Have you heard of Lacuna Loft?
Launched in 2014 by AYA survivor and former Rocket Scientist Mallory Casperson, Lacuna Loft is a web-based nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing young adult voices together.
Special programs on the Lacuna Loft website include:
- Links to articles ranging from survivorship challenges to mind & body tips to DIY projects
- Posts by Young Adults in the Young Adult Voices program
- YA cancer book club
- Sign-up for weekly journal prompts
- Weekly e-newsletter
- Soon to arrive online wellness workshops and groups
Founder and CEO Mallory generously shared her thoughts with us:
Why did you create the site?
At the time of my cancer diagnosis, I lived in Central Illinois and did not have a young adult cancer presence anywhere near me. I was a graduate student, a marathon runner, and an avid salsa dancer before cancer arrived. I was used to being busy all the time and not needing to ‘slow down’ or ‘take care.’ Suddenly I was thrown into this world of chemotherapy and cancer where I needed to take time off work and spend time resting.
When I decided to leave graduate school about 2.5 years after my cancer diagnosis, I was ready for a change and ready to have some control over my work environment. My husband challenged me to spend a year doing whatever made me happy….in that time Lacuna Loft was born! What started as a blog has grown into a nonprofit organization!
What have you learned since starting Lacuna Loft about yourself?
I have learned, first and foremost, that there are so many young adult cancer survivors and caregivers out there, just like me, who are yearning for connection. I have learned that there are other survivors who deal with anxiety and isolation, guilt and fear, triumph and joy. We are figuring out ways to combat our struggle, to kick butt and take names, and there is so much that we can learn from one another.
I’m always actively learning how to take care of myself. I never had to worry before cancer how much I slept or whether I was making efforts to surround myself with safe and loving people. Self-care has been one of my biggest struggles since cancer entered my life fist as a caregiver and now as a survivor. I like that a lot of our Young Adult Voices program contributors write about this and what it means to them.
What does your long-term survivorship plan entail?
So far, I have had a number of follow up scans and blood work. I am part of a clinical trial so I’ve had 11 PET or CT scans so far with one MRI thrown in for good measure when something odd turned up last year. For a while I had a scan every 6 months and now I’m on the once a year plan. July 2016 will mark my 5 year cancer-versary! Otherwise, I try and exercise 4-5 times per week and eat numerous fruits and vegetables each day. Lately, I’ve been making smoothies to help me consume good greens in a beverage that still tastes like dessert…because I LOVE dessert. Prior to starting cancer treatment, I chose not to do any fertility saving measures. Now that I’m healthy, I’m working with a great OBGYN to figure out if my fertility was affected and if so, what options I have. I also work to remain aware that my energy levels are not always what they used to be before cancer arrived and that sometimes my anxiety needs me to take some time to myself. Life is always a process…now my process is just a little different compared to before I had cancer.
Why did you choose to name the organization Lacuna Loft?
Lacuna refers to a blank space or a missing part… a hiatus of sorts. Loft seemed like a cool place to hang out and stay for a while. I wanted Lacuna Loft to be a safe place where one could come and recover while learning to thrive. Where someone would want to stay a bit, hang out, and learn to live vibrantly during their hiatus and into their new normal.
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