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9 Sep 2011

A, B...and C

filed under: journal  :: modern life  :: personal

I've been debating with myself for a while whether I should make this public knowledge, but I've decided to go ahead...because you might see something is up anyway. It's hard to write about food, when food is such a part of your health and body. Besides...it's not like a dirty secret. It's part of what I am, in early September 2011.

So, here goes. Last Sunday, I was hospitalized due to heavy bleeding, which had gone on for more than a week. I thought it was just a very very heavy period and tried to tough it out, hoping the bleeding would lessen - bad mistake. I became so weak and dizzy that I could barely move, and my heart was pounding so fast everytime I just stood up, that I thought I it would jump out of my chest. After several tests and scans and exploratory surgery and so on, the prognosis was, as you might surmise by now, cancer. I believe it's called uteran cancer or endometrial cancer in English, though the cancer has spread a bit to the cervix as well. (This was explained to Max and me by the gynecologist, who is French of course, with an illustration of the woman parts that he scribbled on a notepad as he talked. By the way, French doctors have just as horrible handwriting as American or Japanese doctors. What's up with that?)

Now before you start feeling really bad for me, the type of cancer I have has a very good recovery rate, and they did catch it fairly early (though I really should have gone to the hospital quite a bit earlier...I've been feeling pretty lousy for at least 3 months now, not to mention bleeding A Lot). It certainly isn't terminal just yet. (Coincidentally, my mother had cervical cancer and a hysterectomy when she was the same age I am now. She's still with us 20 plus years later, as bossy and mom-like as ever. Do I believe that cancer is a bit hereditary? You bet.) And thankfully, I live in a country where affordable, top class healthcare is regarded as a basic right, not a privilege.

I'll be getting radiation therapy first for about 6 weeks, followed most probably by a full hysterectomy. After a meeting between specialists (gynecologist, oncologist, etc) to discuss my case, it was determined that the best course of treatment would be to have a full hysterectomy followed by a course of radiation therapy (the cancer has metasized a bit). (Such meetings are standard procedure in France, by the way.) Since I was certainly not planning to have kids at my age, I'm quite fine with that. Well OK, the finality of it did cause me to have a small pang. I should have tried harder to have a child some time back, but that's the way it goes. If you are thinking of having children and you think you might regret it if you suddenly couldn't, do it Now. You never know what's going to happen.

During my initial hospitalization, they pumped about 2 liters of blood into me, stopped the bleeding, brought up my iron levels and so on. (And, this hospital ward had no Madame Méchante! (And nope I'm having no luck with my health since moving to France. Boo.) Everyone was super nice. Though the more elderly nurses and aides kept calling me pauvre petite dame...not being exactly petite (short yes, petite definitely not) this struck me as being hilarious.) I can walk around slowly without feeling like I'm going to die. (I was feeling really weak and lousy for a few weeks, to be honest, accounting partly for my very slow pace of posting on my blogs.)

I do have to say that while I'm feeling 100% better than before I went to hospital, I'm still not quite hale and hearty. I get tired very easily. This state of things may continue for a while yet as my body tries to get rid of those pesky cancer bits. So please bear with me if I goof off again. Hey, tweeting takes a whole lot less effort, so follow me there if you want to check up on me. ^_^;

Another thing is, I've done a lot of thinking about both Just Hungry and Just Bento while lying in the hospital bed. While the main reason I was posting so infrequently on both sites was my lack of energy and general malaise, I was also feeling very stymied and uninspired. There are various reasons for that, but one of the big ones is that I think I've been a bit too timid and Nice for some time...and that is just not me. When your blogs and writing become a serious source of your income, you start to get worried about stuff like upsetting people and advertisers or straying too far 'off topic' and losing readers and whatnot. Somewhere along the way I put myself in a straitjacket because 'business sense' told me that I needed to focus on specific topics. Well, let's just say, from now on - fuck that. Yay! If I end up living another 20, 30 years it may all come back to bite me in the ass...but who cares? I bet I'll be a whole lot happier in the end.

I also have so many other project ideas floating around in my head. I'm just hoping my energy levels will keep up.

I'm not looking for your condolences or sympathy here, just letting you know what's going on. Am I afraid, or angry, or sad? Nope. Of course I cried a bit when I first got the prognosis, but now I feel quite calm, and pretty good. I admit to having periods of feeling depressed and even suicidal in the past, though I've never acted upon it. (Don't we all?) But now, when I'm in a state where inaction most likely means The End? I feel like I'm in control, again. The rest of my life commences now, and I think I'm going to try to spend it the way I want to.

ETA: I'm overwhelmed by your kind words. Thank you. ^_^

Comments on this post:

get well soon!

wishes for a speedy recovery, take care!

Life sucks and then you get on with it!

Hi Maki
Life throws us various challenges to keep things interesting. Just live every day to its fullest and all will be fine with your world.
Thank you for continuing to inspire us to cook well and to live life!

Gerrit

My best wishes and thoughts!! =]

I've been reading your blogs for just a month but I felt immediately in love with both. =]
You have such an good and amused way of writing that healed my home sickness many many times ( I'm a grandchild of japaneses that was born in Brazil and now live in US for a internship).
I just hope that you can receive all the good prays and thoughts for a fast recovery =] and think about now as a bad moment that is happening to show you something better ;)
Get well and hope you find your way back to the blogs soon too! xD

I wish you the best, Maki

I wish you the best, Maki

Get Well Soon

Hi Maki san, you are such an inspiration. Do get well real soon!!!

Radiation Therapy

I had breast cancer in 2008. They cut the tumor out (a partial mastectomy), followed by 6 weeks of daily radiation (weekends and holidays off -- 33 sessions in all to achieve the total level needed). It doesn't hurt and you don't get sick as with chemo (which I did not have), though you slowly get a radiation "sunburn" at the targeted area. Ultimately, the area is sterilized by the radiation. The side effect is that you will become very tired for a period of months (in my case anyway)and will take deep naps as your body renews itself. Do not be afraid! You'll come out of this fine!

Meanwhile, all your fans (we feel more like friends) understand your need to take it easy during this time. We'll still be around -- and so will you!

Love and hugs to you from us all.

Hugs

**HUGS**!!! :)

hi! I hope you get better

hi!

I hope you get better and better soon, and don't worry too much about what you want to write. People that follow your blog follow it probably for your cunning style of writing, and such i'm sure they won't be bothered to see more of "real" you. Honesty in a blog is something people like. I am looking forward to your new projects and posts! And of course before that, take as much rest as you need!

As for the doctors writing, her ein Quebec it is as bad. I've heard that it was because the more bad the doctor writng is, the more difficult it is to replicate a prescription, and so you can't scam a pharmacy and get extra drugs to resell.

Wishing you the best...

I have been a silent reader of your blogs JustHungry and JustBento for many years. I am in love with your no-nonsense, everyday and practical approaches to things. XD Haha I have especially loved your rants on how bento doesn't have to mean hours of labor, food meticulously sculpted and adorned with fancy plastic bits. Its just portable food. Its a hard concept to get a lot of people to understand, then again its easy to exoticize other cultures and imagine in your head that they are so different and their eating habits so complex. Which in the long run really isn't true. Anyways, I wanted to say that I greatly appreciate what you have done and what you are struggling through right now. Cancer is a scary thing, in part I think because it is like your own body has betrayed you. When I was in high school my Papa had asbestos related lung cancer, which as I understand it back then was considered a death sentence. He was the type to always try to tough things out and to always wear a strong face so that others would not feel emotionally burdened. He really was a sturdy pillar that made the house strong. My last and favorite memory of my Papa was when I was 15 and my grandparents had come to visit and I made dinner - rice and four or five Japanese and Chinese dishes. He was so happy (my Nana would never cook any Asian food, probably part lack of familiarity and part jealousy as my Papa's previous wife was Japanese) and he told me it was delicious (which it probably wasn't) and he told me I was a good girl and he was proud of me. Praise was rare from him, and it was especially precious as I had picked up my appreciation of both China and Japan from him (and his magical, never ending cache of subtitled martial arts movies which I always snuck out to watch).Your sites are so special to me be cause they are honest foods and cultural bits, which I think my Papa would have loved. I suppose all of that is more than I intended to say but I really, really, really wanted to say that I am so glad that your cancer has such a high recovery rate. I have read your blogs for so long that I feel like I know a tiny bit of you and so I really care and I wish you a speedy, uncomplicated recovery. T^T And I am so glad there is no Madame Mechante at your new hospital. >_> People should be taught they need to be polite!

best wishes for a complete recovery

I hope the whole business is as comfortable and successful as possible. I am a real fan of the book, the bento bits, the food bits, the culture bits, especially the earthquake reporting, and I really like your Twitter feed, so yes, I'm a selfish fan who wants MORE (but I'd rather have you healthy.)

Glad to hear!

Your food blogs/books have changed the way we eat, and my husband is enjoying extremely improved health because of your work. That being said, FUCK YEAH I look forward to uncensored Maki time.

I've come to the same point with my own online work these past couple of weeks. I wouldn't say I've pulled all the stops, but I'm certainly becoming a little more "me" around here, regardless of who runs off. If someone is going to cut ties to me because I'm being myself (note: I'm not going to TRY to be offensive) then maybe they shouldn't be around anyways.

Still, my business doesn't depend on people liking me.

(sorry if this posts twice, I seem to have had an issue and not sure it went through the first time.)

Odaijini

Maki, one of the things I like the most in you is how sincere you are in the "off-blog-environment" (sometimes cranky, funny or deliciously badass ^^). Thank you for all the inspiration you've given me, I'll be faithfully following your writings, no matter how they will eventually "change".
And... know that we are thinking of you and hoping for your recovery! *big hug*
Lily

My best wishes

Hola,

From here, I send you my best wishes that you can be in good health soon, be patient Maki, all is going to be ok I'm sure.
I love your blogs, I always follow you, I want you to know that I learn a lot in your blogs, thank you.
My thoughts are with you.

Your friend from Bolivia, Sudamerica.

Andrea

You are such an inspiration

Thanks for keeping us updated. You are so strong, and such an inspiration to all of us. Your blogs are one of the first ones that I discoverd and really impressed me enough to get into my bento making and my bento blog. Keep up the good attitude and do what works for you and makes you happy! Hang in there and get better soon!

Get well soon!

Hi Maki,
Glad to hear you're doing better! It's a good reminder for me to get checked up too, it's been 5 years now... Oh and doctor's handwriting is just as bad here in Belgium. I've been told this is because they had to take so many notes in university so they had to learn how to write really fast... which doesn't make much sense to me, I'm sure enigineer students etc have to take a lot of notes too (though we never really get to see their handwriting do we, maybe they are all bad)
Anyway, get well soon, and I'm looking forward to the developments on the site. Any topic is fine by me, I've always really enjoyed the Hungry for Japanese Words too :)

Get Well!

I was just thinking about how much I've learned from Just Bento and Just Hungry in the last 2 years or so.

I hope you get all the support you need, and get well soon!

(I also hope you'll get to feel more comfortable with your own websites!)

Best wishes to you for a

Best wishes to you for a smooth and speedy recovery!

Get Better!

I was so sorry to hear of your diagnosis. I hope that you will be on the mend very soon and I know that you can get through this. I was just diagnosed with breast cancer last week so I can imagine a little of what you are going through. I will continue to read your blog with enthusiasm and hope you blog about whatever you feel like!

Good luck to you. Don't be

Good luck to you. Don't be afraid. You will survive. See my comment farther below.

Best of luck. My mother is

Best of luck.

My mother is currently undergoing treatment for precisely the same cancer. In her case, may be because of her age, the decision was made to have the hysterectomy done before the radiation.

As you have been told, the recovery rate is very good, and early detection is the best news in the circumstance.

I am a big fan of your writing and my mother's food. So more power to the both of you.

Get better!

I was so sad to hear about your diagnosis but I am really glad taht you are on the mend. I hope you get better soon. I was just diagnosed with breast cancer last week and I can imagine a little of what you are going through. I know you will do great and I will continue to read your blog with enthusiasm :)

The very best wishes

Glad to hear you have the willpower and strength to go through this. Get well and will see you.

I am praying for you

May you have all you need to recover, may your family be held up in spirits and health too. Get well soon Maki. I am praying for you all.

Having cancer is something no

Having cancer is something no one ever wants to hear. I wish you a strong and swift recovery; I look forward to reading more entries from you in the future, but prioritise your health first, 'kay? :)

We're here for you Maki!

We're here for you Maki! You're one tough lady - so we know you'll get over this nasty bump in life.

Sending good thoughts your way!

I am glad that it was caught when it was, and that you are feeling better!

I've been reading Just Bento

I've been reading Just Bento and Just Hungry for a year now and have learned so much! Thank you for your writing. I'm wishing you a swift recovery.

Really. Get Well Soon!

I've been reading your blogs for a couple of years now, and follow you on Twitter (I enjoy when you speak out!) You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Also, I think doctors must take a class in Bad Handwriting as part of their core requirements in medical school. ;-D

Get well soon!

Just another message from a stranger on the internet to say get well soon & that we miss you. And I am looking forward to the uncensored blogging :)

take care Maki.. all my

take care Maki.. all my wishes with you..

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