Opening about her cancer diagnosis while speaking at the Sahitya AajTak 2019 event on Sunday, she said, “My doctor was scared because after he announced to me that I had multiple myeloma, I didn’t react. Even though he said it was incurable and fatal.
In my mind, I was thinking that my body has been trying to give me signals for months, and I was ignoring them. Then I got this strongest possible message. Intuitively, I knew something was wrong. But I didn’t have the courage to do anything, because I was trained to ignore what my body was telling me.”
She went on to add, “In our profession, you can’t go home when you’re sick. You pop medicines and get on with work. In addition, I hadn’t really dealt with the trauma of the accident I was in. What do we do when we don’t want to face something? We keep busy. I did that. Until finally I had to stop, listen to my body, heal and make changes. In a strange way, I realised it was a time of reckoning. I knew it wasn’t the end of me, I knew I wasn’t going to die, but I also knew it wasn’t going to be easy.”
Lisa also recalled that she was in a car accident after she shot for her first modelling portfolio during her vacation in Mumbai. She said, “I met Maureen Wadia after that with all those pictures. And then, we left for Canada. Soon after we were back in Canada, my family and I met with an accident and my mom lost the ability to walk in that accident.
Call it luck, but I was supposed to be sitting where my mom was sitting in the car. We had exchanged our seats. That was supposed to be me in place of my mother. And then, on the other end of the world in India, my image was released on the cover of Gladrags magazine. So, my career started on the edge of a blade. One end was fame and on the other end was trauma.”
Lisa also spoke at length about her success in the modelling world and its aftermath. She said, “I was a glamorous figure, a sex symbol, but while I was at the height of fame, I was experiencing the lowest lows. I had anorexia, bulimia, I hated myself. Going through these extreme experiences made me an investigator of life. I had fame, money, reputation everything the society tells you need to be happy. Yet I wasn’t. That’s what lead me to write the book.”