Gluten-Free Love Story: Every Celiac Needs a Pete


This Gluten Free Love Story was lovingly submitted by Rachael

Pete Krussel, the love muscle, has been my best friend and husband for over 17 years. A year and a half ago, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease along with our two daughters. Never once, during our marriage, did Pete ever tell me it was all in my head, or I needed to get over my weird, unexplained symptoms. He never questioned my instincts, or even more importantly, my maternal instincts.

After almost 13 years of parenting that always included caring for sick children, I was dismissed by our pediatrician for requesting that our daughter be tested for Celiac Disease. Pete marched in the next day and demanded the test. He went to every doctors appointment and procedure. He went grocery shopping and researched and took over the household while I buried myself in books about Celiac Disease.

He drove our crazy family of 5 all the way from Atlanta, GA to New York City to the Columbia Celiac Center. He cheers my failed gluten free recipes. He knows that I miss restuarants and certain foods and doesn’t belittle that grieving process. He knows the guilt that I feel for passing this disease on to our three children and never tries to explain it away. He is on a first name basis with the entire staff of our local 5 Guys ensuring that I have one safe place to get a great burger and fries.

Pete is the love of my life and I know this because he doesn’t even blink an eye when I say something like, “I’m burping taco meat and hoping to poop later so I don’t think I’m going for a walk with you.” Now that is true love.

Every Celiac should have their very own Pete Krussel. Celiac brings a whole lot of crap but one little gift that we have found is a deeper appreciation for one another.

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13 thoughts on “Gluten-Free Love Story: Every Celiac Needs a Pete”

  1. Thanks for sharing your family with us. I am reading this while away from home and I just teared up (unashamedly) in a Starbucks.
    Your man is much like mine–full of unconditional, unwavering love and understanding. Tell Pete I said he’s awesome!

    Kudos to you for tackling the beast of CD–in yourself and on behalf of your children.

    Do not feel one speck of “guilt” for passing it on to them. Put that right out of your head. We cannot control our genes, kiddo. Totally not your fault. Some celiacs are unable to have children, so you’ve got a houseful of blessings!! More importantly, what you are both passing onto them is a sense of loyalty, courage, and devotion. You guys seem like amazing parents!

    We cannot choose the hand we are dealt, but we can choose the way we deal with it. You’re moving forward and enjoying your life–as it should be–taco burps and all. 🙂 A long, happy life to you and yours.

  2. Very happy for you guys!

    What I went through alone and what I went through to get my DX was terrible. I went through it all alone. I was so scared I was going to die because no one knew what was wrong with me. I am still alone in dealing with my Celiac DX! It’s been a stressful lonely 3yr journey that I still make everyday…I’m so very glad that some have the love and support that is needed!! I have enjoyed the loves stories, however…….. I know it is wrong, but it makes me sad to see all the love stories, because my journey has been just me……the opposite..anyone else?

    1. I was married when the health issues started. Unfortunately, the “for better or for worse” only meant “for better”. He would complain loudly when I would fall asleep at the movies or watching TV or sitting at bar. He would complain when I couldn’t eat the large dinners with him at night. And he complained louder when I started going to bed earlier and earlier.

      Fortunately I finally left him. So, while I was alone during the celiac DX (other than my family), I was grateful. Sometimes alone is better.

      1. If I had still been married to the ex when the crap hit the fan, my story would have been very different. He was most definitely no Pete!
        I suspect he’d have squawked loudly and possibly, walked. He’d have been of little help because it would have been about him and how he was inconvenienced.

        Unfortunately, I hear many stories of significant others who are unable to cope when a spouse becomes ill or needs to implement changes. (celiac or other health issues) It always saddens me to think how selfish people can be. Karma has a way of biting them on the butt, however.

        As you so bravely say, being alone may have been better, considering the circumstances.

        But my heart goes out to you, CarolinaKip because I am sure your journey has not been easy. 🙁 Kudos to you for your bravery and perseverance. .

        While I have many family members and friends in my life, they were not available when I was desperately ill and the hubs and I felt quite alone. Some were very good about keeping in touch, even though they live thousands of miles away. They felt helpless, they told me. But the ones who live close by? Mysteriously disappeared. It would have helped so much to have had their support and love—as I had shown to them for years . It was all terribly disappointing, but hey, life goes on and “lesson learned.”.

        Adversity reveals true character, for better or for worse.

    2. I know how you feel. I was away at university when diagnosed. My parents were supportive and came to visit when they could (bringing gf treats I was too poor to afford!), but mostly I was alone. I had some friends, but not so many because I’d been too sick and exhausted to socialize very much right from when I started my degree.

      I feel a lot better and happier now – six years later – and I’ve made more friends since graduating, although I do spend a lot of time and effort trying to appear as “normal” as possible e.g. suggesting restaurants I know I can eat at, making other excuses if they choose to go somewhere where there’s nothing I can have…

      Nonetheless, I am very happy for the people that do have Petes and I hope that one day I will find my own! (preferably sooner rather than later!)

  3. I think that is it wonderful that people like this exist 🙂 and am terrifically happy for her. Wasn’t quite my experience though, unfortunately for me 🙂

  4. Brent Alan Dedick BAD

    I think today is Mar.17th. Rock and Roll Baby! This is not going to be easy but what has been with me. Tito, pass me a tissue. Eddie Murphy was always in my Top 10 list. ” Today boys and girls, the word of the day is ransom. Come on Mrs. Green, you can do better than that.” SNL Way to kick some ass Pete. GD, you now have another e-mail of mine. Screw hotmail. Haven’t tried for awhile to get in. Most of you probably thought I gave up on you. Don’t think so. The smiles tell it all.

  5. It’s like Gluten Dude just knew that we were having a really craptastic Celiac day and decided to post my love letter. His timing was perfect! Reading all of your comments has made me appreciate him even more if that was possible. I honestly don’t know what I would do without him. I hope that every Celiac finds or already has their Pete!!!

  6. I have a Pete too, his name is Milan <3. You can never fully appreciate the love and support of someone until they there for you every time you get mistakenly glutened. Or when you placing an order at a restaurant and they start giving the waiter the full low down on how your meal should be prepared. Or when you feeling down and balling your eyes out and you call them they just know how to lift your spirits and assure you that everything is going to be okay. They don't have to have celiac to understand what you going through.

    I am grateful that I have someone in my life like this but no matter if you have someone or not, at the end of the day its always up to you to keep your spirits up and motivate yourself to get through it – as hard as it may be.


  7. I have a Pete! He was diagnosed Celiac last year at the age of 48, in January. After being anemic, migraines, losing 20 lbs, they diagnosed him during a Colonoscopy. We had no idea. His symptoms were masked as other things for years, and finally came to a head. He is gluten free now, and living his best life as we support him with love.

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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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