Journey Up Butterfly Mountain

The Life of Jennifer Remington as a paralyzed mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend.

Catching Up…. 6 Mar

WOW!  It has been a long time since I posted on this site and feel the need to bring all up to speed on my life.

After Shepherd Center my life changed dramatically! I no longer stayed confined to my hospital bed on a daily basis. Shepherd made me realize that I still had a functional role in my life. I learned to cook again, clean some, fold some and part take in raising my kids again. With all the new changes we realized that our beloved house wasn’t going to be feasibly remodeled to include the space and adaptable equipment I needed. So, what comes next?

House Hunting! Fun Fun! Except for us, we had to take into account my medical needs and where best I could have them met. After some serious soul searching we decided I needed to be close to a Spinal Cord Injury Center of Excellence. I just wasn’t receiving the care I needed in Brandon/Tampa.  So in our eyes we had 3 choices, Miami for The Miami Project, Atlanta for The Shepherd Center & Colorado for Craig Hospital.  We chose Craig Hospital. All things considered, it had everything we needed as a family to survive this injury. Craig is consistently rated in the top 5 of rehabilitation hospitals in the United States. We previously lived  in CO for 8 years and loved the weather, mountains and people. And finally for me, Colorado is ranked #1 in the country for accessibility and disability rights! Say no more!

So, June 2011 trucks loaded, FL house rented and goodbyes said we were off to Colorado! We bought a ranch house that could be “easily” transformed into an accessible home. (not the easiest thing to find in Colorado) And I started Craig 2 months later! The kids started school and have adjusted well. Life here has been a blessing in so many ways!

Don’t get me wrong, it has not been an easy road! I have been admitted to the hospital 8 times in the 16 months since we moved here. Not having family and friends around has been VERY difficult on us. I am not complaining, we knew that was the biggest thing we were giving up, we just didn’t expect the amount of hospital stays. That being said, I have had the BEST care available! Craig’s partner Swedish Hospital has a special multi-trauma unit that cares for spinal cord injured patients. As hard as it is sometimes, we made the right decision. (although I do dream of the day we can live in both places but don’t tell Keith)

Since we are living so far from so many family and friends I have decided to start blogging again (not that I did that much before) .  I thought writing would be a good way for me to share my journey with my long distance family & friends as well as those who just want to check in. I plan to write about what it’s like to live in my world. The good, the bad and the ugly!

I hope to post weekly so please check back often and please leave comments, questions and suggestions when you feel the urge.

That’s today’s thoughts from the wheelchair!


*If you are totally lost and thinking what does this chic have to talk about, please see previous posts especially the posts from Sept. 2.


Shepard Center Update…a year later 11 Jun

Shepard Center in Atlanta was amazing!

I spent 8 weeks in daily rehab working on my whole body. It was grueling but magical at the same time! I was able to get on a motorized machine, the “loco mat” as we referred to it, and walk with robotic legs! It felt so good to put weight through my lifeless legs. What was even better was watching my children’s eyes light up as mommy was lifted out of her chair to a standing position! Smiles ear to ear could be seen on all!

What Shepard did most for me was to turn back on the light inside my heart. They showed me all ways I was still valuable to my children, husband, friends and society. Before Shepard I was not getting out of my hospital bed at all, after I have spent less then 2 consequtive days in bed (due to illness/healing needs).

Shephard helped me to focus my attention on what I can do not what I have lost! For that I am eternaly greatfull!

New Hopes and Dreams for a New Year 8 Jan

Hello my friends and Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful and blessed Christmas and I wish you an even better 2010!

I felt very blessed to spend the holidays with my loving family and wonderful friends. There is nothing more special then watching children on Christmas morning and I was truly blessed to be able to watch my little ones this year.

I am starting out 2010 with a heart filled with HOPE! I spent the first few days of the new year filling out an application to get into The Shepard Center in Atlanta Georgia. The Shepard Center is a spinal cord injury specialty hospital that offers intensive daily physical/occupational therapy. They have a world renouned reputation with patients that come from all over the world. I hope to be accepted soon and move my family into the Shepard Center sometime in Febuary. I will keep you posted!

After I complete the 4 week program at Shepards, I then hope to go to Project Walk in California.

Please continue to pray for my family as we are still learning to cope with this huge life changing event. I believe that with a lot of prayers and hard work we can beat this together! It is because of each and everyone of you that I have HOPE!

Hears to a 2010 filled with HOPE and MIRACLES!

Inpatient Rehab finished Outpatient Begins 17 Nov

On October 21st I started the next phase of my life. I was released from inpatient rehab at Tampa General and sent home to begin learning to live my life at home. I was full of mixed emotions…ready to finally go home after being away for 2 1/2 months but scared to see how my new body fit into my old life. This transition turned out to be more difficult then I imagined.

My wonderful husband,Keith, transformed my able bodied house into a disabled persons home. He had cement ramps put in so that I could get in the front door, the master bedroom door widened and finally a roll in shower built. (Thanks to all of your donations these transformations were brought to life) So, while my home is now semi-comfortable for me and my wheelchair, it is the little things I am still not able to do that bother me the picking my two beautiful children up in my arms, tucking them into their beds and waiting in that dreaded car pool line to be the first to hear how their day was at school.

My wish for everyone that reads this blog it is that you cherish every minute you have with the ones you love. You never know when life is going to throw you a curve ball. One minute you are living life without a thought and the next minute you realize how much you took for granted. Just putting my socks on now takes me almost an hour of pure sweat and tears using assisted devices to help me.

Until tomorrow…with love

Tuesday October 6, 2009 6 Oct

Thank you! Thank you!
Thank you to everyone that came out to Skipper’s this past Sunday. It was great to see so many old faces as well as new faces. You guys are increadible and I could not have gotten as far as I have without each and every one of you! I need to send a special thank you to my sister, Susan, for organizing the event. You did an amazing job! I also want to thank everyone that bought and sold presale tickets as well as all the vendors that donated auction items. You all Rock!

Journey Up Butterfly Mountain 2 Sep

My name is Jennifer Remington. Like other people I have many roles I play in the game of life. One of a mother, one of a wife, one of daughter and now one of a fighter. On August 15th,2009 my life changed forever. While enjoying the company of good friends and my loving family at a weekend lake house retreat, I broke my neck in two critical places after diving into a lake. Not realizing that the water at the end of the dock was so shallow, I dove in for a swim. The  person I once was  disappeared as soon as my body hit the water. I knew when I emerged something was seriously wrong….I could not feel my legs. I arrived shortly after the accident by helicopter to Tampa General Hospital  and was quickly rushed to surgery. I awoke hours later in the ICU attached to everything the hospital could possibly throw at me. I could not focus, I could not speak, all I wanted to do was to die in peace to end my suffering. Days passed and so did another critical surgery on my neck. It was then that I understood the devestation that occurred to me. I shattered two vertebraes which in turn ravaged my spinal cord.  The only thing that kept me going was my two beautiful children. Although I could not physically see them, they gave me hope. My attitude on life was changing too. No longer did I want to die, I wanted to live another day to be a mother, a daughter, and a wife….I wanted to be a fighter. I am currently listed as an incomplete C7 traumatic spinal cord injury patient. I have no movement from my breast line down, and my vocal cords sustained some paralysis. I am on a journey to recovery. Everyday is filled with emotions that I hope nobody has to endure but I know I will get better. This is my story of recovery, this is my Journey Up Butterfly Mountain.