By Sr. 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.
My doctor said that I could keep taking the chemo or stop. I hadn’t thought of stopping, but he said the tumor may not be growing and the chemo may not be influencing the tumor at all. In the end, we decided I should have the chemo this time because we wanted to see if it was having a negative effect on the kidneys.
While having the chemo that day, my sister-in-law, a nurse, came in and we began to talk about what Dr. Tan said about possibly stopping the chemo. Her response was, “Well, I will support you in whatever you decide but if you don’t stop you are as dumb as a rock!”
You’d have to know my sister in law. She’s a crazy lady but I do value her opinion. So I told her and everyone else that I would spend time over the holidays thinking about it. I tend to worry and to think of stopping the chemo seemed at first like jumping from an airplane without a parachute, but then I realized I could have a parachute because I would get another scan in a few months and if the cancer had started to grow, it would probably not be by very much.
The side effects of chemo can be noticeable right away but some of them build up over time and you don’t realize that your quality of life has diminished gradually. I was thinking yesterday that I never really feel good anymore. In fact, I may have forgotten what feeling good is like! With that in mind, I have decided to stop the chemo at least for a while in order to give my body a chance to recover. What I’ll do three months from now I don’t know, but for now, I am at peace with this decision. It feels right for me. Quality of life is the thing that seems most important at this time.
Today as I sit at my desk and look out the window, I see grain trucks moving up and down our little highway. We live just 7 miles from Prairie du Rocher, Ill., which, like much of southern Illinois and the St. Louis area, has been inundated with rain this week. There is a real risk that flood waters may breach the town’s levee. The grain could be lost if it is not removed.
I remember too all the people who are struggling to prepare for a possible flood. Some of them work at the Adorers’ regional center in Ruma, Ill., and so we feel their concern.
Prairie du Rocher is a very historical town founded by the French. Many of its residents are descendants of the first settlers. For all the people there, it is a time to watch and pray, and I pray with them.