This paper posits to present the life history and the identity formation of Jane, a lady in her late thirties who is diagnosed with brain cancer. The results of this interview showed that Jane’s sense of self was seriously influenced by her upbringing experiences. Three central themes surfaced in the interview process: Jane’s esteem for her father, her enthusiasm to share insight, and her occupation as a beautician. Her story reveals that Jane has a brilliant disposition concerning life and, even if she was diagnosed with brain cancer, she does not perceive the condition as life threatening.
How Jane Perceives Herself Today, As a Lady Diagnosed With Brain Cancer. Throughout the interview, I noticed that Jane rarely talked in relation to her diagnosis of brain cancer or the syndrome process itself. Jane perceives herself to be in excellent health, but also as someone who has her personal ups and downs. When I inquired concerning her feelings on the process of gathering her life story, she said:
“I contemplated in relation to that the other day. I thought one way of doing your job is learning how individuals cope with diverse issues in their life. I desire to know how individuals live and do the things that make them cheerful. I get pleasure from talking to people and sharing what a fantastic life I had and still have.”
Jane did not mention any thing more concerning her prognosis, except the occasional remark that “this tiny brain cannot hold everything because from time to time it stops and at times it does not”, meaning that she perceives her memory as vague at times. Nevertheless, the interview process in itself granted me an insight to what Jane’s condition must be like.
Summary of the Interview. Jane never spoke concerning her illness or as an individual diagnosed with the syndrome. Yet, several times in the interview process the condition manifested itself. Often, Jane would reiterate the same stories concerning her childhood. One of Jane’s favorite narratives concerned her goals to become a beautician as well as her father’s indecision to support her line of business. I also noticed that Jane would inquire about me, only to come back to the query a few minutes later. These actions demonstrate the failure of short-range memory, but I suppose her childhood memories are fairly precise. Her stories concerning working in the confectionery shop and entering the beauty school continued as reasonably the same each time she narrated them. From the initial interview session, to the final, her stories remained the same, with the exception of minor deletions or expansions of detail in the narratives. Jane would repeatedly ask me my name and also my future professional plans. It was noticeable that she discerned that I had some relation to the university, but she could not grasp my name. She asked me to jot down my address and name after every interview session. I suppose that Jane wanted some kind of written documentation or explanation that she might use as a reminder, though I may not conclusively confirm this. Jane often asked how I came to know her, and I told her multiple times in each interview about how we worked together during the intergenerational activities.
Jane’s View of the World and Herself. As evident in the majority of literature, persons diagnosed with brain cancer perceive the disease process in different ways. Some individuals talk in relation to their experiences and emotions while others perceive it as their personal problem and are consequently uncomfortable sharing their problems with other people (Heywood 20). This is the case with Jane, because from the time when Jane was a youngster, she was engrained with the attitude: “Do not tell anyone your problems, since they have an adequate amount of their own problems.” Away from the syndrome process, Jane is amazingly optimistic with reference to life. She feels at harmony with herself, since she is contented with the manner in which things turned out in her career and she is happy with her father and the way he cares for her. Jane perceives that she has a fine perspective on life since she has done all that she desired to do.
General Societal Attitudes Surrounding Persons with Brain Cancer. There seems to be a variety of perceived societal attitudes surrounding persons with brain cancer which differ from person to person at diverse stages of life. The question of the psychological condition of the dying has received considerable attention in medical literature. The majority studies have focused on issues surrounding physician aided suicide, and in recent times, the rising awareness of existential and spiritual factors that may contribute to physical, and psychological well-being at the closing stages of life. Although surveys and questionnaires evaluating these factors have been authenticated in diverse palliative populations, they repeatedly fall short of capturing the subjective incidence of dying in the patients. Therefore, patient interviews may provide the superlative opportunity to investigate these sensitive concerns in a way that reveres the diversity of the disease experience (Heywood 26). Such a qualitative diagnostic approach may be employed to capture and understand the dynamic mental state of a dying patient.
Questions surrounding the benefits and costs of a variety of treatment options ought to be conferred in one-on-one consultations in order to acquire insight into the aspects considered significant in the lives of brain cancer patients. The outcomes of a cancer diagnosis are complex and far-reaching, affecting the patient as well as his/her group of caregivers. A number of studies have established the toll that cancer diagnosis bear on families of these patients, and the significance of communication within families as well as between health caregivers and health-care providers. Treatment decisions are often group assessments, made with the fundamental postulation that treatment for one patient may have repercussions for many. The significance of the caregiver’s point of view consequently becomes that much more essential, and to precisely estimate attitudes towards dying and treatment, these require being taken into account. Several studies in the literature consider caregiver perceptions and these have attached significant weight to construal of the decision making process in the terminally sick patients (Gardner 69).
Brain cancer is considered as unique amongst the malignant diseases, in that the organ that is affected is conventionally perceived as the seat of a person’s realistic sense of identity. Philosophical enquiries concerning the manifestation of conduct and the cognizance of a person’s existence all engage the brain. Consequently studying the responses as well as experiences of these patients with a sickness that threatens their survival is practically and conceptually appropriate. Although a small amount of studies have examined brain cancer populations in particular, a number of studies have investigated coping as well as the meaning of infirmity in patients with advanced cancer. For instance, in a number of mixed palliative populations investigated, desperation and yearning for death have been associated to physical distress as well as psychiatric depression. Measures have been devised measuring and assessing meaning and the determination to live, in addition to the yearning to die in these patients, on the other hand, investigators hardly ever, discuss cancer variety as an autonomous variable. Such studies endeavor to estimate attitudes towards fatality, but do not essentially scrutinize what these patients treasure in life (Heywood 32).
Cancer of the brain, although comparatively rare, is most commonly fatal. The overwhelming consequences of the syndrome for patients, caregivers and families, necessitate additional exploration in the sphere of subjective sickness experience as well as therapeutic decision making. It is as a result imperative that investigators as well as clinicians obtain an enhanced understanding of what is valuable and meaningful to persons living with terminal brain cancer.
Reflection on the Importance of Brain Cancer Diagnosis on Society. Caregivers were normally more reflective and forthcoming than patients. There appears to be a relative accord that when judged against other malignant sicknesses, that brain cancer is exceptional. More often than not, the society perceives the brain as a command center, and the center of the factual sense of identity, as well as concentration and memory. Over and above regarding brain cancer as unique, this is usually, but not at all times construed in a negative manner. For instance, the rapidity of the physical and intellectual decline, the absence of any long-lasting and effective treatments, as well as the bleakness of the diagnosis are cited as characteristic negative attributes of the disease. Some peoples, however, mention memory loss, cognitive decline, as well as the relative absence of pain as positive characteristics of the disease that, actually, spare their loved ones of the consciousness of suffering (Gardner 71).
A devastating symptom in one patient, may in reality be a redeeming characteristic for another patient, or offer some psychological or emotional comfort. Most people implicitly understand that maladies of the brain are in essential ways dissimilar than maladies of other organ systems. Often, the sentiment is echoed that every brain cancer is unique, while other cancers are basically alike. If a person has lung cancer, the symptoms are typically similar to the other person who also has lung cancer. One may get rid of a breast and still function, or one can still continue working with one lung. In regard to how brain cancer might be unlike other cancers, some people perceive that it is not merely a diagnosis, but almost like a sentence on every other aspect of life. Although a number of people regard brain cancer as unique (Bee 105).
Caregivers and patients usually regard it as requisite mainly when faced with an incurable illness of the brain, to put emphasis on the significance of mental functioning, cognition and orientation in their definition of value of life. The prospect of loss of memory as well as intellectual decline, in the majority of cases, bear out as the most universal reason that people opt for shortening life through declining further treatment. The emphasis on mental capacity draws attention to the exceptional experiences of patients with brain cancer, even amongst the other uncompromisingly malignant diseases. Families and patients understand that a disease that affects the brain, and essentially the mind, is qualitatively different from diseases that may affect other organs. Caregivers consistently comment that to losing one’s identity, awareness, and memory is tantamount to dying. The loss of vitality and independence in a previously high functioning person would be emotionally and psychologically traumatic (Gardner 75).
It is evident that in society, attitudes in regard to euthanasia vary in consistence with the controversial nature of this problem. However, although caregivers and patients may not be united in regard to the regulation or the means of the practice of euthanasia, there is general concurrence that the decision ought to eventually be the prerogative of the family and the patient.
Quality of life is essential and it would be reasonable that when an individual perceives that they have had enough suffering that opinion ought to be respected (Bee 110).
Bee, T. Lifespan Development, London, Routledge. 2010. Print.
Gardner, S. Extraordinary Minds, Paradigm Publishers, 2009. Print.
Heywood, B. Caring for Helen: An Experience of Effectively Coping with Brain Cancer, London: Thames & Hudson. 2011. Print.