The lived experiences of the intimate partner of a person who underwent a mastectomy
The purpose of this study was to answer the research question: What are the lived experiences of the intimate partner who provided support post-operatively to a person (male or female) who underwent a mastectomy during the post-operative phase within the last one to five years? A qualitative research study was used. The study was conducted using a purposive sample to obtain rich descriptions of the lived experiences of intimate partners of a person who underwent a mastectomy. The study involved face-to-face and online platform audio recorded interviews which were analyzed using Colazzi’s (1978) seven step approach to phenomenological data analysis. A descriptive interpretative phenomenological approach was used to gain understanding of the lived experiences of partners of someone who provided support post-operatively to a person who underwent a mastectomy. Findings revealed four main themes: initial responses, aesthetics, communication through it all and resilience. Seven subthemes were also revealed: shock and pride, fearing the unexpected, changes in physical appearance, burdens of surgery, reassurance and supportiveness, and lack of support for intimate partners. The findings from the study may be used to inform nursing practice, nursing education, and future research studies of intimate partners that have provided support to a person that underwent a mastectomy during the post-operative phase.