The Search for Balance: Prolonged Uncertainty in Parent Blogs of Childhood Cancer

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Abstract

Illness blogs are the online narrative expression of the experience of illness and its treatment. The purpose of the present research was to explore, describe, and analyze blog narratives created by parents during their child’s cancer experience in the hope that knowledge generated would amplify the voices of these vulnerable families. The study aimed to answer this question: What themes are evident in illness blogs created by a parent when a child has cancer? The purposive sample of 14 parent blogs included publicly accessible, English language narratives that contained descriptions of life with a child who had undergone treatment for acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL; five blogs analyzed) or neuroblastoma (nine blogs analyzed) in the previous 5 years or who was currently undergoing treatment for these types of cancer. Analysis resulted in discovery of new knowledge of the uncertainty inherent in daily family life during illness and treatment. The parents’ vivid depictions of the quest for balance while living with prolonged uncertainty during the illness experience suggested new ways to understand experiences of parents of children with cancer.

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