‘I’m Still Me’: Inspiration and Instruction from Individuals with Brain Cancer
Individuals with brain cancer face many challenges, including threats to cognition, personality, and sensory and motor functioning. These can alter one’s sense of identity and result in despair. Chaplain-led spiritual interviews were conducted with 19 patients with brain cancer as part of a larger spiritual legacy intervention called “Hear My Voice.” The majority was female (58%), married (68%) and had aggressive/advanced tumors (63%). Participants were 22-68 years of age and expressed the following religious affiliations: Protestant (42%), Catholic (21%), Muslim (5%), and none (32%). Framework analysis was applied to reduce and understand the interview data. Primary codes were relationships with: God or the spiritual, others, and self. Brain cancer was reported to deepen and enrich patients’ commitment to these relationships. Struggle and grief were also revealed. Results suggest the continued vitality, growth and generativity of these participants and provide insight for chaplains and others on the medical team.
Note: this article was mentioned in the October 2017 ACPE Research Network Article of the Month.