American Cancer Society, Inc.


Taken form an earlier web done for Jenny years ago. This is a work-in-progress and can be updated by friends and family if need be. So if there is something you would like to see added here, Please let me Gloria  know and I'll do my best to place it for you.

Jenny's Story 

Jenny went home to the Lord on Wednesday, August 20, 1997

Hello all you kin-folk on HCPD list !!! We have to be "kin-folk" somewhere along the line of history, because I am descended from a long line of W.Va.'s first settlers, and yes, I am my own self's 3rd cousin,,,, that's how related I am to all of you !

My friends call me "Jenny" (which I prefer), my immediate family calls me "Ginger", and my given name the day I was born, October 10, 1957, was "Virginia Lea Shaffer". I was born in Marion Co., WV. (Fairmont). My parents are ("Buck") George Albert Clayton Shaffer and ("Bobbie") Barbara Jean (Kisner) - Shaffer - Smith - White - Smith (and soon to be - Elliott). I have one "full-blooded" sister, ("Vicky"), Victoria Jean (Shaffer) - Smith - White. My parents were divorced the same month and year that Vicky was born, May 7, 1963.

My father, was the only son of Gordon Henry Shaffer & ("Mary") Lena Lauverna Kisner - Shaffer. His other wives include (m.#2) Carol Williams & (m.#3) Linda Kay Dennison, both of Buckhannon, Upshur Co., WV. I have a half-sister (m.#2) Christine Marie Shaffer, born about July of 1965, whom I haven't seen since she was 4 yrs. old. I have a half-brother, (m.#3) Michael George Shaffer, born October 29, 1972, married Jill Allison Williams. Mike was born in Buckhannon, Upshur Co., WV., and he and his wife, now reside in Fairmont, Marion Co., WV.

My mother was the daughter of ("Paul") William Paul Kisner & Nellie Jeanette Huffman - Kisner of Marion Co., WV. My mom's second marriage was to Richard Henry Smith, born May 24, 1927 in Preston Co., WV. The son of Frank Fay Smith & Pearl Ellen Johnson - Smith. He and mom married each other TWICE ! First on Nov. 3, 1963, then again on Aug. 30, 1992. He was the BEST step-dad a kid could ever hope for. He adopted me & my sister Vicky, on Feb. 28, 1967. It hurts me to report that "Dad" is no longer with us in this world, he crossed over to that peaceful shore, on July 6, 1995, CANCER.

My mother's 3rd marriage was to Daniel Freeman White, Jr. , born Nov. 3, 1935. He was the son of Daniel Freeman White, Sr. & Mary Louise Michael - White of Rivesville, Marion Co., WV. From that union, I have a half-sister, Mary Jeanette White - Farrell. Mary was born May 28, 1972 in Fairmont, she and her husband, Paul Anthony Farrell reside in Fairmont.

I have MANY step-brothers & sisters; Stella Kay Smith - Groom of Rose Hill, Kansas; Marrietta Lynn Smith - Turner of ?Va.; Richard Allen Smith (d. Oct. 31, 1976); Daniel Freeman White, III (I've never met); Nancy Lorraine White - ?; Patricia Lynn White - Chambers - McComb - Fuller of Ohio; Sheila Mary Smith of Calif.; and Sharon Eileen Smith - ? of Calif. Of all these, I am only in close contact with two,,, Stella & Sheila.

Of my four natural grandparents, only one still survives, my maternal grandmother, Nellie Jeanette Huffman - Kisner - Brown, the most industrious woman I have ever known or seen in my entire lifetime ! She was born on Mudlick Run, in Marion Co., WV., on Nov. 29, 1905, the daughter of Zebulon Burns Huffman & Alice Levada Mundell - Huffman. The surnames that her blood has passed onto me are: (to list a few), Hoffman, Harman, Goodwin, Fink, Bunner, Burns, Knotts, Boyce, Stines, Vandergrift, Huffman, & Mundell.

My maternal grandfather, William Paul Kisner, was born June 28, 1901 (NOTE: Marion Co., Courthouse records on his death, list his birthdate as May 1901, this is INCORRECT !). He was born in a little "holler" called "Bunner Run", which our entire family refers to fondly as, "Turkey Holler", located across the road from the WhiteDay Golf Course, just across the Marion Co., line, in Monongalia Co., WV. He was the son of ("Font") Theron Alphonso Kisner & Florence Lavina Trader - Kisner. The surnames that his bloodline passed to me are: Kisner, Hawkins, Pitzer, & Wilson.

My paternal grandfather was Gordon Henry Shaffer, born in Braxton Co., WV on April 12, 1910, died in Marion Co., WV on Oct. 2, 1965. With this grandfather, comes a road block, he is supposed to be 1/2 Native American,,, but the thing is,,, his mother, Mariah Ellen (Jackson) was actually pregnant with him, when her father (George Jackson), paid James Harvey Shaver $25.00 to marry her. Mariah would NEVER tell who the father of the baby (Gordon), was. She took the secret to the grave with her, so I shall never find out one whole line of my natural blood there. But his maternal side, the only other surname I have found, was George's wife was supposed to have been a Lauverna (Johnson) - Jackson. They were both supposed to be Native Americans,,, there is one copy of a picture of them in front of there "tee-pee" that is in the family, but of course that family member will not get copies made, won't let you get copies made, won't let you PAY to have copies made,,,, just hangs on to it, till it falls apart and won't do any of us any good ! (GRrrrrrrrrr) ! Anyway, Great Grandma Mariah told us that we were part Cherokee & something else, but I was only about 6 when she told me that, so I don't remember what the other was,, but since George & Lauverna were living in a tee-pee, I don't think they could' ve been where we got our Cherokee from, because Cherokee's did not live in tee-pee's. Maybe the Cherokee blood comes from the secret lover that Mariah had, and it through my grandfather that I get the Cherokee ?? Who knows !!!??? That's all I know on my grandfather's side.

My paternal grandmother,,, oh boy here's where the fun starts ! ("Mary") Lena Lauverna (Kisner) - Shaffer, the daughter of Joseph Albert Kisner & Rosetta Summers - Kisner. We called her "Gran", she was born in Catawba, Marion Co., WV. on Nov. 1, 1915, and just left this world on Nov. 11, 1995. A very beautiful woman, well built, even though she was small. She had an olive complexion, she always said it was the Indian & Black Dutch in her,,, but a lot of her ancestors were German ! ???!! It has been through her bloodline, that I have so many connections with other West Virginians. She donated the following surnames to my bloodline: Kisner, Hawkins, Wilson, Summers, Starn, Steele, Swisher, Mickey, Morgan, Prickett & Springer.

I attended several grade schools since my step-dad was in the US Air Force. I've lived in Kansas, Mass., Calif. & of course, WV. in my childhood. I attended Jr. High School at ; (8th grade) Miller Jr. HS in Fairmont, Marion Co.,; (9th grade thru 11th grade) at Buckhannon Upshur HS, in Buckhannon, Upshur Co., WV.

I was first married to Ricky Gail Hanifan of Buckhannon, we lost a baby there on July 19, 1975, buried at the Indian Camp Church Cemetery, Upshur Co. We divorced shortly after that.

I was married the 2nd time, to Steven Ray Palmer of Weston. Lewis Co., WV. we too lost a baby, this time, to a 4 1/2 month tubal pregnancy that almost took my life. We too divorced right in the middle of that crisis in May of 1980. After which, I joined the U.S. Army Reserves, and was assigned to the 363rd MP Unit of Weston/Jane Lew, WV. and was trained to a secondary MOS as a Military Police, Primary being a supply clerk, but was never in the supply room the entire tour of duty there !

Moving even further to the west, in August of 1983, I tried a 3rd marriage, out of loneliness, to Charles Edward Walters, II of Harrison Co., WV. That lasted 4 1/2 months, I threw him out and didn't get the divorce for a couple of years, so I couldn't do that again !

In May of 1985, I was living with a man in Clarksburg, Harrison Co.,WV. In Nov. 1985, he talked me into joining regular Army, so on Dec. 3, 1985, I was off to Ft. Hood, Texas. I came home to WV on "leave" in Sept. of 1986, and having divorced husband #3 while in Texas, I then married the man I had been "living" with, Keith Martin Jones of Clarksburg, WV. I got out of the Army in 1987. Keith & I divorced April 12, 1990.

In March of 1991, while living in Bridgeport, WV, I was working as a security guard for the Harrison Power Station in Lumberport/Shinnston, and met a very nice man, began dating, found out he lived in Pittsburgh, PA, so I told him,,, don't go falling in love, I don't need anyone, I don't want anyone, and I'm NEVER leaving West Virginia again ! Well guess what, open mouth, insert very large foot. I've been living in Pittsburgh, PA since June of 1991. Actually we live one mile shy of Monroeville. I don't know how to drive in downtown Pittsburgh, and I don't want to. All I know is one way back to WV. ! Kenneth John Onderick is the man guilty of making me move ! After 1 year together, he bought us a beautiful 3 bedroom home, multi-level, in a beautiful neighbor hood,,, but everybody's too close for me,,, I need more space ! But this will have to do.

Last year, at age 38, I was diagnosed with cancer, went through chemo & radiation, finished treatments in June 1996,,, by October I was in extreme pain, waited till my dr. appt. in Nov. to complain about this so-called "scar tissue" under my right arm. I told the doc of the pain, and that it seemed like the scar tissue was growing,,, so he made arrangements for immediate surgery, and sure enough,,,, the cancer came back,,, it had continued to grow through all the treatments,,, so now, they've started higher dose chemo's on Dec. 23, 1996, the next one is Jan. 20, 1997,, and then probably around April, I have to under-go a bone marrow transplant, which if I survive, will require a month long stay in the hospital. But I will continue to TRY to keep up with my genealogy, as it has been what has kept me "sane" through this past horrible year. Poor Kenny, he wants to marry me, but he can't afford me & my hospital bills,,, so I've told him, that if I make it through this, then we still have to wait several years, to make sure it doesn't come back,,, then I'll marry him !

Well, that's my entire life in a nut-shell ! (Big nut-shell) , So I'm a big NUT !!!!!

Thanks & Everyone, Please, Have a safe, Happy, HEALTHY, New Year !
Jenny (Shaffer) - Jones

Note from Joy: I met Jenny, or rather Jenny met me, a day or so after her November doctor's appointment. Knowing what she knew, she wanted to be sure that her genealogy research would be available for others to use; so, she contacted me as the keeper of the Monongalia County GenWeb site. The longer we chatted by e-mail, the more I came to know and love her. Then, I asked her permission to share her story with "our gang." As a result, she became our own gift from above when she arrived on the list riding on the tide of Christmas time.

Three days after she joined our list in January, I received the following:

I thought I sent you e-mail about the Glory,,,,, it started thinning on the 6th, by the 7th, it was coming out by handfuls,,,, finally about 9 pm on the 7th, hair was everywhere, and was making an awful mess ! I finally pulled it into a ponytail, and since Kenny prefers short hair, I handed him the scissors and let him have his way with me ! I now have real short hair ! But today, it is falling out, now my scalp even hurts !

. . . the day the hair "flew" ! Ha ha ! I had Kenny save the long hair that had came out. He rolled it into a ball about the size of a softball. I've heard that human hair never looses its scent, so I told Kenny to save it, then put it over the hill by my little apple trees, (a yellow delisious & a red delisious). I said I didn't want the hair to go to waste, if we put it by the apple trees, it might help to deter the deer for the winter. I've been telling myself that last time I took chemo (Jan. 96 - June 96), they said I'd go bald,,, but the hair kept on growing,,,, so DID the CANCER ! So this time, since the hair is going,,, SO IS THE CANCER ! That makes it slightly easier to deal with ! Sounds like a good plan to me ! Whadda ya think ?

I stayed up last night, till 7 a.m. this morning, was afraid I'd go to bed & wake up bald,,,, but my hair is SSSOOOOOO thick, there's still quite a bit there,,, sure makes a mess coming out,,, falls in my food, sticks to my clothes, I have a hairy pillow & the bed looks like some hairy animal has been trying to make a nest in there! If it weren't so depressing, it would really be rather funny ! Well, it is funny,,, but I'm still not thrilled with the idea ! I look like Poo Poo ! I refused to go to the monthly business meeting of our VFD tonight,,, and "I'm" the secretary !!!!!! Note: This is the Wilkens VFD that we see named on our updates.

My home nurse that came today, she says two weeks tops, if I'm lucky, then I will be totally bald, if not before ! She sent me to the surgeon today,,, the sight where they stuck the hickman cathiter in, to the point where it actually exits, it is red, swollen and it hurts. She was afraid that it may have to come out,,, an infection, or my body is rejecting this foreign object that's stuck in it. So we rushed me to the surgeon, and I begged,,, NO, please DON'T take it out ! I'm so tired of getting poked with needles, this thing is a VIEN-SAVER !!! I LOVE IT !!!!! So he gave me an Rx of some strong antibiotics to take every 4 hours,,,, then I have to go see him next week (16th), he also did a blood "culture",,, so I guess I'll know then whether it gets to stay, or has to go ! Everyone pray that it clears up, and gets to stay ! I'm one of those patients that gets combative, when it comes to getting an IV or blood tests ! And they HAVE to draw blood EVERY week !!!!

So, anyway,,, I'm still here,,, just not quite as hairy ! My head really hurts ! It feels like someone is squeezing it, and cutting off the circulation, yet it still hurts,,, like zillions of tiny needles are being poked all over my scalp at once ! Well, now,,,, I bet if you had any little aches or pains today,,, you probably don't hurt so bad now ? Right ?!!!

I finally got the doctors attention, about a rash under my right arm,,, the exact same place where they have done 2 surgeries before,,,, finally I had to get mean. loud and threaten him, to get him to pay attention when I talk,,,, and since the tiny rash had started in Nov.,,, it kept spreading, and growing, and kept getting more & more painful,,, I told the Doc, that I did NOT WANT his pain pills, I don't take them #1. because I don't like taking meds, # 2 cause I wanted him to FIX the problem, NOT cover it up ! So finally, after it had grown several large mushroom-shaped, ugly deformed looking things, and started oozing, he FINALLY decided we'd better see what it was. I think it's the cancer coming through this chemo too, so does my surgeon,,,, and IF that IS the case, then they are not going to be able to help me, not even with the bone marrow transplant.

So, Wednesday I had another surgery, my surgeon had already informed me, that he could only take a little off of whatever was growing under my arm, because they had to cut so many times in the same place, that I have nothing left to work with. Well, as it turned out, they took a slice off, one of those mushroom-shaped "things", and they had to leave it wide open, I don't have enough skin left to play with,,, PLUS while he was in there, he found another tumor that no one had notice yet, further back (almost in the arm pit, but spreading towards my back), just out of my reach. This is the place where I told my dr. that was hurting !

My surgeon removed the new-found lump, and informed my family, that surgery is no longer an option. He can't get it all, and the only thing he could do, would only be cosmetic, he could do skin grafts, and make it "look" better, but the problem will continue growing under the skin.

The biopsy (pathology) report on the mushroom-shaped thing, is suppose to be in, later today. I've told everyone, that if it comes back as cancer again, then they can no longer help me, they can only make me sicker, and prolong my misery. So, I plan to stop all treatments, which will allow me to recuperate somewhat, and go on with my life as though nothing has happened, I will be thankful for whatever time I have left, and I will pray for the Creator to send me a miracle. Meanwhile, I won't be sick, and I can enjoy life. I have always felt, that no matter what we do, when your number is up, it's up ! God knows the number of your days, so if He's ready for me, then nothing the doctors do, will matter. If it's NOT my time, then God will let me live till it IS my time. It's as simple as that.

So, that's what's happening in my world today !

A few days later, Jenny's world turned upside down when the doctor gave her six months but recommended further massive chemo and other treatments. It was then that Jenny's supporters around the country turned into Jenny's Army and began fighting for Jenny with Juice for Jenny. Each day at noon, across this great land, we pause for a glass of juice (that sometimes tastes amazinly like coffee or tea) and ask our Lord to watch over Jenny, to care for her as He knows best, and if it is his will to grant her a miracle.

Last week, because of a secondary infection and her refusal to be hospitalized, she came home from the doctor's office believing that she would die before the next sunrise. But, our Jenny is a fighter. She called on Jenny's Army to pray for a different miracle - the miracle that she would continue to be with us for "one more camping season."

While none of us know when and if our Creator will answer our prays as we would like them to be, we know that He heard us and provided the miracle of Jenny seeing a new day dawn. She not only survived the night but her nurse, Lara Rittenhouse, turned out to be a guardian angel when she arrived with the news that treatment for the infection was available in Jenny's home.

It's now March 23, almost a week later. We don't know what the future will hold for Jenny; but, for that matter, we don't know what the future will hold for any of us. It could be that any one of us has seen his/her last sunrise. . .

But this story isn't just about Jenny's struggle with cancer; it's a story of her celebration of life . . . for, you see, Jenny has maintained her sense of humor and her spontaneous spirit and has continued to research, compile and share her genealogy databases, go about her shopping and housekeeping and, at the same time, teach all of us how to deal with adversity. She has made a difference in our lives; we hope we have made a difference in hers. What more can any of us ask of our gifted time on this earth than that we make a difference!