TBTCE: "But You Don't Look Sick": The Invisible Nature of Celiac Disease

  • Topic Info:Welcome to our new series, "Throw Back Thursday: Celebrity Edition" (or TBTCE). In the following weeks, we'll be featuring various celebrity interviews from over the years. Hope you enjoy!

    TBTCE: Jennifer Esposito

    Actress Jennifer Esposito knows firsthand about the "invisible" aspect that makes celiac disease so difficult to deal with.

    Almost daily she hears the phrase, "You don't look sick."

    For those with celiac, it can become a constant struggle to get people to understand the pain that you're suffering silently. Just because they can't see it doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.

    This is especially true if you don't have the "typical" symptoms of celiac. For years, Jennifer suffered from everything from sinus infections to digestive issues and panic attacks. She was labeled a hypochondriac and "dramatic," and doctors put her on medications like Prozac.

    Even the supposed "experts" don't always listen, and it can kill your soul to go so unheard for so long... to know something is truly wrong but no one recognizes that's the case.

    Jennifer has seen major resistance with the press in accepting that celiac is a serious disease, so just imagine what the normal, everyday person goes through.

    What advice does Jennifer have for those suffering from celiac?

    First, look your disease in the face, accept it and digest it. Accept your disease for what it is and move forward. Be clear and honest with yourself; it's a journey every day.

    Once you accept this in yourself, you can look to those who support you.

    Finally, understand those who can't understand; but also seek out those who will always be there for you.

    Tune in to Jennifer and Lisa as they discuss the invisible nature of celiac, as well as ways to cope with this painful and often debilitating disease.
  • Book Title: Jennifer's Way: My Journey with Celiac Disease--What Doctors Don't Tell You and How You Can Learn to Live Again
  • Host: Andrea Donsky, RHN and Lisa Davis, MPH