Jennifer Bridgman

2012 Updates

Team Chris: Update VII

July 17, 2012

Dear Friends and Family,

It’s been 18 months since my last “Team Chris” update, so I figured it was time to put down my copy of 50 Shades of Grey and get to it. In all honesty, I’ve been too busy to get much writing done at all these days--and not just because of some terribly written/terribly entertaining “mommy porn.”

It’s hard to summarize all that has happened in the past year and a half, but here goes…

After six years as a Mortgage Loan Officer with Bank of America, Chris was wooed and recruited by Absolute Mortgage Banking in Palo Alto. Chris is thrilled to be part of the AMB team and has already proven himself as the top loan originator in the office. He continues to make physical fitness a priority by hitting the gym, meeting a personal trainer or swimming laps most days of the week. It’s been two-and-a-half years since his accident, and while he has not regained any additional sensation or usage of his lower body, he is dedicated to keeping his body in tip-top shape for whenever that day does come.

In the second half of 2011, Chris was invited by Ekso Bionics (formerly Berkeley Bionics) and Santa Clara Valley Medical Center to be part of a six-week study of eLEGS, a wearable robot that enables wheelchair users to stand and walk. After five years in development, the groundbreaking exoskeleton (now simply called “Ekso,”) debuted in October of 2010. Thanks to developments like these in robotics and other studies focused on nerve regeneration and stem cells, Chris and I remain optimistic that a cure for paralysis will be discovered in our lifetime.

Last fall, I officially became a freelance writer with the publication of two of my columns. My first column (“A New Blueprint”) appeared in the inaugural issue of Life in Action, a magazine devoted to informing, inspiring and empowering those with spinal cord injuries and disorders. It was a privilege to be approached considering the Bridgmans are just one of countless families affected by a spinal cord injury (SCI).

My second column (“Letting Go of Fear”) appeared in the November issue of New Mobility magazine. NM became a primary resource to our family in the wake of my husband's paralyzing accident. A year-and-a-half later, it was an absolute honor to have written for the publication myself. (You can check out both published columns by clicking here).

The biggest news of last fall, however, was that Chris and I were expecting our second child! While our ability to be intimate was not affected by Chris’ paralysis, we soon discovered that our odds of conceiving again had dwindled dramatically following his accident. Dealing with SCI-related infertility issues was a long, scary and frustrating road, but we endured thanks to hope, patience, our supportive families and a gaggle of excellent doctors. (Thank you, again, to my husband for allowing me to candidly discuss this topic in my book, as I believe our experience will benefit other couples like us.)

In February of 2012, we took our second annual “Celebration of Life” trip to Hawaii to commemorate the anniversary of Chris’ accident. This time we traveled to Kona on the Big Island with our son and dear friends, Chad and Angela. One way to get Chris to try anything is to tell him it cannot be done! Thanks to Chris’ positive attitude, Chad’s beefy muscles and a whole lot of advance planning, Chris was able to participate in many outdoor activities (swimming with dolphins, nighttime snorkeling with manta rays, entering the water from the sandy shorebreak, etc.).

More than an opportunity to sunbathe and eat absurd amounts of Hula Pie, our “Celebration of Life” trips are an important reminder that life is short and our time here is precious. With that in mind, we're heading back to Hawaii in February 2013. Next year, we are heading to the Garden Isle of Kauai for the first time in search of helicopters, ATVs and sea turtles.

Yes, it is good to be a Bridgman!

And finally…the year may only be halfway through, but there’s no doubt we’ve already experienced 2012’s biggest thrill. On May 31, we welcomed our second son--the healthy, beautiful and oh-so-charming Mr. Hunter Charles. Now running a family of four, Chris and I have graduated to a man-to-man defense when caring for our young boys. While I may be feeding our infant every two hours around the clock, it appears Chris acquired the more demanding job of keeping up with our mile-a-minute toddler. Paralysis has officially taken a backseat in our everyday lives as Chris has proven there is next-to-nothing he cannot do as a husband, father and provider.

Now the sole female in a male-dominated household, I have resigned to the fact that I a) may never hold the TV remote control again, and b) that terms such as “Backhoe Excavator” now roll off my tongue with alarming ease. All things considered, my next book should be titled 50 Shades of Blue.

Thank you for your continued interest in our family and my husband's on-going recovery efforts. Now and always, We Believe in Chris.

With Love, 
One Proud Wife