Probably not related... is this on your local web server? The database has gone away message is usually due to the server configuration. I've seen it on WAMP but haven't seen it often on a live web server.
Do you have a lot of products with a lot of advanced options? That could be causing a slowdown. Do you have your site on a live url where we can look at it? That could help us determine what is causing it to respond slowly as well.