Hello! I'm Leonie. I’m from Malaysia. I am nineteen this year, and I have Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma - a kind of blood cancer. I’m just trying to live my life to the fullest, without any regrets. I'm grateful that I’m still able to wake up to a brand new day and know that I'm still alive.

I refuse to refer to my condition as a disease. I would rather phrase it as a 'series of unfortunate events'.

I learn something new with each passing day. This is the story of my journey, and you're welcome to follow me in every step that I take.

If you would like to learn more about me and my condition, feel free to click on the navigations below. If you have any queries or would just like to say hello, drop me an e-mail at and I'll try to respond as soon as possible!



Thursday, 30 December 2010
mutual understanding.

Hello again readers.

I realised my previous entry was a very emotional one. Well, I guess that's the result of too much pent-up emotions.

Also, I realised the need to write a new entry, a more cheery one at that, to avoid some of my loved ones who read this blog getting too upset and/or worried for me.

So, I started radiotherapy on the 20th this month, and I had nine fractions done so far. The radiotherapists are a nice lot of people. One's a constant joker, one's a knowledgeable man, and one who treats me like her little sister.

I often see the same faces during the weekdays, since once a patient starts undergoing radiotherapy, he or she has to continue the treatment all the way until all fractions are completed. You can't stop halfway, or miss even one fraction. Maybe there are special circumstances to the aforementioned sentence, but normally, it brings dire consequences if one's radiotherapy regime is not strictly followed.

Lymphoma is still not a very commonly known cancer. Point is definitely proven, because even I have not heard of such a cancer till I myself was diagnosed with it. Most of the patients I have met were diagnosed with cancers such as cervical cancer, nose cancer, and breast cancer - the more common types of cancer affecting humans. And honestly, even though we have different types of cancer, only we can understand the side effects we have to face from chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy.

From that, I would like to quote a fellow blogger, Ming Wei, who was also diagnosed with lymphoma earlier in the year.

I'm just directly translating, but it sounds something like this.

"You're not a fish.
So how do you know whether the fish is happy or sad?"

It sounds more poetic in Chinese, really. But it cannot be any truer than that. In simpler terms,

"You're not a cancer patient.
So how can you ever understand the physical and emotional sufferings we go through?"

No offense, readers. I am aware that my family and friends are trying their very best to understand my condition - whether physically or emotionally.

But no matter what, healthy and normal people can never fully and thoroughly understand what we have to endure through treatment, and life after cancer.

Only fellow cancer patients can truly understand how uncomfortable chemotherapy is.

To have a needle pricked into your veins and have very toxic medicinal fluids enter your body.
To go under the knife to have this inserted into your body for those having to endure several sessions of chemotherapy.
To go through hair loss, which harbours great emotional burden to many - especially women.

There are, of course, a lot more side effects from treatment, but I'm sure you can do your own research and homework. What's more, a lot of the side effects are general knowledge.

From radiotherapy, the skin where the rays are directed may be damaged. When I say damaged, just think of you and your worst case of sunburns. Yeah, just like that.

And wherever the rays are directed at (obviously it's where the tumour is in the body), more side effects tend to turn up.

Let's say one who has nose cancer undergoes radiotherapy, he or she tends to suffer from a runny/blocked nose, severe headaches and dizzy spells. This is because the rays tend to affect the area where the tumour is and the surroundings areas.

One who has cervical cancer, might suffer from a very bad case of diarrhea, abdominal pains, and stomach discomfort.

As for me, some of the rays will partially hit one of my main blood vessels (the superior vena cava) and my throat (the oesophagus), so I have been warned by my doctor that I will have a weak heart and in due time, continuous coughing, sore throats, and difficulty in swallowing food.

Some of the patients have to undergo both chemotherapy and radiotherapy at the same time. I'm considered lucky in that sense. The side effects from chemotherapy are bad enough, and having the side effects from radiotherapy to deal with as well - not a very ideal combination at all.

What I have mentioned are nothing but the facts. I may not be a certified doctor in this field, but I do not share untruths and rumours that are not proven scientifically with my readers. There are enough assumptions out there, and truthfully, I'm sick of each and every one of those assumptions. Instead, sharing the facts to anyone who reads my blog is a good start in erasing those assumptions one by one and having more people understand cancer and how it affects people and their everyday lives.

Not a very cheery entry, but at least it's not emotional and angsty. (:


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Saturday, 18 December 2010
it's a long road ahead.

And I don't see the end yet. Not at all.

Hello reader(s). It's been some time since I last blogged. I miss blogging, honestly.

For me, SPM ended about one week ago. The 9th of December 2010 was the day when some of my peers who took their last papers screamed for joy and celebrated their freedom. The day which marked the end of high school for us.

That day was one of my most miserable moments in life. I cried right after the invigilator left the counselling room where I was isolated from the rest throughout SPM. I did badly for Accounts Paper 2, and ended up writing some nonsense just to fill in the answer sheets.

In the room, I can hear laughter and shrieks of happiness.

Through the window, I can see my friends and classmates jumping around, taking photos and videos. They're hugging each other too.

Everyone was just happy that their last paper was over.

Except for me.

I never felt so left out before.

I can't hug my friends, because I'm susceptible to infections and contagious illnesses. And I don't think most of my friends even remembered that I was there, in the counselling room, amidst their joy and laughter.

I felt..forgotten.

Being away from school for half a year is not as awesome as most of my peers think. I can't see my friends, I can't keep up with my studies. People seem to think that I have a lot of time to study and do revision in the comforts of my own home.

Wrong. I spend most of the time recuperating from the side effects of chemotherapy. I hardly have the energy to study the first few months of me receiving treatment. And, I also happen to spend most of my time in the hospital and in Malacca. Stop making assumptions if you don't have the facts.

It's as if I'm slowly fading from everyone's memories.

It's as if..I don't exist in their lives anymore.

It's just painful for me to have these kind of thoughts haunting my head, whether they're true or not.

My mum never fails to remind me that there is no such thing as 'friends forever'. I believe in that too, since most of the friendships I'd been in just don't work out in the end. It's undeniable that generally, everybody is selfish. Everybody wants the good things for their ownselves. Not everybody likes to share.

My mum also never fails to tell me that I'm too soft. It's true. I treasure my friends a lot. They mean so much to me. Betraying their secrets that they trusted me with or bitching about them is the last thing that I'll do. I do my best to help them out if they have any problems. I'm their shoulder for them to lean on. I'm the listener among my friends. I don't know how to say no to my friends' requests or favours.

It's only now, when I have cancer, I know who my real friends are.

People who I thought that could care less about me, continuously offered me the encouragement and support I need.

There are friends that stuck by me all the way, and still are.

Then there are the bad apples. I'm not in the mood to elaborate now.

I have many dissatisfactions to blog about. But I guess I'll just have to save them for later.

To summarise, I'm not cancer-free yet. The tumour inside of me is still active, but it is now smaller than before. It is now measuring at 6cm. I'll be undergoing radiotherapy in Johor Bahru, and most probably I have to deal with 20 to 25 fractions. That means I'll have to undergo radiotherapy for at least 20 to 25 days. Maybe more, maybe less. A month after treatment, and I'll go for another PET scan. If the results are still negative, I'll have to undergo a bone marrow transplant. You did not read that wrongly.

My life is in constant danger everyday. Waking up to a new day knowing that I'm still alive is a miracle.

So a friendly note to my peers who complain they are super bored with life after SPM, be grateful you don't have my so-called exciting life. If you're really that bored, go help out with the house chores, get a job, hang out with friends, spend time with your family, or indulge in your hobbies. I can't believe you guys can actually be bored when there is so much you guys can do, that I can't.


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