BACKGROUND:: In mysterious ways, hope makes life meaningful even in chaotic and uncontrolled situations. When a woman is newly diagnosed with gynecologic cancer, hope is ineffable and needs exploring. Drawings help express ineffable phenomena. OBJECTIVE:: The aim of the study was to explore how women newly diagnosed with gynecologic cancer express the meaning of hope in drawings. METHOD:: Participants were 15 women who on the same day had received the diagnosis of gynecologic cancer. They were between 24 and 87 years (median, 52 years) with a variety of gynecologic cancer diagnoses. Data from 15 drawings and postdrawing interviews with the women were analyzed using visual and hermeneutic phenomenology. RESULTS:: Three themes emerged: hope as a spirit to move on, hope as energy through nature, and hope as a communion with families. CONCLUSION:: Hope as pictured in drawings often appears through metaphors and incorporates internal, external, and relational aspects. With other words, inner willpower, experiences in open nature, and closeness to loved ones contribute to hope when newly diagnosed with gynecologic cancer. IMPLICATION FOR PRACTICE:: The use of drawings in clinical situations might give cancer nurses new perceptions of hope and other phenomena. Patients might feel threat and despair when diagnosed with cancer; they need gentle truth about reality, and they long for being together with loved ones. Nurses are in a unique position to enable hope in this situation through listening and active engagement. Drawing might be a tool in understanding the hope. Drawings picture where words come short.
Cancer Nursing, 2012, Vol 36, Issue 4
drawing; gynecologic cancer; hope; newly diagnosed; phenomenology; women