Friday, March 17, 2017

Roloff Friend, Jen Montzingo, Left Paraplegic - Faces Critical Surgery

This is not really a Roloff related item, but given the real life impact on someone -- I wanted to at least let some of our readers know what has happened to one of the "friends" of the Roloffs from the early seasons of Little People, Big World.

Long time fans of the show, will remember wayyyy back when the show started (and in truthfulness, before the show), Jen Montzingo was one of Zach Roloff's closest friends. Jen was often featured in the "LPA" conference episodes and in one of the early seasons Jen was featured in quite a few episodes as she had spent a lot of time at the Roloffs house.
























Jen has answered some reader comments on our site before. Years ago, Jen had moved from her home in Seattle to Hollywood to pursue her dream of acting. She was known as one of the Roloffs few friends who were more "liberal".

Anyhow, over the years, Jen's once close friendship with the Roloffs (considering she was a family friend before the show) sadly seemed to end.

Given the Roloffs negative feelings towards Spiritswander Blog, it seems as though anytime there was talk of Jen, that would create drama.

Moving on, in 2014, something tragic happened.






























After hearing the terrible news that Jen had become paraplegic, I reached out to Jen to bring awareness to our readers about what had happened to someone they probably remembered from the early seasons.

We were doing a question and answer item with the main purpose of letting people know about Jen's situation. However, because this is a Roloff blog, I perhaps unfairly, asked if we could discuss some Roloff topics,  her current relationship with them, her thoughts on then current happenings with the Roloffs (it was around the time of Jacob's Ask.fm and when Jacob started speaking out that he wasn't a Christian, etc.).

When I was just about to publish the item, Jen had a change of heart and asked not to include any Roloff related topics as she had no interest in creating more drama or bad blood with the Roloffs (although she didn't say anything negative, even trying to explain what happened would probably open up old wounds). So the item went unpublished.

I hope I am not out of line and if so I sincerely apologize to Jen, but because I don't believe this is controversial -- I did ask Jen about her relationship with the Roloffs in 2014 and she replied that she hadn't seen them in a long time.

Since Jen was a friend of the Roloffs with very different views on social issues than most of the Roloffs, I did ask for her opinion on the "controversy" with Jacob and the backlash he was facing from Christians fans of the Roloffs.

Spiritswander QuestionAnd just one final Roloff question just because it has been by far the most discussed topic on the blog in the last several months. There is some similarity between Christians on our site being upset with you for being "pro-gay" and quite frankly saying nasty things about you a few years ago and how Christians are now upset with Jacob for his social media posts. I realize that when you were close friends with the Roloffs, Jacob was just a young boy, but I'm sure people are curious as to what you think about Jacob being outspoken about rejecting Christianity, and his overall presence on social media. He answers questions on all social issues and posts his opinions and often times his opinions seem to be very different from the rest of his family. What are your thoughts about Jacob?

Jen Montzingo: : Hmmm...that is quite a complex question, especially for someone who doesn't follow Jacob on any social media accounts. I don't know, but perhaps Jacob isn't rejecting Christianity, but rejecting those who don't allow for questioning, doubts, and exploring things. 

From the way you worded your question, it sounds like Jacob is really thoughtful, philosophical and interested in seeking truth no matter the cost. I remember what an old youth pastor told me, it really sticks with me to this day and applies to this question. He said, "all truth is God's truth, so you really don't have to be afraid of it." Before I get a bunch of hate mail from atheists, let me explain the heart of what he meant. This isn't against atheists way of being at all. He's just saying, you don't have to be afraid of seeking truth and having doubts. Because it's normal to wrestle with these complex issues and feel like the way you grew up sheltered you from other ways of thinking and being. It's a really normal developmental stage that I think most psychologically healthy young adults go through.

I commend Jacob for taking the time to really research different issues and form his own opinion and be confident enough to speak up. It takes a strong core to go "against the flow." Simply following something when you have no idea on what it actually means seems kind of inauthentic and shallow.

SW: Any opinion on the backlash from Christians who feel that Jacob should be banned from social media or who say they are hoping he is disowned by the rest of the Roloffs next January when he turns 18? 

JM: : I cannot even fathom the type of person who would write that he should be disowned from his family? You have to ask yourself about the heart of someone who would write that? It's easy to be anonymous online and say hurtful things without reaping any consequences. Things you would never say to someone's face.

If Jacob were to read this I would want him to know that I support him because I know his character based on who he was as child. I'd actually be really interested to hear what he thinks about different issues - I'm sure he could point me to really interesting points of view from credible sources.

I just thought some readers would be interested in Jen's opinion on Jacob.

Most of our interview was on the life changing events:

SW: People might recall that a few years ago you moved from your home in Seattle to Hollywood to pursue your dream of acting. Can you give people an update? What has been happening in your life?

JM: I did somewhat pursue acting, but mostly I was happy teaching kindergarten-age children. I didn't really go "full force" with acting because in the process I realized how shy I can be and how much I don't like to be the center of attention. For example, if you sing happy birthday to me, I will turn bright red, even if it is a classroom of children singing to me. But I'm open to bit parts here and there, although I'm pretty picky on the type of parts I'm willing to do. I went more of the public speaking route and before this year, spoke pretty frequently all around the greater LA area. 

For me, I had planned on pursuing a master's degree in some combination of social work, public policy and clinical therapy. I was in the process of looking at different programs and figuring out what would be best for me.

I had major orthopedic surgery in February where they did two osteotomies, basically replaced both of my knees and one ankle (the other ankle will be done soon) and I had to wear external fixators for five months. It was brutal and gruesome, the most painful experience I have ever had.

My legs were extremely bowed and my knees were not aligned correctly, which was essentially compressing my nerves to the point of, if I did not do the surgery, I would have ended up in a wheelchair. 

Then, I slipped backwards off my stool while I was doing dishes I ended up having emergency spinal surgery by the Head of Orthopedics and the Head of Neurosurgery at a prominent LA hospital that is the west coast leader for people with skeletal dysplasia. Long story short, I suffered permanent spinal cord damage from the fall and my life has completely changed. 





Jen's dad took this while waiting for her to get of surgery #4































SW: Are you still in the hospital? 

JM: I was in the hospital for, let's see, 7 of the 12 months this year. 5 of the months I wore these unbearably torturous external fixators and two of the months I was at a spinal cord rehabilitation center. I had two glorious months this past summer where I was able to live at home. This is not said for people to feel sorry for me. This is just my story. 

SW: What have you been told about recovery?

JM: Nobody anticipates I will make a full recovery due to the extensiveness of the spinal cord damage, but I continue to press on in physical and occupational therapies, hoping to regain what is possible for me. But many essential functions, I have lost and I now use an electric wheelchair, unless I am just in my room or something.

SW: How are you coping with all of this? 

JM: In all honesty, I am grieving and totally devastated. I should probably think of some Pollyanna thing to say, but that is my current reality. I know emotions can change, and time heals many things, but right now, everything is fresh and I am also in shock. 



Jen's first trip out of her in 43 days. Downstairs to hospital Starbucks! A huge Treat!


















SW: There has been a lot of talk about medical care in the U.S. How are you coping financially with all that has happened to you? 

JM: I was able to use my savings to pay for my medical care so far, but unfortunately it is ongoing. I have many new daily needs which are expensive, like having a care giver. But everything going on with me kind of pales with the suffering of others in the world. I know many have it far worse.

That was back in November 2014.

Of the past 3 years, Jen was in the hospital/acute/rehab/nursing home for 870 days.






Jen's brother atakes Jen to the courtyard in her wheel chair after 60 days






















Friends of Jen's, distributed this letter in March 2017 to let people know of what is happening and help that is needed if possible:

For those who do not know, in August of 2014, Jen fell and incurred a massive spinal cord injury, leaving her an incomplete paraplegic. After this, she had a fourteen-hour emergency neurosurgery and spent August 2014 until May 2016 in the hospital, subsequent rehab and nursing home(s). In May of 2016 she was finally able to move into a Seattle apartment with caregivers coming in to provide care and where she could be closer to the support system in which she grew up with.

Throughout this time, Jen had a second neurosurgery to try and stabilize her spine. She is now scheduled to have a third and hopefully final neurosurgery for the foreseeable future on April 10th at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, California. If left untreated, this spinal cord injury will cause further paralysis or fatality. 

Their skeletal dysplasia department has extensive experience and critical expertise in maintaining this injury in combination with the medical difficulties due to achondroplastic dwarfism. Her surgical team has been very committed to her care throughout these past few difficult years. 

We are writing to ask for some help for her for a limited amount of time.  We would be grateful for your support as we fundraise to assist Jen with at least some of the additional costs for this surgery.

Her hospitalization, surgeons’ fees and imaging are partly covered by her insurance. She is gratefully receiving financial assistance from the hospital for the rest of her inpatient costs.  However, Jen needs assistance for her airfare and subsequent lodging costs for when she is not actually checked into the hospital (i.e. pre-op and post-op appointments from three different physicians who need to see her regularly and sign off on these surgeries, outpatient MRI’s with the surgeons present as well as blood typing/matching for transfusions and necessary lab testing). 

We are in the home stretch and hoping this will finally be the end of the surgical road for our dearest Jen!We are also hoping that this surgical intervention leads to less pain, more sensation and increased mobility so that she may be more active in her community.

Would you consider contributing toward this effort on Jen’s behalf? 

Jennifer’s grandparents are 50+ year legacies at a Seattle-area church that wants to help her during this difficult time. They have set up an avenue for you to receive tax credit for your contributions, if you donate through the First Free Methodist Church. The site is www.ffmc.org and you would click on the “Giving tab”.  Mark your donation for Local Impact Partners fund. The church will direct your donation toward Jen’s health funding needs and you will receive a tax credit receipt for your gift.

Thank you so much for your consideration of this need.

Sincerely,

Jen’s Advocates: 



Jen and her dad at her cousin's wedding in between surgeries




















----------------------------
Just to clarify, because some commenting were wondering about insurance, while it pays for medical, Jenn still has medical equipment expenses, $400 + caregiver copay and a lot of airfare and lodging costs due to the back and forth trips..


The hospital chart from Jen's amazing surgeon who has given her best chance of recovery











































For anyone interested in how they could help if they are in a position to do so, the best way would be through a Go Fund Me Campaign. Here is the link:

Go Fund Me Campaign for Jen Montzingo



29 comments:

Jocelynn said...

I'm so sorry to hear what has happened to Jen. I hate hearing when bad things happen to good people.

I remember the IMDB days of LPBW discussion and Jeremy's Super Fan Jerslundgirl. She was quirky but had a certain charm. I remember that most of Jeremy's friends were incredibly cruel to her telling to kill herself. I remember Jerslundgirl saying that Jen was "one of the nice" friends.

And I know I probably shouldn't say this because from what Spirits wrote, Jen did not want this to be the topic, but I have to say it, I really do....

MY GOD, Roloffs get over yourselves!!!!! How can anyone say they are a Christian and then treat someone with such coldness when something happens like the person being paralyzed? How about forgetting about petty arguments and having a heart?

I don't know, maybe the Roloffs have come around, maybe they've all moved on but for GODSAKES! Someone you've known for 15 years becomes a paraplegic and you still hold a grudge over an argument about Kim Kardashian???

There are no words! Again, I am sorry, but it had to be said.

All my prayers and thoughts are with Jen.

Rap541 said...

Yeah, you've said it Jocelynn.

I'm genuinely curious if anyone in the Roloff family feels bad about their suspicions towards Jen when thanks to the Roloff lawsuits and frankly, Jen's injuries, that Jen is not Spiritswander.

Ashley said...

Wow :( I'm really sorry to hear what happened. I wish I had lots of money so I could help. I hope the operation is successful and Jen can be as positive as possible. Its really sad.

Erica said...

How are Jen's hospital expenses being covered by the hospital? Is that Obamacare?

Podge/Rodge groupie said...

I'm a bit surprised that none of the so-called christians gave been posting first (some must have set up notifications in my view) that Jen is simply receiving god's at some of her actions. Jen did something to displease god, so this is the result. And as their previous posts in other threads, she deserves this.

As it has been mentioned already, this is much like Matt's neck surgery and Zach's surgeries, all this bad karma is a result of them doing something to displease god. They deserve all the bad karma that god has decided to bestow upon them.

Jen was spot on, "I cannot even fathom the type of person............It's easy to be anonymous online and say hurtful things without reaping any consequences. Things you would never say to someone's face."

PJ said...

Erica,
The post clearly states Jen has insurance. But like most policies she has co-pays and deductibles.

Happy said...

I wish Jen all the best and wish that I was in a financial situation that would allow me to contribute a few bills. I have a relative that had a seriously painful spine condition that while corrected, has left her almost immobile and addicted to opiate pain killers. You don't want spine problems.

Rap541 said...

I think the more important question, since the article does indeed mention that Jen has some coverage, is why anyone wants to make an issue of where her coverage comes from.

Rap541 said...

And to PJ's point - even when you have insurance you have costs. I went to the eye doctor today to get new glasses, and make sure my prescription was still ok. If I didn't have insurance, I would have spent about 1000 dollars between the exam and the new glasses. With insurance, I paid 435 total. If I hadn't chosen pricy frames and transition lens, it still would have cost me 200 dollars.

Set Abominae said...

It's always incredibly tragic when terrible things happen to good people like Jen.

I most sincerely wish her the best and hope her recovery is speedy and complete.

Sara said...

Raps, to be fair to Erica, Trump and the Obamacare is a bit of a mystery to in-Americans. Erica asked a simple question.

Rap541 said...

Sara, to be equally fair, is it anyone's business where Jen gets her health insurance?

Insurance doesn't pay for everything. I had my gall bladder removed a few years ago and I have full coverage through my company and they WILL ask for a check for the amount of your deductible and there's lots of things that either aren't covered or aren't *immediately* covered - for example, while I had maxed out my deductible with the surgery, I still had to write a check for the sleep apnea test because due to processing time, it wasn't registering that my deductible for the year was already met. Now, I was refunded, months later, and I had the money on hand to deal with it but not everyone is so lucky.

It's really no one's business where Jen's insurance comes from and frankly, I have the concern that the question is being asked so that Jen can be criticized for using the ACA - if she's using it.

Why is it anyone's concern where Jen's health insurance came from? Am I allowed to demand who will be covering Jer and Auj's baby and how they are paying for it as well? Allowed to demand, WITHOUT someone bitching that it's none of my business how two people with no discernable job between them afford health care?

PJ said...

no Sara,
The post says Jen has insurance. Erica was being snarky.

Sara said...

Only Erica can say...

Sara said...

Rap, maybe a cure for overreacting is covered under your insurance. Usually I agree with you 100% but your responses here are off the deep end.

Rap541 said...

Sara - I am genuinely asking - do you think its anyone's business where Jen's health insurance comes from?

I'm fine with the "Rap is off the deep end" remark - just tell me that it matters to you personally where Jen's insurance comes from and why.

Bad Thingz said...

Sounds like she pissed off Sky Daddy.

Rap541 said...

Really Sara? "I think the more important question, since the article does indeed mention that Jen has some coverage, is why anyone wants to make an issue of where her coverage comes from."

How bout you 'splain me how this is OFF THE DEEP END to where you need to publically chide me and insist there's nothing unusual in people making public demands to know WHERE someone is getting their insurance, but suggesting it's not anyone's business is GOING OFF THE DEEP END!

Here's my reasoning. Jen's not on the show and hasn't been for years. If she's using the ACA - that's her following current law as people without insurance are supposed to enroll in the ACA coverage. If she has private coverage, that's ALSO her business as this article is talking about things that don't get covered.

And if you do think it's your business, then I will make it my business to ask and ask where Jeremy and Auj are getting their healthcare since it's OFF THE DEEP END to give them privacy and complete acceptable to demand they make their coverage choices public. As Erica is demanding of Jen.

I love how suggesting something isn't our business is now OFF THE FUCKING DEEP END, and Sara, I will be citing this every time someone tells me it's too private from now on as its OFF THE DEEP END to grant privacy now.

Sara said...



My issue is not with her coverage at all. As a non-American, I don't really give a rat's ass how her procedure etc. is paid for.

Erica's two sentence (!) post was benign. You over-reacted to her, and super-over-reacted to me. Go back and read the posts. Go ahead, I'll wait.....









And by responding as you did, you've proven my 'deep end' point. You've absurdly overreacted, and not about the issue at hand.

Does your health coverage include a cure for over-use of non-sequitur?

Cheers, sugar buns! ;)

Rap541 said...

As a non American do you understand that there's a social slur involved in someone accessing the ACA?

Help me out here, Sara, did you know that the evangelical right wing sorts who bitch here ALOT believe that people who access the ACA health coverage are all welfare cheats who just like not working and taking handouts from the government?

Do YOU think Jen is a welfare cheat who just wants a handout?

Erica hasn't had the courage to in any way explain her comment and there's been PLENTY of time for her to clarify that her point wasn't that she thinks Jen is a Demo-rat taker, taking from honest Christians. If *you* don't know the context of the remark, then let me explain. In America, it's very common for evangelical Christians to insist that people who access the ACA coverage are losers who don't want to work, who want free money and who are usually "liberal haters".

Have you stood up and ASKED Erica to clarify WHY she needs to know if Jen is using Obamacare? Will you ask, now? Or is that OFF THE DEEP END?

Hey Christians, help me out - tell Sara what you think of people on Obamacare.

Woodsy said...

So sorry to hear about Jen. I do remember her well. She was on many episodes and always seemed funny and to have a good attitude. (By the way, do the Roloffs hang out with any Little People anymore? It seems we never see any of their LP friends these days.)

I hope Jen's condition and need for money comes to the attention of the Roloffs because they do have the means to help Jen. I know they're wrapped up in their own drama, but with Matt having gone through spinal surgery recently, he should be willing to help his friend. Maybe he has. We don't know everything.

Thank you for the update on Jen.

Sara said...

Classic straw man argument technique Rap (look it up...I'll wait).

You know I'm right that, in this case, Erica has done nothing wrong in her two- sentence post, and your crazy-as-fuck response pre-supposes her entire thought processs on a stranger's health insurance.

You are using straw man because you know I am right and you cannot bear to admit that you've blown a gasket over nothing.

I'm sad for you.

Rap541 said...

Nonsense, Sara - what business is it of anyone's what insurance Jen uses?

What insurance in the US other than Obamacare holds any controversy?

Help me out Sara - what insurance program in the US holds any controversy? What insurance program is looked down upon if someone uses it?

And what business is it of anyone's, including Erica's, where Jen gets her health coverage and why would that specific question - is it Obamacare? be asked for any reason other than to find yet another thing to complain about?

You didn't answer my question - as a non American, do you understand that using Obamacare is a bit of a slur?

And I notice *Erica* isn't willing to explain why she needs to know where Jen's insurance comes from, which tells me a great deal about why she wanted to know :)

Sara said...

Again, straw man.
Can't construct a defence of your overboard behaviour, can you???

Rap541 said...

I'm still waiting to hear a logical reason why anyone needs to know where Jen gets her insurance :)

Sara - do you understand as a non American that using Obamacare is a bit of a slur?

And since you're insisting I am wildly overreacting - here's my initial comment:

"I think the more important question, since the article does indeed mention that Jen has some coverage, is why anyone wants to make an issue of where her coverage comes from."

and my second:

"And to PJ's point - even when you have insurance you have costs. I went to the eye doctor today to get new glasses, and make sure my prescription was still ok. If I didn't have insurance, I would have spent about 1000 dollars between the exam and the new glasses. With insurance, I paid 435 total. If I hadn't chosen pricy frames and transition lens, it still would have cost me 200 dollars."


At which point you began arguing with me, which means this is the "overboard behavior" you're attempting to bitch about.

So since you think these two responses were OVERBOARD BEHAVIOR - I'd like to know why... especially since I wasn't rude to Erica at all. All I have done is ask why it's necessary for Erica to know where Jen's insurance comes from since Jen has insurance, and there are always expenses for things that aren't covered. You found this OVERBOARD BEHAVIOR and picked a fight over it - so what was overboard?

Sara said...

"All I have done is ask why it's necessary for Erica to know where Jen's insurance comes from"

Erica didn't say it was necessary to know where Jenn's insurance comes from. You made that up in your head. In fact, the sum total of her post was, "How are Jen's hospital expenses being covered by the hospital? Is that Obamacare?".

I didn't say you were overboard til after your March 19 @ 3:23pm. That's when you went batshit. You started with "I have the concern that the question is being asked so that Jen can be criticized for using the ACA - if she's using it" and escalated from there.

Everything beyond that was you making wild assumptions about why Erica was asking how Jen's expenses are paid and if it was Obamacare. Assuming Erica's intent was obnoxious of you.

Funny how you're revising Post history to suit your narrative.

Rap541 said...

Actually Sarah, I am counting from when you first began commenting.

And again, do you want to acknowledge that use of Obamacare is used as a slur here in the states?

Erica sure hasn't clarified that her request to know was innocent. Help me out here - what business is it of anyone's where Jen's insurance comes from?

And I do have the concern that the question is being asked so that Jen can be criticized for using the ACA - that's why people ask. Because there's no harassment value in Jen having Blue Cross or Aetna thru an employer, but there IS harassment value in her having coverage thru the ACA.

What was "batshit" and "OFF THE DEEP END" about *this* post as now you're citing this one as "batshit" and "OFF THE DEEP END":

"Sara, to be equally fair, is it anyone's business where Jen gets her health insurance?

Insurance doesn't pay for everything. I had my gall bladder removed a few years ago and I have full coverage through my company and they WILL ask for a check for the amount of your deductible and there's lots of things that either aren't covered or aren't *immediately* covered - for example, while I had maxed out my deductible with the surgery, I still had to write a check for the sleep apnea test because due to processing time, it wasn't registering that my deductible for the year was already met. Now, I was refunded, months later, and I had the money on hand to deal with it but not everyone is so lucky.

It's really no one's business where Jen's insurance comes from and frankly, I have the concern that the question is being asked so that Jen can be criticized for using the ACA - if she's using it.

Why is it anyone's concern where Jen's health insurance came from? Am I allowed to demand who will be covering Jer and Auj's baby and how they are paying for it as well? Allowed to demand, WITHOUT someone bitching that it's none of my business how two people with no discernable job between them afford health care?"

Help me out - since you're so wise and all, where did I GO BATSHIT in this post? Where did it GO OFF THE DEEP END?

Because really, up until you said I was off the deep end, I was quite respectful to you. I have a problem with the question because it's not anyone's business, and I don't think the question is being asked innocently. That Erica won't clarify why she needs to know is telling.

Sara said...

Here: "Why is it anyone's concern where Jen's health insurance came from? Am I allowed to demand who will be covering Jer and Auj's baby and how they are paying for it as well? Allowed to demand, WITHOUT someone bitching that it's none of my business how two people with no discernable job between them afford health care?"

That is where you sent batshit and started extrapolating Erica's two sentences put to all sorts of other scenarios. And why would Erica clarify when you've gone all judge & jury on two sentences??

Wendy said...

I agree only with the "no one needs to know who how or where her insurance comes from or even how she pays for it. That is her business and all her medical conditions are by law private. If she wishes to disclose her issues that is her business so talking about thing other than well wishes should be left alone. I pray for a speedy recovery and peaceful life for her. It's had enough being a little person but when all the other issues surface and people get nosey it gets tougher. Jen you go girl. You got this covered,. God is sitting right beside you
On another note I being a Christian believe in loving others and God is very forgiving. The people that say Jacob should be banned are totally being non Christian. I think God loves a good challenge