The pains of living life as lactose intolerant


Grace Coughlin

Having grown up as a dairy-lover, Megan Pohle was soon forced to face the devastation of being diagnosed as lactose intolerant.

Megan Pohle, Staff Writer

I often refer to my life before the discovery of my lactose intolerance as the glory days. I reminisce on this time in my life, remembering the taste of half and half in my frosted flakes, and chocolate milkshakes at the state fair. I was called the “Dairy Queen” (pun intended) due to my love for dairy filled foods. I used to awaken to a glass of milk every day, and go to sleep with a glass of milk by my bedside. Dairy now acts as the boyfriend I never got over, or perhaps a forbidden romance.

It has been three years, 37 days, and 14 hours since I was informed of my lactose intolerance. After many painful stomach aches, the doctor broke the news to me gently. At first, I refused to believe that my one love could cause this pain. “It can’t be the ice cream I ate! It wasn’t the grilled cheese, was it?” Unfortunately, it was true. I was forced to leave dairy, my first love and, in my eyes, the most important of the food groups.

After many days of crying and refusing to believe the obvious truth, I took the first step towards accepting the break up by purchasing soy milk at Whole Foods. With high expectations I had my first sip that night, only to find that it wasn’t the same. Nothing could replace the dairy I was forbidden to love. Especially not the harsh tasting soy milk.

As the months passed, I made myself drink the soy and say no to an ice cream cone. To others, I seemed to be accepting my heartbreak, even if that meant I still cried myself to sleep. It was fine as long as I wasn’t eating dairy, right? Little did they know that I had not accepted my lactose intolerance at all. In fact, I was still sneaking a glass of milk a day. I was forced to keep my love secret, for if my family knew I was still eating a dairy diet they would take all the dairy out of the house, leaving me alone. That was something I was not about to risk, for it is better to have loved, than to never have known love at all.

My friends and family tried to console me throughout this time of hardship. By “console” I mean keeping all dairy filled items away from me, saying it was for the common good. Everyday I felt as if there was a flashing sign on my forehead reading, “Lactose Intolerant: Do Not Give Dairy.” Watching my friends eat mozzarella sticks at lunch seemed to only taunt me as I forced down my dairy free meal. I couldn’t help but feel jealous of their carefree relationship with dairy foods, why did I have to give up my love, when the rest of the world was able to enjoy cheese pizza?

Throughout it all there has been one good thing to come of this dairy free life. Some say that only chocolate can mend a broken heart, and so far it has put the shattered pieces back together. It seems that the only way to truly get over something is to find something else, and perhaps that something else is chocolate.

Some say that with time my love with dairy will fade, but I can attest that this is not true. As much as Hershey bars and chocolate fondu have mended my heart back together, there will always be a scar, reminding me of the days when I needn’t worry about eating the Oreo whipped cream cake on chicken fried steak day. No matter how much time there will be, I will have to accept the fact that I am lactose intolerant.