Ethical Edge

By Russell Williams

Ethical Edge

No one will ever care as much about you as you

The Ethical Edge
The Art of Integrity

Organizational Consultant, Leadership Coach, Author

“Follow your instincts.  That’s where true wisdom manifests itself.”
Oprah Winfrey

One moonlit night, a hot August evening in Montreal, I found myself walking down a tree-lined street with a much older man. Stanford Gerald Kulkin III was a preppy good-looking Bostonian, working as an intern in a hospital where I washed instruments in the operating room. I was sixteen and he was 22 and I thought I was in heaven holding his hand. I remember my excitement and my desire to enchant him as I bubbled along talking about all the people who I knew and who cared about me. Sandy stopped me in his tracks and said, “My, but you are so naïve! No one will ever care about you as much as you yourself will!”  I was appalled. How dare he rock my world like that!  I was adamant that my parents loved me, my brother loved me…and heaven remembers now who else! He turned to me with his ever so serious gentle brown eyes and took both my hands in his and repeated:  “No, Frumi, hear me well – no one will ever care as much about you as you will.”

Fast-forward 7 years later.  I was now a Physical Therapist working in a large hospital. During my summer holiday, I decided to learn how to slalom on water skis.  I had a bad fall and the next morning had a huge hard lump on my neck. I was very concerned and went to a general practitioner who sent me home and told me to forget about it. He said that I tore a “strap muscle”. I sat flipping through the pages of my Gray’s Anatomy book, alternately flipping a page and feeling the lump. I wasn’t sold on the doctor’s explanation.

My next stop was the formidable Dr. Leon Heller, a well respected orthopedic surgeon. He intensified my fears by abruptly recommending that I see the cardio vascular thoracic surgeon next. “You’re a sweet girl so I’m not going to mince words – this is bad!” I looked at my watch – it was 5:15PM. I knew Doctor Scheiner worked late and asked Dr. Heller to call him. Twenty minutes later after risking a possible burst aneurism (no one said I was careful) I was sitting on the good doctor’s examining table. He wondered why I was panting and I assured him it was the hill and the three flights of stairs and not his torn OR shirt.

I was 24 years old and diagnosed with stage 1 Hodgkin’s lymphoma. My life would never be the same again!  That was a tough summer. At the hospital that day five other people received the same diagnosis; I am the only one who made it. Here I am, almost four decades later, with four children and an incredibly fulfilled life because one very serious young man so many years ago took my hands in his and said: “Frumi, hear me well – no one will ever care as much about you as you will.”


This week’s article was contributed by Dr. Frumi Rachel Barr

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