Show Me

Show Me by Laurie Ryan
Hope is the strongest medicine of all.

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Show Me


Cancer. It’s one of the scariest words in the world and one that no one wants to hear. Show Me is one woman’s poignant journey through hope and fear, learning to cope, dealing with disappointment, and defining relationships during the most traumatic experience of her life.

The words ovarian cancer infiltrate Celia Milbourne’s brain and send chills down her spine, settling in her heart like a mound of icy stones. She must dig deep for the strength to fight this medical beast and still maintain some measure of normalcy for her young daughter.

Aided by family and friends-and an empathic ghost named Seth-Celia embarks on a path riddled with challenges, filled with anguish and joy, and bolstered by an enduring hope sustained by love.


Celia Milbourne ran shaky fingers through her dark hair and checked her watch for the third time. Where was he? The file she’d plunked on his desk grabbed her attention like a neon light blinking on and off, never quite out of view. Her file. Her test results. Picking it up, she fanned the pages, then tossed it back onto the desk, thinking about the appointment she’d just come from. The whole discussion with her gynecologist made no sense. How could she be sick? She felt fine.

She thought about what had driven her to make the appointment. The minimal but out-of-character spotting and the feeling that she was on the brink of a bladder infection. Always feeling bloated. Maybe she wasn’t quite fine, but she was healthy enough for this to be some sort of colossal mistake.

She sat down in one of the stuffed chairs in front of Dr. Ted’s desk, but rose moments later, circling the office where medical diplomas shared wall space with pictures of sailboats. Celia touched the stethoscope on the credenza and stopped to pick up the photo of his wife and his two daughters, the latter both close in age to her own thirty five years.

Nostalgia momentarily dulled her worry. She’d been in this office many times, even had a couple impromptu Chinese take-out dinners as they discussed life or argued solutions to current world problems.

Ted Jameson had been more than just her family doctor for a long time now. First, by filling the gaping hole left after her father’s death. Then, he’d become her mentor when she took a job as a pharmaceutical rep. So it was only natural for her to run straight here when the specialist had started spouting words and possibilities that chilled her to the bone. She respected Dr. Ted. He would tell her the truth.

She just wasn’t sure she wanted to hear it. A shiver slid down her back, draining any residual strength Celia had left. Her mind swam with results and percentages and possibilities.

The door opened with very little noise, yet Celia jumped, bobbling the family picture before she could place it safely back on the credenza.

“Celia,” Dr. Ted said in a voice reserved for, well, just about everyone. He was that kind of doctor.

That calming influence, that happiness to see her was exactly what she needed. Relief shored up her strength, fed it, until her smile was genuine. “Hi.”

“This is a nice surprise.” He picked up the cup of his favorite coffee, which Celia had placed on his desk, and gave a satisfied sniff, tipping it in her direction. “Thank you. Exactly what I needed. So what brings you here in the middle of the day?”

The smile died as her eyes pointed like a homing beacon to the file. “I need you to interpret—that.”

“Sure. Have a seat while I take a look.” He sat in one of the comfy seats and opened the file. Still easy. Still relaxed.

Unlike her. Celia’s chair felt like a bed of nails. Her hands clutched the arms, then unclutched them as she watched him read. When he sat straighter and frowned, then flipped the page, she was on her feet again, pacing, fighting to keep the ominous sense of dread at bay.

The trap sprung while she was in the corner.

“Come sit down, honey.” Dr. Ted took off his glasses and pinched the cartilage between his eyes.


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To check out Nikki’s story (Celia’s daughter), click here.



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