By Sister Janis Yaekel, ASC

I am Sister Janis Yaekel, ASC and I have pancreatic cancer. In fact, I have lived with cancer since 2012. I hope to share in my blog my journey and my reflections on the presence of God in my life. It is my hope that those who read my entries will find strength for their own journeys.


Cooler weather has finally arrived in southern Illinois, and with it, more activity at the bird feeders that has transfixed my cats, Gracie and Tinker.

I can almost hear them thinking, “Oh, if there just wasn’t a window separating us from the feathered fast food outside.”

Sometimes in the course of my journey with cancer, I have had an anxious heart. This is one of those times. Fearing what I may learn from this week’s MRI and CT scan is a big factor. And then, there’s the unrest in our country right now.

I will feel better after getting my test results next week, whatever the outcome, because the unknown is what bedevils me the most.

I take comfort in knowing that I have at least one additional option for treatment. At the Thriving and Surviving workshop that I attended in September, I saw the radiologist who treated me in 2012.

He told me that Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis has a new radiation machine, one of only three in the country, which can pinpoint the tumor and direct the radiation to it.

He said that I would be a candidate for this procedure if my cancer started to grow again even though I had radiation treatments before. In the past, it was thought that anyone who had undergone radiation treatments could not repeat them. I do not look forward to the side effects of radiation, but at least there is something more on the table.

I have learned with this disease never to say “never.”

I have learned with this disease never to say “never.”

In 2012, I had decided not to have radiation. Then the day came when the doctor told me that the chemo wasn’t working and I should have radiation. Immediately, I did a 180 and said, “When do we start?”

I laughed about it then, and I remember it today so that I don’t get too sure of myself. Reality trumps ideal when push comes to shove.


Read more about Janis’s Journey >>