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a monster about to bite a man

No More Poison

I’ve often thought my leukemia could be traced back to a seven-year period when I endured a chronic level of intense stress. I, of course, had no knowledge of actual research in this area. It was just a feeling I had.

Though there is little evidence (yet) that stress is a direct cause of leukemia, a growing number of studies connect stress with a reduction in the immune system and possibly the progression of the disease.

Not all stress is bad of course. The stress you put your body through with proper exercise can actually, in my opinion, help. But what of long-term, continual, often psychological stress?

Stress and cancer research

A study by Barbara L. Andersen, a professor of psychology at Ohio State University, “linked stress with biological disease markers in patients with CLL.”1

And an intensive analysis of multiple studies done over a period of 30 years (published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information), suggested “the immune system, once thought to be autonomous, is now known to respond to signals from many other systems in the body, particularly the nervous system and the endocrine system.” In other words, the areas in our body that respond to stress.2

There are many things you can do to help reduce the negative effects of long-term stress. Meditation, exercise, getting enough sleep, and even eating well can help. But I believe there is a particularly dangerous type of stress you can only reduce by directly eliminating the source.

Eliminating toxic people from your life

Any sane person would not ingest regular doses of cyanide, yet many of us allow another type of poison in our daily lives: toxic people.

You can no longer afford to endure the headaches, worries, and just plain pain that difficult people bring your way. If someone comes to you talking about problems in their lives, of course, you can listen, console, and even give advice if they ask for it. But you don’t need to get directly involved with their issues.

If you are like me you tend to be too empathic to the difficulties others are facing. I’m trying to no longer do this. I can’t afford to become a mentor for overly needy people. I have enough of my own struggles. I can’t – I won’t – endanger my health by making their dramas part of my life.

Don’t fight, just let them go

And never let anyone bring anger into your home, especially if it is directed towards you. If you have a hurtful, selfish person aiming his/her hate at you despite your efforts to solve the issue, don’t fight. Just let them go. Love them, forgive them, but don’t allow them to serve up their poisonous meal to you.

I know that may sound cold. I don’t mean it to. But you have to protect your health as much as possible. You have leukemia after all.

Protect yourself. Avoid toxic people. If you can’t, at least tell them to leave their drama at home.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. Independent News on Hematology-Oncology. Stress Linked to More Advanced Disease in CLL Patients. Available at:
  2. The National Center for Biotechnology Information. ProMed Central, US National Library of Medicine & National Institutes of Health. Psychological Stress and the Human Immune System: A Meta-Analytic Study of 30 Years of Inquiry. Available at Published Feb 7, 2006.


  • Cocopuff816
    4 days ago

    Thank you for sharing this important information. My diagnosis of Essential Thrombocytemia and then 1 year later the diagnosis of stage 4 lymphoma ,literally tore my family apart. After
    4 interceccal treatments and 2 more R-Chop treatments to go an issue surfaced I wasn’t aware of and was accused of being aware of. Long story short,I cut all ties with in-laws and finished my treatment by myself. I don’t like how things ended but I don’t have to deal with all the unnecessary gossip and negativity. Thank you again for confirming what I all ready knew.

  • Carole McCue
    1 week ago

    Your words are so true. We must eliminate drama. I believe that my hospital admission after my first chemo was due to a family toxic situation.I had to learn to eliminate the toxic situation.

  • Ann Harper moderator
    1 week ago

    That’s so sad. I hope everything is better for you now.

  • Racheli Alkobey moderator
    2 weeks ago

    Oh my… I am such a supporter of everything you say here. You are so so so right in that we must relieve ourselves of the toxicity in order to fully heal. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Ann Harper moderator
    1 week ago

    Yes – getting of all the toxins in our lives definitely helps!

  • Ann Harper moderator
    2 weeks ago

    Excellent advice! My daughter felt stress contributed to her getting cancer. I’m not sure if stress caused my cancer but I try to live as stress free as possible. As far as toxic people – I’ve gotten rid of a few. I thought I’d miss them, but so far, I have not.

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