Cole Howard

Age: Adult
Association: Survivor
Region: Calgary
Cancer: Leukemia

"I learned to never stop smiling and be positive in every situation. "

Cancer has changed my life in many ways. The little things in life don’t seem so little anymore. No matter how hard things can get I always try to keep a smile on my face. The process to trying to stay healthy may be hard but I’ve always had to keep a positive and up-beat attitude for not only myself but for my family and friends.

I started to lose my hearing one night and was honestly baffled. I thought I was going to go to emergency and get some sort of pill or solution for my ears and that would have been it, but I was wrong. The doctors started to scramble around the little emergency clinic and I started to go into panic mode. At this point I had no clue what I had and was very scared. About five hours passed and I was told I was being transferred to Calgary Foothills Hospital. There, they continued the tests to around 2 a.m. Dr. Kim who was the emergency doctor at the time broke the news, no sugar coating anything. Straight up told me that I had leukaemia and the my white blood cell count was 800, 100x the amount you’re supposed to have. That next morning I got a bone marrow biopsy. I was told I was still in the first stage for CML (Chronic Myloid leukaemia) which was quite surprising considering my count. For the next two weeks the tests never stopped, countless needles were put into me, my heart, brain and vital body organs were swelling at a fast rate. But through all this craziness, I had a normal white blood cell count 2 weeks later. I learned to never stop smiling and be positive in every situation. Although I lost my hearing through the process that seemed fine because I was still miraculously alive. Now I’m living my life as I were before, just taking pills everyday and going for doctors appointments every couple of months.    

My advice would be to never be scared of hospitals, doctors offices, etc. These places are filled with the kindest souls the world has to offer and if I had waited any longer to go to the hospital when I didn’t know exactly what I had, I don’t know where I would be or if I would be here.