Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Today I started a 3-week course of brachytherapy. Unlike the 6-week course of external beam radiation therapy that ended on Friday, which definitely made me feel pretty horrible, brachytherapy is not supposed to cause any adverse side effects. We shall see.

I know that many of you want me to get back the regular programming of recipes, food fun and Japanese things, but I thought I’d take this opportunity to describe the treatments I’ve been getting, and how they’ve affected me. I see a lot of information about what breast cancer treatment involves, but very little about Other Lady Parts cancer, which is what I have. So, if you are squeamish or not interested, you may want to skip the rest of this page.

……

I have what is called endometrial cancer, or cancer of the uterus. It’s at stage IIIB - my cancer had spread a bit past my uterus down to my cervix and vagina. I do want to emphasize that this type of cancer is supposed to be very treatable, and most patients that are diagnosed early enough as I was survive and lead healthy lives afterwards.

My treatment has been in three stages. The first stage was a full hysterectomy - the surgeons took out my uterus and cervix. A long incision was made in my lower abdomen to perform this surgery, and months later I still have a small opening there (about 5 cm / 2.5 inches long) that is leaking strange body fluids, itches, and prevents me from putting any strain on my belly. The side effect of this is that my back hurts pretty much constantly, especially when I’m standing. (Walking is a bit better.)

The second stage was a six week course (5 days a week) of external beam radiation therapy, where a beam of strong radiation was aimed at what remains of my lower lady parts. This stage made me pretty sick, as I described previously.

And now I’m in the final stage, brachytherapy. Once a week for 3 weeks, I’ll go to the radiology center where the oncologist puts a stick that’s about the size and length of a corn dog into me, leaves the room, and lets the stick thing zap me from the inside with radioactive waves for eight minutes. It doesn’t hurt, it’s just a bit uncomfortable and you know, slightly embarassing in the way a gynecological exam is.

I’m still feeling some of the after effects of the radiation therapy like diarrhea and fatigue, but I do think it’s getting slowly better. I no longer feel nauseous. I’m still very moody though. I tend to go from one extreme:

Cranky as hell

maki-cranky.png

to the other:

Pathetic

maki-mijime.png

I try to distract myself as much as possible with things like music, podcasts, audiobooks and marathon sessions of past and present seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race. It’s a bit hard to do much reading, because my eyes are really tired much of the time, and for some reason I don’t have enough patience to make it through a full 2-hour movie - I either get a headache or fall asleep. Oh yes, and I make little doodles like the ones you see here.

Some other annoying side effects: small itchy welts appearing all over my body (though they disappear quickly), a couple of larger and painful blisters, and developing hemorrhoids because of the constant diarrhea.

maki-itchy.png

And, there’s no other way to say it but -

makisketchy-downthere.png

My recent tests have been good though, so everyone is optimistic about me making a full recovery (or as full as one can get - I’ll have to watch out for a relapse in some years). If you take anything away from this though: ladies, please get regular tests, especially if cancer runs in your family. I had neglected to do so, until it was almost too late. (As I’ve said on these pages before, my mother got cervical cancer when she was the same age that I was last year.) Cancer really sucks, no way around it. Bah, cancer. Bah.

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Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Maki, thank you for having the courage to write about this part of your life in such a public way. I know it will be helpful for others who may search for this topic, and I just want to tell you that I think it's really admirable and strong of you to be so candid. I'm hoping the best for you. <3

Kate | 18 April, 2012 - 21:23

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Dear Maki,
I just discovered "just hungry" yesterday and I am already your complete fan.

My heart goes out to you. I want to wish you strength getting through the mijime times. I admire your courage for sharing your experiences about your endometrial cancer trials and tribulations. I went through the cancer "adventure" about 13 years ago (the more common "lady part" type) and I'm rooting for you!

I teach Japanese culture and I'm researching ryôri manga... I look forward to exploring your blog in more detail and corresponding with you some day, when you're feeling better.

がんばってください!

lorie | 11 May, 2012 - 18:53

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

I'm very sorry to hear that the treatment is going rough on you. I hope your body starts to behave and feel better. Your drawings are all very poignant and the way you describe what you're going through is very concise. Have you considered maybe doing a 6-15 age childrens book explaining cancer and treatment? It's got to be tough on parents trying to explain to their kids, but you make it very understandable, especially with the sketches.

anon. | 18 April, 2012 - 21:28

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Thank your for sharing your journey with us. I hope this next treatment goes smoothly. Wishing you all the best.

anon. | 18 April, 2012 - 21:37

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Hugs
You are so brave to share this. Respect.
x

miriam | 18 April, 2012 - 21:47

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

I'm one of those silent readers who don't want to stay silent anymore. Maki, I wish you all the strength to go through this ordeal. You have lots of support from people like me, people whom you have never met but who care a lot for you.
HUGS!!

ChatNoir | 18 April, 2012 - 21:51

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Maki-san,

I'm so sorry that you are going through this right now. I like that you are telling us your story of what you are going through because it gives us a clear understanding of what it's like. I hope that your pain gets better and that you'll get to enjoy all the things that you did before (and hopefully are hopefully enjoying some of those things now too).

~emi

emi love | 18 April, 2012 - 21:59

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Thank you for sharing. I'm new to Just Hungry & Just Bento. I appreciate all that you share. I'll be praying for you.

Brandi | 18 April, 2012 - 22:06

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Oh, Maki. I admire how you are handling this experience with so much grace and honesty. I am so sorry that you have to go through all of this. Your bravery is inspiring, and you are in my thoughts. I've never posted before, but I have followed your blog for years and feel compelled to send my good wishes to you. Keep getting stronger. ♥

Monique | 18 April, 2012 - 22:47

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Please don't stress too much over getting back to the blogging on OUR account (although I can imagine how annoying that additional frustration must be for you). We will all be here waiting patiently until you feel up to it!

Meanwhile sending love and happy thoughts your way!

MsKat | 18 April, 2012 - 23:20

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Quote:

I know that many of you want me to get back the regular programming of recipes, food fun and Japanese things

Now, I think what we all want the most is that you feel well and more happy again, everything else can wait. Take care of yourself and I am so happy it seems to go a tiny better, a tiny, is still a tiny...

Soon, I will write my comment in french... just for your practice :-)

Ptinutz | 19 April, 2012 - 03:27

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

I'm glad to hear that you're nearing the end of the treatments and also glad to hear that it is so treatable. You have been a trooper through all this. Sending good thoughts for a return to health and wellness!

Kalyn | 19 April, 2012 - 01:40

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Yay, you're almost done with the treatments! I'm glad that you're starting to feel better and that the nausea has disappeared.

Thank you for your posts about cancer. They haven't made me squeamish at all; if anything, I am inspired by your courage, vulnerability and honesty.

*hug*
*hug*
*hug*

rokorox | 19 April, 2012 - 03:01

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Dear Maki,Please Stay STRONG Stay POSITIVE Love Nancy

nancycarreiro | 19 April, 2012 - 03:53

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

I'm sorry to hear that you are going through all this, but I'm glad you are getting good treatment and that treatment is nearing the end.

In October 2011, I was diagnosed with Stage 1A Endometrial Cancer. Thankfully, they caught it as early as possible, but I got lucky, because I'd been ignoring problems for years. I had a full hysterectomy within 4 weeks and was fortunate to have no sign of cancer in the lymph nodes around the area. Because of that, I was able to avoid the treatments you are now going through. I'm on a 5-year follow up plan still (check-up every 3 months for 3 years, then every 6 months for 2 years) before they'll call me cancer free.

It's scary $#!+ to be told you have cancer, and scary to know you'll be looking over your shoulder for the rest of your life.

While I'm not having to deal with the follow up treatment you are, please know I'm thinking about you, and am sending good karma and prayers your way. Please stay strong, because I firmly believe that if our minds keeps fighting, our bodies will keep fighting, and I know you'll be okay!

Angela | 19 April, 2012 - 04:57

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

I love your columns on Japanese food, they have been so helpful, like a friend sharing information. Your help has been like a friend to me through learning about food, Japanese culture and your post-311 earthquake information.
The most important thing is you, your health and getting better. Friends are here to listen to you and give you support now that you need it. You are a very special person.

Ann Mehrman | 19 April, 2012 - 05:19
Melanie | 19 April, 2012 - 05:36

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Although I am sorry you are ill, it gives me a chance to review a lot of your older entries. Hopefully you will gain a renewed sense of energy once your treatments are completed! GANBATTE!!! I am a surgical nurse and see many patients come in with stage 4 cancer where nothing can be done. I'm glad you caught yours earlier.

anon. | 19 April, 2012 - 06:13

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

maki-- thank you for letting your readers know what is happening in your life-- I had surgery and was treated for prostate surgery in 2008-- the diagnosis changes everything, of course. Your sense of humor, intelligence, and strength show through in everything you write. Those of us who follow your work send you are love and blessings and hope for the very best for you in the days and years ahead. good luck, James

james | 19 April, 2012 - 06:30

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Aloha Maki:
I am a regular reader but a quiet one at that. Love your blog! So sorry to read you are going through this. I hope and pray for your full and speedy recovery.
God bless,

Esther | 19 April, 2012 - 06:39

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Maki - thank you so much for sharing your journey with cancer with us - you are being very brave and strong, and by sharing your story we can all learn some of your inner strength. My family & I suffer from severe neurological Lyme Disease & for many years when people asked how we were going I would answer "good", even when things were horrible, probably just to avoid the awkward conversation. Last year I started a blog, so that my family & friends could know what we were going through, plus I didn't have to have the same difficult conversation over and over - so your blogging and sharing has inspired me to be more honest with my family & friends (it is sooo freeing, thank you!). Please take care - don't start blogging about food until it is right for you - I LOVE what you write, but I'd rather wait until you were well & sharing your infectious enthusiasm again. Take Care - www.lymedownunder.tumblr.com

Nikki | 19 April, 2012 - 06:49

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

I am so sorry you have to go through this! Thank you for sharing your story - your strength is inspiring. All our best - V

Valerie | 19 April, 2012 - 07:43

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Dear Maki,
I have recently discovered your site while searching for bento recipes in a bid for healthier lifestyle.

I'm sorry to hear about what you have gone through and are going through. Friends who have had cancer (other types though) told me TCM actually helps reduce the side effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy for them. Maybe you can give it a try if you can find a reliable TCM in France?

I wish you a speedy recovery!

YM | 19 April, 2012 - 08:00

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

I really hope you will recover very soon. Thanks for sharing what you are going through.
I wanted to tell you that I was in Kyoto last week and, thanks to you, I found the tiny little needle shop on Sanjo dori.
Regards.

Francoise | 19 April, 2012 - 08:20

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Dear Maki,

I came across your website when i was looking for Japanese curry recipe, about two weeks ago. Sorry to hear that you have diagnosed with cancer and going through the treatment now. Although you are fighting with the cancer now, nevertheless, you still reply to me THANK YOU. Both of my sisters have cancer too, i know the side effects and emotional you are going through now, be optimistic, keeps fighting and stay strong. I want to wish you good health and be happy :-)

Sha | 19 April, 2012 - 09:40

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Dear Maki, I 'm very sorry that you have to go through this torment. First of all, I wish you a speedy recovery! Thank you for sharing your impressions with the world. It takes courage I deem, but the accounts in your sketch diary show that you have plenty of it! Stay strong, you're almost there!

Alice A. | 19 April, 2012 - 11:09

a letter of support |˙❤☼‿☼❤˙|

hi there, i am a chemistry student from moscow and i've been reading your blog since 2006 and it has been a really big inspiration to me, i really like the photos you are making and the things you write about your travels and the food. Seeing a new post from your blog appearing in my feed has always brought me so much happiness during these years, and watching you going through hard times right now , i just wanted to thank you for all your work and to wish the best luck and happiness and courage to you! please get well!

Anna | 19 April, 2012 - 11:33

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

This stuff is actually really interesting. Your writing and drawing is so vivid and just plain good, that it's a pleasure to read (tempered by sadness that you're having to go through this stuff). These articles are dispatches from new territory that some of us might have to travel one day.

Thanks for writing about this subject.

Nellig | 19 April, 2012 - 12:09

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Hi .......
I had no knowledge of such a thing ...
be well! don't be discouraged!
if you need to talk to someone else .... I'll be here!
It's really true!!! i'll be here!
just send me an email and I will answer ....
I wish you improved very, very fast!
God bless you and well!

kisses,

Camila

Camila | 19 April, 2012 - 13:28

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Maki,
Thank you for sharing your experience with us. We all wish you a full and speedy recovery. You are very courageous! Hugs!

-Ken

Ken | 19 April, 2012 - 14:25

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

I have been a fan of yours for many years. I feel like I know you. It's so sad what you are going through and it is good that you are sharing it with us. We can learn and admire you even more. I love your sketches and yes, you really should consider publishing them in a children's book. I wish you the very best and keep posting and keep positive.

Livia Gaffield | 19 April, 2012 - 14:28

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

I'm glad you're sharing. I believe being able to express how you feel and talking about it helps with the treatment and healing process.

Lee G | 19 April, 2012 - 14:39

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Hi Maki!

I've followed your blog for years and years and never said a word...so im writing to say that I'm thinking of you and will be sending you lots of love and hope!

P.S. From a female perspective, just want to say thanks for making me (and possibly some other readers) aware of endometrial cancer. We all know about breast cancer and skin cancer but it's important for us to be aware of these other types as well and to get checked!

Stay strong x

Tan

Tan | 19 April, 2012 - 15:01

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Ouch! I hope this will be over soon and you can recover quickly.

Itchy welts..... I might be able to help here. Of course clear all advice with your doctor. Long story short, I had some pretty weird combination of factors, including at least two allergic reactions, that ended up with me having head to toe hives for six long months. I itched everywhere, constantly. They say "don't scratch" but that's impossible. I scratched subconsciously, even in my sleep. I became very familiar with itch remedies. A few things helped.

* Cold showers or baths. Hot showers made the problem worse, but a cold shower at night numbed my skin at least long enough for me to fall asleep. Oatmeal baths were also soothing, but lukewarm at most.

* By the same logic, Gold Bond cream with menthol. But, ah, don't use it anywhere near those lady parts. Some places are not meant to have a "cooling, numbing sensation", as I found out to my horror.

* Those two only addressed symptoms. The best treatment was steroids. I ended up with three rounds of prednisone, but I'm sure you don't want to go there what with all your other problems. Over the counter hydrocortisone cream (1% or 2.5% if you can get it) was beneficial and soothing.

* Anti-histamines. Benadryl worked best and made me sleepy, which was good because otherwise my itching kept me up all night. Zyrtec let me function during the day. When we finally narrowed down that the problem was due to allergic reactions, I was given a prescription for Xyzal, which was best of all. But since this isn't an allergy, I don't know if it would work for you.

The Elf | 19 April, 2012 - 15:18

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Hello. I've been a fan of Just Hungry for a while now, though I've never commented (sorry about that!).
Even though we don't know each other I feel that you are an incredibly brave and strong person and I'm wishing you the best.
I don't mind not having the recipies and food entries for a while, the fact that you've let us into something so personal as your fight against cancer is enough.
Hugs,
Anais

Anais | 19 April, 2012 - 15:57

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

please do not hurry about posting your Bentos.. getting back into action. we all want you to do that but only when you feel well and good enough. for now please know that you are in the thoughts of many. it's not squeamish at all.. I only see honesty and courage . praying for you

Shirley | 19 April, 2012 - 16:19

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

I'm really not brave or anything. I'm using my blog (and twitter, etc) to WAAAAAAH WHIIIIINE after all ^_^; In any case I thank you all for your lovely words of encouragement ^_^

maki | 19 April, 2012 - 16:26

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

1st, everything everyone else has said: thank you for sharing your experience, your bravery, your suffering. 2nd, don't you worry about food blogging until it makes you happy to do it! We'll wait patiently. 3rd, I had put off the "annual" test of the ladyparts for... oh, maybe 6 years ~it's a drag, it's inconvenient, blah blah blah. I've had it now (all clear). Thank you for the kick in the hoohoo to take care of myself. God bless you and all your parts.

MollySue | 19 April, 2012 - 17:37

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

From another former lurker: don't worry about getting back into the swing of things right now. Yes, we love your food posts but we can wait until you get better, no matter how long it takes. We are also worried about you and rooting for you. And we don't care if you whine. You are going through an incredibly tough experience physically and emotionally and we are here to support you! I am praying for you as well.

anon. | 19 April, 2012 - 19:09

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

I know everyone just wants you to get better, don't worry about getting back to the food stuff right now.
Thank you for sharing you experience with us, I wish I could help you through your pain & suffering. The only thing I can do is recommend that you hit up YouTube for some comedy to make you feel a little bit better, I'll recommend one of my Favorite comedians Billy Connolly, check out the one on his colonoscopy experience.

I hope you feel better & that this all ends for you soon.
Your in my thoughts & heart.

Michelle ^_^

BlueFurFreak | 19 April, 2012 - 20:44

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

My dear Maki, please do not worry that your audience will become impatient and go away because you can't update the food info as often as you have in the past. I think a lot of lurkers like myself were distressed to see that you are worrying about that. I was just checking to see how you are and was delighted with your straightforward and honest post and news of your good progress.
I'd like to second the book idea, although I would suggest aiming it at us adults. I'm 64 and an avid reader, but when I'm unwell I don't necessarily want to read a tome. Your drawings are wonderfully expressive. I am looking forward to a drawing of a smiling Maki enjoying the beams of a Provencal sun and the satisfaction of good health. Meanwhile,feel free to grouse like crazy when the mood hits and you have the energy.

Margot | 19 April, 2012 - 20:46

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

dearest maki, i am so sorry that you're in such pain and discomfort. i am glad you are sharing what you're going through. i think your sketches are great and i do send you lots of hugs and support. i love reading your food blogs but thanks for sharing your personal experience with us about dealing with cancer. i hope you get better super quick! again you should know that you have a ton of people rooting for your complete wellness to emerge soon! hugs and all the best! angela

angela | 19 April, 2012 - 20:51

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

I think you should take all of your drawings from this stage in your life and make a little book. It would be a great comfort to others going through the process who don't have anyone to share with and feel alone.

Glad you are making progress. Praying for a full recovery for you.

chppie | 19 April, 2012 - 21:30

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Dear Maki,

Thanks for sharing what you are going through with us. I admire your strength and courage. Stay strong and positive. I send you my warmest wishes and prayers for a full recovery very soon!!!!

xo, Lisa

Lisa S. | 20 April, 2012 - 01:07

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Hi Maki, I've read many of your blog posts and articles and loved many recipes. I'm also one of your many many lurkers (oops) and I'm sorry it has to take a post like this for me to make my presence known. I feel so bad for you that you are going through this tough phase of your life but I just wanted to let you know that yet another person is encouraging you and wishing for the best for you. Fight on and I hope everything turns out well for you.

Jessmin | 20 April, 2012 - 01:15

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

We seriously just want you to get better. Food and Japanese
things can wait.

Thank you for actually writing how it's REALLY affecting you instead of some white washed version. *hugs*

Moontaj | 20 April, 2012 - 02:29

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Hugs and more hugs....but very gentle ones. Here are some kisses, too, to place where you need. xxxxxx

Sending healing vibes to you.

Pattie | 20 April, 2012 - 03:45

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Maki, you are an inspiration. Through the years I have so enjoyed your wry humour no less than your delectable recipes and now I admire your selfless candour. My wife has had a somewhat similar experience and not only did she come through but it was a positive transforming experience for us both. All my and her best hopes and expectations are with you.

Jay in Canada | 20 April, 2012 - 04:03

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Maki, I have followed your travails from the beginning and am blown away by your courage. Continue to gain strength and health!
I will keep you in my thoughts,
britta

anon. | 20 April, 2012 - 06:51

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

I chanced upon your blog when looking for Hoikkaido Chiffon Cupcake receipe. I also had endometrial cancer, It was stage IB. I did a full hysterectomy last year August. Praise God no further treatment needed. Though I did not go through what you have done, my heart felt for you. Be strong and of good courage, fight the battle and the victory is yours. I am praying for God's protection to be with you. May He strengthen you each day. Exercise and eat nutritional food to increase your immuned system.

siewteeong | 20 April, 2012 - 06:57

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Maki you're so amazing. Congrats on getting to the final stage of the treatment and I hope the effects start to go away soon and you can begin to feel better and not so much pain anymore.

reese | 20 April, 2012 - 15:21

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

So sorry to read all of what you've been going through Maki! I hope the recovery is much quicker than all the treatments have been. I've only found your blog recently and love reading it because you do write so beautifully and engagingly no matter what the topic. You are inspiring me to try doing a bit of Japanese cooking myself, which I never did whilst actually living for 10months in Japan but that was because I didn't have a usable kitchen in the slum-like dorms I was living in. Wishing you a speedy recovery with minimal pain and discomfort!

Indi | 20 April, 2012 - 15:25

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Hi Maki, I don't often write comments but I love reading your blog and just wanted to send you a bit more support! Like others have said, please don't worry one bit about putting up food writing or recipes on our account ... just please take care of yourself and heal as quickly as possible! I am glad to hear that your therapies are proceeding well and hope that you will get over the radiation and enjoy food again soon. A big hug from Germany xx

Yael | 20 April, 2012 - 17:42

I sincerely hope you get

I sincerely hope you get better, the food posts can wait. I'm sure everyone is just wishing you to get better! ^^

Laeti | 21 April, 2012 - 00:19

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Dear Maki,

I am so sorry to hear of your health troubles. I've always enjoyed reading your blog. Please know that your writing (about food, Japan, your family, and everything else) has touched many people all over the world, and that we are thinking of you.

All the best for a speedy recovery.

Monica | 21 April, 2012 - 00:37

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Dear Maki,

Just wanted to say thank you for this blog and the recipes, and I wish you all the best in your recovery. Please take good care of yourself and be strong. Your sketches are incredibly good and communicate so much about a delicate subject.

Darlene | 21 April, 2012 - 01:55

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Hi Maki, it seems like every time I'm searching for something, your sites give me the information I want. Thank you for all your hard work. I hope you feel better soon. My mother who has cancer takes ocean grass (seaweed) and I heard about some type of chinese mushrooms that are good for side effects. Take care.

anon. | 21 April, 2012 - 02:14
anon. | 21 April, 2012 - 06:08

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

This is so personal. I'm really glad you shared it. You have been through a lot and I wish you better days and a full recovery.

anna | 21 April, 2012 - 11:39

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Maki - so sorry you have to go through this. your blog helped me through such a lonely time in my life and i'll be forever grateful. living as an expat in rural Japan, i used your recipes to navigate the local supermarket and it was this which really kickstarted my love affair with japanese food and culture. i just came back onto your blog today, looking for that awesome cold soba recipe, and instead found this entry, your beautiful, expressive, heart-tugging sketches, and these honest, open words. i wish you the very, very best. Cx

chai girl | 21 April, 2012 - 15:01

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Dear Maki,
I've been your reader for almost three years and both your sites and your book have been a great source of inspiration for me. Knowing what you're going through, it would be unthinkable of any of us to demand updates when you need to just rest and heal. I'm glad you shared your personal experience with us. Stay strong and get well, your readers aren't going anywhere :)

Love from Prague
Petra

Petra | 22 April, 2012 - 17:46

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Dear Maki,

It takes a very courageous person to share something so personal with the world. My heart goes out to you, and I hope you stay strong and get better. I think we'll all do just fine without the recipes for a little while. The most important part is you getting better. <3

anon | 23 April, 2012 - 16:35

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Waugh, I haven't been to your site in a while now (shame on me, I know)!! I'm praying for your full recovery and I'm so glad the Dr's found it and you are being treated for it now. Cancer sucks, kick it in the ~@#$!! *hug hug* Stay well and take care of yourself first and foremost. Let me know if there's anything I can do (altho I know that's a really weird thing to take a random person up on).

Kim | 23 April, 2012 - 21:20

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Dear Maki!

I've been a fan of your blog for a while, but so far, I've been silent...now I have to speak up and wish you a full recovery!

You are very brave to share all this with us...I was very sad to hear about your illness, but happy to know that your tests have been good. Don't worry about the food posts, just concentrate on getting better :)

A big hug from Estonia
Triinu

Triinu | 24 April, 2012 - 15:12

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

I hope you are doing well (^_^) Blah cancer indeed..I can Only imagine what you're dealing with. Sendingbest wishes, prayers & a speedy recovery ~vibes~ you way! (~_^)

Kika | 24 April, 2012 - 18:01

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Dear Maki-san,

I am another long time follower who doesn't comment much--just think of how many people out in the world are wishing you well without you even knowing it!

I am sorry you have been having such a difficult time, and I hope you can see the light at the end of the tunnel as you near the end of your treatment period.

You have been a great inspiration for me in my cooking life, and your recipes are such a comfort when I am feeling homesick for the foods I had regularly while living in Japan. Over the years of following your blogs, though, you have also become an inspiration in many other ways--your more personal posts about your mother and family cooking traditions are very moving, and these posts about your cancer and dealing with your treatment are refreshingly earnest and heartening. Thank you for sharing these personal reflections with us. I'm so glad that I am not left wondering where and how you are. Don't feel like you need to hurry back to us before you are ready--we know your recipes are worth waiting for! (And the archives are a treasure.)

I wanted to make sure you know that there are a lot of us shy readers out here who care about you and who are cheering on your recovery. Thanks for all you do! Odaijini!

Erin

Erin in Minnesota | 24 April, 2012 - 20:17

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Thanks for sharing your struggle. I can't imagine the complex of feelings you are dealing with.

I wanted to toss out a thought about the incision site: I had a hysterectomy back in Dec. 08 (not cancer - 1 giant fibroid and adenomyosis) and in April, by incision still wasn't healed (red, itchy, leaky). I was allergic to the stitch material and had encysted it. You might want to check specifically with your doctor or surgeon about the incision and why it's not quite right.

After they pulled the (non-dissolving) stitches, I healed up in about 10 days.

Best thoughts to you.

Emmy | 25 April, 2012 - 14:01

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer,

Hi Maki,
Tears in my heart, when I read your blog!
By chance I was homesick for Kyoto and I remember your blog, as I was looking for something new(recipes) I came across Cancer. I am truly sorry that you had it but I am sure you will recover.

I will light a candle and say a prayer for a speedy recovery and hope you are back in full spirits.
We may not know each other but we do have a few things in common. I also traveled the world and lives in a few places for years.
Kyoto was a place that I lived and fell in love. I have lots of memories, close friends, lovely Japanese culture in my heart and of course the food.

I just want to thank you for sharing your memories of time and recipes.

Eat well and rest. You are very lucky to have a great supporting family by your side. I only read good things about them.

Take care and rest, you are in our prayers and heart.

Ciao bella

bellagatta | 28 April, 2012 - 02:59

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

I wish blogs could be awarded Pulitzer Prizes. Yours, and especially your recent entries, deserve it.

anon. | 28 April, 2012 - 04:59

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

As always, you convey your experience with honesty and grace. Wishing you continued strength and courage.

5oclockteaspoon | 28 April, 2012 - 21:38

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Hi Maki

Hope you'll feel better soon.

This post inspired me to make an appointment to get pap smear done.

I have been delaying it for almost 3 yrs because I find the whole process so embarrassing.

Thank you for telling us how it's really like.

Clara | 29 April, 2012 - 10:00

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

I honour you for sharing your experiences with cancer. You're right - we have so much awareness, understanding and commercialism (ick) with breast cancer, but other lady parts cancers are still shrouded in fear and mystery.

I am thankful that your radiation treatments are over, and I am so proud of your bravery and courage in reminding women to take control of their health.

I am very lucky in Canada to have access to free screening for cervical cancers, and how my doctor will assess my overall lady part health while I'm there.

Lizzie | 30 April, 2012 - 18:57

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

your post moved me to finally comment, after having silently enjoyed your blog for many years. you're a lady of great grace and strength..thank you for sharing so many aspects of your world with us and broadening our horizons..the best is yet to come! with love from philly

anon. | 1 May, 2012 - 18:00

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Maki-san, thanks for sharing. I admire your courage & perseverance, even when it was testing & tough.

I had just recently stumbled upon your JustBento blog and was learning a lot of packed lunch from it. At first I was eating leftovers or preserved food. Now, I'm waking up earlier to prepare it fresh, because I learnt how to freeze sushi rice & create a mise-en-place, amongst many other things ... Now, JustBento & JustHungry is my staple read while eating my bento at work during lunch. I just want to express my thanks, for the guidance that you have shared through your entries. And yes, sketching/drawings is indeed cathartic/therapeutic, in a way. I sketch & share them on my blog too.

I just want to let you know that I'll keep you in prayers. I know you're a survivor because of that feisty spirit in your writings! So hang it there ... Gambatene!!!

Pegs | 2 May, 2012 - 07:27

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Hi,
I just wanted to let you know that there's hope of feeling 99.9% normal when all these is over. I was diagnosed adenocarcinoma in my cervix last April. I had a radical hysterectomy last June 2011 which hurt like crazy I couldn't walk for a week. I too had external radiation treatment for 5 weeks which ended on aug 26th 2011. Today I feel totally normal and is working full time again....I am obsessed about food and enjoy cooking and eating again. All those side effects you have will completely go away, at least in my case it all went away by last November, 2 months after the last radiation treatment.
Hang in there and in 3 or 4 months I'm sure you'll be back to blogging about food again!

Ts | 3 May, 2012 - 05:50

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

You are very brave! Gambatene!!!! Wish you speedy recovery!!! Take care!!!!

anon. | 3 May, 2012 - 09:02

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

I have silently enjoyed both JustHungry and JustBento for several years, but I could not read this without sending you my best wishes. You have been an inspiration to me with your cooking and now your strength. Love from Albuquerque.

anon. | 3 May, 2012 - 17:14

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Dear Maki ~ oh dear! I'm here courtesy of google ... reading about chazuke. I had some at a Honolulu restaurant recently, recommended by the waitress when I told her I was tired and not well. It was perfect (with furukake sprinkled on top). From there ... I clicked the link to your brachytherapy. Several years ago, my husband had brachytherapy (prostate cancer). The therapy went well, but it was extremely fatiguing (much more so than the radiology oncologist had told him to exprect). On my side ~ chemotherapy (no radiation) for breast cancer. I was extremely fatigued during the therapy (much more so than the oncologist had told me to expect). Several years later:
1) we are both still alive, free of cancer, and happy to have more life to live.
2) nevertheless, the fatigue is still a factor for both of us ... we go to bed earlier at night, sleep in later in the morning, take a nap when we need to. We don't cram too much activity into one day.

It is really hard having cancer treatment. Do it anyway! Be here for the future!

Love and aloha from Hawaii,
Lorna

Lorna | 4 May, 2012 - 04:27

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Maki, I just stumbled across your excellent website while looking for a way to make Kale less bitter. I like what I see. We've had some healing problems in our family and something that's helped is a solution called Asea. It helped my wife a lot. My thoughts to out to you for a full healing of the imbalances in your body.

Tom Larsen | 6 May, 2012 - 22:59

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Your archives are a tremendous help, so don't worry about us sorta newbies. I have been poring over your archives for the last few days, and just now getting to this. I had made your salmon Furikake... stuff earlier.

You are awesome, and many positive thoughts are being sent your way.

Melanie | 7 May, 2012 - 02:51

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Thank you for sharing your story with us. You are very courageous.

Desiree Wilson | 9 May, 2012 - 02:42

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Ouch. I'm sorry that you're sick. I have friend who's just recently diagnosed with a cancer down there (she doesn't know exactly what yet as she's getting tests done). I hope your treatment will be better, and pray for a speedy recovery.

anon-in-ny | 15 May, 2012 - 19:30

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

hi, I have been following you - since it was just 'just bento'. I love your blog . I have not looked at your blog for awhile and I am surprise and sorry to hear that you are NOT well. I am sending you a vitural hug ! I hope that you get better soon ! FYI, I was diagnosed with IV cancer down there a few years ago, but then another doctor ruled it out... I am at severe high risk. I just had my annual test yesterday.I am soo sorry that you are in pain, but it will get better !! Hang in there ! :)

K | 17 May, 2012 - 22:05

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Maki,

I am so sorry to hear you've been ill. After reading so much about your life and your moves, I feel like I know you.

I have been using your website since the summer before last to feed my family. When I made your okonomiyaki and kara-age, my husband said it tasted like his moms!!

Take care,
Allison in Idaho

Allison in Idaho | 19 May, 2012 - 06:17

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

I haven't checked your site in a while and was surprised to see you aren't well. Thank you for sharing your story, best wishes towards a speedy recovery.

b | 20 May, 2012 - 03:24

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Thank you so much for sharing your journey through this horrid disease. Sending you positive happy thoughts for a full recovery - with less ouches and itches!

anon. | 23 May, 2012 - 18:56

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

awwww maki, your simple drawings are cute, but they also made me cry..T-T

i do admire you for being strong while going through all the treatments; keep the faith and i know you’ll be alright in the end! :D

-much love from a grad student in japan!

anon. | 31 May, 2012 - 17:57

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Just recently discovered your bento blog.
I wish you all the strength & more that you need to get yourself through.

Sending you love & big hugs

Bruce

Bruce | 3 June, 2012 - 11:46

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Hello Maki!

First, I have to say that I love your blog. You've inspired and motivated me to bring my own bentos to work more often, even if it's just a sandwich I've made myself. I sometimes try, usually unsuccessfully because I'm so bad at cooking, to make your recipes, but I won't give up!
Second, I had no idea you were going through all of this. Having the courage to keep blogging and to share your experience is truly amazing.
Sending you many positive thoughts and wishes - impatiently waiting for you to be 100% well again!

Much love,
Nessa

Nessa | 5 June, 2012 - 23:28

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Hi Maki, As many have said here, I love this blog and your Just Bento blog. I was recently searching for the URL of your ume-pickled radishes recipe, to link to it from a recent post I did about it on my etegami blog, and was saddened to read that you are sick. I'll be thinking good thoughts for you. I only wish I hadn't sent my radishes etegami to someone else -- I would have sent it to you since your recipe inspired me!
Best wishes, Alison

Alison | 8 June, 2012 - 01:01

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

I just happened on your site this evening, looking and wondering about making sweet brown rice mochi that I used to be able to do, but I've lost my touch for the time being.

I ended up reading your posts about cancer. I am so sorry to hear that anyone is going through this. My would-be daughter-in-law has gone through the same thing at age 40. Not that there is a "right age" to go through any of this.

I am so sorry. You shall fare better I think, judging from what you are writing. My heart goes out to you and your family. I am sure this makes all of them sit on pins and needles seeing what is being done to you. But of course you are the one with the burden to bear.

I went through facial skin cancer this year and it took me a while to get used to the hole and then the stitches going through my lip making me look like Frankenstein. it sure makes you come to terms with what's really important to you doesn't it? For me, it's being able to go outside at night to watch the stars rotate across the heavens. If you're out long enough, they do indeed go from one side to the other of the sky. I'd rather see that than the Sun. And I legally changed my first name--slightly altered face, slightly altered name to go with it. I was lucky it didn't affect my speech which I was told was a possibility.

My face eventually healed so now there isn't much difference, except i have a sideways heart shaped patch of skin on my upper lip. And it's a little tighter and thinner in depth than it was before. They had to anchor it down to the muscle and tissue below the surfce. It's just barely there. now there isn't much different.

I agree with the women who said to stay positive. And eat some gobo and carrots (no sugar, eh?) It'll give you some iron and so will hijiki, if you like to eat that. I'm sure you already know that anyway.

All the best to you. What a trial; yours is so much worse than mine was; you just have to walk through it.

Laurel 108 | 25 June, 2012 - 05:38

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Just saw this post--prayers ascending and many hugs.

A bento fan

anon. | 4 July, 2012 - 07:30

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Dear Maki,

I came across your blog yesterday when I was looking for recipes on how to make onigiri, and loved it. Today however, I saw your posts on your cancer journey and my heart went out to you. I was living in Australia for the past four years where I developed my love of Japanese cuisine through a couple of friends, and since my return to Istanbul, I miss those good times shared over elegant meals a lot. Both of my parents were diagnosed with cancer shortly after my return to my home country, Turkey, and I can imagine what you must be going through. After three years, we are still struggling with cancer in our lives, but at least in a better mood and with more happiness and hope. I do hope that you will feel the same once this intense period is over. Sending you big hugs and prayers from Istanbul,
Love,
Elif

Elif. | 4 July, 2012 - 13:38

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Hi
I first came upon your site a week back through recipes search. And today I came upon this post. I just wanna say thank you for your sharing of your recipes and also to tell you that I really admire your courage. Please keep yourself happy and healthy!

Bree | 14 July, 2012 - 06:33

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Dear Maki,

I bought your book and it has been a while since I read your blog. I had no idea you are so ill. I think your posts about cancer are courageous, and your drawings are honest and ... well.. cute (Gosh, please do not get this wrong - I am not sure you want them to be cute - but really, you are very good at drawing).

Thinking of you and praying for you. All the best for you and 'the Guy'.

Christina

Chris Nomis | 17 July, 2012 - 05:23

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

I too have had endometrial cancer. I was fortunate enough to catch it early (I was 43) and did not need much treatment after the full hysterectomy. I am sorry to hear of your ordeal, and do hope you feel better soon. You are very brave.
Sandra D.

Sandra D | 25 July, 2012 - 06:53

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Maki,
I have been spending a lot of time at your blog recently because I've been living in Japan since may, but since I always got here by searching for old recipes on a search engine, I had no idea what had been going on recently. I'm so sorry to hear that you a going through this. My grandma has been fighting cancer since I was in high school and my mom-in-law was also recently diagnosed. Both are doing well. I have been a fan of your work for years and I wish you the very best and speediest recovery possible. For my research I spend a lot of quality time with buddhas. I'll have you in my thoughts the next time I'm in front of them, ok?

Much love and hugs from Mutsu city Japan!

Sea
Www.bookofyum.com

anon. | 28 July, 2012 - 10:53

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Thank you so much Sea. I hope you're having a great time in Japan!

maki | 29 July, 2012 - 02:14

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Hi Maki-san,

I've been reading your blog for a while now and has even linked it in my page. I just commented now because i never knew you're sick. I'm so sorry to hear that. I lost a dear friend to breast cancer late last year so I quite know how you feel right now. I don't pray but i will send out all my positive thoughts to you so you'll have the strength to go through this. I will be waiting for your post informing us that you're completely healed. Hang in there. Ganbatte ne!

Michiko

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mayur | 7 August, 2012 - 09:51

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

I guess I just wanted to tell you that someone who is a first time visitor to your site, came here via googling chicken karaage, is male, had no expectation of reading about anything but food, and is a distant total stranger was very moved and impressed by your writing about this. My heart goes out to you.

I can only imagine how I would feel in your shoes, or if one of my loved ones had the same illness.

anon. | 5 August, 2012 - 22:22

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Hang in there and stay positive! You will heal up and enjoy many years to come! My grandmother had uterine cancer in the 1950's. (it had spread, like yours has done) The doctor's did a radical hysterectomy and sent her home with the instructions to enjoy the next six months because that's all she will have. No follow up treatments. She was 30 at the time. She died at 83. I think you will live longer than 83, maybe 103.

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kumar | 7 August, 2012 - 09:53

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Dear Maki san,
I've just happened to know you while reading some of other blog and came to read this page. I know how you are feeling since I have been going through the chemotherapy too. Mine is just finished on last March.
You are in my prayer. I want to give you a big hug.

Phuong

Phuong | 8 August, 2012 - 07:11

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Just started reading your blogs and love your cookbook. You are an inspiration. Hope you are feeling better. Praying for your speedy and full recovery!

heattang | 16 August, 2012 - 10:01

Re: Sketch diary: Cancer, the ladyparts version

Thank you for sharing. I'm new to Just Hungry & Just Bento. I Appreciate all that you share. I'll be praying for you.

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Just Hungry is a site about Japanese food and home cooking, healthy eating, the expat food life, and more. [log in] or [register]

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maki Just Hungry is a site about food. There are lots of recipes and much more. You may want to read about Just Hungry, or contact the site owner, Makiko Itoh. To dive in real deep, try the site map.

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