Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What do you mean I can't have milkshakes?!

So, I think it's  official... I have developed a lactose intolerance. No doctor has told me this, but they've pretty much ruled everything else out. I had several tests done to rule out any bacterial infections. They checked me for gluten allergies... negative. They even checked me for hepatitis, which I thought was kind of weird. But all the tests showed nothing.

I was finally sent to a "specialist" to see if he could figure out what was causing all my stomach issues. On the day of my gastroenterologist visit, I told him I thought I had developed a lactose intolerance and would like to be tested for that. He then informed me that not many doctors administer those tests, and the best way to check for lactose intolerance was to refrain from ingesting lactose... Really, Doc!? How much did that cost me??

He checked over some of the results from all the testing my primary doctor performed, and something he found made him suggest I get a colonoscopy... So I did. Not fun at all. : (   The actual procedure was fine, besides the waiting 4 hours for it to begin. I had to be sedated, but I wasn't leery about that or anything. The part that super-sucked was the 48-hour liquid diet beforehand. My appointment was set for Thursday morning, so my instructions were as follows:

- Monday night: Have vegetable soup for dinner.

- Tuesday: Only clear liquids all day, which can include chicken broth, 7-Up, Citrus Gatorade, ginger ale, and water.

My chicken broth lunch

- Wednesday: Only clear liquids all day, but no broth. No eating/drinking after midnight.

I looked online for other "clear liquid" options and was happy to see green jello listed : )

- Thursday: Check in at 6 am. Sit in the waiting room for 30 minutes. Then lay on a stretcher for 4 hours waiting to be taken back.

Matt tucked me in like a burrito

Oh, I forgot to mention the best part... Wednesday at 3 pm and 10 pm, I had to drink the nastiest stuff I've ever had in my life. It tasted like Robitussin times 10, and it's sole purpose was to have me spend the rest of the night on the toilet. That was seriously the worst part... I'd take on a whole week of a clear liquid diet before having to drink one bottle of that stuff again. : (  Bleh!

So, the procedure itself lasted around 30 minutes. Then they rolled me out, woke me up, and told me that everything looked fine. So I asked the Dr. what he thought the issue was, and he told me to start taking Pepcid AC twice a day and come back in 2 weeks if I still had issues. I asked him why I should take Pepcid AC if I had neither heartburn nor ulcers, and he didn't really have an answer for me. Needless to say, I wasn't very impressed with my gastroenterologist.

Afterwards, Matt took me to Chick-fil-A so I could finally eat something, and I was back to square one. I did online research, and I called all around trying to find someone who administered lactose intolerance tests. And then I figured, what the heck... I'm pretty sure that's what it is, so I'll just be 100% diligent in not taking in lactose and see where that takes me.

The only problem with that is that DAIRY IS IN EVERYTHING!!! Cheese, chocolate, MILKSHAKES!!! But they do make a lot of lactose-free options nowadays. I was able to find lactose-free ice cream and some cheeses, so it wasn't totally unbearable. But then I found something that turned my milkshake-mustache-less frown upside down...

They make a lactase enzyme pill for people with lactose intolerance to take so they can eat normal foods without the nasty consequences!!! As you can see, I tried it out with my favorite meal... crab linguine alfredo from Red Lobster. I figured if it didn't work, the meal should at least be worth it! ; )  But IT DID WORK!!! Hooray! A few days later I decided to give it the ultimate test:

I was totally bummed that I wasn't going to get to enjoy the peach milkshake this year because of my new "issue," but I took a lactase enzyme pill and drank half the shake... and nothing! No stomach pains, no gas, no... okay, I'll leave it at that. ; )  I was ecstatic! And still am... I keep these lovely, individually-wrapped pills with me everywhere I go. : )

I'm still trying to get an actual lactose intolerance test performed, but I think it's safe to say that's what it is. I still try to refrain from dairy products, although I love having the option of indulging with the help of my magic pills, as I like to call them. But I think the fact that I haven't had any more stomach problems since I started using the lactase enzyme pills backs up my theory...

Here's hoping my magic pills don't fail me anytime soon. And I hope you have a great week!

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