Story told by Frodo himself
My name is Frodo and I am a six year old cancer survivor. I have recently passed my two year cancer free period, so its looking pretty good for me now to have a normal life expectancy.
One morning two years ago, I woke up with a huge egg-like lump on my head near my ear. At first my mum thought I had bumped my head but she took me straight to the vet. He thought it was a cyst at first and when he tried to drain it nothing came out. He said he would have to operate to remove the lump.
When my mum came to pick me up after the operation the vet old her it was nothing to worry about and he got it all. Lucky for me my mum asked for it to be sent to the lab anyway and that decision is the reason I am still here.
A few days later the phone call came and my mum was told it was cancer. It was a shock to us because I was otherwise a normal healthy four year old who had so much energy and who likes nothing more than playing with my mates.
Within a day of getting the news, my mum had me over to see the Oncologist , Dr Ken Wyatt. I had to go through bone marrow testing, ultrasounds and x-rays. After all the testing Dr Ken said that I had localised malignant histiocytic sarcoma and because I had dirty margins around the lump I would need chemotherapy. At least the tumour hadn't spread to other organs.
Every three weeks I would go and see Dr Ken for my chemotherapy. I never wanted to be going but my mum said I would have to do as I was told. They were always nice to me but I didn't like being poked and prodded all the time. Whilst I was having my chemotherapy it was business as usual. I had no sickness from it and I carried on as normal. At home I would race around with my mates and I never felt sick. I did get a couple of infections after the first two sessions which meant I had to get shaved for intravenous antibiotics, but it was something I just had to put up with.
After my course of chemotherapy had finished, I would go and see Dr Ken every two months for a check-up. I'd try to get out of going for these check-ups and I have to be carried up the stairs because I just lock my legs and wont move. After the examination is over I can relax and I lick Dr Ken on the hand and off we go until next time. With each visit giving us good news it was quite a milestone to reach the two year mark. Eighty percent of dogs with my type of cancer die within two years as it is very aggressive. Last year I even sent a DNA sample for a cancer research program in the United Kingdom, as they were looking for dogs with histiocytic sarcoma. I hope that my participation might save other dogs in the future.
I am one of the lucky ones and I am still here because my mum had my lump sent to the laboratory for analysis. If she hadn't I wouldn't be here today as without treatment I might have only lasted a couple of months.. I hope all my mates out there will have parents that do the same. If a vet ever tells you there is nothing to worry about when a lump is removed, always ask for it to be sent off to the lab for conformation. Vets are human and mistakes can happen. Never delay in getting lumps checked as delays can be the difference between life and death.
I am lucky that I have been given the chance to have many more years ahead of me. Dr Ken and his staff knew exactly what I needed. Even though I don't like going there my mum said it is for my own good. If there was any changes, they would be picked up quick and treated.
Now I can spend my days playing with my mates, although it is hard to find a playmate who can keep up with me. They always run out of steam before I do. My brother Farrell is also teaching me how to garden and help bring in the washing. My mum is not happy about this. I also do fundraising events for my mates in rescue shelters, which is where I came from.. I sit with my tin and get lots of pats and turn on the charm so my tins fills up. I am a dab hand at it these days as I have been doing it for years. At least now I should be around for years enjoying life, thanks to Dr Ken. He gave me a second chance.
UPDATE - February 5, 2013
Last October Frodo passed the three year mark since diagnosed and he is still going well.
At the two year mark his oncologist Dr Ken Wyatt said that he should have a normal life expectancy now and that if it was to come back it would be slow growing and not life threatening.
I think myself lucky every day that Dr Ken was able to help my boy and he is still with me. Dr Ken is one of only seven animal oncologists in Australia and he is brilliant.