Secular, Spiritual, and Religious Existential Concerns of Women with Ovarian Cancer during Final Diagnostics and Start of Treatment
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AbstractIntroduction. This paper deals with secular, spiritual, and religious existential concerns during severe illness. Materials and Methods. Qualitative research interviews were made before and after surgery with women who underwent final diagnostics, surgery, and chemotherapy for ovarian cancer. By applying a phenomenological-hermeneutic text interpretation methodology the findings were systematically identified, placed into meaning structures, interpreted, and critically discussed. Results. The analysis offered insight into the complexity of challenges and personal development over time in being a woman with ovarian cancer during her first treatment period. Although the women experienced their health to be seriously threatened, they also felt hope, will, and courage. The diagnostic procedures and treatment had comprehensive impact on their lives. However, hope and spirituality were important resources of comfort and meaning. Conclusion. Hope and courage to face life represent significant personal resources that are created not only in the interplay between body and mind but also between patients and their healthcare professionals. The women dealt with this in a dialectical manner, so that hope and despair could be present simultaneously. In this process secular, spiritual, and religious existential meaning orientations assisted the women in creating new narratives and obtain new orientations in life.