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From: Peter Lyell (
Subject:         Stress
Date: November 16, 2016 at 6:12 pm PST

A while ago I read a post dated November 11, 1999 by Mrs Sabrina Nelson
from the US about her experiences of Relapsing Polychondritis. I would be
grateful if you could pass the following on to her, also perhaps publish it on
this site if you judge it to be a worthwhile input about this pig of a disease,
which I contracted 15 years ago.

I've had the usual problems that are symptomatic of RP -- affecting all the
cartileges of the head and neck, like eye aches, earaches, headaches and the
highly lethal threat, a swollen throat that closed off my air pipe so I could
barely breathe. I was saved by a fast ambulance and two young doctors who,
BECAUSE they were up with the latest on RP, recognised my problem, injected
me and afterwards put me on heavy doses of cortisone (prednisolone, or
panacortelone and methotrexate), which killed all my inflamation.

Over the years since, I have had many mild ttacks; I now know that a certain
kind of headache or earache is the start of trouble, take a diminishing course
of pills, and it all goes away.

Congratulations, Sabrina, on all your hard work (dieting and a hundred other
likely measures inspired by the hunt for relief or complete cure). They have
clearly achieved something tangible for you. But let me offer a theory.

You wrote "what worked for me since 1996 still works today, getting on a
low-fat pure vegetarian diet, getting my stress under control, and keeping my
body fit".

Your reference to "MY stress" is, I think very significant. It signals to me that
your possessive ownership of the malady might be (or might have been) a key
to your quietly suffering a more or less permanent psychological condition of
stress under pressures of various kinds. (Anybody ,like me, with children, ever
have stress??) But telling yourself all the time that you're stressed borders on
the neurotic of course, so balanced people simply suppress self-diagnoses
and get back on the merry-go-round -- and risk serious physical and mental

All I can tell you is that the calmer I am, and I'm talking deep calm, not just
mastery over a temporary daily/weekly condition, for any appreciable period, I
don't have RP attacks. I can now predict with some accuracy that in a period
of stress, I am more liable to have an RP incident. I am now prepared to bet
that stress is the most insidiously dangerous thing that ails us humans.
Medical science can't really measure it, and has only powerful drugs to offer
as palliatives. It can make young people's hair go white overnight. It can and
does also KILL people in astonishingly short periods.

My completely unprofessional advice is, change your life COMPLETELY if
necessary to get stress-free.

Peter Lyell, Melbourne, Australia

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