Big things are happening with Jennifer Esposito and her company, Jennifer’s Way. Big things for her and just as importantly, big things for the celiac community.
Many of these things are of the “to be announced” variety, but there is one item I do want to share with you.
She has a new book coming out in May called “Jennifer’s Way: My Journey with Celiac Disease — What Doctors Don’t Tell You and How You Can Learn to Live Again”.
Mrs. Dude and I had the privilege of getting an advanced copy and it is simply an amazing read. She writes with passion. She writes with humor. And boy oh boy does she write with honesty.
If you’re looking for a Hollywood tell-all, this ain’t the book for you.
But man if you want to read about someone who has been to celiac hell and back, you’ll want to savor every damn page.
With Jennifer’s permission, I want to share with you the introduction to the book.
This book is dedicated to every celiac, whether diagnosed or not.
I hope this book gives you some understanding and peace.
I thank this community from the bottom of my heart.
You were the first to help me understand this new world.
Being an actress and in the public eye for almost twenty years, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been in the press for anything other than promoting the project of the moment. If you had told me years ago that I would write a book so openly about my personal life, I would have said you were crazy.
When I was diagnosed with celiac disease, all that changed and I felt almost compelled to tell my story. This disease has taken many twists and turns and has been at the root of many unanswered questions in my life since I was a child. The pain and suffering, not only physical but emotional, is something I wish on no one. If there is one paragraph, even just one sentence in this book that helps you in any way to understand what may be going on in your life with your health, then that is what I set out to do.
I believe there are a few very basic needs for us, as human beings. We want to feel safe, loved, accepted, and heard.
Most if not all people with celiac disease are threatened in a big way. Feeling safe becomes something that doesn’t apply to you anymore. You are not just in the hands of doctors who are often not able to tell you what’s wrong – for most people, an accurate diagnosis takes years – but you are also at the mercy of every meal. Food becomes an enemy that you must keep your eye on at all times.
Feeling loved gets threatened when family, friends, and society don’t really get this disease, or at least not fully, or not yet. That can be very isolating at times, leaving people feeling unloved.
That brings me to acceptance. Everyone wants to feel a part of something. Not being able to conduct your life as everyone else does is not only hard on the social aspect of your life, but on your heart as well.
Finally, that leads me to the last basic human need, and to be honest, this has been the biggest single reason I have opened my life up and related my struggles to you: so you can feel like you can tell your story and be heard. I take you all the way back through my childhood, in the hopes that you will see in my early symptoms to help you understand yours.
I want to show you by example that not all celiac disease symptoms are stomach-related, and some symptoms can seem far-removed from your gut. I take you even further back, showing you that my mother and grandmother had symptoms, too, to show you that celiac disease can be passed along through families for generations, so you can look back at your own family history for clues and validation. When I finally found out I had celiac disease, I realized how far back it went.
My ultimate intention in telling this story is to help you find your voice. I cannot count the number of people who have written to me and come in to my bakery from around the world, just to say thank you for telling my story by telling yours. I want to give a voice and a face to this disease. Many people have been unheard for so long regarding this disease, as I was. Some were told they were crazy, some given a wrong diagnosis, and many are still searching for an answer. This leaves people feeling unheard, and as I say in the first chapter in this book, it is my experience that something happens to you when you go for so long without being heard. Your soul starts to die a little. You stop voicing your opinions and concerns, your gut stops speaking to you, and you become someone who doesn’t believe their words matter.
If I say anything in this book that you hear, please hear this: your voice matters and your symptoms are real and there are people out there who will listen. You can be heard and you will be heard. I am here to tell you that I get it. I hear you.
~ Jennifer Esposito
Interested? You can pre-order the book here. You’ll be glad you did.