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Battling Globe-trotting Stress with Diet
from Terry B.

Hi Ed, I check out your web page from time to time to see if anyone out there has reported any miracle breakthroughs for P. I'm almost sure there is no one cure. After visiting several dermatologists and trying various sure-to-work-creams, my P is worse than ever. I'm convinced that in each case it's our body's way of trying to tell us there is an imbalance somewhere. Because P is genetic, that is the fashion in which this "imbalance" chooses to manifest itself. Okay, enough of my deep insights.

So here's my situation. I'm afraid my body's trying to tell me something and I'm not listening to it. I am a well educated, well traveled 28 year old Canadian, who, in a sense, "bagged everything" back home 14 months ago to travel in Japan and then move to Switzerland with my boyfriend. 15 months ago my P kicked into full gear. I have read that you're not a firm believer that P can be affected by stress. I think we have to bear in mind that some people have lower thresholds for stress than others. I am assuming my tolerance for my new situation is quite low and I feel that because I look this way I must be sick.

Living in the land of cheese and chocolate, and after overindulging for the past year, I have recently decided to eliminate all dairy products from my diet. I assumed that all the fondue and pralines could be possible culprits. It's been two weeks now and my P has gone absolutely berserk. I've always had a few spots here and there but now they have decided to form a conspiracy and join together to form huge patches — on my ENTIRE body. My lesions never itched before, but now they're terribly itchy and burn like hell. Maybe I should eat fondue again.

Like everyone else with P, I find this to be extremely frustrating. I am determined to find a way to get rid of this. No more creams (okay, maybe the occasional Doak Oil bath...) but I am going to get rid of this and I would like to share my experience with you. Hopefully, it will be a success. I have attached a photo of my "once-good-legs-gone-bad." It was taken 10 minutes ago. God I love modern technology. I'll send you another photo in a month and hopefully my plan of action will have worked. (Well, I don't have an "exact" plan of action, but let's see if mind over matter helps at all!) -Terry B.

*****

Ed’s Response: We’ll begin with a major correction. They’re not "once-good-legs-gone-bad." They’re "still-good-legs-gone-spotty." ‘Nuff said.

Sounds like a trigger or two inside of you has popped-off either coincidentally at the same time as your globe trotting, or because of your globe trotting. It would be hard to say for certain (because you can’t relive the past year and a half without the globe trotting to see if your P stays quiet). For some of us, moving around has the opposite effect — it calms our P down for awhile.

And I’m sure you’re right about stress and people’s varying tolerances for it. I must also confess that since I first poo-poo’d stress as a flake-factor I’ve softened on this denial. Enough people have emailed with compelling arguments to the contrary. (An anthropologist once told me not to trust a guru on a mountaintop. "They live like hermits," she said, "so no one’s around to compel them to change their minds. Notice how they’re not known for their listening skills? You visit just to ask questions, and they tolerate your visit so long as they do most of the talking." Of course, this anthropologist was suggesting I behaved like a guru.... So, what was I saying?)

An important question is why knocking off dairy products might be causing your P to go berserk. I know for me, that would be stressful, indeed. However, it would be intellectually more satisfying to determine something in dairy products is harmful (or unbalancing, to use your term) by being removed from your diet.

Perhaps it’s just the change. This is another one of my beliefs that, so far, hasn’t corroded under email evidence to the contrary — i.e., that change itself can be a trigger, with no further specificity. This hypothesis helps make comfortable (in my mind, at least) all those cases I hear about where somebody tries something and it works really well ... for awhile. Then somebody else tries it and it doesn’t work at all ... and yet another person says it cured them. Sometimes, especially if the therapy — whatever it was/is — was drastic, I think the change to undertake it may have been what affected these folks’ P — not necessarily any spectacular biochemistry.

That said, I have accumulated strong personal evidence that changes in climate affect my P — both seasonal changes and changes associated with relocation. But these changes are also subject (again, in my case) to the 90-day phenomenon, which is that it takes 90 days from the change for its effect on my flaking to be most obvious. I know that sounds so paltry and indirect, like a solution so logically convoluted it could be made to fit virtually any problem. This is why I don’t tell flakers, "Move to get cured!" On the other hand, this has been my experience over the past decade. The proof is in the predictability — at least proof enough for me. You could say, it’s all in his head. You might be right.

You certainly must keep us apprized of your experiment ... and more photos are most welcome. -Ed

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