Surprised by Joy: a Journey through Suffering


Understanding suffering as possible meaning of cancer for patients and their families is a necessary part of cancer nursing care. Suffering occurs when the intactness or integrity of the individuals is threatened or disrupted (Cassel 1999); the authors believe that exploring cancer patients' suffering is vital to improve patient quality care. This article discusses suffering as a feature for oncology patients at tertiary hospital in Jordan. We are aiming through understanding the three following narratives of cancer patients who experience and witness thesuffer during their disease journey to illustrate how the suffering reflect their behavior and day to day life. The first case is a young man of 24 years old who was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal carcinoma five years ago, treated then relapsed and receiving palliative care up to moment, the narrative focus on his suffering from corrupted relations with his wife due to infected face wound and loss of the financial support. The Second case is a 38 years old female who diagnosed with melanoma 15 years ago, she experience psychological suffering due to changes in her body image. She is taking care of motor handicapped husband in addition to her Kids. The Last case is a 54 years old female who had lung cancer. She is still fighting her disease. Consequently, she is suffering from the disease, cause to affect her job.We found out that their spirituality and beliefs system enables them to endure and fight their disease, alleviate suffering, enhance adaptation and redefine hope. The health care team who provide the care for these cases focus interdisciplinary team approach who affirm that thetranscendental is there when disease and mute or expressive suffering are recognized together, they do the work of creating a full meaning for patients and families. Nurses play a crucial role in managing such cases .It is the core of nursing care to presence the mean of listening, touching, acknowledging, honoring patient’s wishes and working within specialized multidisciplinary team, It is the greatness to be part of a team that being a huge circle surrounding patient with special demand and focusing on them in addition to their families rather thanthe disease itself aiming to assure best quality of life and to gain patients satisfaction. They recognize, assess and reassess patients’ needs reframing of goals by educating, advocating, coordinating and supporting, with themajor role in bereavement.