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Surgery Sabbatical

Dear beloved clients and much-appreciated prospects,

This summer, I'm unfortunately out of the office on a Surgery Sabbatical. 

I don't want to miss the chance to chat with you! Please drop us a note at the bottom of this page to be added to our Priority Waitlist for when I'm back, hopefully in September 2024.

What kind of surgery?

Relatively recently, I was diagnosed with a serious condition called a Chiari Malformation Type 1, which affects my brain. For me, my migraines and fatigue were more than the typical migraine or the busy life of entrepreneurship. 

The upside is huge, but the recovery is long. 

The treatment for this condition is brain surgery, and it involves a very intense, lengthy, and often difficult recovery process. If you're curious more about it, I have answered those burning questions in the FAQ section below. If you have other questions, you're welcome to email us at the form below. 

It's important to share our stories. 

I'd like this journey to raise awareness of this condition so that it enables others to get proactive care, like I'm so thankful to be receiving. It was decades in the making to get to where I am now, and I hope that sharing openly, it helps others' journeys to be easier and shorter.  

What does this mean for StoryGrowers?

During this time, I will be unable to attend to my professional responsibilities as I focus on my health and recovery. While I am open to any questions or thoughts you may want to share, please understand that my ability to respond may be limited and not as timely as usual. 

We are maintaining our Certified StoryBrand Guide and Shopify Partners roles.

Your support and understanding during this challenging stretch means the world to me. I am deeply grateful for your continued trust and patience as I take the necessary steps to repair and heal. Brain recovery isn't linear—it varies from person to person. 

I look forward to the day when I can resume serving you with renewed strength and vigor!

Your messages still reach us!

You'll be hearing from our marvelous team member, Kelsey if you reach out to us in the next few months (June - end of August). 

Please do drop us a note below if you'd like to be added to our follow-up list. 


Thank you so much for your prayers and thoughts!

Courtney Olson

 p.s. If you'd like to follow along with the Surgery & Recovery Updates, we'll be sharing those here.


What is your mailing address?

You can mail anything to Courtney's attention at:

1345 Amstel Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80907 USA

What is the StoryGrowers' Venmo / PayPal / Zelle?

We realize that we have a lot of referral partners and various reasons why you may need this info.

VENMO: @Courtney-Olson-3



*SmallWerks is the original agency and corporate LLC, of which StoryGrowers is a division.

Who can I email for any project questions?

You can drop us a note here or you can email and Kelsey will reach out to you shortly with any ongoing questions or planned projects. Thank you!


What is a Chiari Malformation?

A Chiari Malformation Type 1 is when your brain extends beyond your skull, and compresses within your brain stem.

In many cases, and in Courtney's situation, it also causes CSF (Cerebrospinal fluid) Flow Obstruction, which increases pressure in the head.

How do you pronounce "Chiari"?

Great question!

It's pronounced KEY-R-ee.

It's named after the doctor who discovered the condition.

How do people figure out that they have Chiari?

Some people realize it when they're babies as it's often congenital (from birth).

For other people, they find it by accident when they get an MRI after a trauma like a car accident.

In Courtney's case, it can worsen in your ~40s with symptoms that can be increasingly debilitating (migraines, fatigue, etc.).

For Courtney, we were worried it could have been something as terrible as a brain tumor. Fortunately, it was not the case as Chiari is not cancer.

What are "comorbidities"?

In Courtney's case, she has more than one chronic syndrome that is a common "buddy" that often tags along, called a "comorbidity".

It just means that they are syndromes or conditions that often exist in tandem / at the same time.

Courtney has a Chiari Malformation I as well as MCAS (Mast Cell Activation Syndrome - Unspecified) and hEDS (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome) that are under management at the same time, but will probably benefit from improving the bio-mechanical triggers of Chiari decompression.

What is decompression surgery?

While Chiari Malformation I is not officially curable, there is only one real treatment for it, which is decompression surgery.

For many people, they want to not go through this surgery, which was Courtney's stance for a while, but the only options are really physical restrictions, pain management, and muscle relaxers.

For many "Chiarians", the decompression surgery can offer a substantial life improvement.

The surgery consists of removing part of the back of the skull, cutting the dura (lining around the brain), and in some cases (like Courtney's), the cerebellar tonsils (AKA "the saggy brain parts") are cauterized to better fit inside the skull. A titanium plate is then attached.

Recovery is often 12 weeks with benefits being fully experienced after 1 year.


Drop us a note below and we'll be sure to followup with you when we're back in the office!
Thanks so much for reaching out.

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