cancer

Guest Post: Cancer – Then & Now by Debbie Pressimone

Guest Post: Cancer – Then & Now by Debbie Pressimone

Hi Everyone! Today I am pleased to present a guest post from my business partner/aunt Debbie. After my dad’s scare this year, cancer has been ever present in our minds, and my aunt is no stranger to this terrible disease. As a child, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor and underwent significant treatment including surgeries and radiation to survive. My grandmother often told my brother and me stories about the tribulations the family endured and encouraged us to show kindness and compassion toward others regardless of their circumstances. In the 70s, a cancer diagnosis did not always receive the same rallying support cry it does today. My grandparents nearly lost their home paying for medical bills–an ongoing problem which has yet to change, and with no Go Fund Me or social support system, it meant sacrifices and long hours working multiple jobs all while carrying for an ill child. In some working class, religious areas like where my grandparents called home, neighbors and friends justified their often cruel behavior behind the guise of religious piety, claiming cancer was a misfortune brought on by the family’s failure to to be Christian enough or to show their praise to God. Rather than offer any help, they shied away from my family and considered them social pariahs deserving of whatever happened. Even the less religious were content to delight in the suffering of my grandparents and aunt, often pulling unspeakably awful pranks or spreading rumors that Debbie was mentally deranged or contagious. My aunt watched as all her play friends were quickly ushered behind closed doors, leaving her alone in a time when she was most vulnerable. Now, we send money, love, and prayers, even to strangers, but then, a person’s closest friends would abandon them. And so for today’s post, Debbie wanted to talk about her upbringing as well as her own cancer experience and how it changed her.