Pranee Liamputtong


3 Experiencing Scarred Body among Thai Women Living with Breast Cancer

Authors: Pranee Liamputtong, Dusanee Suwankhong


Breast surgery leaves undesirable scars to all women who experienced mastectomy, despite the fact that this could be a principle approach to save one life. This paper explores how Thai women living with breast cancer perceived and experienced a scarred body after breast surgery. In-depth interviews and drawing methods were employed among 20 women diagnosed with breast cancer. The interviewed data were analysed using thematic analysis method. The results showed that all women with breast cancer who underwent breast surgery perceived and experienced scar as a persisting and visible side-effect. This disfigurement appearance presented a negative image of feminine identity and led to emotional burdens among women. They responded to being scarred in different ways relating to their perceptions of body and changes. The older group had less embarrassed feelings towards being scarred comparing to the younger one. All women tried to seek means to cope with such physical impairment and keep balance life related to their condition. For example, they relied on Buddhism practice and tried to heal the keloid using natural products. Scars appeared to be an unpleasant effect for women who underwent breast mastectomy. Nurses and health care professionals in the local health service sectors need to pay close attention to how the women see the scarred body and their experiences of living with the distorted feminine appearance, and to provide sensitive support that meets the needs of these vulnerable women. The suitable supports can reduce the sense of embarrassment and increase their sense of self-confidence about their social femininity.

Keywords: Breast Surgery, qualitative study, Thai women, emotional response, scars

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2 The Lived Experience of Thai Mothers Living with HIV in Southern Thailand

Authors: Pranee Liamputtong, Dusanee Suwankhong


Mothers living with HIV tend to experience stigma and discrimination which has an impact on their psychological and social well-being and their human rights. This paper explores the lived experience of Thai mothers with HIV in their family. In-depth interviewing and drawing methods were employed to gain a deep understanding on the experience of 30 HIV-positive mothers in the southern community of Thailand. The data was analyzed using thematic analysis method. We found that the majority of HIV-positive mothers learned about their HIV status through blood test services during their antenatal care, but some decided to visit a doctor when their partner became chronically frail and showed some signs indicating HIV/AIDS. Learning about their HIV gave them a great shock, and they could not believe that they were infected with HIV/AIDS. They feared that their illness would be disclosed and hence attempted to keep their HIV secret. This was due to the fact that people in their community would blame and labeled them as a ‘disgusting person’. Besides, they would be separated from social contacts and networks, their individual rights would be disregarded, and their potential roles would be restricted. Although participants suggested that people had more positive view on HIV-infected person nowadays, all still wanted to keep it secret because of fear of stigma and discrimination. Thai health care has provided various kinds of support programs, but many mothers chose not to participate due to the fear of disclosure. However, the women attempted to seek some strategies to live a life which would be more acceptable by the community. We conclude that HIV is still seen as a stigmatised disease in rural community of southern Thailand. Local health care providers and relevant sectors in the locality should create suitable programs to enhance self-worth among those HIV-positive mothers because this could increase a quality of life of this vulnerable mothers. Providing sufficient and appropriate supports for better emotional wellbeing is an essential role of health professionals so that the feeling of isolation among these women could be eliminated and positive social justice can be achieved.

Keywords: lived experience, Southern Thailand, stigma and discrimination, HIV-positive mothers

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1 Health, Social Integration and Social Justice: The Lived Experiences of Young Middle-Eastern Refugees in Australia

Authors: Pranee Liamputtong, Hala Kurban


Based on the therapeutic landscape theory, this paper examines how young Middle-Eastern refugee individuals perceive their health and well-being and address the barriers they face in their new homeland and the means that helped them to form social connections in their new social environment. Qualitative methods (in-depth interviews and mapping activities) were conducted with ten young people from refugee backgrounds. Thematic analysis method was used to analyse the data. Findings suggested that the young refugees face various structural and cultural inequalities that significantly influenced their health and well-being. Mental health well-being was their greatest health concern. All reported the significant influence the English language had on their ability to adapt and form connections with their social environment. The presence of positive social support in their new social environment had a great impact on the health and well-being of the participants. The findings of this study have implications for social justice among refugees. They also contributed to the role of therapeutic landscapes and social support in helping young refugees to feel that they belonged to the society, and hence assisted them to adapt to their new living situation.

Keywords: Social Justice, Social Support, young refugees, Middle-Eastern

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