Can We Please Get a Great, Big Celiac Hug for Anthony?

celiac support

Life can be rough for us all.

There’s no doubt that most of us have our serious ups and downs; emotionally, physically, financially, whatever.

We deal with celiac, on top of whatever else life decides to throw at us.

But even at our worst of times, there is always somebody who is going through a tougher time. It doesn’t lessen the importance of our struggles, but it does help to keep things in perspective a bit.

When I went through my crazy health stretch, I kept saying to people “Yes, it sucks, but there are so many worse off.”

This leads me to a comment left on my blog a few days ago by Anthony that broke my heart and made me realize how trivial some of our problems really are.

His comment was on the blog post titled My Family Treats Me Horribly and it goes beyond the normal family BS that some celiacs must go through.

Here is what Anthony had to say.

This post hits far too close to home —

My family has been this way since as long as I can remember; also dealing with middle child syndrome didn’t help matters either.

No one in my family takes me seriously when I say I am extremely allergic to gluten. Once ingested – like many of you know – I am pretty much incapacitated in severe pain for days on end. My family plays it off like it’s a joke.

When I speak – nobody listens. Instead they find comfort in verbal abuse – which like when I was younger – accompanied the physical abuse that my father put me through. To this day they give me hell – that I haven’t amounted to anything.

Having this condition has put me in a less than desirable position, financially. When my family turned their back on me and this “imaginary/hypochondria condition” I had no choice but to seek refuge in my car, which is not fun when you are glutened – by accident.

I don’t know how, but I’m resilient and somehow find ways to keep my chin up. All of this has inspired me to somehow find a way to go back to school to become a physician.

Although today I still sit in pain.

Anthony…I don’t know where you live but I’m sending serious strength your way. As I said in my email to you, nobody deserves this. Nobody.

I think it’s absolutely awesome your taking all of that negative energy and doing something positive with your life where you’ll be helping so many others.

You’re not letting your family suck you into their vicious cycle of negativity and abuse.

I salute you Anthony.

And I think I can safely say that all of us on this wonderful community salute you as well.

If you want to show Anthony some love, please leave a comment below. I’ll be sure he gets the message.

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35 thoughts on “Can We Please Get a Great, Big Celiac Hug for Anthony?”

  1. Anthony, hang in there, brother. I’m a celiac and understand your situation. I’ve also experienced the discrimination you highlight. We’re not alone and your plight is great interest to me. Keep in touch, Paul

  2. Anthony,

    I’m deeply sadened by this. I understand the painful and lingering effects of verbal abuse. It’s worse than the physical! At least you can heal and recover from the physical pain. It’s the verbal that wounds us deep in our soul. Especially when it comes from a parent or family member. These are people who should be credible witnesses in our lives of who we are. When that’s betrayed, it can severely effect our perception of self, confidence, worth, and our will and desire to be!

    I want to encourage you to get your voice in these situations! There’s a fantastic book called the verbally abusive relationship by Patricia Evans. It’s mostly about spousal verbal abuse, but she has some great tips for changing your situation and gaining control around those who try to control and diminish you!

    God Bless! Carrie

  3. Anthony, if I could, I would give you a great big old hug! You can come join my family. To date, I am the only one with celiac, but ever sine my diagnosis, my family has been amazingly supportive. I tend to be on the quiet side, so my husband speaks up for me requesting gluten free suggestions in restaurants. My daughter works in a bakery, but bakes me GF treats in her home. My mother at the age of 77 has learned how to make my lifelong favorite cherry pie safe for me!
    I know it is easier said than done, but it sounds as though for a few reasons, you should consider “dis-owning” your family.

  4. Anthony,
    My heart aches for you as I read your story. I can relate to the physical pain that accompanies gluten ingestion and I know it is so difficult to deal with and try to recover from– while still remaining positive.

    I am sorry your family is so cruel.
    You deserve so much better, honey.

    I wish I knew you –as I would offer you a safe place to visit and a warm hug and a good meal. I am always outraged when I hear of parents who have the incredible blessing of a child, only to abuse that privilege. Shame on them!

    I hope you can find a safe place to live and the opportunity that leads you to your dream of becoming a physician.

    Anything is possible, Anthony. Believe it.

    May you rise above them all —-and soar!
    Best wishes to you.

  5. Sending you strength. No one deserves that. You are truly resilient. I don’t know what your situation is now but I hope it’s getting better.

  6. Anthony, don’t give up! Your family is incredibly wrong to treat you like that, but don’t let them drag you down. I think continuing your education is a great idea. You could be a great asset to the celiac community. Finances shouldn’t be an issue. If you haven’t already finished your first two years of college, a community college is a great place to start because they usually offer exceptional support. Talk to a financial aid officer at the college you want to attend. You are probably eligible for grants, student loans, and work study. The combination should cover your tuition costs and your basic living expenses. If you need more funds, colleges have job placement offices to help students find jobs. They sometimes also provide basic medical care. Take advantage of all of the resources available to you. Just ask for help. If you need more information and help, a librarian at your local public library can let you know what services are available in your community. Wishing you the best!

  7. Anthony all I can say is WOW!! Truly inspiring to hear what you are doing in spite of what you have been put through… Just keep in mind the wheel is round and your family will get a bite in the bum from karma… Welcome to our celiac family 🙂

  8. Anthony, sending positive energy and prayers your way. Stay strong and your perseverance will be rewarded. Know that if it wasn’t your illness, they would find another way to mistreat you—that’s how dysfunctional families are. And there’s usually a nice family member that bares the brunt of all the other jerk family members’ projected self loathing. It’s nothing you’ve done wrong. I’ve been there, too (including the violence and verbal abuse) and feel conflicted about it everyday. I’ve distanced myself and moved away. The distance has helped. I’m not going to tell you what’s best for your situation because I don’t know much about it. But what I can tell you is that if you focus what energy you have on something positive and NOT them, its probably going to be the most therapeutic. They are unfortunately a lost cause. You are not!

    I recommend reading Toxic Parents.

  9. I know exactly how you feel Anthony. I still get treated horribly and the name calling is the worst especially coming from a Hispanic family. I’m sending you a big hug. Hang in there. I know how hard it is when you expect family to understand your disease. My family has refused to understand my disease. Comments like “. Go and live in your effin hole you hypochondriac or everyone dies Denise and you can’t prevent it or everyone gets sick or get over it already. It absolutely sucks but know this your not alone. I have limited my time with family. If they wanna keep on with the ignorance well then I’d rather stay away. If they miss me then they can come to my house and leave their nasty comments at the door. If they come over and start running their mouths well they are just gonna have to leave with a boot print on their behind and me saying Go and educate yourself you idiot and one of these days if you ever get this disease I wonder who you will be running to ….ME that’s right. One day you will need me eventually. Now I only get phone calls from them about a family member who has passed on due to cancer or other illness and that’s it. I have sought help here and other groups and they are my family. They understand and they will not turn their backs on you. I’ve adopted new understanding people in my life that support me and that makes my life my better. Keep your head up. You are awesome, strong, smart, and doing what is best for your body and that is strength and will. Not a lot of people have those qualities and that is what makes you unique. Never forget that!

  10. The Gluten Dude

    This one came in on my Facebook page from Melissa:

    That breaks my heart. I am glad that he is making the best out of a bad situation. It is just sad that family members can treat someone like this. Your family is supposed to be refuge from this cruel world. I wish Anthony all of the luck in the world.

    Anthony please remember that family doesn’t have to be blood and there are plenty of families that would welcome someone as strong as you with open arms.

    Best of luck.

    Also future updates on how Anthony is doing would be really great. I think it would be nice for all of us to be able to celebrate the milestones along his journey with him.

  11. Anthony, your story is hearbreaking. My little brother’s name is Anthony so its all the more personal.

    Hang in there until you get to college. Take as many classes as you can, stay away from the family unless you absolutely need to. Support yourself as much as you can.

    One thing that people don’t realize is how much dealing with disease builds resilience, a trait that will help you later in life (though it majorly sucks when you’re dealing with it).

    Get out as soon as you can. Like Melissa said, family is not necessarily your blood. Build your own family that will help you with a kind, safe cocoon of GF-ness.

    I moved out as soon as I possibly could and went to school, where I could take care of myself, rather than sticking around for the verbal abuse and trauma of poor medical care. It took years of separation and therapy, but I eventually came to terms with things and occasionally see my parents now.

    If I could reach through the internet, I’d give you a hug…and send you some gf goodies! Some of the best physicians I know are folks who went into it with a cause in mind…so keep strong. We need celiac physicians on our side…we need you! 🙂

  12. Every day I county my blessings that my family supports me in dealing with this disease and the other diseases that come with it. Every day I hear about another person whose family treats them like they’re crazy, a hypochondriac, or worse.
    Every day I try to understand what would truly make a family turn away from their loved ones.
    Well, some people are just jackasses… but I think most of the time, the family members may either be carrying unfounded guilt (because it IS genetic and its their genes that got passed on) or fear of having the disease themselves that may push people away from those who sought help and are trying to pursue a healthy life without gluten.
    But in the end, it doesn’t excuse being a jackass.

  13. Anthony and Denise, huge huge hugs to you both! Denise is right, you need to find new family, people who do understand and will support you and not tear you down, you really don’t deserve that!

  14. Anthony, my love & prayers to you. Also, I’m proud of you for getting yourself OUT of the abuse, verbal & physical. It takes alot of strength & courage to do that. If I could, I’d pull you into my family so you could see what a REAL family is supposed to be. I’ve been more truly blessed than I ever thought possible & wish I could somehow share that with you.

  15. Anthony, (((HUGS))) to you my friend. Always know that you can spew ANYTHING here and you will get support. Hugs and prayers being sent your way!!!!!!

  16. You are and will remain in my prayers. We are your family and we support you. We and God love you, and I hope that gives you strength to continue to move forward with your life and leave those that weigh you down behind you. They do not love you. Surround yourself with goodness and those that love you, and that will heal you inside and out.

  17. Anthony,

    I am so sorry that you have and are going through this. It is hard enough going through what we do a and we DO need support from our family and friends. I never thought that once I figured it out that I would be given the cold shoulder about it at times, but I have too. I don’t understand why it is looked down upon other than maybe because they can still eat it??

    Getting yourself away from them and surrounding yourself with people who do get it is such an important thing to do – even if it is through cyberspace – we can help lift you up!

    You are not crazy and you should be validated.

    Hugs and validation via the Internet – keep moving forward it will lift you up too! Find some positive thinking and motivational books to read as well.

  18. My thoughts and prayers go with you, Anthony. You didn’t say if you are still a minor, but, iff so, could a social service agency help you? Celiac is a medical condition and if your parents aren’t taking care of that medical condition then they are negligent. Even if you aren’t a minor, noone should have to stay in a home so I hope you get out and cut ties with them regardless. I hope someone can offer a solution as to how you can remove yourself from this abusive toxic environment.

  19. Anthony, some people just have A’hole disease and I’m sorry to hear it runs in your family. You are, clearly, a very strong person and your experiences are guaranteed to make you a more thoughtful and compassionate doctor. I wish you all good things as you pursue your dream and hope that one day some fame members will see how talented you can be.

  20. I decided a long time ago that the only way I was going to stay sane was to completely sever ties with my own disturbed and abusive family. To this day (I’m in my 40s) they try to use the Internet to harass and bully me, somehow thinking that will make me “regret” my choice and crawl back to them, but it just makes me realize all the more how I could never let those toxic people back in my life. It’s not an easy thing to do, but just because you are related to someone does not give them the right to harm you. It is very hard to come from a background like yours–I still have PTSD issues due to my family–but life certainly has gotten much, much, much better since I moved away, changed my phone number, set up excellent email screening to weed out their messages…etc. They can wallow in their own insecurity and hate, but I’m not going to be a target for it anymore.

    I suspect that at least some in your family might themselves have health issues they’d prefer to ignore. It’s easier to call you a hypochondriac than for them to look into their own problems and face their own discomfort. Bullies tend to be extremely insecure people who try to make themselves feel powerful by picking on others. Parents and siblings can be bullies as much as anyone. The fact that you are strong and resilient enough to take care of yourself even in the face of homelessness, and that you are making plans for the future, speaks volumes. The fact that you are realistic about your health condition and are dealing with it, even in the face of great hostility from the people who should be closest to you, and them trying to undermine you and your health, while you are living in far less than ideal circumstances, speaks volumes to your maturity and resilience. You are better than your petty insecure abusive relatives. You deserve better.

  21. Anthony, BIG HUG AND YOU GO GET EM!!! I hope you will keep us all updated with how you are progressing.

    It never ceases to amaze me how people/family seem to think that Coeliacs are being dramatic, over sensitive, hypochondriac etc. It makes my blood boil. It may seem trivial. But what about the more serious long term effects of eating gluten. Left untreated we would probably have a very short lifespan……(everybody dies? Er yeah but i’d rather do it alot later in life…………I’m all for self preservation and long may we live! VIVA GLUTEN FREE!!!

    And anyone else can kiss my gluten free bum!

    🙂

    1. “And anyone else can kiss my gluten free bum!” 🙂

      yeah, baby!!!!

      I am so loving you right now, coeliac sisters!!

    2. What a great attitude to give to us all – kiss our gluten free bum! 😉

      They don’t understand the cross contamination issues. My husband got it loud and clear this past fall, as did I, when I started feeling bad again from eating out and even had a fall. One of my symptoms is muscle weakness. The fall was quite scary and made me reevaluate how I was eating, cleaning and how the restaurant industry was not always getting it and keeping my food really gluten free.

      Our need to be picky over crumbs is not understood and if educating them does not help them get it then they are not worthy of our time… Whether it is family or a friend.

      It is with us all day as we EAT! As do they – they just don’t have to worry about it!

      It is not solved by a pill it is something that we have to be conscious of at all times of the day. Would love to give it to these people for several months and see how they feel – the symptoms and the stress of eating safe.

  22. Anthony, I wish I knew your whereabouts so I could help! But I will send my love and prayers your way! I strongly advice you contact your nearest religious institution. It’s Ramadan, and part of that is that Muslims are giving in charity to all people, so even if you can only wander into a mosque (which is a little silly, since we’re outnumbered by churches haha, but still), they’ll take you in with open arms!
    *hugs*

  23. Anthony, I am sending you a giant cyber celiac hug! I am so sorry you’ve been through so much. I havent experienced the negativity you have from family but I have certainly dealt with it from coworkers and acquaintances. It sucks! Like you don’t already have enough to deal with! I would take you into my family if I could.

  24. Anthony, I’m sorry your family sucks. I can’t imagine what it would take to get them to understand that you have a disease that can only be managed with a strict diet. Wait, yes I do. When they gluten you, you should “gluten” the bathroom. I’m just saying, leave enough stink bombs in there and maybe they’ll get the message.

    In the meantime, do everything you can to stay healthy and keep in touch with The Dude so we’ll all know how you’re doing.

  25. Anthony, I’m so sorry for the pain you are going through emotionally. I can’t imagine walking in your footsteps. Cross-contamination seems to be the thing many of us struggle to explain to our loved ones – that and the fact that we can’t ‘cheat’ and just eat a little gluten on special occasions. Some of my family members ‘got’ it right away, but many others didn’t (and still don’t). It’s only after I got incredibly sick after cross-contamination that they got an inkling.

    But dealing with all you are, I’m sending you lots of strength and the power to listen to yourself and your needs, taking yourself out of dangerous situations (emotionally and physically) and standing up for yourself. Hard, but know you have lots of support.

  26. Hello Friends –

    First off — I want to thank each and everyone of you – including GD – for your genuine kind-hearted words. You’ve put a smile on my face for the last couple of days; thank you for being truly amazing people and caring even though you don’t know me. Friends have always been closer to me than my family. If I told you it hasen’t been the least bit challenging, that would be a lie.

    Some of my newest and wildest adventures have included being harrassed by haughty security personnel and last nights encounter with a zombie – not kidding – as well as being attacked by a swarm of ants that infiltrated my car.

    Nonetheless, I still try to make a valient effort to remain resilient and positive. The true test has been the sweltering heat that has had me drinking – on average – 6 to 8 liters of water a day. Although, the incessant abdominal pain has been up there on the top of the list.

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Who I am. And who I'm not.

Who I am. And who I'm not.

I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

I AM NOT someone who embraces this gluten-free craziness. I didn’t find freedom, a better life or any of that other crap when I got diagnosed. With all due respect to Hunter S. Thompson, I found fear and loathing of an unknown world. But if I can share my wisdom, tell my stories and make the transition easier on you, I’ve done my job.

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