In this autoethnography, I explore the companionship experience of someone supporting a cancer patient who is endeavoring to thrive in the face of this disease. A wide range of studies has been conducted on the emotional and social issues relating to cancer and specifically to breast cancer. Appropriately, most of the research relating to the personal narrative focuses on the stories of the person who has been diagnosed with cancer, and limited research has highlighted the perspective and experiences of their companions. My primary goals for this autoethnographic research are to: (1) Begin to answer the question: What role do we take when cancer becomes a reality and how do we provide helpful companionship? (2) Provide a template for personal narratives for companions, and (3) Share a path toward transformation for those that want to thrive. Autoethnography was selected as the qualitative inquiry method to gain meaning and understanding of the role of a companion to a person experiencing cancer. Most qualitative research methodologies are directed toward the study of others; however, in this case the primary focus of the research design is on self. This autoethnographic account of my experience as a companion to someone with cancer highlights the importance, both for you and the one you are supporting, of using your voice, owning your space, writing your story, and building a sense of community.
cancer, companionship, thriving, autoethnography
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Recommended APA Citation
Lilyea, B. (2022). Choosing to Thrive: An Autoethnographic Journey of Cancer, Companionship, and Carrots. The Qualitative Report, 27(2), 314-323. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2022.5242
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