– Nonfiction by Leanne Pierce Schneider –
I see you over there. Your reclining chair pushed against the wall. Sunlight streaming through the windows, highlighting your pale, gaunt face and matted hair. I see you struggling to hold back the vomit gurgling in your throat, trembling at your lips. I see your mother holding your hand. Trying to be strong and brave for you. I see her fear. Her tears, gurgling in her throat, trembling at her lips.
The nurses bring you warm blankets and cold water. The volunteer offers you food from the cafeteria. But you decline. All the anti- nausea drugs in the world will not make your stomach receptive.
So you lie there. In the sunlight. Under the window. With your mother holding your hand. The tubes going in your chest contain fluid that resembles liquid crystal glistening in the sunlight. But it’s not. It’s toxic. And it’s trying to save your life. Such a high price to pay.
I know the price. I paid it once. For 2 years of remission. But another payment came due.
And now I sit here. In my reclining chair. Watching you. Hoping and praying you will be okay. Hoping the price you pay is enough. Hoping your mother can take you home one day, and never have to return here with you.
Meanwhile, I will be here forever. Until I die. Metastatic Breast Cancer. I will be here watching the rest of them. The ones who follow you and take their places in the reclining chairs. I will see them. I will hear them. I will feel their fear. And their hope. I will continue to pick up the pillows they drop on the floor and I will hand them back with love in my heart. I will collect their lunch containers and paper cups from their side trays and deposit them in the garbage. I will help untangle their tubes and unplug their poles when they need to go to the washroom. I will memorize their names. I will say hello when I walk in. I will say goodbye when I walk out. Hoping it’s not the last goodbye for any of us.
About the Author – Leanne Pierce Schneider
Leanne Pierce Schneider lives in Yarmouth Nova Scotia, on an acreage with her horses. She has a daughter and a grandson, who are the light of her life. She worked with children and families for 20 years, before turning her attention to showing horses at the Amateur Level with the American Quarter Horse Association. It was while traveling the horse show circuit in the USA, that she first became symptomatic for breast cancer. She is now living with Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer that has spread to her brain, bones and other areas of her body. She has dreamed of being a writer since she was three years old. The cancer diagnosis has given her more time to devote to that dream.
She has been published in Dreamers Creative Writing, won their Flash NonFiction Contest, placed second in the Nova Scotia Writers Federation Post Card Story Contest and was Shortlisted for Event Poetry and Prose Magazine’s Creative Nonfiction Contest.
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