My Name is Leighton

My name is Leighton, I am 14 years old and when I was two I was diagnosed with Leukemia which I fought for 5 years and when I was 7 I finally beat it. I lived a happy life, finally breathing fresh non-hospitalized air, and started making friends who I could depend on not dieing on me (I made 3 very close friends during the course of my leukemia, 2 of which died) and I was back in school living a normal life. I let my hair grow out long again. I gained back weight, (I was 45-48 pounds on a 4’6 frame) and I no longer needed stupid radiation or chemo. I could walk again and be free again. But two weeks ago that all changed. I was used to my mom always being on guard with me. Any little bruise on my body that stayed for longer than a week she would take me in. And if I ever seemed tired she would give me the third degree and question me because she was so afraid it was something cancer related. She was a single mom raising me at the time and so my entire life all the family I had ever known was her. I never knew my dad or his family so they were out of the picture. My mom was 18 when she had me and her family was never in the picture or there for her. Although they live in southern NJ and we only live in Manhattan, they never took the time to come and see me while I was sick. My mom was all I had while I was sick and in treatment. She’s my knight in shining armor. She was my crazy-b*tch mother fighting for my life, fighting for me just to make sure I was okay and everything was okay. So now that I’ve gotten passed my mother and what she’s like, you might understand why for nearly two weeks (about a month ago) I had been hiding blotchy dark purple bruises around the center of my spine. I thought they were dumb, perhaps the result of messing up in my gymnastics, falling wrong, hurting myself. But by week two i began to get worried. I was going to tell her what was going on by week 2 but I was in a sort of denial because she had always made me so aware of the cancer and the possibility of it coming back so in a way i was very afraid of the fact that it could actually have come back.
I was at a party in Brooklyn with my cousin and about 5 of her closest friends to celebrate her 15th birthday at a pool in this hotel. We were all messing around laughing and just having a good time, and somewhere along the way I got elbowed in the nose. It didn’t hurt too bad, nothign much really, but I ended up getting a nose bleed. So I sat at the side of the pool holding a kleenex to my nose, my head tipped back hoping it would stop.
But it wouldn’t.
My mom got called, she came to pick me up and once again i was hauled to the hospital to get tested again.
It was back.
It is back : (
I’ve been in treatment for about a week and a half now. I reach up and touch a bald head where my chest nut hair used to sit hanging to my butt.
I want to say how I feel but i just don’t know what to say. Everywhere i go people stop and stare. Waitresses and teachers are nicer than every with fake smiles planted on their faces when really I know theyre only being nice incase i die.
I’m so scared. I don’t know what to do.
I wish I ccould be brave and be a trooper but the truth is is that I can’t and I’m so afraid to die. I just started middle school in the fall last year and I don’t want to give up anything to this cancer.
I just don’t know what to do anymore.

All I know is that I have to stay strong. Youre never going to want to be in battle with cancer but sometimes you just have to do what you have to do.
This is for all of you newly diagnosed out there. I know youre afraid and i know how you feel. But please listen to these words: BE STRONG.
Because sometimes that’s the only thing that can save you.


February 24, 2012 by  
Filed under Newly Diagnosed

  • Von

    i had Leukemia when i was 4, i’m now 14, i am in a way glad that i was so young, because i didn’t really understand what cancer was, but i live in constant fear that it will be back again. I think you’re incredible. No-one wants to fight cancer once, but you are fighting it twice, thats just incredible. Hang in there, you’ve done it once you can do it again, best wishes for a speedy recovery!!

  • Bryn

    Wow. You have come a long way. My name is Bryn- I’m sixteen and almost four years in remission for Hodgkins Lymphoma. I’m a member of the core group at TLC. I’m really glad you posted on the site. I want you to know we are all here to listen and talk and be there in any way we can. If you would like to email me, you can contact me at I really hope to hear from you. What you said about fake smiles- I really know what you mean. A good friend of mine is a two-time survivor, and I know you can do it too. I’ll be thinking of you.

  • Graphicbirdie

    You sound like a real hero to me! I have never had cancer but I am veryy interested in it. I volunteer at Childresn Hospital so I am around families and people like you quite often. My mom also had cancer so i went through that with her. It sounds like your mom is quite a fighter, and that will take you places. I admire your bravery that stands through your fear, and for that I know you will get through this.

    If you are ever bored and just want to chat with someone, about anything from cancer to gymnastics to….. pie? Than you are absolutly welcome to email me! I am a sixteen year old girl and I am totally here for you just as a random friend to talk to. My email is I see you allready have an offer for someone to email with, but I am here too.

    I wish you the best of luck, through your thoughful writing, I know you will be strong

  • Kimbe17

    Hi Leighton,
    My name is Kim and I had ALL when I was 13 years old and it has to be one of the hardest things I have ever went through. I just wanted you to know that you are right about staying strong and not giving up on this fight. You truly are one strong lady to beat it twice, so I have no doubt you can do it again. However with that being said don’t be afraid to have a bad day and to vent about it. Because keeping it all in doesn’t help either. I know when I got sick I didn’t want to hear about the treatments or the meds they were giving me I tried to block it all out. But you said it right, we do what we have to do. So take time for you.

    I don’t know if you have child life at your hospital but they can go to your school and talk to your classmates and teachers. They can even tell them not to ask you questions or just try and be normal around you because you are the same person. I had them come talk for me and I didn’t even have to be there and it just helped them understand it all a little better. If you don’t have that, talk to your school and your doctors they might have some ideas. I also have a mom just like yours. I also had great friends that would come visit me, and those friends aren’t afraid to be around you and treat you just the way they always did. Plus it’s a good way to keep up on whats going on in school when you can’t be there. If you ever want to talk you can email me at

    I’m also 28 now and I helped one of those friends who was there for me during my fight, fight her own battle with cancer. It’s not the most fun club to be in but there are lots of people who care about each other and will help each other when they need it. So don’t be afraid to ask for it. Take care and stay strong :)

  • Livia Ellen

    Well however, life is not about happiness only, sometimes we need to be strong to face the problem, let’s fight it ! i know u can ! –

  • Jonaveze Versfeld

    leighton i feel like i can relate to u, im 18 and was diagnosed with lymphoma 3 weeks ago, i lived this amazing life and now evrythings changed. dou hav skype? maybe we could talk ? or bbm ?

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