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.

A lot of life has been coming at me recently, leaving little time for cancer. For that, I am glad. Cancer the physical disease also can creep into the mind.

I caught a 6-pound bass at my brother Jerry’s place, but returned it to its life in the lake. I have helped work the garden at the Ruma Center, planting green onion sets, preparing the garden for green beans, and helping Sr. Mary Alan plant two apricot trees.

Over the weekend, my good friends Cindy and Al Lotz from Romeoville, Ill., visited and we went to Grant’s Farm in St. Louis. I hadn’t been there since I was six or seven years old and Cindy, Alan and Sr. Mary Alan had never been there. It was a lot of fun.

We visited the Clydesdale horses and fed the little goats with bottles of milk. The park wasn’t crowded, giving us space to take in the park’s beauty and enjoy the animals. We took a lot of pictures including one of me with a goat and the question, “Which is the ‘old’ goat?”

We did a lot of sharing and laughing, and I cooked us breakfast and supper. I don’t cook very often, but for special people or special occasions, I like to shake the rust off and whip up a meal.

Yet, with all this enjoying of life, I remain anxious from living with the unknown.

In the day-to-day routine, I really don’t think much about the cancer, but on some unconscious level, the worry is always with me. And really, how could it not be? I am dealing with a life-threatening disease. Dealing with the fear and doubt and getting overly tired is a recipe for anxiety. So this week, I am trying to live a little slower so that the anxiety doesn’t get the best of me.

Meanwhile I watch spring continue to blossom. The bluebirds at the feeder outside my window are actively feeding their young now and I am waiting for the first hummingbird to appear. They seem kind of late this year. And last evening, as I looked out of my office window, I saw all the tiny corn plants in their rows shimmering in the golden rays of sunset. Everything looked so fresh and new and full of spirit.

Today, I feel full of the Spirit as well. In today’s gospel reading, Jesus assures his disciples that the Spirit will lead them and care for them. As I sit here, I sense that Spirit giving me courage to keep moving forward into the unknown. What a great gift that is and one that I hope all can experience.

Read other entries from Sr. Janis on her journey with cancer.


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