Alright…catching up about day 1 and random stories

Sorry about the huge delay.  I think I was pretty lazy the last little bit.

In the last 6 weeks, we sold our old house, moved into our new offices, moved into our new house and took a 2 week+ 5th year anniversary trip.

Needless to say, that was a crazy period, but not as crazy as the list the beautiful and talented one has for me to do at the new place!

I reread the last post and I am sorry about how analytical and boring it was (self-reflection!).

So, let’s get through the rest of that day quickly and hit some highlights of those early days!

Here is the rest of that day in snapshots of craziness:

  • Around midnight, a couple of nurses came rushing in and told me that they needed to take me for a CT exam. I asked why and they said the doctors thought I might have bleeding on my brain.
  • They put me in a wheelchair and they pushed me at a jog to the CT place. Of course, I was a little worried.
  • To this day, I don’t know what the outcome was, or even why they thought I had bleeding on the brain. Truthfully, I think they took the wrong patient!
  • After that, they raced back to “pick up my blood samples”, where they left me in a hallway in the wheelchair for about 15 minutes. They then came back I was allowed to go back to bed.  It was very surreal.

I woke up the next day with my personal doctor, Dr. Ainhorn,  sitting in a chair watching me.  He told me he wanted to have everything checked.

Throughout the day, he sent a surgeon (in case it was an internal problem), an infectious disease doctor, and a few other random people who all seemed to just need to push on me and check my pulse.

A few hours later, I was lying in my bed (still constipated) when a doctor came into the room and told me he needed to have me prepped for a hip aspiration.  I said, “why do you have to do that.”  His answer?  “Because we need to find out what kind of leukemia you have.”

My heart dropped and I asked, “I have leukemia?”  He then got very nervous and said, “Umm, can you have family or a friend come by at 1:00 to discuss your diagnosis.”

Seriously, that was how I found out.  Terrific bedside manner.  I called a good friend, Darryl, to ask him to come to the office.  I told him they thought I had leukemia.  He came over right away with a gift of a journal from himself and his wife, Cheryl.

I also talked to Valerie and she pulled over on the side of the road on her way to Fort Lauderdale and sat on the side of the road and cried with me.  My oldest daughter was in the car and was asking Valerie’s assistant, “what is wrong with my Dad?”  The thought of it still makes me teary eyed.

Before either he, or my Mom, could make it, they came to do the test.  There were seriously 4-5 nurses there holding me down to keep me from moving if it was painful.  I cried the entire time, I thought my life was over.

Of course, God had other plans and other people he wanted to put in front of me first!

By the way…God wanted to all to know that He loves you!  #FTK  (For The King)

Out the blowhole.

February, sometime in middle, 2014.

KSwizzle and I enjoying some of Cam’s finest Margarita’s this side of the boarder, in Key West!

The best stories begin at the beginning or is it the end?  Either way I will start my story where I want to, that is the way I usually do things, my way.  If you asked me “Valerie you sexy lady. What do you think of cancer” I would respond pre 2014 with “It is terrible, sounds terrible and I am sure there is a cure.  The government just doesn’t want us to know about a cure as they would lose a ton of revenue.”  If you were to ask me, post 2014, I will give you the same answer only before responding I would ask a question.  “What kind, is it someone you know, what hospital are they in and do they have someone?”  The someone I worry about is someone that they can stand beside, follow and lean on with the weight of their problems.  Who you are and who you have in cancer are huge, they make all the difference.  I was about to learn this lesson.

At the end of 2013 Brian and I were just coming off one of the worst years of our marriage.  We were struggling both personally and professionally.  I realized that we had been on two different paths, mine was heading in the right direction of course.  Brian was off, this is the best way to describe it.  We took a much needed vacation in November.  We spent an amazing time away and I was hoping that we could cruise through Christmas with an open mind.  My vacation high didn’t last too long and that made my selfish diva side angry, she is one mean bitch.  December was horrible, I hate Christmas as it is, the kids were constantly sick.  Each week they were bringing something new home.  Brian was getting everything along with them.  I would pump him full of more vitamins and tell him to “suck it up buttercup we have shit to do”.  I will let you know that I am not romantic, I don’t like to be taken care of and don’t expect me to drag your sorry ass along if you can’t keep up.  I know harsh, it is what it is.  I questioned him as he forgot things, broke things and just plain ignored me.  We met with our marriage mentors, worked out, prayed, fought and snuggled.  Nothing was working and I began to question everything.  My birthday was horrible and I’m pretty sure he almost forgot.  So, I did what any sane woman would do I got Botox, got a haircut and some new clothes.  I worked on myself thinking that it was me, he just was bored with life in general.  For Christmas and birthdays 2014 I decided that I would take Alexa and Kristie on vacation.  I was hoping the girl bonding time would make everything feel better.  I would be gone for a week and in that time Brian would somehow get his shit together and we could get back to life.

Alexa, Kristie and I left for the airport the night before our trip.  I am a bear in the morning and probably the slowest person getting ready, besides Kristie.  Somehow I managed to find an amazing assistant/best friend that is more scattered than I myself tend to be.  My plan for this trip was to visit Fort Myers, where I lived, and drive to Miami down the Keys and then back to Fort Lauderdale.  We were in Key West when Brian started texting me that he wasn’t feeling well.  I was texting him how annoyed I was that our hotel was insanely crappy and that the brand should be ashamed.  My DBS was throwing a hissy fit and stomping around.  I have a feeling that this was the point that God may have been laughing, I think that God has an amazing sense of humor.  I make my point with the manatee, platypus and sloth.  We boarded a boat to go snorkeling the morning of February 15th.  The 3 of us spent a beautiful day out on the ocean with a guide.  The water is comforting for me and the ocean runs through my veins.  We found a group of dolphins while we were cruising that stayed right by us the whole time.  At one point, I was hanging off the front of the boat with my hands in the ocean thinking everything is going to be great.  My life is great!  I have everything I need and want, its great!  We are blessed!  Look at this trip its amazing and the world is beautiful.  Praise Jesus!  Hallelujah!   And then it hit, salt water, dolphin snot and the smell of fish.  The dolphin sprayed me right in the face from the blowhole.  If you didn’t know, now you know that blowhole water is gross and smells worse than chum sitting in the sun.  Somehow in that moment life would never be the same…..

My Fight with Leukemia…Part 1

My name is Brian DiBartolomeo and this is my story.

Today is February 17, 2016, it is officially 2 years since I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and I thought my life was over.

I am starting this blog to talk about the things I went through during this process and maybe to help others who are going through similar situations.

I want to thank my wife, Valerie, for the amazing support she gave me throughout treatment and during recovery.  Our company and family would have fallen apart without her strength.  She is the most amazing woman on the planet and the love of my life!

We both want to acknowledge that none of my recovery would have been possible without God’s loving hand directing the doctors and nurses at Karmanos Cancer Center through my treatment and continuing today.  God is Great!

So, how does one go about getting diagnosed with leukemia, which is a blood cancer for those who don’t know.

Well, it started when my wife and oldest daughter, Alexa, went with Kristie Lynch on a trip to Key West.

On February 14th, our youngest son, Brady, and I went to the Oakland University vs. U of Detroit Basketball game.  It was a great time and a great game…mostly because the Grizzlies won!

Then on February 15th, I went with my father-in-law, Gordie, to see Billy Joel live at the Palace of Auburn Hills.  It was a great show, but when the last song started I got a pain in my stomach that felt like the worst gas bubble ever.  That last song?  “Only the Good Die Young”.  Nearest Valerie and I have been able to tell, I probably had other symptoms, but God chose that song, by my favorite artist, to tell me to get it checked out.  He was giving me a pain at a time when I would pay attention.

Once I got home, my mother-in-law, Julie, had Brady in bed and I was in such bad pain that I had to sit on the stairway in our house just to keep from showing the pain I was in.

When Gordie and Julie left, I went to my room to sleep.  Brady came in because he wanted to say goodnight and I told him I was sorry I felt a bit sick then but that on Sunday we would go to Kensington Church, then another Oakland University game, and then to Dave and Busters.  He loved the plan and went to bed.  I, on the other hand, did not.

I spent the night of the 15th in the most pain I had ever felt and that pain moved to my back.  I took everything we had in the house, from Nyquil to laxatives, trying to relieve the pain I was in.

The next morning, I text Valerie and told her about the pain and said I probably just had some major constipation and gas, and she agreed.  I told her I loved her and tried to get comfortable again.

Brady came into the room to see why I hadn’t gotten him up for church and I told him I just needed another hour or so because I didn’t feel good.  Seeing his face and then having our dog, Apollo, jump on me made me realize that I was not going to be able to handle my job as Dad to either of them.  So, I did what every boy does when they don’t feel good, I called my Mom and Dad.  I asked my Mom to come watch Brady and my Dad to take me to Crittenton Hospital.

Then the real fun began.  Stay tuned…