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Stress at work and effects on CML...

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#1 Happycat


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Posted 19 January 2012 - 08:56 PM

I remember seeing a post where some patients at a conference (Philly, Atlanta?) had a get together and part of the discussion centered on stress and the importance of eliminating it. 

Well, right now work is very stressful for me. I'm sure my BP is sky high right now  and I've got more work and no resources to handle it.  I just had an email blow up at my boss, when, as usual, someone else f's up and suddenly it becomes my job to hold their hands and wipe their bums because they cant do their own work.

So, could this stress (that never ends) have a negative impact on the CML?  I know there are plenty of cardiovascular and immune effects from stress, but I don't know if stress could somehow impact CML in particular.  Any thoughts?  Any knowledge, like studies, out there?



#2 jjg


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Posted 19 January 2012 - 09:48 PM

Well stress is bad for the immune system so by implication it's not going to help you fight CML. Whether or not the effect is big enough to actually measure...give me some funding and a couple of slaves...ops I mean graduate students, and we might be able to find the answer. In the mean time I'd bet my next bowl of ice cream that you are more likely to reduce your life expectancy with the high BP.

If there is something good that can come of CML make it the realization that there are bigger things in life than a boss with a small _____ (fill in the gap with what ever makes you feel better).

BREATHE deeply...perhaps not too deeply while you are engaged in bum wiping .... and vent here when ever you want

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#3 GerryL


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Posted 19 January 2012 - 11:17 PM

Hi Happycat,

I think the stress would have a worse impact on your CML if you weren't on a TKI. There was someone on the board that made the comment about someone being off their TKI and going through a stressful situation and the leukemia increasing in level pro rata. Your leukemic burden is lower than when you started your TKI, so there should be plenty of Gleevec to go round.

Are you able to get out at lunch time and go for a half hour walk around the block? Take a soccer ball with you and maybe kick a few heads in while you're out there.

#4 reedgirl



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Posted 20 January 2012 - 07:33 AM

Hi Happycat,

   7 months after my husbands diagnosis, while still not being on a routine dosage of a drug, his father unexpectedly passed away in his sleep.  Yes, it was a great way for him to go, but for the rest of us who knew him to be healthy it was a complete shock.  A little background, my husband and his father work together in their family business, the business has been in the family for over 50 years so my husband worked with his dad everyday since he was a young teenager.  He was more than capable of "running the store", in fact he pretty much had been for the last several years, but knowing his dad was there was comforting because he didn't have to make decisions alone, he had someone to discuss things with.  We had left for a much needed vacation, the stress of Greg's diagnosis was really weighing us down esp since after 7 months he still was not on a drug his body could handle.  We weren't gone 24 hours, at 6 am the morning after we left we received the phone call to turn around and come home.  From that moment on the stress level for my husband has been astronomical.  There are days his face and neck are so red, I just know his bp is sky high.  I called his dr, spoke to the assistant or nurse or whoever, and explained the situation going on.  I too was very worried about his cml being affected by the extreme changes taking place in our lives and the extreme stress increase.  She said, in a round about way, it would not affect the cml so much as his other health.

  My advice to you, as long as your cml remains stable, under control, focus on keeping the rest of you healthy.  Find ways to release some of the stress during your work day, if that means going for  walk at lunch or listening to some calming music, or meditating for a few minutes or whatever, take time for you!  Today, Greg's stress level is still pretty high, fortunately, or maybe not, lol, I am now working in the business with him so when I see the redness creeping into his neck and face, I make him step away from the situation, go take a "time out" I guess!  He still has not reached the zero level with his cml, his last pcr number was .135, up from .108.  He still takes his Sprycel, has actually been on it for almost a year now.  Maybe he'll never get any lower than where he is now and that's ok as long as the cml is controlled.  There is always going to be stress in our lives, find a way to bring some peace into your day!

Best of luck to you,


#5 Happycat


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Posted 23 January 2012 - 05:53 PM

Thanks all for your replies.  See, so stressed can't get back to this site to check in!  I did take some of the advice,though. Had a couple of furious workouts on the elliptical, and listened to some loud music at work (with earphones).  I'd love to kick some heads ( or butts) literally.  Wish I could.


#6 Lynne D

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 06:13 PM

I just want to say I have worked since I was 12 and I am now 46. I was diagnosed in 2005 and in 2007 I had to step down from a position I had put a lot of hours into a position not as demanding. I just couldn't do it anymore. The stress of the job exacerbated the side effects of the drug. I finally tried Tasigna in 2010 and took 3 month short term disability. It didn't work and went back on Gleevec. When I returned to work in Jan of 2011, my job wasn't there anymore. They spent the next 11 months pushing me around and I got to the point I couldn't get through an 8 hour day and asked to work 32 hours a week. It ended up being maybe 25 hours a week if I was lucky. In November they laid me off saying there was no work for me. So I have been unemployed since November. I am financially struggling....but I feel soooo much better with that stress factor gone. I have a fair share of stress anyway. They also took away any accommodations they had in place for me to deal with my disease(s) and there was no place to disappear for a few to catch a breath. When your employer makes it difficult for you it does have an effect on your health. If you are already compromised whether it's side effects or the disease itself, it doesn't always work out.

Lynne Dagata



"Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue. Realize the strength, move on" ~~ Henry Rollins

#7 Susan61


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Posted 23 January 2012 - 08:15 PM

Hi Traci:  I swear it sounds like you work where I used to many years ago when I was first diagnosed with CML.

I was working for the Oncologist who found my CML, and I was doing a more heavy duty treatment than a TKI at the time.  I was walking around like I had the FLU 24/7 doing two different drugs with IV shots everyday.

     I finally went in his office, and told him I could not do the work anymore.  I went out on Disability.  My story is a little different, and I did have my husband working to help with finances.  I never did go back to work there again, and it has taken its toll on me financially which has caused stress in my life. Now my husband is going through a lot of stress on his job.  We just keep hanging in there the best we can.  Know  your  not alone with a stress problem.

    Stress will kill you faster than Cancer.  You have to find your way of dealing with it, and especially if you need this job as most people do right now.  I hope you can calm down.  Try some of the other advice others are giving you.


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