Saturday, October 15, 2011

Stress and Chronic Pancreatitis

Earlier today something happened that stressed me out. Generally, I remember that nothing is worth getting stressed out over and I have, for the most part, learned to let things go. But earlier this evening, I just let something bother and now I can feel the effects of it in the form of inflammation.

My immediate response was to realize that stress just isn't worth it, particularly when it's over something stupid. Second, was to be grateful that I've been feeling so well that I've been healthy enough to forget that stress can inflame my pancreas and make me more vulnerable. Third was to take the pink ginger out of the refrigerator and eat a healthy amount directly out of the jar. Fourth was to make a cup of anti-inflammatory tea to further help reduce the swelling.

Whatever it is that is bothering me doesn't need to be so important that it can cause an pancreatic attack which could inevitably take my life. Nothing is that important.

Note: I also had pizza twice today. First was an individualized cheese pizza around lunchtime then around dinnertime I had a slice of cheese. I don't usually eat pizza. On the slice I had at dinnertime I put a little (rather dull) chili pepper. It is possible that the pizza and chili pepper created the flare-up rather than the stress.

It is possible that the stress caused it. It is possible that a combination of stress, chili pepper and pizza. Don't know. Just wanted to make sure I was giving an full assessment of what might have caused the current flare-up. Had I not gotten stressed or eaten the pizza I seriously doubt I would be suffering from a flare-up right now. Because I have pancreatitis, it is always important that I treat my pancreas with care and respect. Every time I forget to do that potential creates more scar tissue and damage to my pancreas with the very real potential to shorten my lifespan.


  1. I was just googling stress and chronic pancreatitis and came up with your blog posting. I wish I had known about your blog earlier. I have been going through a lot of stress at home the past while, and ended up with a flare-up which began on Thursday, was bad yesterday, and is starting to abate with the usual symptoms of exhaustion, weakness, and no appetite. I am "glad" to hear somebody say that they think that stress is a cause of flare-up, because I have been wondering about that. I haven't seen the specialist yet. I will see him in a month, but I have been living with pancreatitis chronically, ever since the first acute attack last January. It has been primarily pain control and special diet.

    1. Hi Judy,

      Glad you found the blog to be helpful... or at least validating.

      I believe stress is my biggest and most frequent instigator of pancreatic flare-ups.

      I am very careful now to remove myself from situations that cause me stress. In fact, I'm so aware of the impact that I can feel it almost immediately... or, perhaps, immediately. And when that happens I learn that I need to either not deal with that person anymore (some people you can't eliminate from one's life) or to learn to deal with the situation differently.

      Do you keep Ginger in the refrigerator? You can buy it any grocery store. I like to keep a jar of sushi ginger in the house at all times... just in case. It is an anti-inflammatory so it can decrease the inflammation almost immediately. This does not mean it is okay for me to remain in the stressful situation nor does it mean that I don't need to find new/better/efficient ways of handling the situation so it doesn't stress me out (bother my adrenal gland which aggravates my pancreas). It just means that I can bring down the inflammation. It is still important to learn better ways of coping which do not include stressing out adrenal gland -- which is very addictive and, for me, required a more zen approach to most situations.

      Basically, no one or thing is worth dying over. That's how I now look at all situations. When I use that perspective I have a much easier time dealing with the situation in a non-stressful way simply because I'm now looking at it as a life and death matter and no matter what it is that is happening it is simply not worth dying over. Stress can kill us because it can cause flare-ups and a flare-up that cannot be brought back down can kill us.

      Thanks for sharing your story. I'm sorry you are going through the stressful situation.

      I didn't even realize that much of my pancreatic pain was caused by stress until my teen daughter moved out of the house and live became less stressful. Then, I was able to see the pattern and learn to change my reactions.

  2. My mom is struggling with her forth severe pancreatic attack in 2 years. This blog is some good info. Her sister was recently diagnosed with cancer and my mom is under a lot of stress. We all suspect the stress is the culprit. I didn't know about the ginger or the tea. I will definitely pass this info along! Thanks!