Kate,Janis,MariamBy 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 reality-check time, time to once again look squarely at my physical situation without rose-colored glasses.

Two weeks ago, I was told that my MRI and CT scan were stable, but then the next day, I received a call telling me that my tumor marker numbers had risen.

Last Tuesday, I had the blood test rerun and the marker was even higher than the first test indicated. So in four weeks, I will repeat the MRI and CT scan to see if the tumor has really changed.

I worry this could indicate new growth in the tumor. Thus the time for reality check.

Sometimes, I can convince myself that the tumor will not grow again, but when I get concerning news like these tumor marker results, I have to get real and recognize that the end of this journey may not be what I hoped.

And as I sit here on this cold December day, I am OK with that knowledge. I am sure that God is present and there is nothing more important to me. I will survive spiritually, if not physically, because my God is good, loving and steadfast.

I suspect many more twists and turns await me in this journey and many times when I will have to live with uncertainty, but I’ll survive because I have a great God, good friends, family and a loving community that will lift me up and carry me when I can’t do it on my own. And maybe knowing this is the real reality, the one that counts.

A Christmas letter I received today from a friend quotes Meister Eckhart, the German theologian, philosopher and mystic.

He writes: “What good is it to me if the eternal birth of the Divine Son takes place unceasingly but does not take place within myself? What good is it to me for the Creator to give birth to his Son if I do not also give birth to him in my time and my culture? This then is the fullness of time, when the Son of God is begotten in us.”

During this time of Advent waiting, can we experience the birthing of Jesus inside and share it with the world around us?

The birds are going crazy today at the feeders. They are one of the many ways in which God reveals his presence to me. What joy they bring.


Read more from Janis’s journey with cancer >>