There is something to be said about aging into the Long View.  You have experienced much and lived through many revelations.  Now – I “ain’t” that old.  I am the first TV Generation.  We had the first one on our block.  I have been lucky to watch and see and be literate enough to understand what was in front of me. 

A sample:  Medical Science was absolutely certain that nothing the mother ate or drank got through to the Fetus.   Yeah – right.  Luckily for my kids, my wife did not drink or smoke or do any of that 60’s stuff.

A personal story:

In my late teens, I started to have some digestive difficulties that came and went.  Never really paid much attention to the situation, until I was away at college.  Those difficulties got more serious, and one day I collapsed on the street walking from campus to my apartment.  The Pain was severe.  When I got home for summer break, I ended up in the hospital for 5 days, with tubes entering and exiting every orifice.  The details shall remain sealed to be opened only with a couple of glasses of Shiraz.

They found virtually nothing.  But – given the symptoms, they came up with the diagnosis of Colitis with a suspected duodenal ulcer.  They told me that it probably had to do with the stress I was under in College and that I should not have spices and coffee but should drink a lot of milk.  I was under no stress – I was partying way too hard to have any stress.

This was the early 60’s and Vietnam was ramping up – the fear we all had – was being drafted.  I was from a rural area and when it came time for my Physical, my parents sent in my Medical Records of the prior year.  I received a medical deferment,  No – not a 4F but a 1Y.  That meant, draft woman and children first, then me.  I was home free.  My friends, who had received deferments, and I had a little party and toasted our bad knees, backs, digestive system and poor vision.  We did not go.  So many of our friends did go, and never returned.

I finished college, got married, went to graduate school, had two kids, bought a house and watched Vietnam destroy so much of my generation and the good will our country had. 

Much changed but my digestive system stayed true to form and got worse.   I could relate stories – but they are only funny in hind sight.  Well – one story:  We were at a New Years Eve party – pre children.  Having a great time until my system fell apart.  My wife drove me to the hospital ER.  On that drive, I thought the alien was attempting to burst out of my gut.  The Doc’s diagnosis – terminal gas.  He gave me a shot of simethicone and all was right with the world.  I bought a case of simethicone tablets.  Treat the symptom not the cause.

One morning, on my way to work, I heard a Medical Minute on the Radio.  “Do you have these symptoms?” – Oh yeah.  “Does your family originate from Eastern Europe? – Oh yeah again.  “Do you belong to this genetic subgroup of Eastern Europeans?”  Oh yeah – x 3.  And I turned to the Radio and asked: “Do you know my Name as well?”  He responded: “You probably have Lactose Intolerance.”  They had just done a study of the group that is part of my genetic history and found that by their late teens to early adulthood, this group lost the ability to produce the enzyme that digested milk sugar, lactose. 

I went off milk products that moment.  Unreal – I was healed.  It could not have happened faster – if there had been a laying on of hands.  I took back coffee, spices and so much more.  I avoided milk products.  There was a problem.  Originally there was no help.  Later, you could only buy the enzyme made from the scraping of goats’ intestines at a specialty health food store.  The cost – more than this young father could afford.  So I balanced what I ate against the amount of pain I could tolerate.

At that time, most Physicians called it a BS study without foundation.  The milk industry underwrote studies to disapprove it.  They said that individuals should just take a little milk at a time and increase the amount slowly – OMG – drink poison.

Today, I buy the enzyme in large quantities – the cheapest place – Costco.

There are Lactose free milk products on store shelves.  Certain hard cheeses, especially Swiss, have the phrase Lactose free on the label.  Even my whey protein claims it is lactose free.

As the years went bye, they identified other genetic groups that were similarly effected.

There are now medical tests to confirm the diagnosis.

I recently learned that a virus could knock out your ability to produce the enzyme.  If that is so, what other aspects of my system can a virus impact?   How does all this impact may metabolic system?

Today, I eat what I want – because I always have a pocket filled with pills.  Of course, eating Low Carb limits milk – not such a hardship – considering I have been limiting my milk intake for the last 35 years.  Pain is a great motivator.

Let’s go back to 1963.  I was told to drink milk.  As I walked between classes, I would drop a coin into the machine and chug a container of milk.  I lasted – maybe 15 minutes in that class.  Why didn’t I put 2 and 2 together?  Simple, when you lose your ability to produce the enzyme, it is not lost all at once.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it produces a small amount and sometimes it just shuts down. 

To top off the “certainty” of Medical knowledge, NOW they know that Milk consumption may exacerbate Ulcerative Colitis.

But – to those physicians in 1963 – thank you – I really did not want to fight in Vietnam.