There once was a syndicated columnist named George W. Crane who frequently advocated that a woman keep her husband happy by forgoing “Kitchen Cheesecake” and instead concentrating on “Boudoir Cheesecake.” This has nothing to do with my post below, but I always found it entertaining. The guy seemed seriously disturbed.
Last April I got my chronic heartburn fixed at last. It involved pulling my stomach down through my hiatus (in the diaphram) and fixing it so it couldn’t pop up again. It worked. I couldn’t get heartburn if I wanted to, but there ensued some other issues, amongst them what seemed like a digestive tract that was out to kill me. Why my intestines should ever have it in form I couldn’t say. I happen to like pepperoni pizza, dammit! Anyway, by noting what I ate prior to having a long night (use your imagination) I was able to determine that it was something that followed right along when I ate dairy products. That took a few months.
Dairy products? Well, I started checking, and it looked like I had developed lactose intolerance. Damn, I also really like ice cream! But there are worse things! I found out that those Lactaid Milk commercials are right, believe it or not. It’s just milk! And nothing happened when I drank it, other than I got the satisfaction of drinking milk. And there are lactase pills one can take as one eats dairy, and those things did seem to work. Except when they didn’t. Sometimes I’d spend my night shuttling back and forth to the throne room even though I hadn’t eaten any dairy, or I had but I’d taken lactase pills. (You can’t overdose on lactase because it’s an enzyme, a protein, and it just gets digested if it isn’t used to digest lactose.) But it seemed odd that sometimes things worked, sometimes they didn’t. Was my intestine still upset because the operation had thrown my intenstinal fauna into a tizzy (it did that, actually)? What was going on. A few more months went by.
Then a few weeks ago I spent some time in France. Now, I have read stories on Ex-Pat sites about how some people have trouble with American dairy but not French (sometimes the other way around.) So, after a few days I tested things and ate some creamy sauces on various dishes, and some cheese (not the hard stuff, but real squishy French stuff that’s full of lactase.) Lo and behold! Nothing happened! Thus emboldened, I branched out. I tried pizza. Shazam! And then one day, Crème Caramel. Crème is cream. Caramel is caramel. I was stoked! And I regretted ever touching the stuff. What??? Suddenly it doesn’t work again, and this kept up even when I avoided all dairy except that nice safe milk. (It is, and if you have lactose intolerance you should try it.)
And within a week of returning to the USA I figured it out. I have the embarassingly named “Dumping Syndrome.” Not uncommon after stomach surgery, it means that food “dumps” out of your stomach into your intestines too soon. A nuisance level issue, except in the case of refined sugar. You know, the stuff they make caramel out of? Yeah. What do a lot of milk products have in them? Yeah, that stuff. Now, after testing further, I find that I can eat pizza, drink regular milk, chomp any sort of cheese I want to eat, but I must avoid any excess in table sugar. Like say Golden Oreos, my favorite. Or those iced sugar cookies at Christmastime? Love ’em. Like to eat them by the pound! But, no more. A couple is okay. Just a couple. But you know what? Pizza! I’ve cut way back on sugar before, for different reasons. It’s healthier not to eat very much anyway. And I already know that I can, for instance, get away with eating a Snickers Ice Cream Bar. It was a rough seven months, but now, as I said eating a small piece of cheesecake this morning, I feel as though I’ve been reborn!