Danielle Oliveri Won’t Let Softball-Sized Tumor Slow Her Down

Tomorrow afternoon Danielle Oliveri will taking the competition floor at the North America East Semifinal with her team, CrossFit 1977. But while all the attention will be focused on Danielle and her team’s performance this weekend, many probably don’t know she competing with a softball-sized tumor on her liver.

Oliveri, 29, was diagnosed with the tumor back in 2019…by accident. After going in for routine bloodwork, her doctor noticed her kidney function was declining pretty rapidly for her age (25 at the time). “After getting an ultrasound, my kidneys looked fine by the nephrologist noticed something over my liver,” recalled Danielle. “They ordered an MRI and that’s when we found out about the tumor.”

Upon getting this news, Danielle’s first reaction like most everyone would in a similar situation was fear. “I was just in disbelief that this would happen to me. You always hear things like this and you never think about what would happen if something like this happened to you until it does,” said Danielle.

Six months after the diagnosis, Danielle got another MRI with some good and bad news. The bad news was that it had grown slightly. The good news, however, was that it appeared to be benign. So while there was concern that it was continuing to grow, they decided to monitor it because it was benign and also because surgically removing it would mean that a large part of Danielle’s liver would also have to be removed.

After that second MRI, Danielle went back to training. “Thankfully, the tumor as for what I know has not affected my training whatsoever. In fact, it’s kind of crazy because I had my yearly bloodwork done and everything looks great, even my kidney function has improved,” Danielle said.

She attributes a lot of this to changing some of her habits since the diagnosis. “My nephrologist recommended that I monitor how much protein I take in relation to my carbs and fats, limiting how much protein powder I take, drinking more water than I used to, stopped taking creatine and the biggest one was to stop taking NSAIDs. I used to pop those like candy.”

Last month, Danielle finally got another MRI (she was supposed to get one back in 2021, but her insurance denied it). Fearing the worst, Danielle once again got some good news and some bad news. The good news is that the tumor has shrunk significantly since her last MRI in 2020. It is now 3.9-inches by 4.9-inches compared to 5.3 by 5.8-inches three years ago.

The bad news is that the MRI spotted several masses on her spleen. Her medical team is still evaluating these but at the moment they appear to be cysts and not another tumor.

And now beginning tomorrow afternoon and for the next three days, Danielle will step onto the competition floor not thinking about the softball-sized tumor on her liver, but competing alongside her CrossFit 1977 teammates in a bid to qualify for the CrossFit Games. “There’s just something about competing on a team that makes me want to go to that dark place we all know and lover because it’s not just for me,” Danielle said about this weekend. “It’s for my team and they are counting on me.”

Danielle’s team, CrossFit 1977, finished 21st in the Quarterfinals to advance to this weekend’s North America East Semifinal. Danielle‘s teammates are Lindsey Grasis, Luke Cuneo and Mike “Pool Boy” Olivas.

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