Barbara's Reflections: The Difference Between "Courage" and "Challenge"

August 3, 2011

I was sitting in a chair today waiting for my fingernails to dry and started looking through a recent issue of Readers Digest. On page 50 is a true story about a women named Diana Golden and her journey during the last 28 years.

Hi OBGYN-netters,

I was sitting in a chair today waiting for my fingernails to dry and started looking through a recent issue of Readers Digest. On page 50 is a true story about a women named Diana Golden and her journey during the last 28 years.

Diana is now forty years old but as the story goes she was found to have a malignant tumor in her leg when she was twelve. Her story and the difficulties she had to face and the choices she had; or sometimes didn't have; made me think a little about myself and a Lot about her... After her leg was amputated she went on to become a world class skier and won many events as a handicapped athlete.. I mean MANY. There was No Stopping Her. This I realized was a challenge to her and she overcame her loss of a limb and went beyond the normal expectations of a young women with two legs....

Well later in her twenties she developed cancer in her breasts, Yes both! She took the challenge and had a double mastectomy and underwent chemo and loss of hair and all the ugly things that go with it's treatment... She forced herself to look in the mirror and see the woman with No Breasts and only One Leg.... It was a challenge but she didn't give up. Diana went out across the country and spoke to groups of all ages about facing up to the challenge of what has been dealt us in life and to Not let it get the best of us... Always in her heart was the knowledge that she would still someday be able to have a child and this for her was enough....

Well, in her thirties the damn thing struck again. It was in her uterus and of course when she awoke from the surgery that last hope was over.....Diana did what everyone does that can't have a child, she got a dog.... She carried on and accepted the challenge; still doing her best to help the handicapped be the Best They Can Be.

Just before her fortieth birthday the thing that would Never Leave Her Alone... came back..... Well now she gave up it was in her bones and she needed more chemo and lost more hair and life was Over for Her...The doctors gave her 1-5 years... Diana moved back in with her parents and stopped taking up the challenge and just about gave up the fight... She was sick of it all!!!

In comes the Knight In Shining Armor, really, at a Halloween party and he saw her and remembered her as a girl he had been infatuated with twenty odd years earlier when they were in college together... OK , here's where the COURAGE part comes in... Remember all the other things she did were challenges; this was the courage thing....

Yes, they went out and he told her he had always loved her and she had the COURAGE to tell him about her many many terrible bouts with cancer and about her latest prognosis.... And he had the COURAGE to love her and they married. No one knows how many days they have together and what sadness will lie ahead but they have love and courage and they face each day together.....

So, today at 61 I learned the difference between Challenge and Courage.... I'm glad I did... I have been telling myself that no one would want me because I have had breast cancer. Now I know I was hiding behind that because I had No Courage. Diana has taught me to go out and face the world and take each day and live it and let life come to me....

Barbara