Health

Dawn Kessinger: Don’t panic: Stacked books and pizzas reduce the load

I wasn’t good at staying calm. I’ll try. I’m worried and lacking, like attacking the thick ice on a car’s windshield in winter. And worries often react like ice: small cracks may appear. Small slivers are scattered around. But my view is still ambiguous until I’ve wiped out all the ice and I’m exhausted.

I’ve learned how to manage my worries and avoid eating holes like insects through apples, but I still feel like I’m holding too much. The weight of anxiety above it can crush all the joy and life from me.

After admitting that it’s difficult to stay calm, his friend Ron advised him to stop worrying and write a note to display on his desk.

“You don’t have to panic,” he said. “Whatever you care about, unless you’re trying to kill you.”

Ron paused for a moment, adding, “Well, in your case, even if it tries to kill you, you still have to try not to panic.”

Brain tumors can die. At least for now, the mine has been postponed. I smiled. When I smiled at the weight of a potential assassin sitting in my brain, I was surprised that the weight was reduced.

Recently, I didn’t realize I was worried about my slides. I was running at full speed, and although I may not be calm, I wasn’t in a hurry. But I started to notice complete fatigue. I had too much work, too sharp and always present headaches, all the costs were high, I was sick and absent from my friends and family, and I was worried about my future.

Persistent headaches began to affect my ability to do my job. The doctor explained my brain tumor, and the surgery left me in the red. I wasn’t in a hurry (but I got closer) when I realized I couldn’t fulfill all the responsibilities I needed for my job and made the difficult decision to resign. The disappointment of my limits is prolonged.

I started working the last full-time week with almost no energy. One morning I dragged myself to my desk, found an tidy pile of books sitting next to the keyboard, and quietly waited for me. I smiled.

J, a court reporter, was interested in some of the books he read and asked me if there was room for storage. I told him I was happy to have them. Then I was so busy that I forgot.

J didn’t forget. I was excited. It was more than a gift of a book. J’s compassion, pushed like a bookmark, stimulated my new energy to work on another day.

Books can be heavy. Especially those mountains. But that night, when I took it to the car on my way home from work, I didn’t notice its weight. I had a lot, but I felt lighter at my feet and heart than for a long time.

Shortly thereafter, my aunt Jackie died in a hospital in Toledo. As she worked, she was pressed against the weight of her regrets sitting on her chest like a snowy mountain.

I know I thank my aunt for her support and encouragement after surgery. But did I thank her enough, or often enough? I didn’t think so.

I didn’t have time to think about how I felt. I preferred to spend time and attention on my work rather than worrying about it. So I dug deeper.

I ate without a break. Towards the end of the evening, a sudden rattling in an abandoned news room surprised me from my work.

Joe, a government reporter, approached me and placed two small pizza boxes on my desk. His work was over that day, but Joe knew I was having a hard time at work.

So he brought me a pizza for dinner. It’s kindness that reminded me that worries throw tantalum into my stomach while the pizza fills the empty space in a warm and cheerful way.

There was pizza left. When I bundled it up in a coat, put my lunch and book bag on my arm and went home, and the pizza box wobbled from an unstable position, I calmed down and tried not to panic. And, do you know, the pizza box made everything feel as light as a feather for a moment.

Dawn Kessinger lives in Lima.



Dawn Kessinger: Don’t panic: Stacked books and pizzas reduce the load

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