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I'm a cancer survivor: Lisa Ray

May 08, 2010 01:54 PM IST India India

Actor and model Lisa Ray's shown true grit, in her battle with cancer...dealing with the side-effects like hair loss, with poise. Amrita Tripathi has this exclusive interview.

'I'm a cancer survivor'

It's the perfect shot...and another...and another. There's no doubt the camera LOVES actress and model Lisa Ray

Spanning several hours, this photoshoot for People Magazine in New Delhi is her FIRST glamour shoot in MONTHS. She was diagnosed last June, at the age of 37, with a relatively rare form of cancer called multiple myeloma…Cancer of the plasma cells, found in the BONE MARROW, that play an important role in the body's immune system.

Lisa Ray started her first first cycle of treatment in July…she was on steroids and underwent chemotherapy … and finally the process of stem cell transplantation.

She began a BLOG, the YELLOW DIARIES to help her process what she was going through… a blog that says never stop fighting, that chronicles her entire journey till date.


"I'm not sure exactly where the name came from, but I started writing about my battle with cancer. I think I started in September last year, the main reason I was motivated to write about it, there were two main reasons - I was supposed to attend the Toronto film festival and because I was in the middle of my treatment, I had bloated up on steroids, I had changed physically a lot. I had to take a decision, I had to decide - am I going to attend, I could have attended and lied about why I'm looking so different, or I could come clean. Fortunately I chose the last one, I chose to be open about it, because it was my way of understanding what I was going through.

What she was going through was bloating thanks to the steroids…and recurrent eye infections…


Blog line: My lawn had weeds, so weed killer (chemotherapy) was applied. The results of the weed killer were not seen for a number of days but the weeds slowly started to wither and finally died. Because the weed killer was so strong it also wiped out some of my lawn (bone marrow) as well! Then the rains (saline IV) came and washed all the weed killer away.

So like, I'm grass.

Yeah, I'm grass.

That's why I'm feeling trampled.

Trampled by the cancer… which there's no CURE for…but the stem cell treatment has her recuperating. The cancer's in remission…and she's slowly returning to the world of glamour she's been part of for years…but it's taking a bit of getting used to..

Does it feel surreal at all?

LISA: It does feel surreal, sure, in a sense, I'm supposed to be taking 3-6 months to officially recover, but again because this has been part of my life and something I enjoy so much, I think it's assisting my recovery. I think doing things you enjoy and love can never impede. It fills me with a lot of energy and optimism.

It was an odyssey. A trip to the core. The marrow had its way. 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. They giggle and beam. Go forth and multiply.

LISA: People say to you be positive, how do you remain positive, it is a little vague, you have to start doing things. what you could use are your words, words have a power in them, speaking positive things, or visualising or using all of these techniques, I think they're really powerful. It's a way of taking something that sounds very vague and making it something more practical and using it in your life, it can be used for a number of things, not just cancer.

Lastly, to ask you incredible how you stay positive and radiate this but you said it's something you have in common with other survivors as well?

LISA: Yeah, it's interesting, I have my cancer friends now, it's very important nobody around you much as they love you can understand what you're going through...it's imp to have a support group of other people going through the same things, it's also something that gives a lot of relief to people around you, your family around you, there's such a thing as your care-takers' guilt, they call it, the people who provide care also go through a lot of stress, and they need a break. I think it's important for anyone going through a serious illness to create a support group around you, reach out and communicate with people, something I've done through my blog, really valuable, really powerful for me. I did it for me, selfish reasons! I'm very grateful.