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.'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:

Thank you!

I have found your food blogs a brilliant reference and source of inspiration as I try to construct lunches my picky children might consider eating. I have really appreciated it - and I am sure I would still appreciate it if you were more forthright. I read blogs because I like to hear individual voices.

I am also glad you shared this health issue, because it allows me the chance to say that I wish you the very best in beating this cancer and recovering your health. Please take the best care of yourself possible.

I Know You Will Be Fine!

Maki I first want to thank you for letting me, a Uruguayan woman who has never left her country, feel like she knows a little about japan and it's culture. Thank You. Also I am a doctor and I am so glad that you cought it just in time, that is how I know you will be Fine. And about doctors and our writing I think it comes from never really having much time to do it so you just doodle the words he he.
Hope to hear from you soon! You have always been an inspiration to me.

Get well soon!

I just started reading your blogs since I have a young daughter who just started preschool 3 AMs/week. Since I wanted to pack a variety of healthy items, Bento lunches seem the way to go! Your ideas give much inspriation.

Sorry to hear you are battling a serious illness, and I wish you the best for a full and speedy recovery.

I'm sorry to read this

No sooner did I discover your Just Hungry site, Makiko, than I find myself here, reading this news.

I'm in my 60s, and reminders of our mortality are not welcome anymore. Be strong, as I can already see you are. I'll be reading your stuff, waiting for more.


You're Awesome!

I've been following you for years now, and I'm so proud of you! I will pray that you make a speedy recovery, and I know I'll love the new sassy Maki as much as I love the beautiful orderly Maki. thanks for opening your kitchen and heart to us! :D

You are inspiring in so many ways

Wow, Maki, you are amazing. Everything you do is an inspiration. Sending you only good thoughts and energy!


You're a strong person, Maki. We know you'll get better. Even cancer can't stop you, girl!


Get well soon

Maki san,

Thank you for sharing your personal story.
I wish you speedy and complete recovery.
I really enjoy your website with all your articles and recipes! It lets me be in touch with being Japanese, living in the US.

Looking forward to more good articles in the future!

Get well soon

Maki san,

Thank you for sharing your personal story.
I wish you speedy and complete recovery.
I really enjoy your website with all your articles and recipes! It lets me be in touch with being Japanese, living in the US.

Looking forward to more good articles in the future!

Get well


Love, love, love your blogs. We went to Japan two years ago and fell in love with the country and food. My DH and I have been following your blogs ever since our trip.

Take care of yourself and get well soon. Feel free to be yourself on the blogs. If someone doesn't like it = screw them. :-)

Feel better soon!

Maki - I've been reading your blog(s) for 5+ years now, and am so shocked to hear about your health issues. I've had 2 friends now beat cancer, and I'm sure you can, too! Make sure to keep eating through your chemotherapy and stay strong! We're all rooting for you! Ganbatte!


So sorry to hear your news, Maki, but I know you will get through it. So many cancers are very treatable now and it seems like you have good doctors. Take care of yourself and keep us posted. Best wishes!

Get well soon!

Be well, Maki! Good to hear your cancer is beatable; my father has had cancer twice and my husband once, and both are alive and well.

I'm looking forward to seeing your new posts - Just Bento is awesome, and it'll be interesting to see your less "Nice" posts ^_^

Get well soon

These days science evolves daily and I wish you a speedy recovery. The one thing to remember is: Believe in yourself, live and want to get better, that alone can change a lot of things.
With cancer I sometimes think it is more important than we know.

Write what you like to write about, that is why I read your blogs. Because honesty is a great gift, even if its not always what everyone wants to read. Let's be honest you can't make everyone happy, so make yourself the priority. ^_^

Get well soon!



All the best Maki and get well soon!

I love your blogs and wish you will have the energy to continue writing and posting them! You have made me understand so much about Japanese food and lots more, you are truly an inspiration to me. All the best and rest well, I will be waiting eagerly for your next exciting post! :)

Get well soon Maki!

Dear Maki,

I don't know what to say, I'm so sad to read what happened to you. I know you are facing a hard time right now. I will bring you in my prayer, hope you will be strong and fight for your cancer. Please take care and get well soon! *love & hugs*

Hang in there!

I was really touched by all you shared with us. I was diagnosed with Cervical Cancer earlier this year. My whole life was falling down around son's father tried to fight me for custody and when I found out I had cancer it was shortly after he was granted temporary custody. I had just lost my job shortly after finding out about the cancer and finally..the love of my life left me..over the phone just a few weeks before all that happened. It felt like everything was slipping away.
It's a year later..I am cancer-free now, I have a great new boyfriend..even if my heart isn't completely healed, my son is back in my custody and I just got a new job. :)
Life leads us up, down and everywhere in between.
I have always loved reading your blog and wanted to let you know that I am on board for whatever you bring to the table! :) I look forward to variety and..if someone gets offended..fuck them. lol. I wish you the very best in your fight. We are ALL here for you now and always. :) Lots of hugs!-Pamela

Best wishes

Hang in there and kick butt! ^_^

Get Well Soon!

I'm so sorry to hear about this, Maki--I hope you get well soon!

I'm so sorry to hear about

I'm so sorry to hear about this, Maki--I hope you get well soon.

Hugs and Prayings

Hugs and prayers to you. I really enjoy your blog and am praying for you.


I've been a long time reader of both Just Hungry and Just Bento, and thanks to you I've come across so many awesome recipes (and gotten into bento).

Best of luck to you--you'll be in my thoughts!

Get well soon

Dearest Maki,

Hope you will get well soon and best wishes to your family.

Your fan from Malaysia - Kee

Be well!

Just came across your work and I've already learned more than I could have hoped for, thank you for all your effort! I wish you a speedy recovery!

Wishing you a speedy recovery~

I am sorry to hear about your diagnosis but am glad to hear that you are doing well in spite of it.

I've been following Just Bento and Just Hungry for a couple of years and I love your stories and trying your recipes. I look forward to doing so for many many more years to come. ;)

Best Wishes!

I'm wishing the very best for you! Your posts on bento inspired me to make a bento at least once a week, and I'm hoping for a speedy and complete recovery for you!

Thank you for everything, Ms. Maki

You have given so much to the world with your blog already, you should not have to worry about how we feel about you. I visit your site about once a week and I also have your Just Bento book, which is indispensable.

Thanks for giving us, not just your skill and knowledge in Japanese cooking tradition, but your own Maki take on everything. It's why we're here and not somewhere else. So probably we won't get scared off by more of your own Maki perceptions.

From my point of view, I'd say go ahead and tell us about your experience of illness and (hopefully) complete recovery. At least, if it is not an undue strain for you. Thanks again.

Thank you...

...For letting us know what is going on with you so openly and candidly. Thank you, as well, for all the wonderful things you've posted on both JustBento and JustHungry.

Your sushi rice "recipe" has turned me into a sushi-making pro!

I also love how much information you put into your posts, including history, and alternate methods, and great extra tips for just about every recipe or technique that you post.

Hopefully you can ration your energy so that you can make some of your new ideas manifest - I will always look forward to something new from you!

Take good care!

Sending you good, healing thoughts and lots of love,

Best wishes for speedily beating this

My wife and I love your blog and have made many of your recipes; you've indeed influenced our culinary life!

Hope you feel better as soon as possible and can get back to enjoying the things you love most.


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