The Other Me
‘Looking For Answers’
The fructose test involved breathing into a meter which measured the level of fructose in my stomach, drinking a glass of fructose, and then breathing into the meter every half hour for the next three hours to see how my stomach reacted. If, at any point, the reading was over that initial base reading by a factor of twenty, it meant my stomach wasn’t absorbing the fructose, and thus I must be fructose intolerant.
I brought my laptop to the little clinic where the test was performed, breathed into the meter, and got an initial reading of 4. I then downed the glass of fructose, a sickly-sweet concoction which tasted like syrup.
Others were doing the same test – maybe ten or eleven people. We all sat in a lounge together. Some had brought books. Most fiddled on their phones. I booted up my laptop and tried to do some writing, although I was focused on willing myself to not have fructose intolerance.
At the half an hour mark, I got called up to breathe into the meter. It shot up to 13. The jump was alarming, but the girl running the test assured me that a big initial increase could be normal. I took her assurance back to my chair, returned to my laptop, and told myself I’d be okay.
About twenty minutes later, I felt my stomach starting to complain, could feel it begin to squelch, like I’d need to rush to the toilet. When I was called up again to breathe into the meter, I had an impending sense of doom.
The meter shot up to 29.
The girl running the test said she’d keep me around for half an hour more, just to confirm it, as the reading might drop off and show I was absorbing fructose – I just wasn’t doing it very quickly. Unfortunately, the next reading hit the 30s, and she dismissed me, confirming that I did have Fructose Intolerance.
I rushed home, hit the toilet – one of the few times my stomach problems had caused such issues – and then went on the net, reading about fructose and fructose intolerance. It wasn’t an easy thing to avoid, as it was – in one form or another – in lots of stuff, from natural food (e.g. most fruits, some vegetables), to processed food.
The immunity booster I’d taken all those months ago must’ve started the issue, and then so many other things would’ve perpetuated it.
The following week, I took a lactose test, which was handled the same way. I was confident I wouldn’t be lactose intolerant. What were the odds? But lactose intolerant I was. The readings didn’t jump as sharply as the lactose readings, but they got there quickly enough. So here was a whole other food category wiped out.
It felt like my body was rebelling, although I hadn’t treated it the best over the years, particularly in terms of diet and nutrition. Maybe I taught it to forget how to handle these things.
At least the results were answers to the crippling stomach pain I’d been suffering for months, which had often stopped me from eating, and had made me despair of ever being free of pain. That was the biggest thing – just wanting to be free of the pain.
It was also a relief that the stomach issues hadn’t been anxiety. People – doctors, family, friends – attributed any physical issues I had to anxiety and, if nothing else, this showed me that I had to trust my instincts, that I could still distinguish when something affected me physiologically, and when something was psychological.
Still, the light-headedness remained, and it wasn’t a symptom that could be attributed to the Fructose or Lactose Intolerance.