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!



Tuesday, 24 August 2010
i define beauty like this.

The 1st of August 2010 is a day of much significance to me.

That very same day was the day I finally get to shave my head and go bald.

My hair loss only became apparent two weeks after my first chemo session. At first, it was just a few innocent strands. I assumed it was normal hair fall, since I kept my hair long before this. It wasn't unusual to hear my mum's complaints about her having to see strands of my hair on the floor everywhere at home. She likes cleanliness and neatness. My thick long hair back then did not help one bit.

Then, more and more strands of hair started to fall at quite an alarming rate. I can't even tie my hair into a ponytail without seeing clumps of hair in my hands afterwards. It then hit me - the most obvious side-effect of chemotherapy is showing itself.

Combing my hair was a nightmare. Waking up in the morning was also traumatising. Trust me, it does when you have to wake up, tidy your bed and see hair all over your pillow. Wow.

I got frustrated and annoyed by this major hair loss of mine. I begged my parents to bring me out to have someone to shave my hair off immediately. Seeing my mum pick up strands of my hair on the floor without complaning, I was touched when she told me she did it so I wouldn't feel more upset at the sight of fallen hair.

Truth is, I wasn't afraid of going bald. I was actually scared of having to witness the process of me losing my hair. It was a slow and heartwrenching event to watch. My hair acted as a confidence-booster whenever I go out to face the world. I hardly have bad hair days. As a person with major self-esteem problems before, my long hair has hid me from unwanted attention and accusing eyes.

I'm not being dramatic, nor am I exaggerating. Yes, my hair did play an important role in my life as a teenager especially.

I am proud to say though, I did not cry when I was having my hair shaved off. I admit, I did tear up occasionally because my mum and the nice lady barber who was doing the shaving were making supportive and encouraging comments. I giggled my way throughout, since it was actually pretty ticklish!

Besides the lady barber, her assistant, my mother and myself, there was another customer who was watching the entire process of me having all my hair shaved off. She was shocked at my positive reaction. I can't blame her. It's a rare sight to see a teenage girl laugh the whole thing off.

I never knew having your hair shaved off would take quite some time to finish. I think I spent more than an hour there. It's wrong of me to assume that shaving someone's head is just a simple process of 'snip, snip, snip, and you're done!', that kind of thing.

My brother and our friend Wanda both suggested the idea of me getting a mohawk first before finally shaving all my hair off. I found that idea really cool, but I was too shy to bring it up with the barber. And seeing that the barber is from a Chinese-speaking background, I was at a loss. I did not know how to say the word 'mohawk' in Chinese, even though I can speak the language. Surprisingly, the message somehow got through thanks to my mum who has a better command of the language.

I was lucky the barber was really nice and generous enough to spend the extra time and effort to get my mohawk done, and allow me to take photos of it before the final cut. I was also lucky of the fact that there were no other customers at that time.

I was tempted to keep my mohawk, but since it requires styling and the fact that my hair is still falling off at an extreme rate, I said farewell to my mohawk. The barber's assistant said I looked really handsome. So do quite a number of my friends - both guys and girls. Aha, I'm really flattered by the compliments.

"Give me some FIERCE, baby!"
This is my profile shot..

..and here's how it looks like from the back.
There's a glimpse of my mum in the photo.
She's going to kill me when she sees this. Heh.
She reads this blog of mine, by the way.
So hi mum!

Anyway, I'll definitely go for this look again when I'm done with all the chemo sessions. And maybe get a hair tattoo at the same time, as suggested by a dear friend, Aishah Jaafar. Now that's something worth looking forward to! (:

It's odd to look at my collection of combs nowadays. Hairclips, hair scrunchies, hair ties, hair bands and hair everything are now kept in a box and hidden from sight till the day I decide to have long hair again. I eventually will, no worries there.

If I don't look into a mirror or anything that I can see my reflection on, I feel just the same as when I still have long hair. Funny, but true.

Oh yes, going bald is actually a personal achievement for me. Since having long hair, the length of my hair has never been above my shoulders. I'm actually glad short hair will look okay on me, I never dared to try. There are so many short hairstyles that I'm dying to try, so that's one worry off my mind.


For now,
I'll embrace this definition of beautiful.

I have this newly found confidence that I'd never felt before.
This is me, going all out for cancer awareness and support.

To cancer patients who have to go bald,
it doesn't matter how you look like on the outside.
It's the inside that is what really matters.
We got to stay strong, and go for the win!

You think you're not pretty,
and you frequently complain about your looks.
Yes, you're not pretty.
It's because you're beautiful.
Be blessed that you have normal features,
and a body with two hands and legs.
So stop complaining.

You think you're ugly.
People make fun of you, tease you,
and even laugh at you.
Hey, it's not the end of the world.
They don't know any better.
You must learn to love yourself.
There will be people who'll love you for who you are, on the inside.
So don't let those words hurt you and bring you down.
You got to prove them wrong.
Letting them see you feel miserable about your looks,
it means they have won.
So show them that you can reverse that situation,
and let them stare at you in awe as you embrace yourself for who you are.

'Cause we are beautiful no matter what they say.
Yes, words won't bring us down, oh no!
We are beautiful in every single way.
Yes, words can't bring us down!
Don't you bring me down today
Beautiful, ©Christina Aguilera.


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