Host: Welcome to the Lifelong Wellness podcast where we talk to wellness professionals from so many walks of life from around the world and get their insight to living healthier. I’m your host Wes Malik. Today's guest is a true survivor. Her name is Jordan Ray and she is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Limitless Medical Logs and she created, manages and operates Limitless Medical Logs, which provides doctor recommended medical logs for patients battling serious health conditions. How did she come up with this idea and what are the events that transpired that led her to this company. To find out more, let's talk to Jordan Ray. Jordan, welcome to the Lifelong Wellness podcast.
Jordan: Thank you for having me.
Host: You have a very interesting story to tell and before we get into the thick of it and before I ask you a very personal question, what does living well mean to you?
Jordan: To me it means living to your fullest, what you can do based on the cards you’ve been dealt so that is really how I look at living well. Me, being able to actually get things done because with what I’m dealing with health-wise. Go to the gym maybe, but be able to complete my work and school day.
Host: Now, I’m getting into the interesting part of the story. At a very young age you had to sign your own will. What went on in your head when you were asked to do that?
Jordan: A lot did. A lot of emotions hit right away but there’s a lot that I didn't comprehend. I was 17 at that time and I don’t really understand it is as much what I was consigning but I knew the reason why I had to do but it’s just something that had to be completed as a precaution for the surgery.
Host: And once that was done, I think if you could give a little background to your story and the events that transpired that’d be great. When you were young you experienced a lot, I guess, but I like to hear it in your own words.
Jordan: Yeah, I started softball when I was four years, that’s when my parents signed me up. So they see me fall in love with it right away and I wanted to do this for as long as I could which meant play college ball. So we started travel ball, so that's where you travel throughout United States and compete in different tournaments against different teams. We started that when I was eight, nine years old and that is when I asked my parents. I said to them, “Listen, I want to take this to the next level. I want to get involved in travel ball”. So they signed me up and the sacrifices they had to make for us for, I think it’s like seven years, seven, eight years for me to be able to play travel ball. I played throughout high school and that is when my mom got diagnosed with breast cancer, in my sophomore year of high school. So I was sixteen at the time and that is where…I thought that was going to be the hardest thing that we will deal with as a family and I was so wrong. My mom goes into remission after a year of battling breast cancer and then we do little like tour for months of certain schools that were interested in me. So this is now my junior year of high school and these universities and colleges were interested in me as a student athlete. So I come back after that little tour we did and I was playing in my junior year, so it was really… Your junior year is the most important for the softball side and it was the district game and I unexpectedly blacked out on the softball field. I played third base and I was very healthy for those thirteen years of playing ball. And what happened was, I was running for a bunt, which is a bunt where the girl puts the ball down instead of hits the ball, she just drops it in kind of front of the home plate. So I played third, I was running very aggressively to the ball and I blacked out and to make a long story short, I ended up because of that blackout. I found out I was diagnosed with something called Chiari malformation, which is a serious neurological disorder were my cerebellum extends into my spinal canal and it was blocking my Cerberus spinal fluid to my brain. That is how I ended up blacking out that one day and I found out that I was born with it also but I never knew that. So after the diagnosis, a few months later, which is at when I was signing my will at that point, my living will power of attorney, because I was going into brain surgery my senior year of high school.
Host: Wow! Your senior year of high school you went from an athlete, would been playing softball for many years so very, very young age and then being thrust into something completely different. Did you play softball after that?
Jordan: I have never been cleared ever since the diagnosis and my surgery. I haven’t been cleared to do a lot of things so I have not been able to put uniform back on, but I was able to put a coaching uniform on and to me it just fills a hole that was missing because I was set to be a college athlete. And because of what happened to me I had to make a different turn and it’s really cool that I can see the other side of the field instead of being the athlete I am now the coach.
Host: I'm sure you must've experienced a lot of different kinds of emotions, I don’t know. Did giving up or depression or, you know, some negative thoughts or feelings hit you? How did you manage all those things?
Jordan: I like that you just said the giving up, I mean that did crossed my mind a few times, just giving up on my health, giving up on everything because it seems I was fighting for something every single day and softball give me purpose. So when I lost that and I wasn’t able to put a uniform back on, it’s like “What purpose do I have?”
Jordan: Until I realized that I’ve two choices, I can give up or I can make something out of this adversity and I chose to make something out of it to help others in my shoes. So that is where my company comes into play, Limitless Medical Logs.
Host: Tell us a little bit about your company.
Jordan: Sure. So we provide medical logs for patients like myself battling the chronic health issue that need to accurately track pain and symptoms. So, I actually saw the need for when my mom was diagnosed with cancer, but I was sixteen, excelling in my sport, I didn't know how to start a company. And then when my health failed and like I just told you I had the two choices and I chose to make something out of it, that's where I was like “You know what, I need to do this. I need to start this company to help others and find that purpose again”.
Host: Why is it important to keep a log of the pain that you experience?
Jordan: Because when you're in so much pain you can barely remember what you did prior to meaning, earlier in the morning or yesterday. So when you're able to accurately fill out every day, every hour, weekly, monthly and you go back to your physician or your specialist, they ask you how you’ve been doing the past week or two and you kind of just look at them and say “I can't remember”. But now, when you are starting to use the medical log, you can turn to that week and be like, “Okay, I’ve had four debilitating migraines, 9/10 pain every other day”. So it's accurately telling the specialist so now you've eliminated the guessing game between you, the specialist and your caregiver.
Host: And this ultimately helps you get better care from your caregivers and from the specialists, correct?
Jordan: Yes, in a way enhances your treatment plan because you're going there with what's been going on with you and you don't have to say, “Oh, I've just been in pain”. So now you can say, “Yeah, I've had 4 to 5 migraines this week and last week I had zero migraines”, but you could say like, let's say you start a new medication and they say to you, “Make sure you remember or track what's been going on with you lately” because you want to see if that medication is working, what side effects it’s going to cause. So that's why it's really important to be able to accurately track everything and that’s why we created the all-in-one tool to do so.
Host: And you can find this tool on limitlessmedicallogs.com and this is your company that you run.
Host: How long has it been? How long who in running this company?
Jordan: A year and I think two months.
Host: How did being an athlete and playing softball prepare you for the changes in your life and what you're doing now?
Jordan: It’s crazy that you ask that because I just thought of it the other day. It took me awhile to realize what softball did for me. When I was playing the sport, it was just for me to be able to have a safe place where I was really good at something. And I was able to dream, I was able to have goals, but when I was playing I had a motive to reach that goal. So, I just realized that the other day that softball did more than just let me stay in shape, give me something to do. It built all this skills that I needed to run this company, the leadership, the confidence I have, the ability to have a mindset where if I want to achieve something I will get it done. So that is really what the sport did to me and at the time I thought it was just for me to have some fun.
Host: You're building a company, you're going to school at the same time, for business and entrepreneurship and leadership. You've overcome a huge obstacle in your life. You’re a model for having the tenacity to not give up on your goals and it must've been difficult to stay strong. It must've been difficult to go through all the surgery that you went through. I mean, it's not a small thing, you had surgery in your brain. What was the recovery like? How did you cope with such a large medical procedure and invasive procedure?
Jordan: Yeah, the surgery was about 10 hours so it was on a Tuesday and my recovery, I was in the kids ICU so PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) for four, five days but the recovery really happened when I got home. It was for about two months where there is a point where I get out of bed and I will just become so exhausted because of the type of surgery I had. And even if anybody had surgery there was an exhaustion that hits you for about a week or two but mine lasted for about four months. So I had to finish out my senior year, too, so I had to fight through that and be able to graduate. But how I really stayed strong is, again it ties into the softball. I faced a lot of adversity. When I was an athlete, I had to have ankle surgery at fourteen years old, every single year I broke a bone, I tore a ligament so I have to fight through that adversity by thirteen years old. And I feel like those injuries and then also my mom having breast cancer built my strength and my family’s strength to get through the next step for what we have deal with.
Host: With all these things that have happened, how is it changed your life? Do you take care of what you eat? Do you have special exercises? Do you live life differently now?
Jordan: I definitely do and I look at life different now. Before I was just a Happy Go Lucky kid playing the sport I was in love with. Now, it’s certain things that have to be very cautious of, my quality of life is changed. I'm doing physical therapy right now. I'm still battling this illness like actually today is one of my bad flare up days so I do have a migraine, but I’ve been dealing with it for so long that I'm able to know what my limits are and physical therapy seems to be helping me. So to answer your question about like eating healthy, workout routine, I do the physical therapy but when I go to the gym I can only do my workout plan from therapy. I can't go outside yet because that'll be too much. I can risk starting over again meaning I'm doing so well with therapy. If I pull a muscle or lift a barbell over my head, I can end up back where I first started going into therapy so I have to be very cautious. And just the eating would be…I’m trying to figure out trigger foods. What would cause a migraine or what might not, but it's a learning process and trial and error.
Host: That is a huge change. That is quite a different change. I mean, softball being an outdoor sport, you know, being out in the open air all the time. It's a completely different thing. Now, dealing with the…You mentioned you have a migraine right now and you you're dealing with it, do you take medication for it?
Jordan: I take some something called Excedrin Migraine but that’s when it’s…I can tell when I have a certain migraine that’s not going away no matter what I do so I have to go and take Excedrin Migraine which after about an hour it takes it away, but is not healthy for you to take that. So that's why I'm trying to, I try to do everything else and then my last resort would be Excedrin.
Host: In your medical log when you track all the times you experienced pain, did somebody ask you to do that? Did the doctor recommend that first? And did you have to right a start writing a diary or something like that?
Jordan: When I told you my mom had breast cancer, I was sixteen, and I said that’s where I kind of had the idea for it. She had her treatment, she had her surgeries and I saw her really struggling to be able to tell the doctor, hey this is what's been going on. These symptoms have occurred since I started the treatment. These pills…things like that. I saw her really struggling and that’s where kind of a light bulb went off like, there needs to be something like this for people like my mom. So at that point we’re going to be the customer.
Jordan: And then when I realize that there is something like this out there, I was able to use my experience as a patient for three years. I say, I was the test on me for three years because I was going to about five doctors at the time of my diagnosis. And they would all tell me to track what's been going on but they wouldn’t provide me with a tool to do so. They just expected that you knew how to do this. So I use those three years, my experience, and I created a tool where it just lays everything out for you.
Host: So what does a medical log look like? I took a look at the website and it's kind of like a book, it’s like a diary, right?
Jordan: A diary, a journal, a log. Yeah, everybody has a different word for it.
Host: What is the information that I log into it? And how do I do that?
Jordan: So an example, use me because I have a migraine today. So I woke up, 4AM that’s when the migraine started so I was able to jot that down and say it’s been a 9/10 migraine, it’s 4AM. So now it's 1 o'clock and I’ve been able to throughout the day track if it’s gone down or is it intensified, if maybe back and neck pain is joined along because you’ll see on the right side is the human body chart where you can pinpoint if you have stabbing, throbbing, certain pain in certain areas.
Jordan: And then you have the appointment notes where you can write down questions prior to your appointment.
Host: So it’s got a visual element to it as well. It’s just not, it’s not columns and rows, is it?
Jordan: Right. Yeah, it’s not. It's really laid out to what a person needs. And that’s our central book that I was laying out. That’s actually our most popular because it's not specific towards one illness. It’s general. So if you have cancer you can use it. If you have what I have, Chiari malformation, MS, the list goes on and on.
Host: So there's different medical logs for different types of situations?
Jordan: I do have a cancer and diabetes ones. So I have cancer, diabetes and the essential logs. So those are three that we have out right now and we are expanding our product line. And we also have the app coming out very soon.
Host: Oh really? So you can log this information digitally if you have an app and you’re making one for that.
Host: Okay, that’s good. Is it going to be out very soon or is it several months away or years away?
Jordan: It’s not years away, it’s not months away either. It is very soon. If they go on my website, they can put their email in and I am going to send out updates if the launch is in two weeks or four weeks. And then they’ll get an email, hey the app is now launched or we have new products that are launched. So that's a really good way to keep up with what I'm doing and also we do a lot of events. We partner with a lot of people so we have a lot of events coming up in 2020.
Host: And the website again is limitlessmedicallogs.com. Jordan, it must be very difficult running a business and it's a start up as well and, you know, battling your illness, getting better day by day doing, you know, physical therapy all the time. How do you manage all these things?
Jordan: Well it goes right back to softball. That was the biggest thing, time management. That is what that sport taught me. People asked me a lot like, “What does softball do for you?” Time management was really the most important thing because I thought I'm busy now, I was more busy back then because I would literally go to school from 7 o'clock in the morning or 8 o'clock and then I would get out 3, 4 o'clock that’s in middle school and I have practice from 4 to 6 (o'clock) and then I would eat in the car and have practice at 6:30 to 9 or 10 (o'clock) And that was an everyday thing. So being able to fit homework in, what I needed to do study for softball. So for now, what I'm doing now is…When you're sick, it's a full-time job as it is fighting your health. I’m a full-time student and I’m also running this company full-time. So just being able to experience what I did with softball, being able to do very well at time management, it led me to be able to run the company very efficiently.
Host: Incredible. Fantastic. Do you have help? Do you have people helping you or do you do everything in your company?
Jordan: I say I wear every hat, but the first thing I did before I launch like I said, it took me three years because I wanted everything done properly. And I kind of looked back at softball and said, “What? I was on a team for 13 years. What do I need to do? Oh, that’s it! I need to create a team around me”. When I was seventeen years old, I started working with an advisor that was connected to my school and it’s turned into a four-year relationship that she has been incredible and guiding me the path where I need to. So a team of advisors, a team of lawyers. I do have assistance helping me to kind of keep myself in track and in line with the company vision. And I’ve partnered with a lot of people that they would literally drop anything to help me and that has been a huge, huge thing for the company and me because I'm also writing a book, too, and that will be out in 2020. I don’t have the exact date but having people helping me write that book and get the emotional things that I need to speak about has just been so much easier than if I just sat down and wrote it myself.
Host: Fantastic. How many people have you helped with your medical log so far?
Jordan: I honestly don’t know an exact number because I've been on a lot of, let’s say, TV interviews and podcast, so even if they buy the medical log, it’s more of maybe they’re afraid to share their story. They heard mine and knew I was afraid for a really long time so I have allowed them to be able to share their story and feel like they're not alone. So it's not just for the medical logs because I get a lot of emails from people saying it's a game changer, thank you for creating this but it’s more of the emails and messages I get about me sharing my story and helping just one person at a time.
Host: That's what you’ve been doing all along, helping people with the knowledge that you’ve gained through the trials that you went through.
Jordan: One phrase that I think of and that is to take it day by day. So I realized this mindset when I’ve first diagnosed because prior to all that I was planned weeks and months out because of softball, but now I'm at the point where I don't know what tomorrow will be like, if it'll be a flare day or if it'll be a day where I actually can complete work and be able to achieve stuff to achieve the goal. And so it's really that mindset of just taking it day by day. That has really helped me. And also I look at everything as a win or learn, not a win or lose, and that’s something I started when I was in high school and it completely changed my mental game, of the sport and just my life.
Host: One of the aims and one of the missions of your life is to stay healthy. That’s a big part of your life after your illness, after mom’s illness. How do you stay healthy? What is your regimen? What is your routine? What are the things that you do? What are the things that you don't do?
Jordan: Like I said, you know, figuring out the gym and for outside…One thing I started doing no matter what time I get up to go to school, I always spend like 30 minutes on myself. So if that's reading a book or maybe stretching or I just…I don’t meditate but just kind of thinking about what I need to get done for the day or maybe the week where I can be able to take it day by day. But I just became very interested in reading. When I was in highschool, I wasn't because I was kind of forced to read. Now I’m not forced to read and it just opened my mind with so many things and it’s helping me write the book, too. So, reading is a big thing that’s helped me.
Host: Alright, fantastic. That’s really, really wonderful. Jordan, thank you so much for being on our podcast today. It’s such an inspirational story that you share with everyone and the medical logs idea that you've had. I'm sure it will help a ton of people out there who have gone through what you've gone through and possibly, you know, similar situations as well, you know, helping patients and helping caregivers and the doctors were providing the care do a better job of course.
Jordan: Right and that's what you want. When it’s about your health, you’re at the point you feel like people don't care, people won’t be able to help you the way they should but if you are taking control of your health, the physician or the caregiver will really see like, holy crap I need to step up my game because they are stepping up their game. When I was diagnosed I felt like I have no control over anything until I started using the medical log and I felt like I gained all my control back.
Host: Fantastic. Thank you very much, Jordan, for being on our podcast today.
Jordan: Thank you for having me.