Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing Miami's high-powered Realtor Sam DeBianchi may be known for selling some of the most spectacular properties in South Florida, but in the new issue of Life & Style, the reality star reveals that her life wasn’t always so charmed.
“I almost died at an early age,” Sam exclusively says to Life & Style about suffering from Cushing’s disease as a child. The disease, which occurred when a pituitary tumor bloated her body, had cursed her with thick facial hair. “It gave me osteoporosis and diabetes — and it was going to kill me,” Sam tells Life & Style.
Cushing’s disease also caused Sam emotional pain from bullying she experienced in middle school. “They would circle me every day and go on and on about how ugly I was,” Sam recalls. “I’d cry to my mom and dad, begging them to homeschool me."
But at 14, a visit to the gynecologist changed everything. “He rubs my face and says, ‘You have a lot of hair,’” Sam remembers. “And I’m thinking, ‘Thanks, jerk!’” But the doctor was genuinely alarmed by the growth and sent Sam to an endocrinologist. Ultimately, she was diagnosed with Cushing’s.
Sam went to an expert at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, where she became a case study and underwent two delicate surgeries at 15. “The doctor said the tumor was near the optic nerve and if something went wrong, I could go blind,” Sam solemnly reveals.
Thankfully, the operations were a spectacular success. “I feel so lucky to be here today, living the life I love,” Sam says. “Now some of the people who were nasty to me back in school suddenly want to hang out,” she tells Life & Style. “I’m friendly to them — but I don’t forget.”
For more from Sam’s exclusive interview about her shocking health scare, pick up the new issue of Life & Style, on newsstands now.