CARY, N.C. — Elisa McLean’s life revolves around one mouth-watering treat: ice cream.

“Ice cream just brings everybody together; it creates memories, you have friendships,” said McLean, owner of Flavors Ice Cream in Cary.

McLean raised her three boys in Southport, North Carolina, spending every summer at a seaside ice cream parlor.

“We always had ice cream in our lives, one way or another,” McLean said.

Years later, she has churned her favorite pastime into a career.

She opened Flavors Ice Cream in January and has hired additional staff to meet the demand, running out of ice cream twice in the past month.

The pandemic hasn’t stopped lines of hungry customers pouring in, eager to get their hands on what’s called a monster shake.

“Everybody I’ve spoken to has said how good it tastes, but most of all, kids love the way it looks, even the adults,” said McLean.

But there are two big scoops to McLean’s story.

She raised her boys on her own, all while cheating death.

“Most single-parent families, we have our challenges, working hard, trying to maintain the household, that was their thing… to get, we got away from the reality of life with ice cream,” she said. “I was also diagnosed with a brain tumor and given six months to live if I didn’t have it removed.”

After a 10 hour surgery, doctors removed McLean’s tumor. However, she couldn’t see the first two weeks after surgery.

“They thought I would be paralyzed after surgery. They thought I would lose my hearing, my sight,” she said.

McLean also spent a year in therapy.

“It was an eye-opener of how short life is, how we take things for granted. You sign in your living wills and don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. It is an eye-opener to live today and live that dream, whatever that dream is,” said McLean.

McLean traded in her nine-to-five office job for something that would bring her happiness, where smiles and laughter are guaranteed even behind masks.

Because as the saying goes, life certainly is​ better with ice cream.

“That is the best feeling in the world that I can bring joy,” McLean added.