By Sr. 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.
It’s now been a month since my last chemotherapy treatment and I am beginning to feel like my old self. This morning, I went for a walk and I could tell that I had energy for it. In the recent past, I didn’t think of walking or if I did, was overwhelmed with fatigue. The idea itself felt exhausting.
I recently told my doctor that I wanted to stop treatments for a while, and he supported my decision. Then he said, “Now, I won’t let you hanging in the wind until the next scan. I want to see you in a month and we will take blood tests to see if there are any changes. Then we will do scans again. We won’t let more than two months go by without the scans.”
I was so happy to hear him say these things and I realized that he was giving me something that I didn’t even know that I needed — a parachute. Quitting chemo felt like jumping out of a plane without a parachute. I guess I thought because I had come to this decision, he wouldn’t follow up with me until the next scan. I should have known better because Dr. Tan has been a great caregiver and he would not let me down.
I sometimes chuckle at the fact that here I am dealing with pancreatic cancer and yet I find myself so interested in the things of life that are going on around me. I found myself really interested in whether the Rams would leave St. Louis and I am sad that they are going. Part of me knows that I will probably not live to see another football team in the city, and since I am a big fan, that is hard to swallow.
I am also really interested in the political scene. I have always loved politics and although I dislike the negativity of the campaigns this year, I still follow the process avidly.
And I am very interested in my religious community. I serve on a couple of committees because I want to be involved with our present and future.
This shouldn’t surprise me. A friend who deals with cancer patients all the time said, “When people get the diagnosis of cancer, they either decide to live or to die and you have decided to live with the disease.”
I think that is true and I am grateful that God has given me the grace to have a positive attitude thus far.
Winter has arrived finally, and with the colder weather, the birds are going crazy at the feeders. The birds entertain my cats, Tinker and Grace, especially since Grace’s favorite play toy, the Christmas tree, has been taken down.
The antics of these little characters bring such joy to Sr. Mary Alan and me, and they make the long days when I am not feeling well just a little brighter.