This web site is translated and created by Yuuki Kitada, Mika Kishimoto, Kanako & Taku Tajiri, Kenichiro Mito, Masumi Saito, Yuki Hayasaki, Kay Williams, Marilyn Yuki, Shinobu Kadokura and TS.


The charity exibit is over.
Every day many people came and it was a great success.
Thank you very much!

11/18/2010

November 18, 2010 08:41 18th November

I was supposed to hold the exhibition and display my work.
I gave up on it when I found out the cancer...

But today, that was supposed to be the first day of my exhibition, many friends gathered at, and filled with their artworks, the place where I was supposed to hold the exhibition.

Some of my works are also displayed.

It starts today.
"Exhibition by Maro and Her Cheerful Friends"
http://home.u06.itscom.net/ojiyan/

Thanks everyone.
Really thank you.

11/17/2010

November 17, 2010 17:08 Medication

I am currently prescribed the following drugs
to reduce side effects
to prevent infections
to prevent clogged blood vessels

When I was in Okayama, I was prescribed excessive amounts of medication that were added every time my symptoms became worse.  I didn't like to be under so much medication.  When I was constipated, laxatives were prescribed; when I threw up, anti-nausea drugs were added; and to prevent pain, a painkiller was used.
I was discouraged and felt depressed taking all those drugs, even though they were treatments to help my symptoms.
The only drug I appreciated was an antipyretic. Having a fever of 38 centigrade (100 F) every day was unbearable, so that when I felt my temperature go up, I asked the nurse for the drug.

Look, how am I doing now?  I am under much less medication.
I stopped using the morphine painkillers when I was released from the hospital.  Morphine was prescribed when I suffered pain in my chest, so I was thrilled when I decided to stop it. I thought I could start taking it again as soon as I felt the pain. Also I wanted to know how much pain I would have without it. It turned out I was ok without the drug, so the prescription was stopped after consultation with the doctors. If I keep taking unnecessary drugs, my immune system will weaken.  I am the only person that notices the pain.  I will keep watching my body and my condition carefully while I try to reduce the amount of medication.

11/15/2010

November 15, 2010 09:53 The reason why I disclosed my cancer

Being hospitalized I get to know many people who have cancer
Well, mostly people who are a lot older than I am, but some look like they are in their 40s.

All of them told me that they had disclosed their cancer only to their families and not to their neighbors and friends.  The lady who came by when I was having breakfast told her caller, probably her husband, “If you’re asked about me, tell them that I’m just lying down, feeling unwell.”

Everyone said that they didn’t tell because they didn’t want their acquaintances to be bothered by their illness.

In my case though, I thought that if I didn’t tell anybody, I would be caring too much for the people around me and not being able to concentrate on my treatments; so I disclosed it on the day I was told about my cancer. Of course, only to my close friends on Mixi (Japanese version of Facebook).

I had an event which I was the host and which many people had been involved, and nobody could replace me...canceling the event would cause problems for a lot of many people, so I had to tell them the reason.

There are people who tell me that disclosing my cancer meant that I was strong, but I don’t think so.  I couldn’t stop crying every time I told someone about my cancer…  my body and mind was all in tatters.  From the outside, it might seem that I had a lot of courage to speak about my cancer, but after being informed of my cancer, I was so weak that I needed to tell someone.  I couldn’t care that much about people around me…
And when I think about it now, I think the event was so shocking that I had to confess my illness because I really wanted someone to help me and support me.  “Help somebody!”  So many friends and family have supported me since then.

By disclosing my cancer, many people have visited me to Okayama and Fukuyama both far away places and I received many entertaining gifts.  So I have not felt lonely.  Many people have told me about cancer treatments and bouts with cancer.

And because of my cancer, 106 artists have gathered to organize this charity exhibition.

It’s been realized because I had disclosed my cancer, and many people had followed my wishes and supported me.
If I had only disclosed my cancer only to some people and it had become a rumor, everyone would have been overly sensitive to me and the charity event wouldn’t be held.

The charity started when one of my friends visited me in July and said “I want to do Potterin (Maro’s pottery work shop) in place Maro-chan”.  I was so happy that I cried at that moment.
After that this followed: “Everyone wants to do something for Maro-chan but every one is feeling the dilemma that they can’t do anything. It takes time to do pottery…so artists could sell their art, mommy friends who aren’t artists can buy the art and the proceeds can go to the medical bills.”

I gladly accepted the offer. Though I didn’t think it would become so big then.

To disclose the cancer or not is a personal choice, but I’m glad I disclosed it at an early stage.

Now I can smile and say “I have cancer but I’m feelin’ gooood!”

The charity will start on the 18th this week.  The exhibition is a collection of my dear friends at a place where I hold dear.  I’m proud of everyone.  I can’t go, but I imagine lots of people attending and being excited and being inspired by the art.  It should be an exhibition that will exceed just a charity event.  Please go and see.

11/10/2010

November 10, 2010 16:12 I will write.

Yukuri is into reading these days, so I decided to write to her every day. 
I intentionally did not write to her before, because I thought she would miss me more, but I want to tell her that I am fighting to get well.  So I will write.

Hope she understands my thoughts.

November 10, 2010 11:00 Go! Part 2

Started the second anti-cancer drug.
Amlita took about 10 minutes, but this Carboplatin will take about an hour. 
Go! You too, will help my white blood cells to fight cancer in my body!!

I have UNICORN music on full volume.  When I was in Okayama in a private room, my breath would not last long enough to sing, but now I can sing. 

I want to go to Karaoke!

November 10, 2010 10:46 Go!

Anti-cancer drug treatment started.
Started with Alimta.  This drug has less side effects, and I also like the name. 
Go!! Become my soldier, and fight cancer for me!

November 10, 2010 09:32 It’s been a while…

During the last admission, having been alone in the hospital, I had felt lonely and written a lot about myself in Mixi (Japanese version of Facebook). But after I went back home, I have had a lot to do and someone to talk with. Especially, I wanted to spend time with my child, though she got stomach flu and we were separated again. And I caught a cold too. In addition, four of my friends came to visit me from Tokyo during these days. Having been busy, I couldn’t update Mixi for a while. I’m sorry I made some people worried.

By the way, I visited to the clinic in Osaka to get an immune cell drip infusion, before I readmitted this time. I went to Osaka, because we couldn’t find a clinic in Fukuyama, in where immune cell drip infusion could be performed. Also, I wanted to see the clinic in Osaka since that was the first immunecytotherapy for me. So I went there, assisted by my mother and my friend who introduced me to the clinic. The first treatment went good, but it will take 3weeks to produce some effect. They recommend this treatment once a week between the anti-cancer drug treatments.

Last Thursday I was hospitalized again for the 3rd anti-cancer drug treatment, but I caught a cold and it was postponed until today. If I didn’t get sick, I could have one more immune cell drip infusion last week, but I guess this is how it goes. I should take it easy and do whatever I can at time.

I hope this time the anti-cancer drug will not give me severe side effect. I feel a little insecure because Masao-san is away in Tokyo. I will ask him to stay with me for the next treatment.

Today, I spoke with my doctor about anti-cancer drug treatment. Usually they perform 4 periods of anti-cancer drug treatments, but if it works well, they will continue up to 6 periods. I asked doctor what they would do after finishing all periods, he said “we have to see the condition and decide what we do next.” I hope my cancer is getting very small. Based on the size before the treatment and the effectiveness of the anti-cancer drugs on my cancer so far, I’m not sure if it is getting small enough to makes me feel secure.

According to the doctor, there has not been the clinical evidence of continuous anti-cancer drug treatments yet, and regarding the anti-cancer drug treatments, there are different opinions depending on doctors. I understand there is no definite answer because each patient has different cancer and it takes different effect.

Again, I realized that while I listen to my doctor’s advice, I have to trust myself and think over by myself and decide how my cancer is treated. Doctors may choose the way to treat, which has the most effective result in clinical trials, but patients do choose whatever has the best chance of survival. At least I do.

Ojiyan, who is the sponsor of the charity exhibition for me, told me that she would continue the charity for me so that I can continue the immunecytotherapy. I think for me to fight against the cancer is the least thing I can do to show my gratitude to people who care about me. I will try my best to handle today’s anti-cancer drug treatment!

I went home yesterday and saw my daughter, Yukuri. When I was about to leave, she cried for the first time. She cried and said “You can’t go! We sleep together”.
She knew I would go to the hospital to get better, and tried not to be demanding. She was looking down and saying very softly at first, but by the time when I was about to leave, she was crying loud. It was very hard for me too. When I see my parents cry, I feel like I have to be strong, but seeing my daughter crying is very hard. She will turn to be 4 years old pretty soon. She still needs a lot of affection from parents. She knows that once I go to the hospital, I won’t come home for a while.

I want three of us, parents and the child, to live together again very soon.

My daughter draw this picture and I hang on the wall in my room at the hospital.
Me(left), Yukuri(middle), Masao-san(right).

10/25/2010

October 25, 2010 07:15 I am leaving the hospital.

I have been staying in the hospital, so my white blood cell counts could be monitored. I have not wanted to give high expectations to anyone. But since I am recovering body strength and my white blood cells counts are not falling so much, I can leave the hospital today. I did not want to tell everyone until it was for sure.
From now on I will visit the hospital from home for chemotherapy treatment. I want to relax for a while with my family. But I have already started thinking about how to spend my time while Yukuri is in kindergarten.

Things I want to do
*******************
◎study Spanish
(I love Spanish! Even though I don’t speak to anyone in Spanish and have no plan to visit anywhere, I speak little bit and would like to learn a little more.)
◎ practice  penmanship
(PC is popular, but I have fewer opportunities to write letters,  My writing is too terrible to say that I have a master level for penmanship.. So I want to learn once more.)
◎ painting
(The gallery owner visited me and said, “Please have your show with us again.” And many people, after this thing happened, have told me that they like my paintings. So I want to draw again, at my own pace.)
*******************

Then I want to continue diet therapy and meditation.  And exercise (just walking ...) I want to recover my health by myself. 
I will be happy if you keep giving me your power and prayers.

Yesterday the nurse came to take my temperature as usual. She knows I have put many books about cancer on my bed.  I told her earlier, “I try to do Gerson therapy (diet therapy) and Simonton therapy (meditation, imagination).” She studies similar treatments and takes seminars, too. And she said, “Do them and keep trying such things.” Then she asked, “What are you going to try next?” I said, “Immunocytotherapy. But don’t tell the doctor. He doesn’t seem happy about that.” She answered with a smile, “OK. Do what you want to do and what you think is right. It is your body and your choice. No regrets.” She made me so happy.

I have liked surprising people since I was a kid. And I like a big smile after a surprise. But I don’t like people to surprise me. I want to surprise all the doctors I have met so far.

Big surprise like “I thought I can not do anything to her. But it is a miracle!”

10/23/2010

October 23, 2010 20:35 Immunocytotherapy - and then

Yesterday, Masao-san went to the clinic in Osaka and met with the doctor to discuss immunocytotherapy.  After that, we decided to have that treatment.
The blood component analysis turned out good and I can have the first IV as fast as next Thursday.

But I had a problem...

I asked the doctor here once again whether they can give me the IV but it was still impossible.  I asked desperately in vain..
I said “the current anti-cancer drugs can only continue up to 4 to 6 periods.  More I have them, more side effects I could have.  Even if the cancer becomes smaller with the anti-cancer treatment, the 5-year-survival rate for Stage 4 is 5%, isn't it?  Doctor, I want to live longer than that.”
But it did not work.
The doctor explained “because it has not been recognized from a mainstream medical perspective.”
There are hospitals implementing immunotherapy in Tokyo.  But it's not so popularly recognized.  It's not covered by an insurance policy.
I was about to say to the doctor that if you were me, can you give up your life in 5 years or even less?  I didn't because the doctor cannot say certain things and according to him, the decision has to be made at the hospital conference because it's a life and death matter.  But I mentioned that the clinic in Osaka could issue a letter saying it would take a full responsibility for the treatment if this hospital decided to perform the IV for me.
Thus, I asked friends to look for clinics / hospitals near Fukuyama City and Okayama City that can perform the IV procedures.
The best thing is that I go to Osaka. But I need the IV once a week and I would definitely need an escort.  It will be too expensive to commute every week.

I really hope a hospital nearby agrees to perform the IV procedures...

I want to post the very encouraging message of a girl who had lung cancer at the age of 24. I wanted everyone to have a look as I fully agree with her.
She declared that she would decide herself how to live her life.  She refused the anti-cancer treatment and she is still living fine.  It's great!  I trust she will be all right.
--------------
The doctors are not God.
They are persons who work as doctor.
They are not [me myself].

[I] am composed of an unbroken line of my will and choice.

The responsibility for my body only rests with me.

It's all [me] who feels pain and any other emotion.

It's ok to rely on the doctors.
But an important thing is,
instead of relying everything on them,
facing them while keeping myself on my feet
(not physically speaking)

Without help from your own body
no drug and treatment will work

With support of medication,
all your cells get going to heal

Any treatment works only based on the power a human being naturally has

Treatments will not come before you
You are all that matters

What is your goal?
What do you seek for?
How do you want to live going forward?

These questions are not only for patients
but for all people

A trivial talk by a little girl
But I wish this delivers [something] to someone's heart
--------------

Until I had a drug test, I did not do anything depending entirely on doctors that they could help me.

My cancer taught me it's not how things work in life.

The doctors here are very nice and I like them all.  But my cancer on the most recent CT and X-ray pictures is very big.  The anti-cancer drugs helped reduce the development of the cancer and the shadow became slightly less dark.  But it's not drastically working.  Until the cancer becomes small, I have to continue all kinds of anti-cancer drugs and bear all side effects, don't I?

Fine.  Then, I want to try  immunocytotherapy.
Fortunately, immunocytotherapy can be used together with the anti-cancer drugs.  If I try, sooner is better.

Can you give up your life so easily just because the doctor says the opposite?

I won't give up.

I will rely on the doctors where I can rely.  But after all, it's my life.  I don't want to have the doctor decide how long I can live.
As I said many times, the anti-cancer drugs only help you survive longer.  That's all the current medicine can do.  If I continue anti-cancer drugs and die within 5 years, the doctor will say “we did everything we could do but this is the limit of the current medicine and this is your life.”  The doctors will convince themselves too.

But will I be convinced too?
Will you, who have supported me, be convinced?
No, you will not, will you?
I will choose my way of life myself!

I just want to live longer, only that I want.

10/21/2010

October 21, 2010 17:35 Immunocytotherapy

It's cold!
It's raining today in Fukuyama and when I woke up, it was really really cold.
So I quickly put on the Uniqlo Heattech pants that my sister-in-law gave me, the loose clothing that Ojiyan gave me, the waist warmer that Moja gave me, the nitted hat that sioux gave me; the complete toasty outfit, all of them gifts....feeling very loved, me.
It has been a week since the anti-cancer drug treatment.  The sleepiness and drowsy feeling has gone away but the side effects and the bone marrow toxicity should lead to lower white blood cell count and if I get a cold during this period, it will lead to pneumonia and emphysema, so I really need to be careful

Tomorrow Masao-san will take my medical records to talk in detail to an immunocytotherapy doctor in Osaka whom my friend told me about.  It'd be better if I can go but I still can't travel long distances....
By the way the hospital I'm at can't do the immunocytotherapy.  There are hospitals which have started using immunocytotherapy but I guess it's still difficult.  In Hiroshima city they can do the anti-cancer drug treatment along with the immunocytotherapy, but Hiroshima city is too far. 
My city, Fukuyama city, located in Hiroshima prefecture is closer to Okayama prefecture, so Okayama city is closer for me.
Yesterday I found this book in the hospital library and borrowed it.  Before the cancer spread, I was relying on the doctor, but now, you can't just rely on other people.  I have to face the challenge myself to cure this disease.  So I'm reading a lot of books and trying things that people say are good for me and felt that I needed to keep feeling positive all the time...used meditation repeatedly and after feeling so low for long, now I'm stronger, even a blackhole can't drag me in.  The people around me helped along; of course, I couldn't do it just by myself. I relayed to my family the state of my disease and declared that I will never give up.  Everyone cooperated with me.  I couldn't thank them more.  All the encouragement by mail and through the net helped me many times.  I read them over and over still.

Like anti-cancer drugs, Immunocytotherapy doesn't work on everyone, but if there is even a remote chance to live, I want to try this treatment.
I didn't tell you all, but when I had the last diagnosis in Okayama, the cancer had spread to all of my right lung, several places in my brain (so bad that the cyberknife therapy is impossible), and spread larger in the liver, and had spread to the lymph and bone marrow.  I don't know if they are lymph nodes, but there are lumps all over my body. The one at my waist grew larger and larger and became the size of a ping pong ball....it became smaller with the anti-cancer drugs, so it was probably cancer.  Now that I think of it, the doctor would say to me to prepare for the ultimate, and I really did prepare to die.
It sounds really bad if I write like this, but now I feel much better, just don't have the physical strength.
The anti-cancer drug treatment I'm using now should finish with two more treatments.  The cancer won't go away even after finishing all the treatments.

Immunocytotherapy is attracting attention as the fourth method of cancer treatment after the Big Three of surgery, anti-cancer medicine and radiation. You take a patient's blood, extract the cancer fighting cells such NK Cells and grow the cells and put them back into the body.
You're putting back your own blood, so there are no side effects.  According to the books, many people, even people who were diagnosed as terminal cancer were cured.

I still have many things that I want to do, so I will keep up my spirits.

The deadline for the artists' application to the charity event was yesterday and wow! Over 100 artists, 105 in all! This is amazing.  I think nobody, even my friends who planned this event didn't think that so many people would apply.  I was a bit sorry for causing all trouble but now that so many people are rooting for me, I will keep my spirits up.

What makes me excited now is to imagine the smiling faces of my friends when I go back to Tokyo.

10/16/2010

October 16, 2010 14:04 Anti-cancer drug (the 2nd period) - the next day

Right before I take an anti-cancer drug, I was taking drip infusion. I heard there was some chemical in there to keeps me awake. Maybe that is why I couldn't sleep very well last night, and had a lot of random dreams. I don't remember any of the dreams what was about.
Last night, I felt my body was so heavy, just like I was wrapped by iron chains. Even though the heavy feeling was gone by the time when I woke up, my body feels so tired and dull, and now my head feels so heavy.
I think the same thing happened to me when I took the anti-cancer drug last time.
This is my condition on the next day I had the anti-cancer drug.

The above picture is my breakfast.
I asked hospital to skip my breakfast plan, and I usually make something what I want to eat.
Lately, my favorite is non sugar serial with yogurt and banana on top.
Raisin and banana are natural sweetener. It's pretty good. I also had Salad and Vegetable juice. When I get tired of serials, I eat brown rice bread roll. I prefer to eat bread for breakfast instead of Japanese traditional breakfast (Rice & Miso Soup).

10/15/2010

October 15, 2010 14:29 May it work!

The second anti-cancer drug.
Beat the cancer cells off with my white blood cells!

The background music is Unicorn.
Sioux-san, thank you for the CD!
Lying down on the bed, I keep imagining the anti-cancer drug attacks the cancer.

October 15, 2010 14:29 May it work!

The first anti-cancer drug.
Do not kill my good cells, but attack only the cancer cells! Go,Go,Go, fighters! GO!!!

10/14/2010

October 14, 2010 9:38 Recent Events

After moving to the new hospital my appetite has gradually improved; at first I could only eat with some effort, but now I'm hungrier and even though I ate a lot, after some time, I'm getting a bit hungry, so....it's getting better.
Since I've disclosed that I have cancer, I've received lots of information on effective treatments for cancer.  It's been great since I can't do all the research myself and the experiences of people and acquaintances help me a lot.  Masao-san and I too read a lot of books on cancer that we could get our hands on.  The things I'm doing stoically are a diet and vegetable juice and meditation.
The diet consists of lots of vegetables and no meat, fish, sugar and salt.  Mushrooms are supposed to be good for cancer so I'm eating a lot of it.  Eating a lot of vegetables has its limits, so vegetable juice is a must.  1.5 Litres (One and half quart) per day.  I have it delivered from home three times a day.
And I'm also taking some traditional Chinese medicine and an immuno booster recommended by my friend; these were prohibited when I was participating in the new drug tests.
Both cost a lot and if you had known about it in a magazine it would seem suspect at best, but I bought it since my friends and acquaintances told me that it was really good.
Thanks to it, my bowel movements are excellent
Nothing can be better than getting up in the morning, doing your business straight and clean, and eating a delicious breakfast on an empty stomach.  It's very fortunate to look forward to each morning and feel alive every morning.
About when I was moving out of Okayama Hospital, they had told me that they might have to put tubes into my neck to get an IV for nutrition because I risked blockage of the intestines...

Since I moved to this hospital, my condition has improved a lot and since I'm not connected to anything, I'm moving around a lot and my physical strength is coming back.  Before I couldn't even get up a single step on the staircase and needed help...it was quite a shock to me that I couldn't get up.

The good thing about this hospital is that there is a garden on the third floor and you take a little walk and there is big bath tub on the highest floor, so you can take a dip while taking in the view of sky.  And, when I take the bath, somehow there is nobody there, so I have it all to myself.

Mixi (Japanese version of Facebook) has not been updated because my condition is getting better and I'm replying to all the e-mails and letters that I've received and getting out of the hospital because my condition is better...it's not because of the side effects, so don't worry.

So I've updated mixi today and replying back might take some more time...I've allocated only so much time to e-mailing each day...my apologies.
And this past week my friends from the states come from San Francisco and Texas to visit me. My condition was better and I wanted them to have a good time, so we went to a mall near the hospital, had my friends eat at home with me, and play with Yukuri.  Fukuyama doesn't have lot for sightseeing..seriously...
If it had been Okayama, there would have been lots....

They told me that they only wanted to see me, but since my condition was good, I thought I would have a good time within the appropriate confines.
Had a wheelchair in the mall too.
Even though my condition is better, I still can't walk or stand up for a long period of time.

This Friday, meaning tomorrow, if there are no problems with today's blood tests, the second cool of anti-cancer drugs will start.
The result of the first cool shows that the shadows of the cancer are getting thinner, so the growth seems to have slowed down.  The current anti-cancer drug seems to be working so we'll continue this drug called “Arimuta”.
This is all from your prayers, so please continue to pray that the anti-cancer drugs will continue to work.

However, anti-cancer drugs are only a life prolonging treatment.  If you continue using it, it'll stop working sooner or later and you have to use a different drug.  I've heard two and half year is max.
So when I get the chance I'd like to try the immunocytotherapy that my friend told me.

10/08/2010

October 8 2010 13:31 [Meaning of a] Word

There is a word I least want to hear ever since I’ve gotten cancer.

That is “ Poor thing…” i.e. [I feel] “sorry” [for you].

I do have cancer but that doesn’t mean I want to swap lives with someone else or pitied myself so when someone says that to me, it makes me feel really miserable.

Apparently, that’s the way I appear to others - something to be pitied on.

I don’t mind if you say it somewhere else but I don’t want you to say I feel sorry for you in my face, and I certainly don’t want someone to feel sorry for me.

I’ve received lots of love and discovered lots of invaluable things by having cancer.  & don’t think I’m trying too hard to mask the situation.  Sure, it was shocking to find out I have cancer but I think I am a happier person now than before.

So please don’t feel sorry for me.

Also, one more thing.  There are people who hesitate using the expression “Gambatte” since I’m already working hard but I don’t mind people saying more of that to me.  I take it as a sign of support that you are rooting for me. & that makes me happy and want to say thank you- I will make an effort.

“Gambare”(”hang in there”) is a word by those who are rooting for me and believing in me.
“Gambare”(”keep your chin up”) is a word that gives me a little kick when I’m feeling weak inside.

Thank you for always supporting me.
I will keep soldering on.

10/04/2010

October 4, 2010 16:05 After the hospital switch, and about the charity

I didn't write for a while, but I'm well.

On the 22nd, I was told that the cancer tumor was growing large and there were multiple metastases newly discovered in my brain and I was feeling completely hopeless, but the response comments to my diary I wrote that day really made me feel like I would never ever give up. I went to sleep holding my cell phone so tight.
I am sorry that I can't write response to everyone of you individually, but I want to say to you all that I could never feel this strong and encouraged without your support.

I cannot thank you enough.

Anyhow, I was surprised and humbled by the size of responses to the charity. This is all because of the help from Ojiyan and all other friends who are organizing it, not me. I'm sorry.. I'm just lying in bed and can't do anything.

I want to go to the event venue.
I want to go there to meet each one of you and thank you.

Well, I can't wait for that to happen but in the meantime the attendants seem to keep growing. Among them, I see names of my classmates from New York, someone who wanted to attend even though I met just once or twice and hardly spoke with, or someone who I haven't even met but heard about me and wanted to help. There will never be an event where this many artists from around the world get together to do an exhibition. I really can't believe that it is being done for me. Honestly, I'd never expected something like this to happen. I'm so thankful and humbled that I feel bad, to be honest.

Thank you so much everyone.
Really, thank you all.

9/29/2010

September 29, 2010 17:30 Changed hospital

Early this morning, I was transferred to a different hospital on a sleeping car. 
It is a hospital called Chugoku Chuo Hospital, near my parents’ home.
Okayama University Hospital was such a comfortable hospital with great doctors and nurses, I was a bit anxious about changing, but not a problem at all. 
The doctors and nurses here are just as great.
I am going to fight against cancer with the help of my family, so I can get out of the hospital and be able to get out of the hospital.  I hope I can get well enough to be able to stay at home and make regular hospital visits. 

9/26/2010

September 26, 2010 8:46 AAAAAAH!

The other day, I received an autographed photo collection of UNICORN.
It’s great, I love it, makes me feel really good!
It even has “Dear Yukiko” on the cover.
I had asked a friend who was working on a collaboration work with one of the Unicorn member, Abe-san, for their autograph.  I was half joking, but they sent it to me right away.  And it wasn’t even just the autograph, but on their photo collection!
This friend sent me an encouragement message telling me that Abe-san is also thinking about me.  I am a very lucky person.  Cancer not only brings me suffering, but it also brings me good things too.  I knew I was getting this package, so when I received this at the nurse station, I opened it right away and showed off to the nurses!

To UNICORN members, thank you very much!  And KO-san who asked for this autograph, thanks so much.  This has given me a lot of energy!

9/25/2010

September 25, 2010 14:56 Since the 22nd

It goes back a bit…  I called Tara-chan on the evening of the 21st, to inform her that the cancer is growing.  She kindly told me “I will be there tomorrow.”
I have mentioned that I was not able to sleep that evening, the following morning, my mom came to the hospital at about 6am.  When I saw her, I was in tears.  We hugged and cried and cried.  On the 22nd, the draining tube from my lungs were taken off, and I was free.  Anti-cancer drug starts on the 24th and I had permission to go out on the 23rd.  Tara-chan suggested my mom to take me home for a day.  She said that she would support me all day.  So, to my surprise, I was able to go home for a day. 
My uncle who works for a taxi company, kindly prepared a sleeping car for me, so I could go home lying down.  
At home, all my favorite food were prepared.  At the hospital, I couldn’t eat anything, but that day, I ate everything.  It was sooo delicious!  I was able to go back to where I had wanted to be, and everyone had a wonderful time and we were all so happy.  My high school classmates came to visit, and we cried a bit.

Toy Story 3 was still on at the theater nearby, so Masao-san, Yukuri, and I went to see it.  I found out why Lotso, that stuffed doll I received, smells like strawberries.  He is a bad guy, but actually has a reason for it.  He is a sweet character. 
I am so glad I got to see this movie at the theater.  The story was great, but when I saw the credits at the end of the movie, I was really thrilled.  Daisu, it’s incredible that you were doing the art direction for this great movie.   
I got a lot of energy and encouragement from this movie.
Fun time flies.  Had great soba for dinner, and I ate all, and came back to reality.
A lot of drugs were prescribed, but all I needed to take was the fever reducer. 
Tara-chan is a wonderful person.  My mom said, she is like a god.  Her child is only 7 months old.  It’s not easy for a person to travel so far to visit a friend, because she is sick.  She is GREAT.  Thank you so much Tara-chan.  
The moon I saw from the sleeping car was round and beautiful.
In the morning, it was raining, and I was hoping it would dry out, but eventually the sun came out, and by evening. I was able to see a beautiful full moon. 
It sure was a wonderful day!!

9/24/2010

September 24, 2010 21:14 Message from Ojiyan

Ojiyan is organizing a charity exhibit for me in November. Below is her message. Thank you so much, Ojiyan!

==============
maro and her cheerful friends
◆A charity exhibition to support Maro who has cancer.
A Japanese illustrator, Maro, has been undergoing difficult cancer treatments for the last few months. All of us, her friends, want to do something to show support for her. Many artists have volunteered to participate and organize this event.
All the donations and proceeds of this charity will be used only for Maro's treatment and for her 3 year-old daughter, Yukuri.

◆Date and Place
November 18-23 (12:00 – 19:00.  Until 17:00 on the 23rd)The location is at Gallerie Juillet in Koenji, where Maro was originally planning to have an exhibit in November.  Thanks to Ms. Fukuda, who have kindly offered to let us use the place.  For more details, please refer to the website.  
I am looking forward to many of you attending.
http://home.u06.itscom.net/ojiyan/index.html
Yuko Ojima(ojiyan)

September 24, 2010 14:48 The wish 2

Today’s second anti-cancer drug.
Hope, this also attacks only cancer cells with the least side effect. Please.

September 24, 2010 13:50 The wish

I am taking this anti-cancer drug.
Please, Please, take effect….
For God’s sake.

9/22/2010

September 22, 2010 11:58 Facing the cancer

Yesterday the doctor in charge of me came and told me with a grave expression that the new drug had not worked, that the cancer is growing and that another anti-cancer drug will be used from Friday.  I had expected much from this new drug, and it felt like I was thrown into an abyss.  The cancer had grown into where the fluids were and had come close to where the draining tube was.

The new drug can only be at Okayama University but other anti-cancer drugs can be used at other hospitals, so I will move to a hospital closer to my parents’ home.

The hospital where I’m at takes an hour and half from my parents’ home and my parents and my child couldn’t visit so often, but the Chuo Hospital near my parents’ home is only a ten minute drive, so I can see Yukuri every day.

My mother is also worried constantly when I’m away from home, and when I told her that the cancer had grown, she gave me a call while crying and said, “Come back home, you’ve done enough already.”  I’ll follow the advice.  Okayama is a nice place, but closer to my home is better.

I couldn’t sleep last night and had the staff from Palliative Care listen to me all night long and after getting an aroma massage could sleep a little calmly.

You know, I’m not afraid of dying.

But I can’t bear to leave behind the many things and important things.

The doctors faintly suggest that I should spend more time with my close friends and family and hold dear the present moments.  Is my cancer getting so worse…..


Okay, that’s it!
No more pity tales!
The new anti-cancer drugs should work!
We’re going to beat the cancer!

9/19/2010

September 19, 2010 8:31 Weekness

I realize I am loved by so many people since I found out that I have cancer. I get messages from all over the world. I get phone calls from California, New York, and France. A friend came and visited me from Florida. Many people visit me from different parts of Japan. The mother of a friend from New York, whom I have never met, sent me a package of rice from Niigata and thanked me for being good to her daughter. She wrote to me, “Whenever my daughter calls me, she always talks about you and tells me what a wonderful friend you are.” So many people are cheering me up and giving me support. I feel miserable for not being able to answer all the messages of support and I don’t know what to write in Mixi (Japanese version of Facebook) anymore and have even lost the spirit to continue writing.

I am trying so hard to take these medications. But they are not working. The cancer is getting bigger. They might change to a different medication.  They will decide next week after getting results of the CT. I was hoping the medication would work and there would be no more inflammation so I could go home. My body temperature goes up every day. I throw up every day. I have diarrhea, weight loss, no appetite. I have blood tests every day, an intravenous four times a day. I have pain from the drain, and the body I can’t move freely. It has been two months since I have been hospitalized. My mental state is getting close to reaching the limit. I am getting sick of everything. But I don’t want to die. What do I do?

Next week if they put me on a different medication with a lot of side effects, I am not sure if my body can tolerate it physically, mentally.

Yesterday I was thinking about my funeral all day. I heard that the good thing about having cancer is that you can prepare your death. I want my picture on the altar to be the one where I am wearing a kimono and a red wig. It was taken a few years ago at a costume party. And I want music by “Greeen.” While I still have the energy, I want to write a letter for people who come to the funeral, something that will make them cry and laugh. I was thinking things like that yesterday.

Slowly and surely my body is invaded by cancer.

I want to live and go home.

I wonder why God doesn’t allow me to have even that wish.

9/13/2010

September 13, 2010 10:12 Feeling downward

I haven’t updated my diary lately.  It is because I’m in this downward mode. 
Please don’t worry, though.  I will write again when I feel better.

9/07/2010

September 7, 2010 7:56 Depressed

Apparently there is a lot of pus in my lungs, I need to get tubes from my lungs to drain it out.   
This is a simple surgery and it will be performed at noon today.  Supposed to be a simple process, but it is pretty depressing to get it.  THAT again…    
When I was told that yesterday, I felt so bad and was just sick of everything and felt like screaming from the top of my lungs, but I can’t be screaming in my hospital room, so I screamed into my pillow… which is a little secret….

9/06/2010

September 6, 2010 9:27 Side effects of the new drug

It has been a week since I have been on this new drug.
For the time being, the side effects are nausea and numbness in my tongue.
The doctor said that there should be no nausea side effect, but lately there seem to be reports of such side effects, so this must be from the drug.
Last week I vomited for 3 consecutive days.  One of the days, I felt sick, fell, and vomited while visiting the floor downstairs, so I was brought back on a stretcher.  Oh, dear....
So now, the doctor prescribed an anti-nausea drug along with the new drug.
I wish they’d give me less drugs, instead of the anti-nausea, but I guess that’s not possible.... Oh, too bad.
I need to take this new drug twice a day, mornings and evenings.  This drug time is dreadful.
It’s hard to swallow, and the sweet coating seems to be thin, so if I can’t swallow it at the right timing, I can taste the strong bitterness around my throat.
Oh, and I’m starting to have fever again since last week.  Getting IV again.   Problems after problems....
X-ray today.  I hope the cancer is getting smaller.  If it is, I’d be happy to take those drugs.

9/02/2010

September 2, 2010 8:00 September already

It’s been 4 days since I started taking the new drug.
Seems like I am getting better and better every day.
Yesterday, I felt so good when I woke up, I ended up morning a lot and doing a lot of things.  Probably because of that, I started feeling sick around 9, and along with that, I felt really sleepy.  I ended up sleeping all day, since the sleepiness and sickness never went away.   
The doctor said, “This drug is not supposed to make you feel sick.”  The first two days, I did not have this symptom and I felt all right.  It’s only the third day that this symptom occurred, so I don’t know what made me so sick.   
Continuous sleepiness.    Just like the morning sickness during the first trimester of pregnancy.   
Wouldn’t it be funny if my tummy started getting bigger and bigger, and I have a baby?  And the doctor would say, “No, you never had cancer.  You were pregnant ”  What a big big mistake. 
Nope.  Impossible.   Too much X-rays, too much anti-cancer shots, too much drugs every day.  Impossible for a healthy baby anyway.   
Well, enough of my fantasies.  Better start exercising to get more physical strength.   
When I get stronger, I’m gonna get permission to go out and go see Toy Story 3  That is my goal for now.   Better go soon before it finishes.

8/31/2010

August 31, 2010 09:28 Started to use new drugs

I have started to take new drugs since yesterday.  I thought I needed to have one pill but three were needed...  As you can see from the picture, it's big!  I put on top an usual pill that you can buy at a store for ease of comparison.  The bottom is a new medicine.  It's too big so that I can feel it in the middle of the throat after gulping.

But I should not complain.  5 persons out of 100 persons have the gene fits this drug.  I won the pill with 1/2 odds.  It is effective for 70% patients.  The effect can be seen in one week at the earliest.  I hope it will work and get rid of the cancer.

8/30/2010

August 30, 2010 18:00 Today's professor's round

I welcomed the professor's round with the mask of the picture today.  Ojiyan left two of them when Ojiyan visited me last week so I got one of the nurses to put it on.

The professor did not blink though all other doctors behind him laughed loudly.  He checked me in the mask with his amazed eyes and mentioned "you involved the nurse this time....".  It was very successful today too!