My Story

Easter 2017

Wife. Mom. Media Specialist. Skating Coach. Health & Fitness Coach. Brain Surgery Warrior.

Trying to balance all of that crazy with a recent brain tumor diagnosis. I've learned how to be frustrated and grateful at the same time.

Life up until 2016 had been pretty easy.  Well, there were moments that I thought were difficult at the time, but in reality, I had nothing to complain about.  I grew up in a picture perfect family on the inside and out, I've created a pretty great little family with my husband, I have a large network of friends, and I love love love what I do for work. Daily struggles sometimes seemed giant, and I always knew that the perspective was sometimes lost. That perspective was shaken hard in late 2016.

2 major life events happened in October.  The first was that we lost one of our closest friends to Sarcoma in October.  The Best Man in our wedding would never celebrate another anniversary with us.  To say we are heartbroken is an understatement. It's a perspective I wish I didn't have.  But that death happening one month before the life changing phone call likely allowed me to have a very different reaction when I heard that they found five tumors on my Brain MRI scan.

I don't remember much from that phone call other than he said "benign" like 8 times.  His calm, reassuring voice, and my blaring realization that "it's not cancer" allowed me to stay calm, too.  Maybe these tumors will help fix the Psudotumor Cerebri I had been managing for years.  Maybe a "simple" surgery could take them out and I wouldn't have to take medication anymore.

Not the case.  After waiting months and basically ignoring the diagnosis in daily life, We scheduled a very invasive crainiotomy at the Mayo Clinic and I prepared mentally and physically to have freaking BRAIN SURGERY in May 2017.  The doctors didn't think that the surgery would cure the other condition, but at least one of the tumors should be removed before it grows bigger and messes with my optic nerve and an artery. I also received Gamma Knife Radiation on the other tumors in order for them to stop growing.

Craniotomy to remove Meningioma - May 2017 

I don't recommend Brain Surgery unless you need it.  While the recovery went as expected, it was sooo hard to be so incapable of just about everything.  Even having my kids visit was too much for me to handle those first few days in the hospital. I can't tell you how often I felt so grateful to be healthy going into surgery.  I saw others who were going into surgery who were so walk or in pain already.  To add this level of recovery on top of other ailments must be so difficult!

My prognosis is excellent with a plan to follow up each year to monitor growth. It's been 5 months since surgery and the tumors are stable and I feel about as good as I think I can.  I still have some soreness in the surgical area, it still is uncomfortable to lay on my left side for long periods of time, I have a small blind spot in my left eye, and sometimes just feel a little off.  But mostly, I feel great.  I am back to all activities including my harder workouts, leading fitness challenge groups, teaching skating, and running around crazy with my kids. Those 5 tumors that are still in my head are just a small reminder of how lucky I am to be living everyday with such energy and enthusiasm.

Update: February 2019
Life is sill pretty amazing! My 2018 summer check up went as planned and I got the "You are doing great! I'll see ya next year" I was hoping for.  While I am changed in many ways due to this diagnosis and treatment, I am so grateful to be the healthy, happy, influence I am today.

My family is healthy and happy, my school community is positive and energetic, and my coaching gig just as fulfilling as ever.  I don't take my gift of life for granted ever. Thank you for allowing me to tell my story.


  1. Wow, amazing story and journey Holly. I loved reading this, it has inspired me and has given me a new found hope for courage and strength. I am very proud of you! Thank you for sharing that....remarkable.
    I would love to jump on this ride with you and really give it a try. I feel like you keep drawing me back in for some reason without trying...maybe its my sign that I continue to ignore. Well, lets do this! Im in!

    1. Hi! I didn’t get a notification for this! Did I get to you another way? I hope so! ❤️