Longtime Hallmark star and “General Hospital” actor Cameron Mathison just appeared in his seventh “Hannah Swensen Mystery,” co-starring with Alison Sweeney in “Carrot Cake Murder,” which premiered on May 19, 2023. But this time, he reluctantly requested some special accommodations from Hallmark due to a recently-discovered health challenge. The healing journey that Mathison, 53, has been on since battling kidney cancer in 2019 led to the discovery that a separate condition was making it tough to film certain scenes.
In a new interview, Mathison revealed that as he was closely monitoring his health following cancer treatment, he was diagnosed with celiac disease — a condition he’s kept quiet about until now — and that it’s wreaked havoc on his system while filming the “Hannah Swensen” movies. Luckily the issue won’t keep him from continuing to star in the franchise. Here’s what you need to know:
Cameron Mathison’s Glucose Levels Skyrocketed During Previous ‘Hannah Swensen’ Movie
In a new interview with TV Fanatic to promote the newest “Hannah Swensen” movie, Mathison revealed that in 2021, when they were filming the sixth movie in the series, “Sweet Revenge,” he was diagnosed with celiac disease. That means he’s highly sensitive to gluten, found in all of the treats that Sweeney’s character, Hannah Swensen, makes in her bakery and regularly serves up to her longtime beau Detective Mike Kingston, played by Mathison.
According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, the condition is a “serious autoimmune disease that occurs in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine.” Though one in 100 people have the condition, the foundation says, only 30 percent are properly diagnosed.
When a person with celiac disease eats gluten — a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley — the body’s immune system responds by attacking the small intestine. Gone unchecked, those with the disease are at much higher risk of developing other serious health conditions like coronary artery disease, small bowel cancers, and end-stage renal disease, according to the foundation. There are over 200 symptoms, but the most common involve abdominal issues.
Mathison told TV Fanatic he didn’t want to make a big deal out of it so he just kept eating the baked goods, but admitted that healthwise, “I paid for it.”
“I’m an actor; Mike is in love and engaged to a baker,” he explained. “I’ve got celiac disease. I’ve got a real serious gluten sensitivity, and it’s such a pain and so ironic. However, Mike isn’t (sensitive to gluten). If you watch some of the movies, I’m inhaling the brownies or the chocolate and cookies. And I really feel like it would be weird for the audience to watch Hannah’s fiancé take a little nibble of her yummy baked goods when it’s such a big part of this series of movies.”
After Mathison’s battle with cancer, he was paying very close attention to his health and taking measurements of his blood glucose levels every morning. While filming “Sweet Revenge,” he recalled, he noticed his levels were elevated even though he’d been eating “really clean.”
He realized he’d filmed a scene where he ate some of Hannah’s sweet treats. He told TV Fanatic he was “gorging on these cookies, and you do about 15 to 25 takes of these things.”
“And once you establish how you eat something in a scene, you’ve got to match it for the most part. And I ate about, I don’t know, seemingly 750,000 of these cookies,” Mathison joked. “And the next morning, I measured my glucose level, and it was way beyond hyper-diabetic. If you know anything about glucose levels, it was 175 or something that next morning.”
Mathison said he has since informed Hallmark and the crews about his condition, and they’ve been “very accommodating,” doing their best to get gluten-free baked goods on the set.
In June 2022, Mathison updated Entertainment Tonight on his health as he was figuring out his diet and exercise.
“Feeling strong, feeling healthy. I’m figuring a lot of stuff out I had going wrong that I didn’t really know about. But honestly, never better. I think I’m as strong as I was in my mid-20s and I have more energy than I had like 20 years ago.”
As part of his health and wellness journey, Mathison posted Instagram photos on May 22 from a weekend gathering in southern California that he attended called The Art of Contentment retreat.
He wrote, “Great to go deep in this retreat and do it with such an inspiring group of people… trying to improve themselves from the inside out🙏🏼”
Cameron Mathison Will Return in Next ‘Hannah Swensen’ Movie Despite Surprise Ending
Despite a surprise breakup at between Mathison and Sweeney’s characters at the end of “Carrot Cake Murder,” both actors will return for the next installment of the popular franchise.
Many fans expressed shock and frustration over Hannah giving her engagement ring back to Mike toward the end of the movie and never resolving their relationship issues. But Sweeney has been quick to let fans know that she and Mathison will start filming the next movie — “Zest for Death” — very soon, with plans to release the movie this summer.
Sweeney told TV Shows Ace, “When Hallmark agreed to develop two movies back-to-back this summer, we thought it was the right time to take the chance on examining the complications between Mike & Hannah. In the books the movies are based on, Joanne Fluke has written a definite rollercoaster of a romantic life for Hannah.”
“Mike is not giving up on Hannah, and of course Hannah still loves Mike,” she continued. “So this is just another challenge for them to overcome. And hopefully, the fans will enjoy the process of seeing them work their way back to each other.”
This is truly so sad to happen to this man. I have always loved this actor and how he appears so real in what is is portraying. Not deserving of such medical issues and problems. I will pray for him to recover from these new problems. G-d be with you Cameron Mathison.
Hi My comments on the ending of Carrot Cake Murder Was I cried. These two main charactures are like family. I am in my 80s and Cameron is the best actor I have seen in years as well as Allison. I love happy endings. Please keep Mike and Hannah together