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Liminality : A major category of the experience of cancer illness
Narrative analysis is well established as a means of examining the subjective experience of those who suffer chronic illness and cancer. In a study of perceptions of the outcomes of treatment of cancer of the colon, we have been struck by the consistency with which patients record three particular observations of their subjective experience: 1) the immediate impact of the cancer diagnosis and a persisting identification as a cancer patient, regardless of the time since treatment and of the presence or absence of persistent or recurrent disease; (2) a state of variable alienation from social familiars, expressed as an inability to communicate the nature of the experience of the illness, its diagnosis and treatment; and (3) a persistent sense of boundedness, an awareness of limits to space, empowerment and available time. These subjectivities were experienced in varying degree by all patients in our study. Individual responses to these experiences were complex and variable. The experiences are best understood under the rubric of a category we call liminality . We believe that all cancer patients enter and experience liminality as a process which begins with the first manifestations of their malignancy. An initial acute phase of liminality is marked by disorientation, a sense of loss and of loss of control, and a sense of uncertainty. An adaptive, enduring phase of suspended liminality supervenes, in which each patient constructs and reconstructs meaning for their experience by
PMID : 9823044 ISSN : 0277-9536 CODEN : SSMDEP
Social science & medicine (1982) A. 1998, vol. 47, n° 10, pp. 1485-1494 [bibl. : 37 ref.]
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