Founder & CEO Story
When I first stepped onto the softball field at age 4, I knew instantly this was the sport I wanted to play as long as I possibly can. I started competing in travel softball at 8 years old, for 9 years we traveled throughout the United States competing in tournaments every single weekend.
By my sophomore year of high school, I was getting recruited. But it was also the year my mom was diagnosed with cancer. If you have ever been close to someone that has had to deal with this horrible disease, you know what it looks like.
I felt so helpless, I would see my mom overwhelmed with appointments and treatments, papers everywhere, always forgetting things to tell or ask the doctor. I thought to myself “There has to be a better way to manage your health”. I was only 16 and had no clue how to do that.
It’s now my junior year of High School, my mom finally went into remission. We waited until she was better to start touring the schools interested in me as a student-athlete so she could be there and see all of our hard work come to life. I felt like I was walking on air, everything was moving along according to plan.
April 13th, 2015 was a normal game day. What I did not know at the beginning of that game was it was the last time I would ever put on a uniform to play softball.
I made a name for myself as one of the top 3rd basemen, that was my domain. I was running for a routine play at 3rd base when I unexpectedly blacked out. I was out for about 5 seconds but it felt like a lifetime.
When I got up from laying on the ground my head was on fire, I felt like my brain was about to explode. I was telling everyone I was fine and to leave me alone. I was an athlete, you always lie about if you’re okay or not.
My neck was also in extreme pain. But the worst part was the feeling of utter confusion. I didn’t know where I was. I didn’t know what happened. I didn’t know who these people are around me.
All I could think to do through the fire searing my brain, the pain screaming in my neck, and the utter terror of not knowing what was happening while I was walk back to third base. Muscle memory brought me back to the safety of “my house” at 3rd. I stood at 3rd base like a zombie for 3 more innings until I was pulled out on concussion protocol.
Two days later I was in the office of an orthopedic doctor. He explained that the extreme neck pain was just good old-fashioned whiplash and that I would be completely fine. Two months and over 50 mind-altering migraines later, I was at my first neurosurgeon appointment.
Which by the way, I had never experienced a migraine before in my life. Two months in, I’m at over 50 migraines?
My neurosurgeon sent me for rounds of CAT scans and MRI’s at the hospital, I was sitting there, confused, angry, and to be completely honest…really, really scared at the next appointment.
I was only 17 years old. I had no idea what was going on, and I was terrified. I remember being in the waiting room frozen. Scared to even walk in to find out the results of the scans because I knew something was wrong.
For an athlete, the biggest fear is losing your career due to an injury or a health condition. It’s even harder when it is completely out of your control.
13 years & 36,000 hours of practice, games, tournaments, and traveling, missing birthday parties, school functions, time with family and friends, multiple injuries, broken bones & surgeries for this 1 dream I set as a little girl that was gone in less than 3 seconds.
The doctor came in and said, “Jordan, you have Chiari malformation.”
He saw I looked as confused about what Chiari is, as most of you reading this will be.
Chiari malformation (kee-AH-ree mal-for-MAY-shun) is a condition in which brain tissue extends into your spinal canal. It occurs when part of your skull is abnormally small or misshapen, pressing on your brain and forcing it downward. I hyperextended my neck up when I was running for the ball, which caused my cerebrospinal fluid to block.
I was actually born with this condition but never had 1 symptom throughout my highly competitive career. Which was crazy to me.
The surgeon told me, “Brain surgery will be required in your case.”
After the complete shock and silence, I asked, “Will I ever be able to play softball again?”
He said, “You’ll never be able to put on your uniform again.” In 1 day, I lost everything that was important to me, which was softball. You’d think it would be my health I am talking about, but I took my health for granted as any kid would. I always thought I was invincible.
I had the rug pulled out from under me, I lost my dream, my identity, my first love, and I got diagnosed with a rare condition and was now in need of brain surgery. Try to take that all in, in one afternoon. Oh, at 17 years old.
I went to see multiple doctors to get different opinions, but all of them told me I needed to get the surgery done.
During this time, I was now in my mom’s shoes. I quickly became overwhelmed trying to keep track of my symptoms and questions for each of my countless doctor’s visits. I felt so out of control of my own health and knew others were in the same shoes.
I came back to my original neurosurgeon and we scheduled the brain surgery for December 1st, 2015, two months after the diagnosis. We scheduled it so quickly because I wanted to have the surgery and try to get back onto the field for my senior year season and fulfill my dreams of being a college athlete.
He went over the surgery and what prep my family and I have to do. Which was get a will, living will, and power of attorney signed before the operation because of how intense this surgery is.
December 1st, 2015, was a normal Tuesday for all of my friends walking into school. But for me, I was walking into the hospital not knowing if I would wake up. But honestly afraid to, I didn’t know what life would be like after this operation.
The operation was 10 hours and I was in the pediatric intensive care unit for only 4 days, which was very rare for this type of surgery but I have softball to thank for that. I was in great shape.
I remember my 3rd day in the pediatric intensive care unit like it was yesterday. I had incredible nurses, and one of them I called the drill Sargent, she had me doing full laps around the PICU day 2 after surgery. I slowly walked to the unit’s window with the pole that held all my IV’s and was looking out into the street and said to myself “I will create a tool for better health management, to help those just like me.”
That is how Limitless Medical Logs® was born.
After 2 months of recovering at home, symptoms started to appear again. Migraines, dizziness, confusion. I went back for MRIs & CT scans to find out I have scar tissue building where the operation was that is now blocking my Cerebrospinal fluid to my brain.
To this day, I am still fighting for my health. 3-5 migraines per week, constant neck & back pain. But I also followed through with the goal I set during my stay at the PICU.
I am the founder and CEO of Limitless Medical Logs®, we provide a paper medical journal & new digital app for patients suffering from a chronic illness who feel out of control managing their own health.
Rather than keeping disorganized notes or not tracking anything, Limitless is a tool to help patients be better prepared for doctor’s visits and offers essential features to help individuals describe every facet of their symptoms.
I could have been negative about this situation and feel sorry for myself but I chose to see the good in this to help others. Thank you for reading!
Jordan Ray, Founder & CEO Limitless Medical Logs®