There are plenty of very good reasons why dogs are known as man’s best friend. In many instances these loyal animals have helped their owners evade danger, provide therapy, and even help them get through everyday situations.
For Michael DiZoglio, a dog saved his life.
The 28-year-old Denver resident is no stranger to receiving a warm welcome from his father’s husky, Mickey, whenever he walked through the door. Mickey is a big boy, so naturally, DiZoglio felt a little sting every time the friendly dog jumped on him. So when he didn’t feel anything after Mickey climbed on him one day, he immediately knew something was wrong.
"One time he jumped on me from the right and I didn’t feel any pain … and I thought it should have hurt,” DiZoglio told CBS Denver. "I didn’t feel anything."
The lack of feeling on that side of his body was alarming enough for DiZoglio to schedule an appointment with his doctor.
He completed a few rounds of many different tests, and on his 28th birthday, he received the dreaded phone call. The doctor informed him that he had testicular cancer.
"I didn’t cry, laugh, I didn’t overreact,” he said. “I felt dumbfounded. I never anticipated that kind of news."
Intead, DiZoglio maintained a positive outlook, even telling his mother that "it's all about perspective."
But that’s not where his and Mickey’s story ends…
Since receiving his diagnosis, DiZogolio has been through a lot, but Mickey stuck by his side the whole time.
He underwent surgery to remove the aggressive cancerous tumor, but things took a turn when doctors discovered that the cancer had already spread to other parts of his body, namely his lungs.
DiZogolio started chemotherapy this past August, and despite the draining ordeal, he is grateful that his ailment was caught early. Thanks to Mickey, he has a high chance of beating it.
"The best thing in my life is that I had testicular cancer," he told his mother. "What if it had been my spleen or liver? I wouldn’t have known."
The cancer didn't stop DiZoglio from making future plans, and you bet they include Mickey.
"When I get the good news, I want to go through the list," he said of his bucket list.
DiZoglio is expecting to hear the news in early December after his scheduled scans.The first thing he’ll do when he wraps up his treatment is reward Mickey by taking him on long walks.
"Someone’s looking out for me through the dog. I felt like something’s going into place to protect me," he said.
DiZoglio is sharing his story to raise awareness for the early detection of cancer. He said that although self exams are useful, it is extremely important to pay attention to the changes in your body. In his case, the prognosis could've been a lot worse had Mickey not jumped on him because he never noticed that he had lost some feeling on that side of his body.
We're wishing him a speedy recovery.