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.


It’s been a while since my last blog because I’ve been preparing reflections for a day of prayer at King’s House Retreat Center in Belleville, Ill.

The talks center on living through the darkness into the light and I suppose that my own experience of cancer has been helpful as I prepare my presentations.

I am happy to report that my pancreatic cancer remains stable. The tumor has not grown for nine months even without chemotherapy.

The tumor has not grown for nine months…

Recently, I was checked again for cancer in the bladder, and the biopsies showed no cancer cells, but that doesn’t mean the cancer is gone. But my doctor feels that we can wait and see what happens. So, in another three months, we will check to see if it has re-emerged. For now, I am free from all tests until Thanksgiving.

I was so grateful that everything has turned out this way because I am planning a trip to the East Coast this month, and I was afraid I would have to cancel if either of the two cancers had flared.

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I am traveling to Boston to visit friends in nearby Wellesley, and to their place on Cape Cod. Then, I’ll make my yearly retreat at Eastern Point Retreat Center, right outside of Gloucester, Mass. The Jesuit retreat house is right on the ocean and my room will have an oceanfront view.  Now who wouldn’t be excited about a trip like that?

Fall is definitely in the air here in southern Illinois. The corn is being harvested, the wooly worms are crossing the roads and the male goldfinches have begun to lose their yellow color. I love autumn and I look forward to seeing the beautiful colors this year, both on the East Coast and here at home.

Sometimes I think that nature teaches a lesson about saving the best for last.

All the colors come toward the end of life, and I think often that it is in the later years that our beauty also really shines through.

All the wisdom and knowledge and spiritual growth gained over the years of life are reflected in the eyes of elders. Those who take the time to engage these wisdom figures will be enriched.

I worry that, unlike other societies that revere older people and their wisdom, we neglect to engage our elders. Here, we tend to want to put them on the shelf and consider them of little consequence.

What a waste of beauty!


Read more of Janis’s journey with cancer >>