Toxic… in a Good Way.

Toxic… in a Good Way.

Did you know doctors expose patients to tuberculosis on purpose?

They are!

For those who are not too familiar, tuberculosis, or TB, is an infectious disease mainly affecting the lungs. The disease can also infect the spine, joints, brain, liver, and kidney. It spreads from person to person via microscopic droplets released into the air. These droplets find a new host when an infected person sneezes, coughs, speaks, spits, laughs, or even sings. If left untreated, tuberculosis is potentially fatal. (Oh, and since I haven’t been to medical school in… ever, you can read more about what the Mayo Clinic has to say about TB here.)

Overall, it doesn’t sound fun. And yet, doctors intentionally put tuberculosis in their patients. But, it’s actually a good thing.

To treat bladder cancer, doctors use a bacteria solution called Bacillus Calmette-Guerin Live (BCG – a germ related to the cause of tuberculosis) to stimulate the immune system and ward off cancer cells. Because of the risk of transmission, the administrating physician treats the material as a biohazard. They dress in head-to-toe protective gear while handling the material.

The procedure is no joke… but then, neither is bladder cancer.

Toxic Work Environments & Other Good Poisons

This isn’t the first time something bad has been used for good. Other “mistakes” in science led to breakthroughs when redirected to address another biological issue (read up on penicillin as an example). The venom found in snakes, spiders, snails, centipedes, scorpions, and other creatures is used to develop pain killers, treat breast cancer, fight muscular dystrophy, and tackle other ailments.

Sometimes, we may need to use something bad to rid ourselves of something worse.

The situation may involve treatments of the diluted form of tuberculosis to fight your bladder cancer. Your journey might include quitting or being laid off from a job and facing an uncertain future all to leave an unhealthy and toxic work environment. It could mean going through a potentially long and painful divorce all to move on from a much more destructive marriage.

At times in our professional and personal lives, we may take or experience a poison in order to heal from something even more toxic in our lives. Although we tend to be fearful of tuberculosis, venom, layoffs from a toxic work environment, or divorce, in the end, it could be just what we need to heal. We are taught to see them as negative. They technically can be, but if used correctly and viewed in a broader sense, they are toxic… in a good way.

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