~ Helen, Bebe, and Lenny ~

Found with her litter inside a neighbour’s wardrobe in 2007, Bebe found her forever home with her rescuer, Helen. When she was adopted, Bebe was so small, she fit into the palm of Helen’s hand. It was soon discovered that Bebe was a very mischievous little kitten though. Often, Helen would go home during her work breaks to just check on Bebe and make sure she was okay.

Years later in 2018, Helen was diagnosed with stage-two Her2 positive breast cancer. As a result, Helen underwent a lot of treatments. Throughout this harrowing period, Bebe was there to support Helen. When she was undergoing treatments, Bebe sat on her chest and purred. Helen believed Bebe was trying to heal her with her soothing purrs.

The risk of the cancer returning, even after treatment, was somewhat higher than that of other forms of breast cancer. It was because of this, Helen had to have a mastectomy. For Helen, this made the cancer real. It had taken something from her. It was with this new adjustment, she was very thankful to have her fluffy carer.

Throughout the ordeal, Bebe never left Helen’s side. When Helen was at home, Bebe would snuggle up with her and follow her when she was up and about. As a result of all the treatments Helen underwent, she was told that having children would be an issue. She feels having Bebe in her life is like having a child. She felt a sense of inner peace when she cuddled Bebe, especially during this period.

Undergoing cancer treatments had a major physical effect on Helen, but it also had an impact on her mental health. At the end of 2019, Helen introduced a second fur baby to their family. Lenny, a young dog, rescued from the SPCA, helped Helen post-cancer. As with Bebe, having Lenny in her life is like having a second child. Although Helen has not had to be treated since 2018

Lenny, a very active and young dog, encourages Helen to go out. When she is finding it difficult to go outside and socialise, she ensures Lenny gets some exercise.

During times when her mood may be low, watching Lenny play brings Helen happiness. As Lenny is young, he requires a lot of care. This gives Helen something to focus on. Having to both ensure he gets enough exercise in his day and attention, it distracts Helen when she may be struggling with her mental wellbeing. Lenny never fails to make her smile and brighten her day with his energy and character.

Cancer has had a massive impact on Helen, but she feels that the after-effects should have more awareness. This has prompted Helen, and another breast cancer survivor, Belinda Tran-Lawrence, to begin The C Word: Kiwis talk about cancer. This is a podcast in which they both discuss cancer, after-effects, and sometimes welcome guests to speak about their own experiences. Occasionally, Lenny makes himself heard in the background of certain episodes!

Helen is grateful to have Bebe and Lenny in her life. They have both provided her with support and love when she has needed it. She views both of them as her children. Both Bebe and Lenny brighten every day for Helen. She knows that whatever happens, they will be there for her and bring joy to each day.