Lisa Panici making positive steps, looking forward to future

When former UW-Whitewater student and volleyball player Lisa Panici found out she had a mass tumor inside of her head in December of last year, she only had one thing in mind: to work hard and beat it.

Tim Gumz Photo

Back in December over Christmas break, Panici, who at the time was a freshman playing volleyball, started suffering from headaches after the season ended.

At first, she ignored them thinking they were part of being a stressed out college student, until one day she could barely move.

After a visit to the doctor, Panici found out she had a lemon-sized tumor in her head, and that it would be a long process of recovery.

After dropping out of school while battling months of chemotherapy, physical therapy and other side effects, Panici’s hard work has finally started to pay off.

Panici, who has been enjoying her summer like any other summer, is looking ahead to her future.

“My summer has been awesome,” Panici said. “I’m actually up at my cabin right now in Michigan and it’s beautiful.”

Panici, a former Biology major, has decided she wanted to go back to school.

“I decided I wanted to go back to school so now I’m going to be attending a Junior College,” she said. “I also changed my major to something in speech.”

Juliet College, a two-year Junior College about 40 minutes away from her hometown in Illinois, will be close to home.

Over the summer Panici has been progressively getting better. Although she is done with therapy and treatment, she recently joined a gym nearby her home.

“I am not in therapy anymore, but I joined a gym that has a pool and my own private trainer,” Panici said. “I’m going to start going there this weekend and he’s going to try to get me back.”

While Panici went through her battle, her former teammates have been some of the biggest support groups for her, so she still talks to them on a weekly basis.

“Oh yeah, whenever anything happens, they are the first people I text,” Panici said. “I am planning on coming to one of the UW-Whitewater invites, and me and my parents will drive up and stay for the weekend.”

Panici, who at one point struggled to walk and do much activity, said that everything is slowly coming back.

“Everything is going good, I’m wearing this brace on my leg now, which forces me to bend my knee,” she said.

Not only is the physical part of her coming back, but she said everything seems normal now.

“My brother who took a break from school to help me out is now going back to school up here in Michigan, so everything is just going back to normal.”