Stress is a normal part of Boone Grove girls basketball coach Candy Wilson's day.
In addition to being the Wolves coach for 14 seasons, she's also teaches seventh-graders.
"It's funny, but I actually get used to the stress," Wilson said. "I've chosen professions where that's the nature of the situation."
Recently, Wilson received some stress-relieving news. Within the past year, she was diagnosed with Patent Foramen Ovale, a congenital defect that results from an incomplete closure of the atrial septum, creating a small hole between the chambers of her heart.
She was scheduled for surgery in recent months, but the procedure was scratched when doctors saw the hole had sealed itself.
"It was definitely a big scare for me when I went up to have the procedure," Wilson said. "They still don't (know) for sure why it healed, but this has been quite a relief. I don't have to worry about my health, and it gives me more focus."
The only ill effects of the situation now are no caffeine and she must be aware to not ingest decongestants, which are heart constrictors.
She's dealing with a sinus infection at this very moment, so her medicinal choices have been limited. She now drinks decaf coffee, but she still has to re-educate herself.
"During our free skills camp Monday, I reached for a Pepsi during our pizza party," Wilson said. "One of my assistant coaches caught me. I almost forgot. That is a hard habit to break."
Despite those limitations, Wilson said this is the best she has felt in four years.
"If I would've had the (surgery), I would've had more restrictions," Wilson said. "I've taken off about five pounds, and I'm pretty much down to my high school weight.
"I'm sleeping so much better. I cannot imagine how I even slept before, since I wasn't getting enough air into my blood and suffocating. I have a peace of mind."
That gave Wilson time to quickly prepare for Saturday's game against Lowell at the 12th annual Times Region Roundball Rumble. The Wolves were uncertain about their Rumble opponent until a few weeks ago, but their regularly-scheduled game with the Red Devils was moved up to New Year's Day at Valparaiso University's Athletics-Recreation Center.
"I didn't really know for sure until our Christmas break," Wilson said. "I've had to do some scrambling."
Morgan Marshall had to cut her family vacation in Michigan a little short, and Wilson had to travel to Carroll (Flora) last week for a glimpse of the Red Devils.
Without the bothersome thoughts about her health, Wilson enters the Rumble in a great state of mind.
"I just don't have the mental stress I used to," Wilson said. "It's a lot different without that monkey on my back. I'm actually able to enjoy things like this."
This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at email@example.com.