Overcoming All Odds

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“Everyone falls down. It’s just how fast you get up, right?” – Demille Bly from the movie “Driven.

Jessy joined Orangetheory (OT) in its beginning phases looking for group fitness classes close to home. She did her own research on it, which was something that she’d love and wanted. At the time, she weighed more than her pregnancy weight at 159 pounds.

In addition to her extra weight, she had herniated discs from previous fractures. In constant pain, Jessy felt unhappy and unhealthy. She said, “I let myself go. I knew better and knew what to do, but I am an emotional eater and was eating my way to feel ‘happy.’ I was sick of it and needed a constant workout routine and somewhere that held me accountable, so I joined OTF.”

“It’s one hour out of your day. One hour of my day and I feel I get so much out of it and I don’t have to think about what I am going to do. I just do it.”

Jessy joined with the ambition of getting back into shape and feeling happy with herself again. She wanted to drop down to her baseline weight of 120 pounds, do 30 push-ups not on her knees, and run three miles without walking. Most importantly, she wanted to be consistent – no excuses – show up and work as hard as she could.

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She recalls taking her first class as difficult. “I felt so out of shape and could feel how far I let myself get out of shape…” said Jessy. She attended classes regularly and took pictures keeping track of her progress. Jessy eventually felt better and saw positive changes in her body loving the changes.

The feeling that Jessy had after completing classes, the way she looked, and how it improved her motor-cross riding skills kept her coming to classes frequently. She loved starting her day by attending the 5 a.m. class five to six classes a week. By then, her herniated discs didn’t bother her anymore. Jessy felt stronger and went through her days without any problems.

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Living her life and doing what she loved, Jessy went to the Albany Motorsports Park for a practice ride with friends after a lousy day at work. Jessy rode her dirt bike as usual until something unimaginable happened. Jessy said, “My friend Christina told me I was out racing in practice and suddenly the track went silent, which at a motor-cross track, is never a good thing.”

Christina and employees ran to Jessy and the track came to a halting stop. She saw Jessy lying on the ground covered in blood tapping her helmet moaning in pain. Jessy assumed (she can’t remember) that she and another rider went off a jump at the same time and collided in mid-air. She fell to the dirt and a rider behind her ran over her neck.

“After I read my medical records, I couldn’t believe I survived and I feel so lucky.”

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Jessy at the track the day of and before the accident (top photo).

Jessy lost all consciousness. The paramedics immediately intubated her on the scene and brought her to the Salem Hospital. Jessy’s husband rushed to the hospital once he learned about the accident. He met with a social worker when he arrived preparing for the worst.

She was alive, but wasn’t breathing on her own and in a coma. The doctors couldn’t tell her husband if or when she’d wake up and the quality of life she’d have if she awoke. Jess had bleeding in her brain, subdural hematoma, subarachnoid hemorrhage, and a broken jaw in multiple places. She also had a torn carotid artery and a broken nose.

“My main goal is to just show up for class and be here and make it through a whole class. That’s huge to be able to do that with the extent of my injuries and I fully feel like I need to do it – especially for those who have suffered a traumatic brain injury and physically can’t.”

Jessy also suffered from traumatic brain injury and diffuse axonal injury. Miraculously, she came out the coma after seven days. She said, “After I read my medical records, I couldn’t believe I survived and I feel so lucky.” She spent nearly a month at the Salem Hospital and then spent almost another month at Providence Portland Rehabilitation for daily intensive inpatient rehab.

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The traumatic accident caused her to lose much of her memory in general. She didn’t remember the accident and the time she spent at the Salem Hospital. Jessy only remembers the medical transport van to Providence Portland as her first memory. She can’t even recall her wedding that took place on August 26, 2017 nine months prior to her accident.

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Brain injuries have no recovery time and her recovery is ongoing. She’ll never be the same. Jessy woke up every morning with no recollection of the previous day after her accident. She now can remember things from the day before but it’s hazy for her. “I have accepted that I am not the Jessy I use to be. It is normal with brain injuries and often said you are a new person – and I get that – and that’s OK,” said Jessy.

She now aspires to get back to where she was a year ago prior to her accident. Determined, Jessy came back to OT seven months after the incident at the track. Jessy said, “My main goal is to just show up for class and be here and make it through a whole class. That’s huge to be able to do that with the extent of my injuries and I fully feel like I need to do it – especially for those who have suffered a traumatic brain injury and physically can’t.”

“I love the staff, community and workouts. It’s all amazing and all of it together makes it truly a great place. I love the motivation and encouragement everyone gives each other.”

Jessy has come a long way from hospitalization. She can now run on the treadmill without holding on to the rails. Her rowing wattage has also increased from 30 watts to 130 watts since November. Jessy can perform about 15 push-ups not on her knees.

She tries to attend two classes a week, which is a milestone for her. Jessy likes endurance classes the most because it challenges her the most and she wants to improve her stamina. Although she feels drained after class, she perseveres with her constant training.

The thing that Jessy likes about classes at OT is getting in and out in one hour. She said, “I like that the work outs are all ready to go and you do them. It’s one hour out of your day. One hour of my day and I feel I get so much out of it and I don’t have to think about what I am going to do. I just do it.”

Aside from having an efficient and effective workout, she loves how everyone encourages one another and how each person’s fitness journey varies. She appreciated the support she received when she had her injuries, which amazed her. Jessy said, “I love the staff, community and workouts. It’s all amazing and all of it together makes it truly a great place. I love the motivation and encouragement everyone gives each other.”

We’re all happy to have you back at the studio. You’re an inspiration to us to keep fighting regardless of our mental or physical obstacles!

Keep Burning Jessy!

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