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…