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!



Sunday, 29 August 2010
and the jury speaks.

If there's something we should stop doing, we should really stop judging people from their looks and looks alone.

In my humble opinion, we don't really have the rights to judge someone and assume how they usually act and behave from just a simple glance or even after staring at them for so long, thinking you'd already understand how that person is like just by judging on someone's appearance.

As a cancer patient, I can relate to the treatment cancer patients are given. Basically, cancer patients undergo chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy to kill the cancerous cells in our bodies. At the same time, other body cells that are not harmful are also killed. Depending on each patient's mental, emotional and physical health, treatment can either be painful, tormenting, tedious, stressful, tiring and a whole lot more.

I know chemotherapy makes my white blood cell count drop. It causes me to have nearly zero immunity to germs, bacteria and viruses. I can fall sick very easily if I'm not careful. Hence, me wearing a surgical mask whenever I'm out. And going out is rare and uncommon for me nowadays unless completely necessary. My parents really don't want to expose me to any potential harm in the outside world. I understand their good intentions, but trust me. Staying in the house all the time, I'm this near to insanity.

Okay, I was just exaggerating. I just get very restless, that's all.

Now, to the main issue of the day.

I have to agree when it's said that society in general judge people who are wearing surgical masks in a negative light. People tend to assume that we are bearing some kind of highly contagious and deadly disease. Besides that, there are also people who tend to stare at us just because of the fact that we are wearing a surgical mask. I'm not sure about other countries, but here in Malaysia, if one has a flu or is coughing quite badly, wearing a surgical mask is considered troublesome, uncomfortable or/and unnecessary. In fact, nobody really wears it. Those who are sick normally just take the day off from school or from work.

There was one time when I went out for a quick dinner with my parents and my brother. Of course, I had to wear a surgical mask. The moment I stepped out from the car, I received stares from nearly everybody who saw me. Some of them tend to look at me for so long, I got really uncomfortable and I was starting to get self-conscious. I even overheard a few of them saying things like,

"That girl has H1N1. Stay away from her."

"Why is she wearing a surgical mask? I'm sure she has something like HIV or AIDS! Why is she even here in the first place? She should be staying at home instead of being so selfish! She can spread it to everybody here!"

Talk about being judgemental and making unfair assumptions. It was only too obvious that they have little knowledge regarding health issues.

Readers, if I had H1N1, I would have been given strict instructions to be kept quarantined.

If I have AIDS or HIV, I can't transmit the disease to you unless I had sexual intercourse with you. Neither I can do so if I did not share needles with you. It can only spread to another individual through infected body fluids from the inside of an infected person to the inside of another person. If you can't figure out how, go and find out. There are so many sources to which one can find out how AIDS or HIV spreads.

I understand that it could be just a normal reaction from people to quickly avoid someone who is wearing a surgical mask, because they don't want to risk getting infected and fall sick. But like I said, these people have no rights to judge and assume if they don't know what is really going on.

In the end, I figured out the best solution to avoid all these uncomfortable stares.

Stare back. They tend to shy away knowing that they got caught staring, which is actually very rude. Haven't you been told that it is actually rude to stare?

This is why I do not stare at random people when I go out to face the world. I know how much I don't like it, and if I want to be treated the same, I shouldn't be doing it in the first place.

To conclude, just a friendly note to all my readers. It is rude to stare at people, and people wear surgical masks for good reasons. If you don't know, don't assume.


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