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:

Best wishes for a speedy

Best wishes for a speedy recovery. I'll continue to follow your blog and look forward to your doing it however you please!

Fighting Maki-san!!!

Fighting Maki-san!!!

you are so brave maki, speedy

you are so brave maki,
speedy recovery, love your blog give me so much enjoyment.
thoughts with you.

Dearest Maki, I have been a

Dearest Maki,

I have been a fan of just hungry, and then just bento, for years now. I have always enjoyed the posts that stray from Japanese cooking and bento. More of such posts would be welcome. Bring it on!

Warm wishes for a speedy recovery.

Best Wishes

I hope that all goes well for you in your treatment and recovery! May your life's journey be a long and fulfilling one.

Be Well

Sorry for your troubles. We're thinking healing thoughts for you here in Skokie, Illinois. Try to stay on the sunny side of the street while while you open up a can of whup a** on the crab.

Me too!

Honestly, there's nothing new for me to say so I'll just add in a big ditto. Love your blog, been reading you for years and hope to continue reading you for many, many, many years to come. :)

Sending you prayers and wishes of health


I just stumbled onto your other website when searching about bento boxes. I would like to extend my deepest sympathies for this b&*^$ of an issue that arose in your life. My mom, too, had cancer (breast) and even though she recovered, we understand that this must be a very stressful time for you. If it helps, Louise Hay did a book on how to deal with illnesses starting at the etheric level (I think there was definitely something to it). Also, may I suggest, as something (a hobby if you will) to take your mind off your current situation and make you feel less alone in the world. Is there something we may send you from US that would make you happy?

Lots of love.

Let me join the HORDES of

Let me join the HORDES of well-wishers. I don't imagine the next few weeks/months will be easy, but I'm glad your prognosis is good both in body and in spirit. :)


My thoughts are with you

I've enjoyed your writing and projects for quite a while and I hope you're feeling up to continuing very soon. Please know I'm asking the universe to send you positve, healing energy.

Adding my best wishes.

I admire your strength and resolve Maki. Please feel free to express yourself, you have me as a follower. I hope you will be as pain free as possible. Best wishes, mysofa

Keep it up, Maki

Keep it up, Maki

goodness, what a shock so

goodness, what a shock

so pleased to hear the prognosis is good

missing your posts !!

and YES to being more you !!

ganbatte !!!


Best of luck!

Wishing you the best of luck! I hope your treatment goes by quickly and uneventfully. Looking forward to reading your Bento posts for many many years to come!

Get well soon. Best wishes.

Get well soon. Best wishes.


Your entertaining and inspiring recipes and stories have been inspirational and informative. We'll be waiting patiently for your return.

Concentrate now on getting well. Your health is the most important thing and I encourage you to think of this recent challenge as an opportunity to grow and to lead an even healthier life for many, many years to come.

I think I can say that all of your fans and subscribers wish you well. Stay positive and be strong!


I am SO GLAD you caught it

I am SO GLAD you caught it early! I have fallen in love with your site and became so worried about you even though we don't know each other. My prayers are with you!


Your entertaining and inspiring recipes and stories have been inspirational and informative. We'll be waiting patiently for your return.

Concentrate now on getting well. Your health is the most important thing and I encourage you to think of this recent challenge as an opportunity to grow and to lead an even healthier life for many, many years to come.

I think I can say that all of your fans and subscribers wish you well. Stay positive and be strong!


I love to read everything you

I love to read everything you write, so please don't worry about straying off topic and so on! As well as an excellent cook you are also a very good writer, and you make things interesting to read no matter what they're about. Please get well soon and enjoy yourself doing whatever you want!

I hope you get through it

I hope you get through it all~

Best Wishes

I hope the French doctors treat you well, bad handwriting or not, and that you get better soon!

Here's a quick question to the other people who commented or read this:

Do you donate blood?

Maki said, she received 2 liters (~ half a gallon) of blood in the hospital. You cannot produce blood artificially, blood has to be donated. If you meet the requirements the Red Cross, or whatever other organisation, has for blood donors, please consider donating blood!

You Be You Girl!

Yes, beat the cancer--plenty of cancers are not fatal.

THANK YOU! for sharing about your blogs! ABSOLUTELY you will be far more successful by being real and honest. That fake nice crap burns out fast. We, the Maki-Hoard, shall be far more interested in following where you go than floundering in niceness. Advertisers who are successful and worth working with will follow in our wake.

I & my housemates are enjoying your cookbook. The weather is cooling down here, so my thoughts turn again to potato oyaki (both kinds) Carrot kinpara is an enduring standard in my houshold.

You Go, Girl!

I am new to your bento site, and just have to say that your attitude of "fuck that!" only makes me want to read more! I wish you a fast recovery and decades more of being You. (((hugs)))

best wishes, maki!

you are strong and you live a good life full of joy, you will get better!


Cheering for you!

Best wishes for a smooth recovery! Just Hungry and Just Bento have been very inspiring and helpful for me, as well as your book. がんばって下さい!

Lots of love

Wow Maki, that's quite hard.. but you have all the support from your readers all over the world; we all cheer and pray for your recovery, I am sure. Get better soon, please!

best wishes Maki!

best wishes Maki!

No need to censor

Please don't feel the need to censor your writing on your website. You may have advertisers, sure, but this is YOUR site. If we follow your site and enjoy your writing, enjoy your photographs, and we ask your opinion and you respond to us, then you can bet that we care about you enough, personally, to want to know your real-life shit too.
I also recommend Taking Charge of Your Fertility - it's hugely educational but not text-booky. What "they" know about our plumbing is amazing, and it's also amazing what we haven't learned about our plumbing! I guess it's tough to work into the public education system or whatever.
Hang tough, girl. Do whatever it is you need to do for You.

Thinking of You

Thoughts and prayers coming your way from Kentucky. Your writings have been so excellent to me personally. I am happy you got through your book tours before this! I will be thinking of you even more each time I prepare one of your recipes. Thanks for sharing your life.

Strength and Prayers!

Dear Maki! A few years back I had discovered both of your websites and have been on them, reading from them and cooking your recipes almost daily since then. Your articles are amazing! The insight it has given me into Japanese life has been very much appreciated. I have learned to eat with chopsticks at 5 years of age because I wanted to and out of my free will and growing up in Vienna/Austria this was considered by my parents as strange since they are both Austrian and not Japanese at all. I have always felt a deep connection with Japan and had a Japanese pen pal for many years. Maybe I was Japanese in a former life? Maybe =) So, finding your site has helped me cook Japanese around my house much more often and my daughter likes it too! Kid is happy, mom is happy! As far as posting: I am glad you want to take your so-to-speak "muzzle" off in the future and just write off your heart. I am pretty sure you will NOT loose any of your fans and most likely gain more. I just wanted to let you know you are in my thoughts and prayers. I wish you strength and God's speed for recovery. European healthcare is so much kinder and better for patients than US one. Just stay focused and know that we, your readers and fans, are out there thinking of you and wishing you well! All the best and many thanks again for your writing from Vista, California

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