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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:

Maki I follow both of your

Maki I follow both of your sites (on top of my food bookmarks!) and I pray for your full recovery! You know, if you want to do something different or write something different, go for it! You might lose a reader here or there, but I can assure you that many more new readers will appear just the same. People change, so I can assure you a lot of times it's not the writer who changes, but the reader and they just move to other stuff.

I think I can safely say from all your readership that we love you and wait for your recovery :D

Your Health

I wish you well. Keep getting better day by day.

Wishing you well

Thanks for so much for sharing your personal story with your usual charm and insight. I hope that you are feeling inspried again soon!

Get well!

Good luck with the treatments, and get well soon! And good luck with all you projects and ideas!

I've enjoyed reading your

I've enjoyed reading your blog for a few years. Hope you have a speedy recovery and all the best.

Get Well Soon!

Sorry to hear about your illness, but its better to know what is wrong with and deal with it. Great positive attitude. Keep it up! That's the way to go. Love and hugs! get well soon!

My best wishes

Hi Maki,

My best wishes for a speedy and fully recovery. I'm sending you positive thoughts. Please take care of yourself.

Ellen, writing from Canada

FEEL BETTER

Hi Maki! I'm so terribly sorry to hear about what you're going through. It's been one of my biggest fears to go through that since I have always had a lot of problems with my uterus too. A lot of people think it's not a big deal because you can just take those organs out, but they really do affect our entire bodies and to get cancer in them!! It's terrible.

Please feel better soon. Get strong and give 'em piss and vinegar (as the grumpy old men say here in the States).

Hi Maki... I've been quietly

Hi Maki...

I've been quietly following your blog for a while and looking forward to new updates and recipes, so when I found out you were in the hospital for an emergency, I was anxious hopeful that everything is ok. Although we do not know each other personally, just know that there is someone across the pond rooting for your recovery in the fight against the cancer.

Odaiji ni

Get well soon! (^^)/

I'm very happy you let us

I'm very happy you let us know what's happening in your life. JustBento and JustHungry may be primarily food websites, but they've also become websites about you, too. We like to hear your quirky attitude, your insights into food and the culture behind it, and the places you're living or have been to before.

I sincerely hope you can beat this cancer. My mother had breast cancer while I was in high school, and she didn't make it in the end. I hope your family, friends, and all us fans don't have to say goodbye to you in such a painful way, speaking straight from personal experience. Take care of yourself.

best wishes

I have only commented on any of your blogs once before, but I love reading Just Hungry - for the new food information, but also for your friendly way of writing. Cancer is a horrible thing and I'm sorry to hear you have to deal with it ... but I'm glad the prognosis is good and you are dealing with it so positively. My best wishes for a speedy recovery!

and I love your 'fuck that' attitude ... rock on!

Thank you!

Thank you for everything. Get well soon! We will all be supporting you!

Toutes mes pensees

Chere Maki,

En ce temps particulièrement difficile, je pense bien à toi et à ta famille. En tant que lectrice de tes blogs et de ton livre, je voudrais juste que tu saches combien tes écrits ont inspiré mes aventures dans le monde culinaire japonais (y compris dans le bento making). Cette nouvelle m'a particulièrement émue. J'espère que tu te remettras vite. La bataille sera peut être longue et ardue mais ne perds surtout pas de courage, car là où se trouve l'ombre, la lumiere n'est jamais loin.

Get better soon!

Maki, I hope you get better soon! Wishing you a really speedy recovery<3

A très bientôt !

Take care and get well soon, Maki !

To thy own self be true

Some people sure do meet many bumps in the road of life, while wishing you all the very best for all that goes into getting over this one, am glad it helped you honour the strength of your true voice.

Hope your kitchen is coming along well and that it is providing an enjoyable distraction.

お大事に

Positive Thoughts

Sending you incredibly positive thoughts for a successful and speedy recovery. Your blogs inpire me, and I am amazed at the depth, detail, and dedication.
May you draw strength from all that is positive, and sending you countless best wishes.
Hayaku genki ni natte kudasai! NY yori.

*hugs*

Maki,

I'm glad to know what was wrong and that it's able to be taken care of. Don't worry about losing readers. I'll be with ya for as long as you post.

Just take it easy and bit by bit. Be sure to keep up posted as well as you can!

*hugs honey*

Bramble Memphis, Tenneessee, USA

*hugs*

Maki,

I'm glad to know what was wrong and that it's able to be taken care of. Don't worry about losing readers. I'll be with ya for as long as you post.

Just take it easy and bit by bit. Be sure to keep up posted as well as you can!

*hugs honey*

Bramble Memphis, Tenneessee, USA

Thank you and best wishes

Thank you for being so frank and clear, sharing your journey of discovering diagnosis and many reactions. My best wishes for your recovery.

I'm so sorry to hear this,

I'm so sorry to hear this, Maki, but it's good to see that you are approaching it with such a positive attitude. I truly believe that makes a big difference in recovery. I wish you a quick return to full health! Take care.

Maki, I hope you get to

Maki, I hope you get to feeling better soon.

I love both of your food blogs, and have found a love for some foods I never would have tried before. I'm excited to see your next post, whenever it may be.

Get well soon!

Sending light your way. I adore you and your recipes. Please have a speedy recovery. Keep us posted. anything we can do, just ask.

Get well soon!

Maki,
I'm so sorry to hear about your illness, but you are an incredibly strong person and I know you'll pull through. I'm impressed that you're looking at the bright side of all this, and I hope you carry that inspiration and motivation through until the end of this ordeal and beyond. I'm sure you will. In the meantime, I know all of the Just Bento and Just Hungry community will be keeping you in their thoughts and prayers, myself included. I thought about you a lot this past summer when I went abroad to Japan. Reading your articles about Japan, not just the food, really helped me while I was over there. I was able to adjust a lot better while keeping certain things you had advised in mind, as well as enjoy much of the culture even more than I would have if I had not read your articles. So, while it's terrible that you have to face this ordeal, I am really glad it's not terminal, because you're an amazing, inspirational person, and believe it or not a big part of my life is Just Bento/Hungry and reading your articles. Get well soon, and I look forward to your next blog post (even if it's off topic!)
Love,
Kyandasu

Hi Maki!

Hi Maki,

I wanted to send you positive thoughts as you get better. I am really grateful to the support you've given me as I live and raise a family in Japan. I have learned so much about cooking from your sites and I recently ordered your book. Your posts after the quake and tsunami were comforting and informative during a trying time. Thank you. I also enjoy your posts about other topics. Wishing you well! asuparagasu

thinking of you

I'm currently being treated for breast cancer. The road is long, but with lots of good wishes it makes it bearable. We'll be waiting for your healthy return. Lots of warm wishes and healthy hugs.

Please get well soon!

Best wishes, Maki! Your recipes have kept me in good food for years, and I will always be happy to read your (excellent!) writing no matter the topic.

Get well soon!

Hey Maki,

I became a big fan of justbento.com a little over a year ago, and I've been impressing my Japanese coworkers ever since. Your site is amazing, and the food you post is exactly the kind that I was looking for. I started checking your blog daily to see what other goodies I could find. I was saddened to hear about your situation, but you have such a healthy optimism for life, I'm sure you'll pull through just fine. It sounds like your surrounded by love, which may be the best medicine of all time. You and your family will be in our prayers. Take care!

Good luck and good health....

Sending you good thoughts for a quick recovery and many opinionated honest posts (that I will read - a bit selfish, my good thoughts...)

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