Good whatever part of the day my lovely friends, family, and whoever has stumbled upon my page.
My name is Jenna Rae (JRae) Hagerty! I am a student at Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine (PSUCOM) getting my PhD in Anatomy. For those of you who have gone through this process, I am in my third year. I have passed candidacy and my comprehensive exams. I am now focusing on my research which is in cancer cachexia. For those of you who do not know what that is… feel free to look at my Boss’s website. I’m in there somewhere.
Prior to coming to PSUCOM, my schooling was in Forensic Science. No, not like CSI and more like Bones… that’s what I answer when I’m asked, “You mean like CSI?” OR, “You mean like Abby on NCIS?” The actual answer is no and no. Forensics is nothing like TV but that’s a blog for another day. In 2016, I graduated with a Master of Science Degree in Forensic Medicine. This is also where I met my good friend ~ANXIETY~. Nowadays I call her ‘my spidey senses’. So whenever I feel a panic attack coming along I normally shout ‘MY SPIDEY SENSES ARE TINGLING’! In reality, It’s less of me shouting and more of me having labored breathing holding onto something close and pretending I don’t exist. Originally I planned this blog to really focus on cooking and it still will! But the other focus, a very important focus, will be on my mental health issue, anxiety. I want my followers to know you are not alone. Whenever you are feeling stressed, please come to my blog. I dedicate my website to you (and Shannon, she comes up later). I hope when you read my posts you will not feel alone, and I hope you can enjoy my quirkiness and take on some of these fun activities I share with you like cooking, art, my cats, and whatever else. They help me and I hope they can help you.
So let’s talk about cooking. Cooking was originally why I started this blog. I wanted to share my knowledge in cooking with all of you! When I was young, my father started my cooking lessons with grilled cheese and scrambled eggs. Then, one day, my grandmother told me making cookies is as easy as taking a box of cake mix, adding the box ingredients, AND whatever tasty additions you want. Well, I took her instructions as an initiative to experiment! My first box cookies had marshmallows and grapes. I remember my mother crinkling her nose at them saying, “Oh honey that’s so nice”. I still hear about it from her from time to time. Now I experiment with what I know, creating delicious meals and goodies that make my soul bright. There is nothing like watching your loved ones light up after cooking them a meal and having them sing as they eat (or moan with happiness like my grandmother). Now, I am not a chef, I cannot promise you gourmet meals. I have no proper training except my family and food network. What I can promise you is you’ll cook and enjoy my recipes as much as I do and if you don’t, I hope you experiment until your heart is content! That’s what cooking is all about right?! Having fun and creating love at your very fingertips!
Cooking is not the only thing you will find on this blog, like I said previously, I intend to write about my everyday adventures, fun things I enjoy like MAKEUP, DIY projects, and so much more! I want my blog to feel as though it’s just me and my best friend sitting at the kitchen table talking about our lives and adventures. That’s why my blog is named “Kickin’ it with JRae: Confessions at the Kitchen Table”. “Kickin’ it with JRae” is the name given by my best friend. We agreed early on that would be the name of my cooking show when I became famous. She is my manager. The latter was my addition because I love our conversations and they always seem to happen around the kitchen table, or in our comfies while snuggled in bed watching movies, or on the couch, or… well you get it!
I love you Shannon. You have always inspired to be my best. You always were and are by my side when I wasn’t my best. This blog is dedicated to you. Love, Your Benna Butt.
Below is a picture of me. This is the current me (as of 3/1/2019). All women as I say. This is a nicer way of saying Zoloft made me fat. Also, I don’t like the F-A-T word but this is how the horrible voice in my head puts it. Lets call her Lucy. Short for Lucy-fer. In reality, I try to love myself but I’m not perfect. When I discovered my spidey senses (my anxiety) and what is was putting me through, I became very aware that I had a problem and needed help but wasn’t sure exactly how. Before medication I was very unhealthy. Please proceed to the next excerpt.
The picture below was from super long ago… like 2015 long ago. This was me when my I first experienced my anxiety at full throttle. I moved to Philadelphia, PA from Lewisberry, PA. The move was very hard. I lived by myself and missed my fiance (boyfriend at the time) and family very much. Shortly after moving I got really sick. I had this horrible lump in my throat, and my chest and stomach hurt constantly. I couldn’t eat because it hurt to eat. My diet consisted of green things like salad, cereal, and gum. Just to clarify, I didn’t swallow the gum but it helps increase the amount of saliva in your mouth and saliva is a great buffer for stomach acid. I couldn’t eat or drink the things I loved: bacon, chocolate, any alcohol, fried food, coffee, any carb… the list went on. I finally saw a couple of doctors. They diagnosed me with gastritis. Gastritis is when you produce a lot of stomach acid and it erodes and irritates your stomach lining. The gastritis caused acid reflex hence the lump in the throat. My esophagus was very irritated from the GERD (gastrointestinal reflux disease) that it made my esophagus inflame making it feel like there was a lump. The extra acid in my stomach causing the inflammation of my stomach lining was what caused the stomach pain. The doctors did everything they could to treat my symptoms but the chest and stomach pain never completely stopped. Not until my wonderful PCP (primary care physician) from back home said.. you have anxiety and prescribed me Zoloft. Although Zoloft made me gain 50 pounds in a couple of months, I finally felt like I was me again.
I didn’t want to tell you these stories to make you feel bad for me or to feel bad in general. I am very happy and have come along way. Part of that was accepting my anxiety and getting the proper treatment. For those of you experiencing any part of what I’ve experienced, you are not alone.
Welp, I I’ll leave you on that note. Thank you for reading and welcome to my blog!