Canadian actress Lisa Ray, star of The World Unseen, I Can’t Think Straight, began blogging this week about her diagnosis with Multiple Myeloma, a rare and incurable cancer of the plasma cells in bone marrow.
At first, she wasn’t sure if she would go public with the news. She wrote on her blog:
I asked around if I should speak openly about getting diagnosed recently with Multiple Myeloma. Some advised me to keep my "‘condition"’ a secret as it could negatively affect my career. Buh? I’m plumper, redder, more energetic and wily than ever before- Kiss me like I’ve been kidnapped!
Ultimately, she decided to share her story in hopes of raising awareness about (and hopefully funding for) the disease. Ray was diagnosed on June 23, and started her first cycle of treatment for the disease on July 2. She recently wrote:
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.
Ray’s tone is optimistic, and she writes that the treatments have made her crave sweets and, well, everything else:
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.
For now, Ray is preparing to premiere two films at the Toronto International Film Festival and continuing to receive treatment for the disease.
Her The World Unseen and I Can’t Think Straight director, Shamim Sarif, has written about Lisa on her own Facebook blog:
What’s truly admirable is that nothing in her attitude has changed. I know many of you feel upset and depressed by the news, because the movies have that rare and magical ability to transport you to a place you feel you know, and to put before you images of a face, a smile, and gestures that you learn to understand and predict, and which give you a feeling of knowing that person intimately.
And I know you all appreciate the work she has done in all her movies, as well as The World Unseen and I Can’t Think Straight. So I would say, acknowledge the sorrow, but let’s give her the message that we visualise her in perfect health and starring in many more Enlightenment movies. There is a cure for everything that ails us – we just need to find it, or allow the body to find it. And if anyone has the mind and spirit to allow that healing to happen, it’s Lisa.
Besides, I have two more scripts waiting, Lisa. And nice try, but you don’t get off that easily…
Sarif even posted the sweet photo below of her wife, Hanan Kattan and Ray, with the caption:
Nurse Hanan taking Lisa Ray’s temperature – at least, that’s what she told me she was doing
You can follow Ray’s progress on her blog, or follow her on Twitter. You can also learn more about Myeloma and make donations to Myeloma Canada at their official website.