By Alan Gionet

DENVER (CBS4)– Michael DiZoglio has a dog to thank for his life. His father’s dog Mickey, loves when he comes over. The dog is a husky and wants out. Michael takes Mickey on good walks. As soon as he comes in the house, the dog jumps on him. Sometimes that can really hurt.

“One time he jumped on me from the right and I didn’t feel any pain… and I thought it should have hurt.”

Not numbness, “I didn’t feel anything.”

michael dizoglio 4 Dog Helps Man Find Cancer

(credit: Michael DiZoglio)

That was worrisome. At the doctor’s office they started testing. On his 28th birthday, March 13, they called back. 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.”

Few do when cancer comes their way. There are many different reactions. Many are why me? Some are disbelief, some are helplessness. Michael began to think positively.

His mother Mary Frances Simms said, “He actually said to me it’s all about perspective.”

michael dizoglio 2 Dog Helps Man Find Cancer

(credit: Michael DiZoglio)

Michael explained the nature of the cancer allowed detection.

“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.”

He didn’t do anything to cause his cancer, his mother said. He’s taken good care of himself.

Michael’s story is among those we’re featuring as we share the stories of cancer in Colorado during my No Shave November effort. We are raising money on my donation page. We’re trying to explain that there’s more to people than the cancer that effects them.

michael dizoglio 1 Dog Helps Man Find Cancer

(credit: Michael DiZoglio)

Michael likes basketball. He’s studied political science in college. He hasn’t been working with the difficulty of his treatments. An operation removed the tumor from his testicular cancer. But it is an aggressive type known as embryonal carcinoma. The bad news got worse. A scan showed it had spread to his lungs, which showed a series of spots. He’s been doing the chemo since August.

“It’ll drain you,” he said.

He goes in before 7 a.m. and stays hooked up for five hours. He’ll try to sleep through it. Then he’ll often to his Dad’s where Mickey awaits, wanting a walk. But he’s worn out. He will sleep sometimes for 12 to 18 hours. Sometimes just walking up a flight of stairs he has to lie down and rest. Still, he has plans. “When I get the good news, I want to go through the list,” he said about his future plans.

That news could come in a scan scheduled for early December. The chemo just might be over.

michael dizoglio 3 Dog Helps Man Find Cancer

(credit: Michael DiZoglio)

Michael believes catching his cancer early was key. Self exams make sense, but he thinks it’s important to pay attention to what might be wrong. Mickey is waiting for long walks and Michael has plans.

“Someone’s looking out for me through the dog. I felt like something’s going into place to protect me.”

Here’s a link to Alan’s No Shave November page to join the effort to fight cancer:

https://no-shave.org/member/agionet

Alan Gionet is anchor of CBS4 This Morning and reports on a wide variety of issues and “Good Question” stories. He started at CBS4 in 1994. Follow Alan on Twitter @AlanGTV or on Facebook.

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