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:

Get well soon!

You are so brave to write this post. I have been a fan for a long time, and I admire you even more now! My partner gave me the Just Bento cookbook as a surprise gift, and after trying some of the dishes, he is a fan of yours too now! We both with you all the best. Speedy recovery and, yes, be true to yourself when you write. That's what we love about you!

Hi Maki, I hope your

Hi Maki, I hope your treatment goes well, that your recovery is smooth, and that your future is as full and rich as your mother's has been. :)

Get well soon!

I've read both your JustBento and your JustHungry blog for ages and found it inspiring and so helpful with trying to cook healthy, Japanese food.
And just like so many others, while never having met you, you feel like a friend to me and I just want to send you lots of love and good wishes.
You will get well again, what with so many people sending you their love. :)
All the best,

Maki, I've been following you

Maki, I've been following you since high school and you seriously don't know how much you inspire me. Not just with your delicious recipes but also your style of writing and attitude. I wish you strength and a speedy recovery!! And I'm really glad you've decided to be more like yourself and not care about offending people - that's what we want to see. :)
My mother had found pre-cervical cancer tumors when I was 10 years old and she was completely terrified, though it was detected early. She had the tumors removed and even went on to have my little brother. While I know your situation is different, I am sure that you will have the same resilience as my mother.
I'll pray for you!!

I just read this piece, and

I just read this piece, and coincidentally, ordered your book from Amazon earlier today. I'm sorry you have to go through all of this, but excited about what's to come. You have a wonderful attitude and enjoyed hearing about your mother's as well. I'm wishing you all the best and look forward to anything you want want to say or do!

You are strong!!

Thanks for sharing this with the public. I love your blog! Please continue to share your condition with the public if you need more support! I hope you get well soon! You are amazing <3

Wishing you a speedy recovery!

Dear Maki,

I'm from Singapore and have been following just bento and just hungry for a few years now! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas with us, and for dedicating your efforts all this time to the websites. Your optimism and strength is incredibly inspiring, and I wish you a really speedy recovery so that you can pursue your wonderful and creative projects. Best wishes from Singapore! We're all supporting you (:


You and your family will be

You and your family will be in my thoughts tonight.


You have heard it a hundred times by now. But I am going to say it any way. Get better soon

Maki, Thank you for


Thank you for inspiring me and many of my friends/family with your recipes, fun facts and many other things. I wish you a quick recovery and know that you are in our hears and on our minds. Look forward to seeing/hearing about your new ventures!

Connecticut, USA

Sending positive and healthy thoughts and prayers!

We're all rooting for you! *HUGS*

Oh Maki, I was worried when I

Oh Maki, I was worried when I saw the Guy's post about you going into the hospital but I didn't think the C-word. I'm so sorry you're going through such a scare but I'm very relieved to know that your mom got through it and I'm sure you will too. My thoughts and prayers are with you both!

Wishing you Well.


Your blogs are some of my favorites, and I love your Just Bento cookbook.
I'm sad to hear about your condition, and I'm wishing you a swift recovery. I'm with everyone else here; we're here for you.

I am so sorry to hear your

I am so sorry to hear your news. I don't know, of course, how it will all turn out for you, but it seems from your and others' comments that your chances are good, and being such a feisty woman, as your article above so beautifully demonstrates, will be of great help too, I am sure.

All the very best, Maki. I will continue to read your food and other blogs and hope to read good news about your health over the coming months.

Well wishes...

Speedy recovery! I've been a fan of your food blogs forever and feel that you have introduced me to new flavors and foods that I might have been too timid to try on my own. Heck, after reading your blog I even got up the nerve to start shopping in Asian markets... not always sure what I'm buying, but I'm getting pretty good at guessing!

Get well soon!

Wish you a speedy recovery

Wish you a speedy recovery and continue to stay positive!

I'm so proud of you for

I'm so proud of you for posting the details around your situation. I have had "problems" with my reproductive situation for a few years, even during two children and have had a "partial" hysterectomy, as a result (I'm 35). Fortunately I have not had to experience the big "c" scare but I do appreciate women sharing their experiences, regardless, because it matters that we share. It's not the end of the world and I am feeling better as a result. Thank you again for being so brave. Thinking of you, xoxo. I wish you all the best.

Get well soon!

I hope you're recovery will be swift! We'll send healthy and good thoughts your way.

Just be you full tilt!

I've been reading your sites for just over a month and absolutely love them and your sense of humor. I had uncontrolled bleeding for a couple of months 7 years ago now. My mom had to have her hysterectomy at 29 so I felt pretty dang good passing her mark when I had mine at 30. I felt a lot better once I knew what my issue was and that there was an end of the crud in site. After the surgery, I realized just how louzy I'd actually felt. It was amazing to be back to my old fiesty self.

Feel better soon and just keep on keeping on. Be yourself, we all adore you, your sense of humor and the amazing comforting recipes that are now a part of my families lives. You're amazing!

Get Well!

I'm so sorry to hear your news, Maki! I have loved reading your blog, Just Hungry and Just Bento - you have been such an inspiration! It is YOUR blog - don't be afraid to be the real you! Take care!


Rarr! That's how I envision you right now, Maki. Bring it on! You're an inspiration to me, and to everyone who follows you. I look forward to your interesting and what promises to be juicy posts! :)

On aside, I think doctors have a secret calligraphy or handwriting class during their studies. Only other doctors, and sometimes pharmacists, can read their scribbles!


Good luck Maki!! It's so hard to know whether or not just feeling down is just that, or something else. At least it was caught early.

Hope you have a speedy recovery!

More good wishes!

Hi Maki! I'm a first-time commenter but I've been reading back-logs on your bento blog for a little while now. I just started my bento-making adventures, and I even bought your book so I could have your guidance and recipes with me while I was offline in the kitchen!

I just wanted to let you know that I look forward to reading about your recovery, and I'm certain you're going to continue to inspire my bento journey for a long time. And you're going to do it however the fuck you want! lol :P

Get well soon!


Aloha and get well!

Good health is THE most important thing. Take care of YOU!

Get well soon!

Keeping you in our thoughts and prayer. Get well soon!


A truly brave and inspirational post.


Get well soon! Himne!!

I hope that you recover fast enough to start writing about the wonderful things about bento. :) I admire your strength and optimism and I'm sure you can make it through!

Good luck!

I've been following your blogs for a few years now. It's good to hear the cancer has a very good recovery rate. I wish you a speedy recovery!

Quiet but loyal fan

I've been a silent but ardent and loyal fan of your sites for some time. Your sense of humor, warm writing style and wonderful recipes are a part of my family's life. My husband is Japanese and I lived in Japan for 13 years but we have a number of English friends so your American/Japanese/European food sensibility suits our tastes.
My kids love your site too. When something shitty happens to them (they're teenagers), my daughters ask me to make your cream puffs. On cold winter nights we make your Shepherd's Pie or nikomi hambagaa or corn miso soup.
I know you're going to be just fine. We're thinking of you and sending healing vibrations from D.C. Love your "fuck it" attitude with regards to being NICE. It's your site, do what you want. We'll be reading and rooting for you.

Good luck

My stepmother had endometrial cancer; like you she had bleeding and didn't go to the doctor for far too long. Two years in her case, AND she was in her late 60s so had no reason to be bleeding at all. Silly woman. Whatever, after a hysterectomy and a bit of radiation therapy she was back to her usual self, and died nearly 20 years later from Alzheimer's.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you, and YES enough with being PC and nicey nicey. Be outrageous.

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