In 1974 I was 16 years old, and had returned home after 5 years in a boarding school. As a child I had always disliked milk as it made me feel sick. In boarding school I had consciously avoided milk and its products. But once home, my mother insisted I drink 2 glasses of milk daily. About the same time i started interning to audit accounts for my uncle. Over the next couple of months, I discovered a large fraud at office. I was distressed thinking about the effects, the disclosure of this fraud would have.
After 2 months at this audit, I woke up one morning with severe pain in my right hip. I thought I may have twisted it accidentally, but unfortunately over the next week the pain spread to my ankles, knees, toes, back, wrists, shoulders, and jaws. With this, I also began a fever which persisted between 103-104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees C). I was then taken to hospital, where a tentative diagnosis of Rheumatic fever was made, and I was admitted to the intensive care Unit (ICU). Over the next 5 weeks the fever rose to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, the pain increased, in spite of all the investigations, medicines, treatment and specialists who saw me. The medications caused nausea and I lost what little appetite I had. I grew steadily weaker till I could no longer walk. My weight dropped from 61 kg to 39 kg.
One night after 5 weeks in hospital, I heard the doctor telling the nurse, that I would not live for more than a few more days. I realized then, that there was nothing the hospital could do for me, and decided to take charge of my own health. The next morning, I requested my rheumatologist, to transfer me to a room as I could not sleep in the ICU with the lights on. He kindly agreed to do so & I was transferred to a room with two other patients. After 3 days in the room, I requested my rheumatologist to discharge me home as all I was doing was eating tablets & my blood was being examined every morning which I could also have done as an outpatient. He reluctantly allowed me to leave the hospital against medical advice, gave me a diagnosis of "Stills Disease" or Juvenile Rheumatoid arthritis and as I left, told me that I could take aspirin to ease the pain. Over the next few weeks under his supervision I gradually increased my intake of aspirin to a total of 40 to 50 tablets a day, taken 6-8 at a time, at intervals of 3 to 4 hours and finally the fever subsided and pain became bearable.
Over the next few weeks I ate my favourite foods, most of them spicy snacks, and I gradually began to recover my strength and weight. After a few months, I had recovered some strength and weight.
I moved to Bombay to attend college and stay with another uncle. My aunt with her good intentions to help me recover, insisted I restart milk. I did under severe pressure, and within a week was back in agonizing pain and high fever in spite of over 70 aspirins a day. It took me a month to recover, and was clinching proof for me, that indeed my arthritis was the result of a milk allergy. Over the next 2 years I gradually recovered and tapered off the aspirin. As I recovered, I found a great improvement both in my physical performance and mental abilities. The extent of my improvement was so great that for the first time in my life I got the highest marks in class without putting in any extra effort. I was able to participate in athletics and put in a creditable performance.
I also concluded that in school, the low level ingestion of milk had caused me to stammer, and be dyslexic which led to my teachers concluding that I was lazy, when my problem was actually an inability to express in writing, what I knew and could express orally! I concluded that my Juvenile Rheumatoid arthritis (a disease invariably fatal within 2-3 years) had been a combined result of high stress and the milk allergy.
Over the next 20 years I stayed off milk and it's products and enjoyed good health and great clarity of mind. In 1995, I was being entertained by many friends and took a lot of milk products. Soon the joint pain & fever returned. I realized what had happened and took to my bed. Fortunately the pain and fever passed off in a month and was a warning to me that I could never risk taking milk products again!
Through my years in practice, I found many patients who had diseases in which no rational cause could be found for their illness. In 1987 I studied with Leo Schafer (known as Canada's cancer doctor), who taught me how to diagnose milk and other allergies easily and accurately through examining the iris. When I applied these techniques to my practice, I found that many patients with a variety of problems had in fact allergies to milk and other foods. When I advised them to abstain from the foods they were allergic to, they found that gradually their symptoms resolved and they recovered. They also found that when they took these products again their problems recurred. This was indeed convincing proof, that they did actually have an allergy to these foods.
Today blood tests are available in some parts of the world, to accurately diagnose milk and gluten allergies, but they are still expensive to do & are not easily available. Reliable tests for milk allergy are still not available in India. Some indirect tests like skin testing, intra dermal testing and RAST (radio allergo sorbent tests) are available but are not very accurate. They carry the risk of a large number of false positive and false negative reactions. Almost everyone who undertakes such tests receives a long list of substances to which they are allergic.
The only way to be really sure if you are allergic to a particular food is to abstain totally from that particular food and its products for at least 3 months. If the symptoms improve with this abstinence, then the diagnosis is probably correct and taking that food again should bring back the symptoms. Most intelligent people however are satisfied with the improvement in their health and do not unnecessarily inflict further suffering on themselves.
Milk allergy receives a significant mention in all recent text books of medicine, as overwhelming evidence has accumulated about the horrendous problems an allergy to milk can cause. This article is an effort to present to you some of the problems a milk allergy can cause, and whether it is a worthwhile risk for you to continue consuming milk products.