Thanks for all your encouragment everyone!
McKnitty - Yep, I am severly lactose intolerant and have been for all my adult life. The secret lies in the lactase enzyme. Lactaid is the brand-name that is most common. Places like Walgreens, Target, etc have their own generic brands. Just make sure that you read the box and it says 9000 FCC Lactase Units per pill. I buy mine at Costco since I've found it to be the least expensive. It's 180 pills for $15. It's Kirkland brand and it's called Fast Acting Lactase. You swallow one with the first bite of food and you're good to go. One pill usually last me one meal.
A truely lactose intolerant person (vs. someone who is allergic to milk, or would get better by building up the enzyme) is when the body doesn't or can't produce the enzyme to break down the milk sugar found in dairy. This happens in when the food hits your small intestines. The pill that you swallow with your meal provides your body the enzyme that you would have secreted if you weren't intolerent.
I have adopted the phrase 'hmm... is this lactaid worthy?' when I eat food. It can get costly but the box from Costco lasts me about 2 months. I carry a supply of lactaid with me wherever I go. My friend once said to me that I carry lactaid like a man carries condoms. Hilarious.