Living in a paradox – women's experiences of body and life-world after meningioma surgery

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The aims of the study were to describe how persons who have undergone benign meningioma surgery experience their body and life-world and to illuminate the meaning of the illness, operation and recovery.


Meningioma, which is often benign, is the most commonly diagnosed brain tumour. Studies have shown that persons with meningioma tend to be more psychologically affected than persons with other brain tumours. To our knowledge, no previous studies have focused on the life-world or body experience of these persons.


Narrative interviews with seven women conducted over a 6-month period (2008–2009) were analyzed using a phenomenological hermeneutical method.


Four themes were identified: In between double threats: the tumour and operation: the participants seemed to perceive a paradox in the sense that the tumour was both benign and threatening and the surgery both curing and risky; the wound as an open gate: the wound is visibly healed, but perceived as unhealed; the suffering body overflows life: the participants were prevented from regaining their body, feeling fragile and oversensitive to impressions; and the need to be embraced by attention: taking the participants' needs seriously facilitated understanding of the diagnosis.


The participants in this study described emotional distress when recovering from meningioma surgery. It is essential for nurses to be aware of the various meanings people ascribe to events that disrupt their lives and the transition process in connection with meningioma treatment.

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