An 11-year-old who nicknamed his brain tumor “Frank” has been given a clean bill of health by the surgeon who removed the cancerous mass a year ago.
David Dingman-Grover, whose battle with Frank drew national concern, said he felt great and proudly showed off karate kicks Thursday as he chattered about school.
“I don’t think about it at all. I think about mostly, like, just getting on with my life, getting on with the next day,” he said.
The boy was diagnosed in May 2003 with a grapefruit-sized tumor at the base of his brain that was causing blindness and headaches. He nicknamed it after the monster Frankenstein, which used to scare him.
Frank the tumor gained national attention when David’s mother created “Frank Must Die” bumper stickers, which the family auctioned on eBay to defray medical costs.
Chemotherapy and radiation treatments shrank the tumor to the size of a peach pit, and in February 2005 an operation was performed to remove the rest.
'He is free of his monster'
Dr. Hrayr Shahinian said biopsies and MRI scans concluded that the boy’s brain is now cancer-free, although he must continue to be monitored for five years.
“As best as we can tell today, a year out, he is free of his monster,” said Shahinian, of the Skull Base Institute in Los Angeles.
David was given a giant gold key to Disneyland where he and his parents were to be treated Friday. The boy is a roller coaster enthusiast and said he is looking forward to trying new rides.
Although the fourth-grader from Sterling, Va., has been given a clean bill of health, David did suffer complications from the radiation an chemotherapy.
There is a chance he may need lifelong hormone therapy because of damage to his pituitary gland, said his father, Bryan Grover. The treatment destroyed some of his hair and teeth and he recently had major dental work.
“He’s still sick a lot,” his father said. “But compared to a year ago, when they were telling us, go buy a coffin, this is fine. We’ll take this.”