance cover for crucial illness. “We don't think we'll ever need it. I did not, too, but we need to be prepared,” she says. “And, I thought it was important to share my experience.”
So, what has coping with cancer taught her? “Well, no one can come out of the experience the same. It made me think. I now think about what I'm going to do with my time, and the power of community. Earlier, I was independent, and used to think I could do everything by myself. Now, I know that I can draw so much support from family and friends; that we are all part of the same home!” she exclaims.
The event for RADO, a brand she has been associated with for a very long time, says Lisa, is a celebration of that positive spirit. “It's just been a few weeks after my stem cell transplant, and I'm officially recuperating, but this was a wonderful opportunity to re-engage with life,” concludes Lisa.