Julie Diiorio says, “On April Fools’ Day 1998, my beloved husband and father of my three children was diagnosed with CML. Our world fell apart.
That was on the Monday. By Wednesday he had been admitted into Addenbrooke’s Hospital under the watchful eye of Dr Marcus. Domenic only went in for a check-up but was found to have a haemorrhage behind one eye and his white cell count had more than tripled since that Monday. Three days later he was home with us, but life was never going to be the same. Telling the children was the hardest.
Domenic started his treatment of pills and injections. During one of his regular checks at Addenbrooke’s, he saw Professor Green who told him that his only chance of survival was a bone marrow transplant. Without this he was given two years to live! It was blunt and to the point, but looking back now it was the best way. Who wants to be lied to? I have to say though, that is the one thing I kept from my children. Everything else they knew and when possible came along to hospital appointments.
On 5th October 1998, Domenic was admitted once again to Addenbrooke’s under the watchful eye of Dr Marcus, who by then was like a family friend. This time he was in to have stem cell transplant, donated by his older sister, who was found to be a perfect match. The treatment beforehand was awful - Domenic was so sick. Some days I just sat with him, him not even knowing I was there. The children used to spend weekends with him. It was so hard to see the man you love who has given you three beautiful children fight so hard for his life, but we battled through.
I never let Domenic or my children know how upset I was. I cried alone on my own but in front of other people I was a strong wife and mother. Each day was a new battle and we never gave up hope. On 14th 0ctober Domenic received the transplant. Then the waiting began.
14 years later I still have my wonderful husband and my children still have their wonderful father. It hasn’t been easy, Domenic really fought for his life and he still has minor hiccups and regular checks at Addenbrooke’s. He has GVH but it’s nothing major and he copes with it without drugs. He said he's had his fair share of drugs- give them to someone that really needs them!
We've met some wonderful people on our long journey. Some made it, some weren't so lucky and that was always very hard for Domenic. He’s done so well that one of the doctors went on to write a research paper on him.
Addenbrooke’s will always be part of our lives - the nurses, the doctors, everyone - without them Domenic wouldn’t be here today and without them Domenic wouldn’t have walked his daughter Letitia down the aisle in 2012 - the proudest moment ever. Domenic has raised money for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research but never tells people that he had CML. Our daughter Letitia does charity runs every year in aid of the charity.
My heart goes out to everyone going through anything like this. I won’t lie to you; it is the hardest thing in the world. You have to be strong and you have to fight. You too can have a HAPPY EVER AFTER xx”