what does it mean to live free?

Living Free Can Have a Lot of Different Meanings

When I began to create this site, Living Free meant living free of allergens in your food and products. My goal was to make people aware of the toxins in not ONLY their food but products and items around them and give people alternatives for living a better, cleaner and healthier life.

That was a year ago.

In that year, my life took a 180 or a 360…or to say it better, how about just knocked me on my butt then picked me up and dropped me again. So this site and what LIVING FREE means takes on a whole new meaning now. Allow me to explain.

As many of you know through my previous blog, Jennifer’s Way, or my book of the same name, my journey thus far hasn’t been anything less than “exciting” let’s just say. Many struggles with my health due to undiagnosed celiac disease and the story to find an answer that lasted for 20 years was a lot of “fun”. Then when finding out about celiac disease, it was then the journey on how to reclaim my life and health, which I did, and then brought that information to you and even opened a bakery with all I had learned. It’s been quite the road.

You would think that journey was enough for one life time right? Me too. Well life said, NOPE.

About the time this site was being developed last year, I started having extreme pressure and pain in my chest that would not subside for anything. I checked and double-checked every route of cause. Stomach issues backing up into chest giving me pain? No. A strained muscle? No. Another allergy I wasn’t aware of? No. I had blood taken and tests taken done over and over and again, no answers. My dear doctor suggested it was stress. I nearly hung up on him. He KNEW how I hated that excuse for all PHYSICAL woes. But he was also a dear friend and knew that there was much stress in my life at the time. Actually when was there not? This was different though and it was time I checked in with myself HONESTLY.

There was stress in my life. More so than usual. Running a bakery for the prior four years that had expanded and lead me to make decisions that I was starting to question in a big way. Money challenges because I had invested my own savings to create my bakery and this mission didn’t quite make any return as of yet, which was never my goal but I needed to make a living. Relationships a real struggle on all fronts and health always something to take care of but didn’t have the time for.

Being not only a physical worker in this whole experience but also doing all social media, marketing, creating new products, writing a second book, making dinner every night, taking care of home responsibilities and you know a tv series every now and then…yes life was busy. There was no time for LIFE. Joy. Fun. None. The previous 4 years was work work work and it seemed to be only getting worse and not moving forward, almost like a hamster on a wheel. When I took a closer look at life around me I realized things weren’t right.

I voiced that the things around me felt wrong and not going in the right direction but was ignored, appeased and pushed to the side. Somehow I arrived at this place in life where again when I spoke I was often unheard. I quickly began to realize that I was alone on my journey and a dreaded feeling that I couldn’t explain yet started to take over. Still I continued forward on with the life I had created.

That dreaded feeling continued on all fronts. As the pain in my chest got stronger and now led to panic attacks, my old bad friends were back again and with a vengeance. I ALWAYS know when they come it is a PHYSICAL alarm going off in my body to say, “you MUST pay ATTENTION, SOMETHING IS WRONG HERE.” I went back to my doctor and demanded more tests. Again as a close friend, he pointed out certain issues in my life which I agreed were not in a good place but whatever this pressure and pain in chest was definitely physical! I demanded an MRI.

Well I was correct, again, after a year of tests, there was something wrong…very wrong. I had fluid around my lungs. The scary question now was WHY?

The next month was filled with so many doctor appointments I couldn’t even count. I do know that one week in particular it was 2 a day! All of which I attended ALONE. What were they looking for? Cancer. That dreaded word that know one wants to hear. Yes cancer. I went along to all of my appointments like a good patient knowing that there was some explanation for all this and that word was not it.

Two weeks later as I was bringing boxes of ingredients to the bakery my phone rang and rang and rang. Hands full I couldn’t quite get it but saw it was my doctor and friend Dr Frattelone. My stomach fell into my shoes as I put down the boxes in the rainy street and listened to my fate.

Cancer.

It was stage zero he said and it is in your right breast but it needs to come out immediately. He said he already made an apointmwnt with the best and it’s next week. My head spinning and in complete shock, I walked into my Manhattan bakery and went straight into the bathroom. Ana, my beloved long time manger at the bakery knocked and came in. I hugged her tight, sobbing, and told her what was just dropped on my head like a 500lb weight. She stood silent not knowing what to say. I did too.

I went home in disbelief and the world seemed to be laughing at me at this time. I thought how can this be? I take care of myself, my health has been good, I’ve done so much for others yet I’m somehow having this happen? No one around me was told except a very small few. I will say NONE of which are in my life any longer. Which pretty much says it all right there.

As I laid on the floor with my now passed beloved golden retriever Frankie Beans as I usually did for comfort, I sobbed. And sobbed. And felt really sorry for myself, like a complete victim and mad beyond words. Then fear took hold and the what ifs. I started with the “why me’s?”. Then in a moment of calm I thought “why not me”. I’m not better than anyone else and if this is my journey than this is my journey and whether I liked it or not I had to go down this road. I admitted to Frankie and to God that I was so very frightened and deep inside I KNEW that this too had to be a sign of something I wasn’t paying attention to. But what? What was it? What was I to learn here? What signs did I not see?

As I said earlier there had been many issues surrounding me in all areas. Life became aggressive, hostile and an unsafe feeling became extremely apparent. My words fell on deaf ears far too much. As I said in my first book, “When you feel unheard for too long your soul stats to die a little and you believe your words don’t matter”. I knew they did matter but I had to first take care of my health and couldn’t look at the ugliness around me at this moment. As I sat there with Frankie feeling completely overwhelmed and helples, I began to pray. I asked for one thing, not my health, not to make it all better, but for all in my life that wasn’t there for the betterment of me to be taken away. That I could not be in charge of this all and that I needed everything present that was not good for me to please go.

Within days I had developed a routine to get me ready physically and metally for the upcoming surgery which was set a few days after Christmas: run to get the stress and fear out, then yoga to relax my body and then mediation which I cried though the whole time. In those weeks leading up to surgery I became extremely calm. A calm that I never knew. It was one of pure surrender. Surrender to it all, death, possible failure, loss, betrayals, to the good and the bad and everything in between. And I was calm and ready for the world to unfold the way it wanted to and all WITHOUT my involvement. I was going to allow life to push me where it wanted me to go. I knew that I was in the wrong place and was ready to let go.

I heard a line from the Depak Chopra mediation I listened to constantly and adapted it for my own. “Fearless is not the absence of fear yet it is being afraid and going forward anyway”. As one step went in front of the other and fear grew, I grew fearless and just like that the world around me started to show itself and I let it. And wow what it ugly.

I had two visitors during recovery. No cards but one from a new friend Deb lined my table. No flowers to say get well. Nothing from anyone. And just like that life went on but not for me. Something had changed in me, for good. The lack of care, respect, and even basic human kindness at that time of a small aggressive lump that had just been removed from my chest showed me that my fears were not only correct but part of my disease. The calmer I stayed in surrender, the more things in life slipped away. Within two weeks, with bandages still on my breast, life exploded and EVERYTHING in my life was gone. Everything.

It was an aggressive cancer but my margins were good and am now cancer free 6 months. I am also free of many many things that were not for the betterment of me, my health, my life and beliefs. I can stand ready to rebuild my life in a grateful honest way with integrity pride and compassion.

Why do I tell you this now? Simple. I could not talk about a new site called Living Free without discussing this issue.

LIVING FREE now also means a whole new thing to me. It means living TRUE within yourself and in the world YOU create. LIVING FREE to what and who you REALLY are. LIVING FREE from the stress, which is one of this biggest destroyers of the immune system. LIVING FREE from the toxic relationships, toxic people and toxic situations. LIVING FREE to demand the very best life has to offer you and settling for nothing less than you deserve in your world. True Love, true care, honesty, caring friends and goodness on all fronts. LIVING FREE of the fears you may not want to face to make changes.

It’s time. It’s YOUR time to live FEARLESS! It Just takes one step at a time.

One last thought. If I didn’t keep listening to my inner voice about my health and push for that MRI I wouldn’t have known about this cancer. Yes I would have had a mammogram but in another year as I had just had one and NOTHING was detected just month’s prior. So not only advocacy here to get your yearly mammogram but more than that, get quiet and LISTEN to your gut! It’s speaking to you; you just must listen! When it comes to my health, it has NEVER let me down

Let’s get on to our next journey!

Forward-
Jennifer

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Comments (51)

  • Michelle Cotter Reply

    So proud of you! What an example you are for not only celiacs but for women and human beings everywhere. When I grow up I want to be like you! (Even though I think I’m a year or two older!) You have convinced me to follow my gut with this one post and move forward with something I know I should do! Blessings to you and your mental, physical and spiritual health!!

    August 24, 2016 at 5:49 pm
  • Roberta Kerr Reply

    I have followed you on all media since 2012. I admire you and even think of you as a friend. Mostly, I hope for your health. I noticed less communication before and around Chrisrmas. I am glad you are happy and will always wish for the best for you. Your posts, tweets, instagrams are a joy to me. “Be well” and be assured that your work and communications are treasured.

    August 24, 2016 at 6:02 pm
  • Tammy Bohnwagner Reply

    I have tremendous respect for you in your courage, your honesty, your bravery and your ethics. You went through this horrible thing in life on your own. Not to mention everything else that was going on at the time. Your public presence gave no indication you were facing this dis-ease. That makes me sad. Life sometimes leaves us alone to find our way to where we are supposed to be.

    Are you familiar with Louise Hay? Her book, “You Can Heal Your Life” is an amazing tool that you might be interested in reading. It was shared with me long ago and has remained close by my side since. I’m on my second copy now, haha.

    I celebrate your incredible journey. Not in the traditional sense, but in the sense you are now living free, as this site’s title states. I am stumbling in my own journey so you see, “Living Free” feels like what I’ve been looking for.

    Thank you sharing so much of your life. My wish for you is continued good health and happiness. I look forward to seeing you on NCIS this fall!

    August 24, 2016 at 2:15 pm
    • susan mackinga Reply

      Dear Jennifer i beleive you were God sent i found you on who else lol OPRAH I LOVE HER i am a praying woman i have been bombared by glutton thoughts eveywhere i go somethinghas to do with glutton i just found out what it was ha well sort of i am learning i have a severe nerve problem in both feet they call neropathy for seven years no doctorcan tell me anything that will help i am beside myself only if i could levitate ha i am wondering if it is my diet? i will keep reading and i am going to buy your book thank you so much Susan

      December 17, 2016 at 6:30 pm
  • Rose Attardo Reply

    Thank you for sharing your story and journey with us. I realize I’m only a fan, but reading this makes me understand why I thought so much of you, as an actor and a person. You have been fearless in your fight to live a Free and Healthy Life, and even when you face new obstacles you find the strength and inner calm to do what you need to do to stay on your path. It’s natural to ask “why me,” “what did I do to deserve this,” but you are given challenges by God that he knows you are strong enough and capable enough to handle, and then you share your knowledge to many of us who need guidance. I know you have me rethinking what I’ve been allowing to happen in my life for way too long. Stay healthy and happy, and because I’m a fan, I have to say I’m excited to see you on NCIS as well.

    August 24, 2016 at 3:06 pm
  • Meami Craig Reply

    What you wrote here has made me cry Jennifer. Patrick has also been my doctor and friend for many years, Rick too. Yesterday I sogned my divorce papets after 36 years of marriage to a man who became an alcoholic during the marriage and disrespected me all that time. My grown daughter got engaged a few months ago but is so angry over all things related to me leaving her dad has caused her to tell me I may not be invited to attend her wedding. My sister was having an emotional affair with my husband so she cut me off with no explanation when I left him six years ago. Since then my entire family gathers for Christmas morning and all other holidays at my mom’s and my former husband is invited to celebrate there with them except me as I am the designated scapegoat in this dysfunctional family. My dad was a wonderfully loving father but he died a suicide when I was 21 with no warning when I was age 21. He left me a trust fund of millions of dollars but I am now 58 years old and still, my mom at age 83 holds it until her death making sure I get minimal interest income from it each month. Since I left my husband I have had ongoing money stress for the first time in my life but like you am adjusting gracefully to this, and to all of the above. In May I had surgery for a breast lump that turned out to be benign, but I have had two minor heart attacks that left damage. Like you I have been lied to and told over and ovee to just be quiet and a nice little good girl, with my voice ignored and judged severely based on untrue “facts” as yours has been. Now I am 5’2″ and weigh 200 lbs., and must try to rise up again and release what is literally weighing me down via a low carb eating plan, and joyful body movement, to bring to my goal of weighing 135 pounds…slim, fit, toned and radiating glowing great health from the inside out is where I am going to be! Jennifer, if you yourself can rise up and truly live free, as you are doing now, even after so much unfair treatment and other hardships in your life, so can I! You are my inspiration and would like to stay in touch! I have my master’s degree in Counseling and Human Development from Harvard University, and my doctorate in Psychology so I have been giving lifestyle advice on the radio for decades and as a newspaper columnist too. Funny how on the air professionally, people want to hear my voice and assign value to me and my words, but in my family of origin not at all! Have you ever thought of doing a radio show on Living Free and then bringing it into national syndication? Let’s talk if you’d like! No matter what about that, I am applauding you here right now, from Rochester, NY as my role model, Jennifer, for getting back up and facing life without fear no matter how many times you get knocked down. Bravo, bravo, bravo! 😄😄😄

    August 24, 2016 at 3:35 pm
    • Tammy Reply

      I am so saddened to read your comment. I hope you are better!
      Tammy

      December 19, 2016 at 10:42 am
  • Sharon Flor Reply

    Wow. This brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for your bravery and honesty. Best wishes on your journey to a free life!

    August 24, 2016 at 4:23 pm
  • Veronica Reply

    *hugs* Thank you for all you do, Jennifer. Pick up the book Medical Medium by Anthony William. Mr. William has helped many people heal from chronic illness.

    August 24, 2016 at 5:11 pm
  • Danielle Reply

    Congrats to you for pushing through all of the negative and still wanting to be a light and voice for us in the community. Right now I am laying in bed after having a push enteroscopy this morning. I have been having more stomach issues for the last month and I can’t imagine what is happening now! The dr said everything looked Normal today which brought me to tears because I am in pain as he is telling me this. I will pursue this and find an answer. I needed to read this today and thank you for sharing.

    August 24, 2016 at 5:45 pm
  • Susan Blommer Reply

    You’re my inspiration! When I read your book and read about your life, I often feel I’m reading about my own life and health issues. Wishing you the best in health, happiness, and everything in life! I dream of someday being able to go to NY to visit your bakery and dream that you would be there the day I do that!

    August 24, 2016 at 6:15 pm
  • Janet Monk Reply

    Thank you so much, Jennifer! You have raised awareness for all of us and we so appreciate it! You tell your story so well. Wishing you peace and happiness.
    With love,
    Jan

    August 24, 2016 at 6:53 pm
  • Tami knight Reply

    Thank you for being a role model for us all. I am a lot older than you, but I still have trouble with trying to be everything to everyone. Unfortunately, a lot of the people I do this for treat me like dirt. This is just what I needed to read today. I will keep you in my prayers!

    August 24, 2016 at 7:37 pm
  • palma Reply

    I absolutely love this xx

    August 24, 2016 at 8:27 pm
  • Margo Reply

    WOW!!! I knew you’d had a ton on your plate this past year, but cancer on top of everything else?! I’m so glad you listened to your gut and kept pushing for answers!!! You give hope to so many people. You deserve so much more than what you’ve been through, but your positive attitude and cottage to put yourself out there is more than inspiring!!

    August 24, 2016 at 8:36 pm
  • CharleneBorino Reply

    Thank you so very much for sharing. Jennifer I hope you read this, you helped me when I came into your bakery I speak about you all the time. I will put you in my prayers from tonight on May continue to bless you 😘💞🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻💒😍

    August 25, 2016 at 12:23 am
  • Donna V Reply

    Wow! You are a strong, brave role model. Words seems to inadequate, but know you are loved & respected by many in the celiac community as well as for your acting skills/abilities. As women we do what is necessary……trust our gut even when others cannot. The body does not lie—just do not make it scream to deliver the message! I am very proud of you for standing firm in your convictions and demanding to be heard. Many blessing from love & above. <3

    PS Semper Fi. I will be watching from the great white north! I missed seeing you on the small screen. 🙂

    August 25, 2016 at 2:29 am
  • Renee Olance Reply

    Dear Jennifer, You have such amazing Grace. I can feel your peace. I am so very sorry that you had to go through this and to do it alone, makes me incredibly sad! I am so happy that you are cancer free now. You are such a beautiful person and deserve the best that life has to offer. I will be keeping you in my prayers for continued good health! You don’t know me, but you have a friend in me!
    Renee

    August 25, 2016 at 6:16 am
  • Beth E. Reply

    Thank you for sharing, Jennifer. I have followed you since I read your book a few years ago when I was first diagnosed with celiac disease. It was your book and story that made me realize I have to be my own medical advocate, and I’ve had to do that several times. It amazes me that physicians, even good ones, will dismiss women’s complaints as “stress” or “overdoing it” when there is a physical reason for them. I’m so proud of you for continuing to be your own advocate and for demanding a scan that found your cancer. I’m sorry that you had to go through all of that, but am pleased for you that it is taken care of and you can move on with your life.

    August 25, 2016 at 9:58 am
  • Kathy Reply

    Jennifer,
    You are my role model. So sorry to hear that you went through all this alone but know that you inspire us in this community. Wishing you great health and happiness. Looking forward to seeing you on NCIS.

    August 25, 2016 at 1:25 pm
  • Linda Germanetti Reply

    Jennifer, I have been following you from your early blog days. Even though I’m older than you are, you feel like family. I’m Italian from Queens and can relate to so much of how you grew up. There was a time when you wrote without saying what was going on but I knew if it were meant for us to know, you would tell us. You are so loved and I’m so sorry that you felt so alone. I do know that sometimes we must go through part of a journey alone. You have quite an army of followers and we all wish only the very best for you. You went through your hurt and pain with dignity when some of us would want to lash out and say hurtful things to those who mistreated us. You are a blessing to us and I will keep you in my prayers.

    August 25, 2016 at 7:33 pm
  • Francesca Reply

    So excited to have discovered your book. Im reading it for the second time now. I have so many similar symptoms! You’re giving me hope that I’ll actually find out what’s wrong with me someday as it’s taking me just as long as it took you. I’m driving four hours next week to see a functional medicine doctor in Massachusetts. I feel like it’s my last resort… No one believes me how awful I feel ALL the time. They just send me home with meds and tell me “you’re fine”. Ugh! I’m not fine, people!! I’ve seen over 40 doctors thru the last 20 years. Cross your fingers this is my last Doctor stop!! 😀

    September 1, 2016 at 9:54 pm
  • Sue Reply

    I had a bit of a similar situation. I had to switch doctors to be heard. Stage one ovarian cancer. My healthy life changed started after 48 biopsies, 12 being lymph nodes instead of chemo /radiation. +75 lbs + 4 yrs later I have been permitted to start exercising again. Acupuncturist suggested gluten free. I have not been diagnosed but after 4 months I feel like a new person. Life! Never a dull moment.
    Thank you Jennifer for your honesty and sharing.
    God bless.

    September 9, 2016 at 2:25 am
  • Sani Reply

    Thank you for sharing. As women it seems we are taught to not voice anything. We life is changing for us.
    You are an amazingly strong woman, keep rocking it!!!!

    September 11, 2016 at 6:48 pm
  • Brenda T Flaherty Reply

    What a remarkable journey you have been on! You are so right that we have to quiet ourselves and listen to what our bodies are trying to tell us. And praying is a powerful tool to help us on our way. The power of prayer led you to today, healthy, cancer free, and eager to live life on this new path.

    Thanks for sharing! God bless you and keep you in His care now and always!
    Brenda

    September 20, 2016 at 12:40 pm
  • David Reply

    Jennifer, I really enjoyed your book, JENNIFER’S WAY. You are an inspiration. Keep up the good work.
    Good Luck to you in your new adventure in tonight’s new season of NCIS.

    September 20, 2016 at 4:00 pm
  • alexandra Reply

    Hi Jennifer!
    I have chills all over my body reading this because I am one of the few people who can understand you exactly what you’ve been through.
    When I read your story from the other blog with all the symptoms and how doctors treated you I could see myself . I had problems from childhood, I was sent to get a brain MRI for MS , very advanced leaky gut , the lump on the back of my neck…and so on.
    The reason that I am writing now is because I found answers to “why me” and some other things that might help you. I am healthy now and I don’t take any medication at all .
    I wish you all the best and if you think I could be helpful in any way just let me know.

    September 23, 2016 at 8:11 pm
  • Jolayne Reply

    Jennifer, my heart ached for you as I read about your recent diagnosis of cancer. Your book is a testament to your inner strength and was what I needed after being diagnosed with Celiac.
    I was ‘fortunate’, in that my diagnosis was a result of an ER visit. I woke up one morning with chest pains and called 911. At the hospital I was told I was severely anemic, and was promptly admitted. After many tests on my heart, I was told my heart was fine, and that they now, needed to find the source of the anemia. I was given a colonoscopy and endoscopy where they found nothing that could be causing the anemia. When I was discharged, I promptly saw my GP who had no clue what it was, or what to do. A few weeks later, I went back to the hospital to get a copy of the tests, 42 pages, that were done. I read through them all with curiosity, and discovered a sentence on the page that described the endoscopy procedure. A biopsy was done to rule out Celiac. I told my Dr who had me get a blood test, and the results were positive. I later got the results from the endo and they were positive as well. I immediately went on line and found your book. I read it in a day. A few days later, I told a friend, and she said it is common to have more than one auto-immune disease, so she said I should be checked for Hashimoto’s disease. I asked for the test from my Dr, and I’ve now been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. This all happened within a month. I had virtually no symptoms, other than bloating from eating a few foods, so this completely blindsided me. I always thought that I was exempt from illness. I was the one to watch my loved ones go through illness and be their support, not be the one to be supported. It’s a tough transition.

    Thank you, Jennifer. Stay strong. We’re all in this together.

    September 26, 2016 at 3:24 pm
  • Jill Bueker Reply

    You are a true Godsend at a very difficult time. Thank you for your story. It gives me hope. May God bless you.

    October 3, 2016 at 2:45 pm
  • Cheryl Reply

    Jennifer, you are a beautiful spirit.
    I understand your struggles, having given up gluten in 1998, I still struggle with leaky gut and all the wacky, miserable, transient symptoms that go with it. Stress and anxiety play a HUGE role in wellness for us. My gluten-free diet worked well for me for about 5 years… then my father died… then my mother fell ill… perimenopause and all it’s delightful symptoms started kicking my butt….then I became unemployed… then I became my mothers primary caregiver… then she died… then my beloved pet got cancer… then, just a few months ago he died too. All these events over many years kept ticking away at my health, my energy, my vibrancy. Some days I feel great, other days I feel very ill. It comes in waves and I feel adrenal fatigue is a big contributing factor. Not only can I no longer eat gluten, but I cannot tolerate ANY grains. I cook all my own food. Dinner out is usually a salad, with my own dressing. I’m a sensitive person and I can tell you are also. The life events that others coast through are more challenging for us. We care too much. We think too much. It’s important to “let it go” and surrender to your faith. Last night I stumbled upon a new book by Anita Moorjani and read the “look inside” portion that can be previewed. In case you are not familiar with her, Anita had terminal cancer and had a near-death experience that changed her life. She came back and her cancer disappeared. Now she works to help others heal. Her message is that we need to learn to love ourselves unconditionally, to laugh, to shine and to truly understand our worth and our immense power. I’ve reflected on this today, all day. I’ve had a good day. Although I have to keep my diet very clean to feel well, it would appear that keeping my mind at peace is even more important. We are perfect…. just the way we are.

    October 3, 2016 at 9:03 pm
  • Elizabeth Ciesla Reply

    You are the most beautiful woman I have never met! Thank you for this site. I too have been experiencing issues for years, all similar to what you discuss. I tested negative for celiac disease but I am convinced my body is breaking down from SOMETHING! I am only 42 and have been experiencing unexplained pain, sinus, scalp, and bowel issues for years, not to mention extreme anxiety. I’ve had almost every test under the sun, spent thousands of dollars in the ER only to hear them say nothing is wrong. I believed I was crazy. I am definitely going to order your bakery products!

    October 4, 2016 at 9:52 am
    • Beverly Feher Reply

      Elizabeth would ask for another blood test for Celiac and even an endoscopy! These darn doctors think they can tell you it’s stress or all in your head. We know it’s not! The symptoms fit,i too had the sinus issues, never connected them to Celiac!

      March 7, 2017 at 4:04 am
  • Gfchopstix Reply

    Very brave of you to open your heart and share your difficult health issues with us all, Jen. After all that you have been through, your strength and positive attitude shines through! May you continue to be blessed on your journey.

    October 7, 2016 at 12:39 pm
  • Deb Bialozynski Reply

    Jennifer, so sorry to hear what you recently went through, but so happy that you are cancer free! Will keep you in thoughts & prayers. . .thank you for sharing your story~wish I could do something for you. Stay positive & strong!!

    October 19, 2016 at 2:08 am
  • Ida Reply

    I read your story as I accidentally came across your blog, such a strange thing that the doctors were so clueless about Celiac there. Glad you have your diagnosis and life in order now, horrible to hear what how you suffered. I’m from Finland and I don’t know if celiac is more common of a disease national-wise here but everyone knows it and there is hardly a store that doesn’t sell gluten-free pastries and flours etc. My grandfather was diagnoses with celiac , but apart from that I don’t know anyone else so maybe it’s just more talked about in here?
    Best of luck to you!!! 🙂

    October 21, 2016 at 5:55 am
  • Rose Marie Novak Reply

    Jennifer, Thank you for your inspirational story. Even though you felt alone in your struggle for diagnosis and treatment , it seems that God was that “inner voice” that guided you. I wish you continual success in all of your endeavers.
    .

    ..

    October 28, 2016 at 8:34 pm
  • Ceran Reply

    Hi Jennifer, I hope by now you have received the wonderfully inspirational book, Moments in Time, are they yours, are they mine? from the Rainbow Inspired Verse Collection, which I posted to you at the bakery address in N.Y. from here in the UK.
    Perhaps at that time your soul was calling out, and so it just felt like the right thing to do. I hope you enjoy these beautifully insightful and gentle words whispered to me by Angels. with love Ceran…
    http://www.rainbowinspired.co.uk

    December 12, 2016 at 5:45 am
  • Miriam Reply

    Several sections of what you have written here resonate with me. There was a lot of disrespect aimed at me and my children & husband by my family.
    I have a life long illness-disability that was never properly dealt with until I was an adult and was able to start making those informed choices for myself. There were other issues in my history, that became apparent to me especially during the added stress periods I experienced in the last few years.
    While I have not had to deal with Cancer my path has had difficult obstacles blocking it.
    Thank you for articulating so well for us many things that we can all appreciate.
    Be well! Be happy!

    December 16, 2016 at 6:54 am
  • Tammy Reply

    Hi Jennifer. I have always been a fan. I knew you were a celiac, but had no idea of your bout with cancer. Plus, you sounded so lonely. Who would have ever thought someone so kind, thoughtful, beautiful and talented could be lonely. I’m so glad you are better and thank you for being a great role model for us. I LOVE that you have joined NCIS and you are so great on that program. My best to you for a happy. healthy, 2017!!!

    December 19, 2016 at 10:46 am
  • Maggie R Reply

    Oh Jennifer,I somehow missed this post. You continue to be such an inspiration to all of us out here.. I was so sorry to hear about your diagnosis, but so happy to near that you are doing so well. God bless you in your continued recovery.
    I was living through my husband’s diagnosis of an aggressive Cancer and surgery about the same time and am happy to say he is doing well. It was a lesson in the need to self advocate as he too was misdiagnosed in the beginning, This health journey is such a challenge.
    Thank you for sharing your journey with us. You are not alone, we are all out here supporting you..

    December 20, 2016 at 1:21 am
  • Teresa Parks Reply

    Dear Jennifer,
    Thank you for sharing this truly difficult and utmost, remarkable journey. I admire your self preservation; you are my hero!!! You’ve been knocked down one too many times, but you’ve always come back bigger and better. You are AWESOME!!! Bless your heart. Be Well, friend as you always said… Ever Onward! That is so you.
    Love you,
    Teresa

    January 7, 2017 at 11:16 am
  • Helen Kniceley Reply

    I found out one year ago that my daughter, who has Down Syndrome, has celiac disease. She cannot verbalize how she feels so I was unaware until about six weeks ago that her stomach and intestinal tract were so irritated that the gastroenterologist initially thought she had ulcers. I tried to talk with our primary care doctor about tests that might reveal other problems that can be caused by celiac disease but she didn’t even know what most of them were. I have no idea how long she has had celiac disease so I’m at the point you were when you finally found out you had it. My problem is that I get no input from my daughter as to what she’s feeling. I’m hoping the gastroenterologist will be able to answer questions her primary care doctor was unable to. Wishing you the best. Helen

    January 19, 2017 at 4:35 pm
  • Max Eitner Reply

    Dear Jennifer [Esposito], Saw you on The Doctor’s TV show today [1/19/17]. Was so happy to see your eyes bright & u looking radiant. [happen to like eyes most—of course there’s plenty of other attractions too, but that’s what usually gets my attention first.] You looked very well, & that made me today.
    I know some about what you’ve been thru & what the media says was done to you by those behind Blue Bloods. What I know, really, really pisses me off but good. I was very happy when I found out you’d be a cast member on NCIS—I haven’t got the words, other than to say: just goes to show they can’t keep a great lady down for long.
    [I digress for some babble] I’ll be 67 on the 25th of this month. A man born, raised, schooled, collaged, worked, etc., for the most part, here on the San Francisco Peninsula of California. Having lived a spell in some other places, I do choose to call this my home. Now I’m pretty much non-ambulatory & spend most of my time in bed due to chronic heart diseases [CHF], cardiomyopathy, several pulmonary embolism bouts, etc., etc., etc., blah, blah, blah, –just so u know. I was, & probably could still be characterized as one of those “hippie-types” who did, attended, & danced all that stuff “flower-children” have been accused of having done.
    I did achieve the statuses of Senior Electrical Engineer & Senior Industrial Project Engineer [a guy in charge of building &/or renovating factories) working at such industrial giants as the Intel Corp. & Hewlett-Packard, to name a couple, during my working years–even though I attended the California College of Arts and Crafts (now known as the CA College of Art) because I was known to be gifted sculptor & painter—3D design having been my passion, back then. I had to pay the rent & put food on my families table—so I had to get a real job & was forced to put my art aside. Funny how this all works out—huh!?!
    So, to get back to the reasons I’m writing, I do have some sense of your war with Celiac Disease & care about your heart-breaks, miseries, recovery, work & now a book—well, well-done!
    Another reason I write this is because in my heart of hearts you will always be Danny Reagan’s bestest partner no matter what (I think he knows that too). And that role is what cemented you into my soul. I still love to watch those reruns where you are his partner. I have no clue, cuz I really do not spend time researching that kinda stuff, but I sincerely hope you & Donny W. got along well during those times, since to me he appears that he could be a damn hard man to get along with if he didn’t get what he wanted, when he wanted it (referring to your bouts w/sickness when trying to film episodes).
    I really loved watching you in Mistresses, too. Far as I’m concerned u made the show during your stint & it was rather boring & never very good after u left.
    Unfortunately for me, I’ve not been able to watch u in either Taxi Brooklyn or The Affair (in which I hear u are very good!). I can’t afford cable TV anymore (Social Security financial constraints) I suspect is why. Anyway, way back I saw in u things one doesn’t see so much anymore—a heart, a soul & a spirit. Humph. You are a delight to me, & I wanted u to know it—from me!
    I will always care for you from afar—know that, & please keep up your good works as best as u can.
    I can count on 1-hand how many times I’ve sent a letter to a media/TV star. Not a thing I do cuz I feel whom ever, will probably never actually read it, & frankly I pretty much believe its kind off a silly thing to do—cuz what-dah-you care about what I got to say anyway!?!
    But, once again, after seeing u on The Doctor’s, I felt compelled to: ah, go ahead & try shoot’n her a letter. It’ll make you [me] happy & you can dismiss all this nonsense.
    My best to you always… & I know God blesses you—for sure! …Max Eitner.

    January 19, 2017 at 9:48 pm
  • Deborah Lucarelli Reply

    Hi Jennifer, I’m so very happy you are feeling better and healthy. Do it your way. That is what life is all about. You are a beautiful soul inside and out. Thank you, Debbie

    January 24, 2017 at 10:27 am
  • Kasha Reply

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, for sharing your journey, your inspiration, your incredible clarity and strength.
    You are a remarkable woman.
    So grateful,
    Kasha

    January 25, 2017 at 10:51 am
  • yvonne Reply

    Dear Jennifer, I just read your book….I couldn’t put it down….I am an old registered nurse and your information really enlightened me on how devastating this disease is when undiagnosed and untreated….. my best friend in Montauk, also a nurse, bought the book for her 12 year old granddaughter, who was born with what pediatricians called “acid reflux” now, probably “colic” in the old days….everything she drank or ate caused her excruciating pain…….she instinctively started eating things that didn’t hurt her little tummy ; smart girl that she is…..but the pain still continued, of course……long story short she was lucky enough to get diagnosed early in life, age 3or4…..her Mom and Grandmother were unrelenting.
    I plan to visit your bakery next time I am in “the village”…….and I just want to say that I am so amazed at your strength, and fortitude through this horrific journey to feel better…..you were really sick! and the damage done to you by being undiagnosed for so long……You are a truly brave and an incredibly strong woman and I salute you for your honesty in writing about your personal, personal struggles……sharing it all with the world! Knowing that you have helped so many ailing people is an amazing comfort…..THANK YOU!
    ps….”bless me father”this my first blog writing….who says you can’t teach an old dog or person for that matter…..
    Be well, Jennifer……

    February 13, 2017 at 6:49 pm
  • Doris Zambrana Reply

    Thank u. I too live beyond stress, brokenheart that will never heal, my health just keeps getting worse, im also in seperation of my husband, i know deep inside who i was before this im trying to get back, but my brokenheart of a mother in me canot help me

    February 14, 2017 at 5:02 pm
  • Dianne slater Reply

    I am disabled from a stroke. I love your philopsy to be fearless and take one step at a time. I wLk with a walker. When I get to a door frame, my feet freeze. I am scared of falling. I have tried prayer. I know God has helped me take that step. I M going to start being fearless and follow your advice to take one step at a time. Thank you for sharing your story.

    February 14, 2017 at 5:28 pm
  • Sherry Joynes Reply

    Get knocked down 20 times but get up 21 times. I’ve enjoyed following your career and will now enjoy Living Free Jennifer. Your experience in the pursuit of answers to your serious health problems is a lesson in how to get the medical treatments you know you need. Bravo to you for demanding the attention you needed. I have my own story involving what turned out to be genetic heart disease. Testing showed nothing, of course. I w was dismissed by first doc; so he was dismissed. I insisted on stress echocardiogram
    and what do you know, 95% blockage of widow(er) maker artery. Despite a life of reasonably good eating, exercise, 21 years off cigs, no booze, no sodas, cholesterol levels within “safe” range, whatever the heck that is.
    I think I was judged as not looking like a heart patient so the first try to get help failed. But with symptoms worsening I knew it was bad. Had heart surgery April 2012, partial hysterectomy Oct. 2012, cancer surgery 2013. Now I have Vestibular nerve damage which means vertigI 24/7 in the form of a sensation of constant moving, like being on a boat except without the fun part of being on a boat. You aren’t alone in your struggles sister and I encourage you and all the folks who have chronic diseases to not give up. Its going to hurt physically, mentally,emotionally, financially, and ways you can’t explain. But don’t let it take you hostage. You are still in there; the body might be funky but you are alive in there. Too much love would be lost without you. Jennifer has provided us with her wisdom gained from experiencing bone deep misery. Thanks Jennifer, you’re a giving heart and soul.

    April 4, 2017 at 9:32 pm
  • Dave Reply

    Hi Jennifer, I am a cancer survivor. I have had 2 episodes with melanoma. First was stage 1. I only did excision. The 2nd time, 11 years later, it was stage 5, subcutaneous metastatic tumor. I did not do radiation as they only offered me a 5% impact on my prognosis which is negligible. I have only been taking an herb formula readily available at most herbal stores. This since having the tumor removed in 1996. I learned of this herbal formula from personally knowing individuals, relatives and church members, who are alive today and should not be. I had researched numerous homeopathic options and this one was the only one that made some sense. It’s just food. A salad of herbs, some of which are known to have immune boosting and some with anti carcinogen properties. I also experience anxiety attacks, severe chest pains, as part of life induced PTSD. These herbs are not a cure for that. 🙁 I have been trying laughter and tennis for the past 40+ yrs. So far so good. 🙂 Came to your site looking for low carb bread, muffins, cookies, pasta. Really struggling with kicking carbs. Saw you on Colbert. Happy to compare life stories. Mine often makes others feel better about their own. Always happy to share that life goes on with a promise of a better day. All the best. Dave

    April 4, 2017 at 11:53 pm
  • Monica Tata Reply

    I am writing to You from Portugal, Global Village this World, Saw You on the Stephen Colbert Show one night and loved Your Idea for a Gluten Free Backery, decided to Google some of Your Recipes and found this Blog, Loved this Entry for só many diff. Reasons…In summary I am a Mother of two who also had a Gut feeling back in 200C after breastfeading my second Child, and like You, received the Diagnose Câncer, becouse of my age at the time (32) and the agressivity of the Câncer invasiv, hat to take drastic measures, Mastectomie, Chemo, Radio, you can imagine. Since then I try rto listen to my Inner Voice more, but never had Your brillaint Idea to pray for help in realising me from all in my life that wasn’t there to make me better! Loved Your description, so honest, so far from Hollywood glamour, so real! Loved your smile on the shown the one I mentioned eralier on this reply! Wish You Health all the rest will follow

    April 20, 2017 at 1:02 pm

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