This is a personal story of lactose intolerance submitted by Sandy Clifton. At Go Dairy Free, we welcome personal stories as they have the potential to help so many others.
I used to hear people say they were lactose intolerant and I would think that it wasn’t anything to be concerned about. “Oh, you’re lactose intolerant? That’s no big deal right?”
My initial misdiagnosis with a hefty price tag
I kept going to the doctor because I was feeling bad. My stomach would hurt, I was extremely bloated, I had the runs and would be really full shortly after I would put anything in my mouth. My doctor at the time just thought I was prone to feeling cysts and basically told me to wait it out. But after a few weeks, I still had the same symptoms and actually felt worse. So I went back in.
After asking me to lie down and pressing on my belly quite hard, he asked if it hurt. Well, yes, it hurts. Who would say it doesn’t hurt if someone was pressing on their bloated stomach extremely hard? But because I said yes, he told me to go to the ER immediately. He thought that my appendix was going to irrupt.
Talk about freaking a girl out! He then said, “you need to go to the hospital now and you can’t drive there – you need to take an ambulance.” Luckily my husband was in the car waiting for me. We got to the ER and they admitted me to a room.
After being hooked up on an IV, drinking some nasty liquid and being wheeled down the hall in my bed to get some scans done it turns out that my insides look good. GOOD. I had been freaking out for 4 hours. I thought I would have to have surgery and my hubby was being extremely sympathetic and I don’t have anything wrong with my organs. Are you kidding me? I get a bill for over a grand in the mail for that little trip to the Emergency Room. Did my doctor have to pay for it since he misdiagnosed me? No, I did.
Discovering I had lactose intolerance
I decided to switch doctors. They still didn’t tell me what was wrong. After going to this new doctor a few times after getting blood work taken the nurse suggested I get a lactose intolerance test. The nurse! So I brought it up to my new doctor and he said it really didn’t sound like I had it but lets go ahead and take the test. I knew something was wrong with me; know one should be doubling over in agony almost daily.
I went in on a Saturday to take my test. I don’t know if anyone is familiar with this but you have to fast the day before and the day of you can’t even have water. Then, when you arrive they make you drink this liquid that is filled with water and this sugary chalk like substance that doesn’t mix with the water. You have to drink all of it even with no water if you drank the first half and the rest didn’t come out. Then your not allowed to drink anything for the next 2 hours! They prick your finger right after that and then you come back every hour for the next two hrs to prick you again.
Turns out I am extremely lactose intolerant to the point that my body doesn’t produce the enzyme. No wonder I was getting so sick. I drank one to two glasses of whole milk daily!
Living lactose free
I have lost 15 pounds in the last one and a half months partially from not being able to eat much do to my stomach being upset and the other because I quit dairy. I am supposed to take these lactose pills every time I eat anything but they make me sick. So I have decided I will just cut it out of my diet all together. And I have felt so much better since doing that!
You would be amazed at how many things have lactose in them that you would of never guessed. Luckily they make lactaid milk and when you mix it in with other things its not too bad. Have you tried soy? Wow, I don’t think I will ever get used to the taste of soy products. I wish more stores had more choices for people with lactose intolerance. It would be nice to see a bakery or a restaurant that make everything with lactaid milk. Not goat milk that leaves a bitter taste in your mouth or soy that is just plain funky. I want choices! For now I will be refined to making my own food and not getting any take out because I do get sick easily off of lactose containing products.
I guess the positive thing from all this is that I have lost that weight I have wanted to get rid of. Just happened in a not-so-wanting way.
Sandy Clifton is a Colorado Artist who’s work spans drawing, painting, and (incredibly vivid) photography.