BRISTOL, CT – APRIL 16: Shenise Johnson talks with ESPN broadcaster Holly Rowe after being drafted number five overall by the San Antonio Silver Stars during the 2012 WNBA Draft Presented By Boost Mobile on April 16, 2012 at ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty Images)

Since Holly Rowe announced that she developed a new tumor and would undergo surgery to have it removed, the ESPN reporter has been the recipient of hundreds (if not more) well-wishes from fans, colleagues and the athletes and coaches she regularly covers.

As Sports Illustrated‘s Richard Deitsch reports, Rowe had 244 text messages from a variety of athletes and coaches waiting on her phone following surgery, in addition to flower arrangements from her crew on college football and basketball telecasts, along with tweets from many colleagues at the network.

Rowe went on to explain that her form of cancer (desmoplastic melanoma) is extremely rare and provided some insight into both the procedure and treatment she faces in the future, which will include radiation and immunotherapy, incorporating medicines to boost her immune system and fight the cancer more aggressively.

“It was a pretty painful and massive procedure and I won’t be wearing tank tops soon,” Rowe told Deitsch. “But all 29 lymph nodes came back with no additional cancer and that was great news and promising.”

Amazingly, Rowe plans to be back at work by the end of February, targeting the Kansas at Texas men’s basketball game on Feb. 29 for her return. From there, she hopes to work the Big 12 basketball tournament and NCAA women’s tournament before undergoing the aforementioned radiation and immunotherapy treatments in April.

“The doctors think I am ridiculous. They tell me I have cancer and my next question is, ‘Well, when can I go back to work?'” Rowe said. “I feel good, but I have to remind myself I am not totally normal right now.”

That is certainly ambitious, and undoubtedly admirable. But having something meaningful to go back to is an important part of recovery. Fueled by the outpouring of support from everyone she’s worked with and encountered (along with those who enjoy her work) has to provide just that much more of a boost for Rowe during this somewhat public — and inspiring — battle.

Deitsch also mentioned in his piece that Rowe spoke with him for his podcast this week and has plenty to say about the role of women in sports media. You can read several of her remarks in that article.

[Sports Illustrated]

About Ian Casselberry

Ian is a writer, editor, and podcaster. You can find his work at Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He's written for Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation.

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