Dear Mom & Dad,
You don’t know me, but I know your daughter. She’s not in a good place and you don’t seem to care. How do I know this? Because she reached out to me a few days ago privately.
You see…I’m a celiac and I try to help my fellow celiacs as much as humanly possible. So the other day, I posted a picture of my blue sponge on my Facebook page. My blue sponge is used specifically for my gluten-free cookware that does not go in the dishwasher. This is to help prevent cross-contamination, which helps keep me safe.
There was a lot of great back and forth during the course of the day. But then I got the following private message from your daughter.
Your picture of your blue sponge and comments from people made me upset. Here at home, I have to make my food in my room. I had my own gluten free bench and cookware but everyone went out of there way to use it so I had to stop. My family makes fun of me for it. I’ve been sick for almost 2 years since my celiac started, yet my family thinks it’s not important. I’m jealous of people who have safe kitchens with kind and caring families. End of rant. I’m going to make my lunch…in my bedroom…again.
From a depressed celiac.
This is your daughter speaking…and she’s telling me how you make fun of her for her disease. I was angry. I was frustrated. I was so sad for her. I really wanted to dig a little to find out what could possibly cause a family to be so callous. So I reached out to her with the following response.
I’m so sorry [name retracted]. Can you tell me a bit about your family and why you think they don’t take your celiac seriously?
Here is what she said:
I know why. Just after I got sick, my brother, his girlfriend and baby moved in with us. At the time, I was in hospital a few times. I spent 2 months in bed being sick. I couldn’t do anything. My family hated it that I wouldn’t look after the baby. I lost 30kg, threw up every half an hour and i couldn’t eat for days at a time. So basically my family turned their back on me.
When I started eating small amounts of food, they gave me my bench but behind my back used it all the time. My family was there when I had to have cancer tests and they were told how important it was that I be careful of even the most tiny bit of gluten. Still didnt care. They just hate me cause I got sick and had to put myself first for a change. Health always comes first.
So there you have it. Your daughter thinks you hate her. And why? Because she has a disease that has ONE treatment only and you are making it impossible for her to stay healthy.
Since I’m only getting one side of the story, I won’t go in full attack mode here folks. But I implore you. Do some research. Learn the facts about celiac disease. Untreated celiac disease can get ugly. How ugly?
There are no drugs to treat celiac disease and there is no cure. But celiacs can lead normal, healthy lives by following a gluten free diet. This means avoiding all products derived from wheat, rye, and barley. (source: MassGeneral Hospital)
You got that? No drugs. No cure. And untreated can result in cancer.
That is celiac disease. It’s not a fad. It’s not a joke. It’s not a minor food allergy. It’s a disease.
If you have any questions about keeping your daughter safe, please contact me. I’m here to help.
In the meantime, please take care of her. When someone reaches out to a complete stranger about her family, you know she’s in a bad place. Get her back in a good place. As her parents, that’s your job.