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’ve learned on this journey with cancer to expect surprises, and received a big one on Easter Monday.

When I went to my appointment that day, I learned I would not be undergoing chemotherapy, at least for a while. My physician, Dr. Tan, said he saw no evidence of new cancer growth when he compared my most recent CT scan – one that used technology that allowed an even closer look at the tumor — with one from a year ago.

So the fact that this kind of scan indicated no new growth was really good news.  Because of the results, Dr. Tan felt that we could postpone chemotherapy another two months. I will see him in a month for lab work and an exam, and then a month after that, have another scan or MRI. Needless to say, I agreed wholeheartedly.

The other good news about postponing chemo is that I will be ready if called to participate in an immune therapy study. If I had been on chemo, I would have had to wait three weeks until the chemo flushed from my system.

So, with the break from chemotherapy, I figure to get stronger, and if that is the case, I plan to get out into the garden and get my hands in the soil.

We’ve done a little planting up by our house but I will be doing most of my work in the big garden behind the Ruma Center, our motherhouse. First, I will plant onion sets, the little pearl-sized onions that are harvested as green onions. There’s no better eating than a fresh-from-the-garden green onion.

Gardening gives us some much-needed physical activity as well as so many spiritual gifts. Working in the garden alone gives me time for contemplation; working there with others provides a sense of community.

Seeing the seeds that I’ve planted come popping up through the Earth gives me joy. In the garden, the mystery of God’s gracious blessings are all around and the harvest brings delight for all who share in it.

For me, the garden is like a chapel for God. It is all around me and under my feet.  Awesome!


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