A Terminal Cancer Patient's Search for Meaning in Life:Experience of “a search for some kind of Support while Swimming through a Bottomless Swamp” Atsuko Yamaguchi 1 1Kukumu Co.,Ltd. Keyword: 終末期がん患者 , 生きる意味 , 生存充実感 , スピリチュアルケア pp.399-411
Published Date 2003/9/1
DOI https://doi.org/10.11477/mf.1681100213
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 This paper aims to describe a terminal cancer patient who finds himself having to question the meaning of living in the midst of his pain. With a view to understanding the experience from the patient's perspective,the research takes the form of a case study.

 Field work was conducted in a palliative care ward,in which the researcher listened to four terminal cancer patients and their families talking. The researcher then extracted the meaning from the record of the narration and the field notes,and compiled the content into the form of a story,focusing particularly on Mr. E,one of the four patients.

 What emerges from the story is a search for the meaning of living that could be expressed as “a search for some kind of support while swimming through a bottomless swamp”. Mr. E had hitherto made every possible effort to live a life that was in accordance with his own beliefs. But as death drew closer,it became increasingly difficult to stick to these beliefs,and a struggle developed. Within the context of this struggle,Mr. E discovered his own identity in the links with his family. In addition,unpretentious everyday experiences brought to Mr. E a sense of fulfillment,which in turn became a support as he struggled with his pain.

 The findings suggest that the scope of spiritual care for terminal term cancer patients can be extended by offering everyday nursing support while focusing on the sense of fulfillment.

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