To live with Lactose intolerance
I came across a few questions regarding lactose intolerance, and that made me think of my own experience with this condition.
I recall one incident at primary school, where we were presented with a dish that had milk in it. And I knew that it would not end up good. I had been eating the same dish at home and the fear of what would happen if I ate it, took control over me and I threw up all over the table. Right in front of my classmates.
The teachers were not happy about what had happened and I ended up being punished for my bad behavior.
It was clear, that something was wrong with me. But it was not until after I had a playful argument with brother over butter, and ended up not using it at all, that made me connect the dots. I was an early teen by then, when I realized skipping butter on my sandwich was actually a good thing for me.
After that day I stopped using butter completely, and found myself feeling better. Eventually, I stopped using other milk products as well.
As I grew up I eventually moved out and started a family of my own. That gave me the freedom to choose what kind of products we would use and since then there is barely any products with lactose used in my family.
Do I cheat? Yes, I do cheat from time to time. But as an adult, I know the consequences of the cheating:
- The swollen stomach that makes me feel as if I am 9 months pregnant.
- The overall feeling of being sick.
- The extreme cramps: as if I can feel every step the food takes in my intestines, to move forward to its final goal to get out of my body.
- The painful moment when it is time to let it all out. It is a prolonged process and brings a lot of discomfort.
- The tired feeling afterward, as if I have been sick for weeks.
I discussed this with my mother a couple of years after I had moved out. And she confessed to me, that she had understood that I had problem with milk my entire childhood. But she had no idea of how to handle it.
During those days: no one knew much about lactose intolerance. And for those who did try to avoid milk products, there were not many if any other options to use.
Not like today. With the growing knowledge regarding this condition, more products without lactose have come out on the market. Making my grocery shopping trip so much easier.
It has been a long process to accept my body as it is. And there are still moments when I am in a restaurant or visit someone and “forget” to tell them that I can not eat a lot or anything of what they have to offer.
You would think that I have learned my lesson by now. But the need of feeling “normal” can sometimes be stronger than accepting being different.