In 2006, I decided to adopt another kitten to bring more love into my home. I visited the local shelter and underneath a pile of lovely fuzzy kittens, lay the most beautiful grey feline I had ever seen. It was love at first sight. During our meeting she demonstrated her range of distinct vocals and proved capable of carrying a full conversation. Her huge eyes became inky when she purred and drooled all over my shoulder. I knew she was destined to be a great friend. At this time, I had no idea that she was destined to later save my life.
In 2009, Miss Bubbles began scratching at a mole on my neck. For several weeks she would scratch and pick at this abrasion on my skin. Finally, out of superficial embarrassment, thinking “if Bubbles notices this mole so much, people must too!” I went to the doctor to get it checked out. The removal of this mole marked the beginning of my battle with malignant melanoma. Bubble’s taunting led me down the path that would save my life.
My melanoma was now Stage III and had traveled to my lymph nodes, actions had to be taken. Treatments robbed me of my self-esteem and happy heart. Bubbles, my companion who shared my bedside during sleepless nights, frequent bouts of nausea and wallowing in misery never left my side. When my lymph nodes were overwhelming me with pain, she would lay in the exact spot of the pain—serving as my personal supply of heat.
The loss of my hair was devastating. My hair falling out served as a good metaphor as to what battling cancer is like; everything that once was firmly intact becomes uprooted and you have no control. My sweet friend saw how much the loss of my hair upset me and decided to take action. Each night as I tossed and turned, pieces of my hair would scatter unto my bedding. Bubbles would come in and sneakily collect my hair to which she would then hide. Later, during a cleaning session, I discovered my hair underneath her bed. It warms my heart to think of all the work and effort that she put into protecting me from further pain. When all of my hair was gone, she would lick my head clean. I think she saw this act as a way to soothe me, almost like a mother who rubs her ill child’s back.
Our relationship had changed. Bubbles was no longer my child; she saw that I needed comfort and had switched duties and took it upon herself to mother me. On days when I am feeling down, she is right by my side. On days where the world is working in my favor, she smiles with me. She is my constant beacon of hope.