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.

I had a couple of rough days after my last round of chemotherapy earlier this month.

If I start the week with chemo, I am fine until about Friday, when an overall sense of weakness sets in. The treatment saps my energy, induces weakness and causes me to spend a lot of time in the recliner.

I usually do not feel like sleeping when this comes over me. It is more like the weakness one feels after surgery or a traumatic experience. Anyway, I am happy to report that I am beyond it now and am enjoying the days before my next chemo treatment.

I can easily worry about what will happen next on this journey especially since I might be looking at a tumor in the liver.

Then, something happens that helps me refocus on the here and now. This time, it is an illness that has befallen my old cat, Duke.

You see, Duke, like many humans, suffers from dry eye and recently the vet wanted to try him on a salve. Unfortunately, Duke reacted badly to the medication and developed ulcers on both eyes.

Sister Alan and I thought that perhaps we would lose him because he was in a lot of pain and not eating or drinking. He is starting to improve, thanks to a new antibiotic that we put in his eyes every day, five times a day.

What I learned, as I have so many times in life, is that when we focus on the needs of others, even our pets, we do not dwell on the negative in our own lives.

In some way, we become more alive and engaged in the world around us. Interestingly enough, we may not even know we are in a negative space until something or someone else’s need pulls us out of it.

Today, as Duke is healing, I am excited about having friends from Chicago visit.  There will be a lot of talk and laughter and I cannot think of a better way to prepare for my next round of chemo this week.

Read more about Janis’s journey with cancer >>

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