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. 

It has been more than a month now since my last chemo treatment. I am feeling stronger with less aches, pains and stomach issues. The other day, I thought about taking a walk in the woods near our home and I had the energy to do it.  I can’t remember the last time I felt like walking anywhere.

Of course, I find myself wondering what the cancer is doing without the chemo to block it, but even during chemo I wondered.  I find myself looking forward to my Feb. 8 visit with Dr. Tan, my anchor. Not sure what the tests will really show, but at least it feels like I’m doing something.

In the meantime, I have been asked to do some Lenten reflections for our international community.  I was working on them today, and as I spent the morning creatively playing with words, I felt a lot of energy flowing. When I get into a project, I am amazed sometimes by what ends up on paper.  And after a full morning of work, I have more energy than when I started. For me, that is a sign that a greater Spirit than my own is at work.


Writing for me is painting pictures with words. Although I will never be a great writer, I feel like I have some gift to offer those around me.

With the weather turning colder here, I have begun putting bird seed in the feeder in front of the house in addition to the one outside my office window. Cardinals seem to prefer the front feeder; a whole team fed there this morning. They are so beautiful with their scarlet feathers and black masks. Flickers and blue jays visit the feeder I can see from my office, and they attract the cats’ attention. I must laugh when the birds keep right on eating despite the cats’ banging on the window.

I recently wrote about my interest in politics and I must admit that this year is particularly fascinating but not enjoyable or uplifting. It appears we have entered an era when reality television trumps honesty and civility. And yes, the pun was intended! Ten-second sound bites push the emotional buttons of anger and rage but do nothing to lift us toward solutions that will be good for people. While this is entertaining right now, I worry that the fascination will turn to fear as the discourse becomes more and more driven by hate.

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

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