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  1. Olsson, Ulla PhD, BScN, RN, RNT
  2. Bosaeus, Ingvar PhD, MD
  3. Bergbom, Ingegerd PhD, BScN, RN


The aim of this study was to describe and explore participants' experiences of their recovery from upper gastrointestinal surgery and being recovered or not 12 months following their operations. A hermeneutic approach was used to understand participants' experiences and situations. Fifteen participants were interviewed at 12 months postoperatively. According to participants, the year that had passed was experienced as being "pale and gray." Themes that were identified included feelings of doubtfulness, others' concern, and disappointment; never feeling quite well and having to adapt to new circumstances; feelings of being changed; and feelings of becoming free from illness and regaining strength. Being trapped in suffering meant that participants' lives had lost meaningful values. They felt disappointed because of physical discomforts and thoughts about disease and death. Recovery was felt when their physical discomforts decreased, and they felt free from doubts and "difficult" thoughts about illness and death. The recovery process can be understood as a movement between darkness and light.