Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Not Just the Sick Chick

Name calling isn't nice! It doesn't matter how old you are, calling someone a mean name is NOT COOL.

When I started getting really sick, missing out on school, sports, social engagements, people (old and young) didn't know how to react. They don't always know what to say to someone who is extremely ill, or just don't approach them at all. It's like we are a different kind of human. We get sorted into another kind of category, just as human races do.

I've been "bullied" I guess you could say...been called names, discriminated against, blah blah (not to the extreme of most others however). Sure, it's bothered me somewhat, it does everyone with a heart, but I try not to get mad. I pray for those people then and there; pray that they never have to go through what I have and that they learn to stop judging so harshly.

My personal name-calling favorite has always been "the sick girl". Oh the rumors that go with that title! Cancer, Alzheimers (? seriously), mentally disabled, once a rumor that I wasn't at school because I was preggo. Hmm, "the sick girl". Along with that title/stereotype, it's often thought that I am given things that I don't deserve. Hey, I'll go with it. Personally, I know that I earned it.

I'm kicking that nickname. Yes, I'm the "sick girl", but I am also.... Jenna Hansroth, non-stop talker, belly laugher, bright smiler, peppy people person, "Sunshine", constant eater, movie fanatic, vintage lover, big dreamer, faithful Catholic, 2011 Berkeley Springs Prom Queen, 2011 Miss Morgan County, and soon to be 2011 Graduate of Berkeley Springs High School.

Mmm, I'll take those names anytime! I'm almost happy that I've had people give me that nickname to an extent. I've learned to let things roll off my shoulders more and try to judge less. I hope that those kids do the same. Name calling isn't nice. No matter how old you are. And in the real world, it can bite you in the butt.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I Think I can, I Think I can...

Preparing for my senior prom was no easy task, I'm not going to lie. Supermom made it a success, once again. Though she didn't think we could. None of my family thought we could.

The right shoes that wouldn't give me blisters and that I could dance in.

The best hairstyle that wouldn't show hair loss.

The perfect schedule of the day so I couldn't get worn out.

Not to mention the after-prom we held at my Grandma's house! (Mom's and Grandma's idea, such party animals! Haha!)

Making sure my AWESOME date understood my circumstances.

Predosing meds on an exact schedule to HOPEFULLY make the night successful.

...I won't leave you in suspense. It was the PERFECT senior prom!!

Part 1 of Yay! My date, is a great guy! Dinner at a BFF's house, stopping at our grandparents' houses, swinging my other friend's house, finally got to the dance.

Part 2 of Yay! We hand our ticket to the staff checking everyone in, where we see the ballot for prom court. Wow, not expecting it AT ALL, I'm on there. Win? I doubt it, but super-excited to just be on the court!!

Part 3 of Yay! We walk into the wing where the dance was being held. The decorations look wonderful. The coolest teachers/chaperones were there, having a good time along with us.

Part 4 of Yay! Tyler (my date) isn't afraid at all of dancing or looking goofy (same as me!!) No one is dancing yet, so we get in the middle and start them dancing! Impressive, Tyler, if I say so myself.

Part 5 of Yay! We looped around the room several times, seeing just about everyone, dancing hard the whole time thus far. My feet didn't hurt and none of the neurological stuff happened.

Part 6 of Yay! Time to announce the Prom King and Queen. Queen first. I'll admit...I was talking, as usual and not paying much attention. I would have bet $100 on the girl I thought would win. What? They said "2011 Prom Queen is Jenna Hansroth!" Seriously? I get my crown and my smiling, shining moment (we all know I love being in front of a crowd and am a total "ham"). Prom King is Brenton Arrington! An amazing friend! Whoa, talk about lucky! Our peers loved us enough to give us that award that secretly everyone wants. We won, had our dance, and got pictures taken. Celebrities for the night!

Part 7 of Yay! As I walk into the lobby shortly after winning my title, I hear "she got it because she's the sick girl." You're thinking how is that a "yay part'?! Because I'm starting to understand people more. I can smile on the outside, as mean as it is, because I can still think 'nanny nanny boo boo, I beat you!' And I smile thinking about all of the "congrats" I am getting along with the negative comment. I thought of Sally Fields line: "They like me! They really really like me!" That made me smile.

Part 8 of Yay! We had a fabulous after-prom party that Mama and Gramcracker (Grandma) threw. Fun games! Nacho bar! Sweat pants and hoodies! Ahh-mazing!

FANTASTIC PART: I had a great time at prom, and didn't pay for it like I did last year! I'll admit, I felt it all week, but kept chugging away. "I think I can, I think I can. Nope, I KNOW I can." Last year, prom wiped me out of 2 weeks. It was 100% worth it, but I really was knocked out. You know what all of this means, right?! Slowly but surely, I'm getting better. I don't know how long it will take for me to be back to "normal", but reminding myself of this progress makes me THRILLED!!!

My new Mission and Reminder

I love Facebook. Facebook is my addiction. Even when I can't read or write, I have Mom get on mine for me, read me "statuses, comments", show me new pictures and respond to anything directed for me.

Facebook has its great parts along with its downfalls, as most everything does.

Positives: Keeps you in contact with others, get back in touch with old friends, entertainment, a way to share what's happening in your life, a news sorce...there are many more of course, but these are probably the most obvious.

Negatives: You can get addicted (me), there's the risk of cyber bullying (never had that experience, thank heavens!), you can see people's "real personalities"- how they act when you're not face-to-face, what they think about others, and often times, their hatred towards others. That last one is probably my least favorite, but the other negative that gets to me a little is the excessive whining.

Everyone gets down in the dumps or ill, some more than others. I guess it's not necessarily the whining that gets to me, but the negativity that goes along with it.

"I'm so sick of having this cold. I want to hang out with my friends!"

"He has the flu, so we can't go to the movies tonight."

"Ugh, SO bored."

"I hate my school. HATE it."

One more haha - "My parents are making me get a job this summer. For real?!"

Now on to my mission or reminder for people... It's simple, kind of funny, and as cheesy as it is, it made me feel clever. Haha!

Find the HAPPY in the crappy.

Pretty easy to remember, right? What I remind myself of everytime I go to complain! So, let me see if I can fix those "statuses" up there.

"I'm so sick of having this cold. I want to hang out with my friends!" Let's add..."but it's a great reason to have a movie day." or "now I can catch up on schoolwork" or "at least Grandma made me her awesome chicken noodle soup"! (I'm sure there's something someone could add!)

"He has the flu, so we can't go to the movies tonight." Maybe the ending could be... "Maybe I'll head to my Grandparents house and watch one with them." or "This would be a cool chance to play a game with my brother; I haven't had time." or "Since we can't go, maybe we could skype! That might actually make him feel better!" (Just a few off the top of my head)

"Ugh, SO bored." How about... "I'm going to talk to my parents; I don't see them much." or "This'll give me a chance to clean my car out - lots of McDonalds wrappers." or best of all "I could go volunteer somewhere."

"I hate my school. HATE it." Maybe thinking this would help... "At least I have a school I can go to that has air conditioning, computers and bathrooms that work." or be thankful for what the school has given you. An education. What you need to be successful. Be thankful for the teachers, most of whom, you'll never forget.

"My parents are making me get a job this summer. For real?!" ... "BUT I'll have more money to spend to get things I want." or "Maybe I'll meet a good contact for the future." or "Maybe I'll meet someone funny - the kid from my class always talks about funny stories from him working there."

Find the HAPPY in the crappy. Sometimes it's hard to do, but sometimes it's the ONLY thing you can do. We can't change our circumstances most of the time, but we can change our attitude about it. I'm really trying my best. My past Facebook "status" : "5/15/11 Find the HAPPY in the crappy: I had treatment and feel terrible BUT it gives me the chance to look out the window by my bed and see everything going on outside. There's so much to notice when we take the time to really look." So, I'm really trying! My friends and family are too and doing great! Can you?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Inside a Nightmare, Crying to get out

I've never been one to have nightmares. When I have dreams, they're wonderful and I wake up smiling, or they make no sense and I wake up laughing. I'll take it either way. Lately, I've lived in nightmares. Had experiences where I scream to wake up, for God to help me, but nothing can save me.

I've had seizures for several months. I can deal with that, no problem. I've passed out almost daily for months now, it's whatever. But the amnesia that occasionally comes from the two, that is a big problem, and what I've been most scared of with my Lyme Disease. That amnesia and short term memory loss have been more painful than anything physical thing I've been through. Spinal taps and central lines are NADA in comparrison.

Let me tell you a of my horror stories.

I was at my church a few days before Easter, helping our youth group put on the Passion Play and trying to help with the dinner afterwards since my mom was catering. Everything was mostly cleaned up. I just needed to head out to the car and head home! My eyes flickered for a few seconds. Dang, one of those annoying seizures, but that wasn't all. Those few seconds erased my memory and took away all forms of communication. The best way to explain it, I guess, is having late-stage Alzheimers while being deaf. Being kidnapped, having a head injury and confused beyond belief. The ones I love and depend on, I was terrified of, and fought them as they tried to walk me to the car. Had they let go, I would have run away. That's what confused people do when they're scared! They took me to our car, put me in the front seat and buckled me in, with my hands under the seatbelt (so I wouldn't open the door while the car was moving if I got scared...I'd done that plenty.) I sobbed, I shook, I couldn't breathe. I wanted to be anywhere but there. My family thought that maybe if they took me into the church that I'd be comforted, the place where I always find comfort. Where I find peace anytime and everytime. Walking towards the old brick church scared me more. I couldn't explain that, so we kept walking closer. Dimmed street lights, an old huge building, no one around. In the church, I looked up at the cathedral ceilings. Lost in such a huge place. A scared child. My priest was in there, we found once we had entered. He always helps me, but not that night. A man wearing all black, giving me a rosary (I had no clue what it was at the time), walking me out and giving me a glass of water (I didn't know what that was either!) All the while, everyone trying to communicate with me, trying to pull Jenna out of this strange body, bring her back with them, smiling and laughing. Their voices sounded blurred, blah, blahs. All of them coming at me! I thought I would pass out...hoped that I would pass out and get away from this misery. It took hours for my memory to come back. At first, I couldn't remember that night. Unfortunately it came back to me. Came back with the same terror I felt that night. Traumatized to put it lightly.

I hate to hurt people's feelings or hurt them physically. It makes my whole body ache to know that I did someone wrong. From these episodes, there is a lot more hurt and terror involved than just mine. Imagine being my priest...the always bubbly, happy teen he knows bawling and trying to run away. Screaming and he can't comfort me like usual. Imagine being my aunt...she's always been one of my best friends (she's not too much older than me). I share everything, we have the same sense of humor. We giggle at dumb things and try to look at the big picture. I look at her with confused, scared eyes. Eyes that she no longer knows. Eyes of a person trying to escape from her. Worst? Imagine being my mom. She sees her child more scared than ever before. Her baby screaming, scared of her own mommy. Trying to run away. No matter what she does, she can't calm me. I can't remember my own mother, and as much as she says it doesn't, it hurts. It shakes you until you're numb. It's a nightmare.

Thank the Lord, those three very understanding people weren't hurt (or said they weren't). They let me cry as I reminisced about the night. They knew I had never been so traumatized in my life, and they did everything they could to comfort me.

Another scare. Maybe a worse scare? As my mom and I sat at our kitchen table, conversing casually, she runs to her bedroom to get me something. There goes the eye twitch. Those few seconds that change me. I looked around my own home, unfamiliar to all of it. I feel kidnapped. I bolt out the front door as any smart person would do when being held captive. Only in socks and my pajamas, I run down our gravel driveway, barely able to see in the dark. Mom yells out to me. I can hear and understand what she is saying, but it doesn't matter. I don't recognize her. She is a stranger, and we all know about stranger danger. I have a big lead on her since she had to get her shoes on and needed to grab her car keys. I run down our road. I don't know where I live, but I somehow have faith that someone will find me or that I'll find my way home. She drives up behind me. Calling out, trying to help me. I panic. My kidnapper is going to hit me with her car (though she was yards and yards away.) My "attacker" parks the car and runs towards me. She now has the advantage since she has shoes and has better balance and stamina. I only have socks. Ever had one of those dreams where someone is chasing you and you're so terrified and out of breath that you can't get away? Welcome to my nightmare. She catches me, and tries to hug me, tries to keep me from running farther, tries to keep me from getting hurt...all while I hurt her. I punch, kick, scream, pull away, bring her down to the ground as I try to scoot away (road rash on your butt hurts, man). She's trying her best, but can't get through to me. I fight and fight and fight. It's not helping. Let's face it...I have the strength of an 8 year-old. I see car lights coming down the road! Maybe it's help! Maybe it's another person trying to hurt me. It's my daddy coming home from my grandparents' house. Briefly my eyes flicker as he runs down to help Momma. They speak calmly to me. My eyes are filled with so many tears that I can't see them, but am starting to understand what they're saying. They found me! They saved me from that "bad woman" (my poor mother). Out of exhaustion, relief or maybe just shock, I pass out. They carry me home. The rest of the night I tell them about the "mean lady that took me". I tell them how much I love them and that I've never been so scared. I tell them to hug me and not let go. I tell them that I couldn't live without them. I spoke everything I could think of, like it was my last chance to tell them.

This was last night. I hurt my mom emotionally. I hurt her physically. I punched at her, kicked at her, did everything I could when I saw her as the "awful lady that took me".

I wish I could say that my short-term memory would remove all of this from my mind, from those around me's minds. But we don't always get what we wish for. Parts of the terror I experience come back to haunt me. I feel the same emotions as those nights. Cry, scream, want to run away, but I can't run from a memory.

I try to smile and not show my fear. I don't share these stories because I don't want to scare anyone away. I don't share these stories because once again, someone will say that I'm doing it to get attention. Believe me, I couldn't make up anything this crazy, nothing that would stab my soul the way these do. I'm not trying to complain in this post. I'm hoping it'll scare you a little (sorry). Scare you enough to check for ticks. And maybe educate you. Educate you on the suffering those around me go through, and not just me. They are the Lyme Warriors. They are my rocks. They get me through everything.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"We Plan, God Laughs"

I've always had a plan. Always. I had to have one to give me comfort, determination, and to remind me of reality.

Starting in second grade, we were asked to write journal prompts about our life plans. In second grade! Most of us had trouble choosing whether we wanted to play kickball or four-square. Somehow, however, I had my plan.

Graduate high school. Attend Penn State University, where I would get my Masters in Speech and Language Pathology. After that achievement, I would work in the school system with elementary students or I would work with the elderly. My house would be a brick Cape Cod with a big backyard for huge BBQs and two golden retreivers. Next, I would travel to Italy, where I've ALWAYS wanted to go. I would eat pasta until I was sick of it. I would fall in love with an attractive, sweet and sensitive Italian man, and marry him. We would have at least three children and live happily ever after.

It was my dream. It was within reach. I knew that I was going to do it. Making that plan in second grade and having it until a year ago...I just went with it. I didn't think about it. Just following the path that I had set for myself.

This Lyme disease has changed my life. Anyone and everyone who knows me knows that. My life changes on an hourly/daily basis, and my motto has become "one day at a time". Therefore, my life plan has changed to "No Plan" and as scary as it is for me to think that I have no idea where I'll end up or what I'll be doing, I'm excited and relieved at the same time. Now, I don't have to worry about the stresses of getting into college and if my health can handle it. Now, I'm excited! Wondering what God has planned for me. Once I saw a sign that said "We plan, God Laughs" and it's one of the best things I've ever heard and the most true. I planned what I wanted. I drew the map, but how could I say what was going to happen? That's it! I couldn't! God only knows what's in store for me, and I'm going to take it "one day at a time".

Surprise! It's a surprise to the people that know me. I've always been portrayed as the perfectionist who wouldn't let anything stop me from going to college and getting what I want. They can't believe I've thrown my plan out the window. "What about goals? What do you want to be?"

I have goals. I want to get my health back to normal. I want to help the community with everything I have. I want to love everyone and try not to judge (probably my most difficult). And a biggie...I want to go to Italy...where I've dreamed of going my whole life. Where I want to relax, learn about my pasta and pizza for every meal and enjoy it.

I know what I want to be. I want to be happpy. Whatever God's plan for me entails, I will see eventually...maybe a speech pathologist? Maybe a vet? I don't know what I want to be in that sense. BUT I do know what I want to be. HAPPY. Happy with all my heart, happiness all around me.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

"What if..."

"What if you didn't have Lyme Disease?"

The inevitable "what if". The question that everyone has asked at some point. Some people more than others depending on how pesimistic/optimistic, positive/negative they are. With little kids, you should depend on at least 10 "what if's" a day...they're the most curious of us all I guess.

"What if you didn't have Lyme Disease?"

I've been asked that more than once, but never really responded to the question or even thought about it. Recently though, it's really been on my mind. Of course I could go on and on about the negatives... "If I didn't have Lyme Disease I would still be playing sports. I'd be going to college with my friends. I wouldn't have to depend on others for everything. I wouldn't have to take chemo..." blahh, blahh, blahh! But what about the positive things that have come from it? What about the life-changing gifts that have come from it?

What if I didn't have Lyme Disease...
If I didn't have Lyme Disease, I would probably be a judgemental high school snob, deciding my opinions about people based on their appearance, and not their hearts and minds. I've been judged the past few years more than I ever thought I would be. It hurts, bad. How can I do that to others? So they wear the same clothes to school everyday...doesn't mean they're dirty and I'll hug 'em anyway.

I wouldn't appreciate the little things. Feeling okay enough to walk down the road, brain fog lifted for me to read a book to my little cousins, not narc'ing or twitching at school and actually enjoying being there! Those little things, that were always wonderful, are now even more of a blessing and joy.

I wouldn't be as close to my family. These past 5 years, they're who I've depended on. Who I've cried to, who has taken care of me, who are my best friends. My mom is my best friend, my idol, my comfort. My brother is my shoulder, my best hug, my advice giver. My grandma, my aunts...ahh, I'm going to start crying just thinking about it!

I wouldn't have the will-power. I wouldn't be a fighter. I wouldn't be a "Lyme Warrior Princess"

If I didn't have Lyme Disease, it's possible that everyone in my family and others in the community would. I thank God for that everyday. They don't have to suffer (sorry Aunt Janice, didn't get to you soon enough). When I see my little cousins running and laughing it fills me with happiness. They've all had embedded ticks, gotten immediate treatment, and are Lyme-free. They can have that fun and not sadness because of me. I know that's not very modest of me, but I believe it and am proud of it.

What if I didn't have Lyme Disease? I wouldn't be the person I am. I wouldn't love like I do, smile like I do, laugh like I do, I wouldn't be Jenna. I could go on positives and even longer about the negatives. Right at this moment, I'm happy that I have Lyme Disease. (Don't ask me in an hour when my pain and nausea meds wear off, but please do remind me)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Chicken Fingers! ...ONLY

When going through one of those crappy chemo treatments, you don't have hardly any appetite. Sometimes, just looking at food makes you sick, but there's usually something that looks good to people that they can eat and only eat!

I guess it's because I'm 17? Maybe it's because I've never really dieted, and always eat the good stuff (CARBS, CALORIES, SUGAR, and FAT..Heck yes!" Anyways, I've remembered a few my wacky treats during those nasty weeks! Please note that during these periods of time, Lori Hansroth was secretly hiding nutriets in everything. No one was harmed...accept Jenna gained 10 pounds!!

Covered with snow (white powder)! For a week it was powdered donuts. Nothing more than powdered donuts. My black lab liked to stand under me while I ate them, her begging. When I was done, though eating carefully, she had snowflakes on her black fur and a white beard.

This Week: Philly Cheese-steak stuff and pudding. VANILLA PUDDING, not chocolate nor butterscotch or any of that shabang...VANILLA PUDDING

Something a little healthy? Seriously? Mom was shocked that for a week, I wanted cheesy rice caserole. Woo! But chocolate ice cream was so great too!! Give me a huge spoon, and I was a happy girl. I can't look at anything accept for those!

The power of chicken fingers. They could fight off any foods, and could save me against vomitting and starvation! Shake it, Shake it! Nahh, that really hurts (Lyme, I've had it with your shenanigans!.) Milkshakes would suffice. Mom added protein powder without my knowledge and made them taste a little funny...not happy Mother.

Brenton: "You have to eat something"
MOMMA: "PLEASE eat something"
GRAMCRACKER: "You'll lose all of your curves. Not just weight, your curves. Think about that before your actions"

Hmm, nahh. I'll eat. I promise I'll eat. I'll eat marshmallow fluff and drink chocolate milkshakes. (I doubt they liked that.)

I've had so many weeks of chemo, and somehow I always can only handle funky foods that don't make me sick to look at or vomitt. I could name so many more combos, but I think you get the picture. So, kind of, sort of, maybe trying to get a point across: During those weeks, I'm extremely sick and hurting. I can barely keep anything down, so please boys and girls don't say that I'm starving myself and force food in my face. Thanks :)