Donor Space: What Makes Lacuna Loft Different During COVID-19?

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Hey there!

I’m back for another Donor Space update!

When COVID-19 hit the scene in the US, most cancer support locations closed their physical doors and in-person opportunities for support were either canceled or moved online.  When this happened, I was asked again and again, With everyone offering online support now, how is Lacuna Loft different?

It’s a great question!  The short answer is three-fold:

  1. We’re different because we’ve been offering programs online for over 5 years so we’re really good at it.  We’re good at the logistics, we’re good at fostering a safe-space, and we’re good at intentionally creating online experiences that benefit young adults facing cancer.
  2. We’re different because we are still the only organization offering a large variety of online programs proven to improve quality of life metrics in young adults facing cancer.  We continually evaluate our programs, we’ve published our results in the past, and we have over 15 programs currently running.
  3. When most of the other supportive care opportunities move back to in-person, we’ll still be online running a diverse set of life-changing programs for young adults facing cancer.

Have another question we can answer?  Use the button below!

With gratitude,

 

 

 

 

 

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Donor Space: Welcome!

empty office setting

Hello!

Lacuna Loft is always looking for new and creative ways to connect with our program participants and supporters.  We LOVE transparency, showing off our behind-the-scenes, and bringing you into our space as much as possible.

In that spirit, welcome to a brand new blog series, The Donor Space!  Whether you’re a donor, a volunteer, a program participant, a supporter, or just generally in our corner, you are welcome here!  We’ll answer questions, show off what’s happening in our programs, bring you into our offices, mix it up with blogs and video, and generally open up the doors to our virtual space in a brand new way.

I’m excited to spend time with you here!

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s A Wonderful Life: Taking Care During the Holidays Journaling Workshop

holiday bells and lights

Lacuna Loft is excited to bring back this special holiday program!

It’s a Wonderful Life: Taking Care during the Holidays

A 6 week journaling workshop for young adult cancer patients and survivors

“It’s beginning to look a lot like” an even busier time of year! The holiday season brings nostalgia (like a favorite song), connection to family and friends and an undercurrent of expectation. There can be an added layer of managing expectations to be positive and happy – even in the middle of treatment or when everyone appears to look “fine” when, inside, they are not.

Finding peace between the wrapping paper and the stuffing is within reach! Led by Jean Rowe, LCSW, join us for a 6-week holiday journal writing workshop to design a plan to lower stress, create or reconnect with meaningful traditions, and decorate your soul with a little TLC.

Where: Online video chat. We’ll send you more information about joining after you register. Please have a microphone headset and a webcam.

Who: Young adult cancer patients and survivors.

When: The journaling group will start on Thursday, November 5th @ 3 pm PT / 5 pm CT / 6 pm ET and meets on Sundays for 2 hours each week, for 6 weeks*.  A commitment to attend every date is important to group continuity and in creating a safe space. Please be on time 🙂

*The journaling group will be not meet on Thanksgiving Day and will be meeting on Nov 5th, Nov 12th, Nov 19th, Dec 3rd, Dec 10th, and Dec 17th.

Click here to sign up to be notified when this program is announced by choosing it under ‘Programs you’re interested in.’ (Feel free to choose to be notified when other programs are announced too!)

Meet Lacuna Loft’s Featured Community Member of the Week, Marnie!

marnie

Meet Marnie.

Home: Portland, OR

Horoscope: Capricorn

Favorite book: The Expanse series by James SA Corey

Hero: my friends Jamie & Jill

Superpower: organizing…let me at that pantry or closet!

Hardest challenge: losing two of my dearest friends to cancer within a year while going through some really difficult medical, job, and housing challenges myself

Guilty pleasure: Captain America, as played by Chris Evans in the Marvel movies

Favorite Lacuna Loft Program: Unspoken Ink (but I also really enjoy YAC coloring hangouts)

Proudest moment: Watching my son grow into an awesome human!

The best piece of advice I’ve received: Asking for help is a strength and an exercise in trust; being vulnerable in that way allows others to show their love and kindness.

How I stay mentally healthy: reaching out to friends; writing; therapy; trying to spend time outside; petting all the dogs I can; re-watching favorite movies and shows

Personal Mantra: life is short – don’t let it pass you by while you aren’t looking

My favorite part of being part of Lacuna Loft: I love how connected this community is, even outside of Lacuna Loft programs. We truly understand and care and do everything we can to support one another.

Write Now With Jean Rowe

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Lacuna Loft is proud to present our newest blog initiative: Write Now with Jean Rowe! Each month, come on over to Young Adult Voices and read everything LCSW Jean Rowe has to say! Love what you’re reading? Check out the many programs Jean is facilitating (including 30 Minute Tune-Up, Lost and Found, Lacuna Loft’s Weekly Journal Prompt, and It’s a Wonderful Life) and sign up to join one today!

As we all continue to navigate the swiftly moving landscape of life, I notice a recurring theme surfacing throughout these times. It is the opportunity to celebrate what is. There is much out of our control, and, yet, when we make a list of what we are doing, it can be fulfilling and empowering.

Take some time to make that list especially when things start to feel overwhelming. We can be so hard on ourselves to “do it all,” and a rather harsh internal voice can emerge when we perceive we have failed. When we make a list of what we are doing, it can be relieving, rewarding, and enlightening. Do know that naps absolutely make the list because they are a form of self-care! Consider setting a time on your calendar each week to make a list of what you are doing and see what happens. How does it feel? What do you notice?

Think about writing for 5 minutes on celebrating what is. Even as life surely looks different these days, there are avenues to find our way. Here’s an example: you can still decorate for Halloween even if trick or treaters will be safely keeping their distance. What might you do? Carve pumpkins? Hang orange string lights? Watch a scary movie virtually with friends? The possibilities are there. It’s up to you to grab on to them!

Tell me how it goes! I’d love to hear from you.
-Jean

“Anyone could see that the wind was a special wind this night, and the darkness took on a special feel because it was All Hallows’ Eve. Everything seemed cut from soft black velvet or gold or orange velvet. Smoke panted up out of a thousand chimneys like the plumes of funeral parades. From kitchen windows drifted two pumpkin smells: gourds being cut, pies being baked.”
-Ray Bradbury
The Halloween Tree

Book Club: The Cast Chapters 13-15

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Welcome to the comments and discussion of the Young Adult Cancer Book Club!  We are reading The Cast by Amy Blumenfeld!  Catch up on Chapters 1-2, Chapters 3-4Chapters 5-6, Chapters 7-8,  Chapters 9-10, and Chapters 11-12!  Read participant reactions and follow along with us each week as we read through the book.  Caution, spoilers below!

Week 7: Chapters 13, 14, and 15

By KM H.:

Chapter 13

This one is from Jordana’s POV. I can sympathize with Jordana a bit. All her planning for this weekend has basically gone to hell, and she’s just trying to do one thing according to plan with her friends. Lex gets confrontational with Nolan after too much wine, and Jordana tries to smooth things over, awkwardly, even telling Lex to back off. Everyone immediately gets on her case about defending shit-listed Nolan. She’s trying to remain sympathetic to him since he spilled his guts to her about his work problems but still remain supportive of Becca. Which, of course, is a difficult thing to do.

Jordana tells Becca about how deeply she was affected by Becca’s cancer. She tells her that, seeing her go through all that, had very real ramifications in her life—like taking her kids to the pediatrician all the time and how, when she was younger, she had to check everything multiple times before leaving the house.

And, of course, Jordana and Becca notice that Seth and Lex are making heart eyes at each other. This, naturally, causes some concern. Then Seth’s girlfriend crashes the party, gets mad a Seth (rightfully), and leaves (I would too, girl).

The bit about Jordana’s vicarious trauma at the hands of Becca’s cancer stands out to me the most in this chapter. I don’t often see a lot about how siblings and others handle the cancer of a loved one, especially someone young, so it was nice to have that acknowledged.

Chapter 14

This chapter is from Seth’s POV, and we get to see him coming to terms with his budding feelings for Lex, which is of course is awkward ‘cause, well … Seth, sweetie, Lex is married and you should find someone else to pine after.

So, basically, Seth and Lex make a fire (‘cause they’re both feeling the sparks of looove, I imagine), do a lot of flirting while reminiscing about childhood experiences, and then things kind of get real when Lex starts talking about how Seth has failed at a bunch of stuff. Messed up, done the wrong thing, but things have turned out okay for him. It’s basically her way of consenting to the relationship via subtext, even though she knows it’s going to make a big mess of things in her life. After an unfortunate event involving a lot smacking Lex in the head and Seth coming to the rescue with tweezers, Lex drops the subtext and confesses that she needs Seth—and she doesn’t mean his splinter-extracting skills.

Then we get some info about how Lex is not happy in her marriage, it’s all a mess, she ain’t gettin’ any, that sort of thing. Lex feels inspired to jump off the cliff and hope fate catches her because Becca has taught her that life is short so she should live a little.

Okay. So. I’m a little bit leery of when people use me as an inspiration to do … well, anything. I’m not particularly upset by the whole cheating storyline in the book or anything, but I just sort of put myself into Becca’s shoes. Would I be okay with a friend using my near-death experience with cancer as an inspiration for doing something questionable, like starting an affair?

Um, no. No, I would not. I don’t want to be the object lesson that a friend twists into an excuse for doing something like this. Like, sure—go ahead. Have your affair. But own your own bad life choices and leave me out of it, thank you very much. 🙂

Chapter 15

We’re back to Becca’s POV in this chapter, and the chapter opens with Becca spotting Lex and Seth coming into the house in each other’s arms. She’s realized that the flirting she saw in chapter 14 wasn’t just idle chatter, but something real, and immediately she’s worried about the group and how their relationship will change things.

Still-on-the-shit-list-Nolan is with Becca and sees all this as well. He immediately confronts Seth about his new relationship, reminding Seth of the obvious—that Lex is married. Seth fires back that Nolan isn’t one to talk and things get a little physical.

Becca tries to calm still-yet-more-on-the-shit-list Nolan down, even though she agrees with Seth and his assessment that Nolan is a grade-A asshole.

But the thing is, she’s got this massive diagnosis, and she honestly doesn’t want a divorce. She wants her marriage to work, and she’s definitely feeling some needless guilt for having gotten cancer. Again.

She confesses that she’s scheduled the mastectomy and reconstruction, thinking that she can cancel the reconstruction if she chooses to do so later. And, of course, eternally-on-the-shit-list-Nolan bungles the whole thing, telling her that he knew she was “too smart to give up the chance to look like a woman.”

Asshole.

Naturally, that comment goes over like a ton of bricks and they argue. Holly interrupts, thank goodness, and the chapter concludes with Becca reminiscing about the birth of her child via surrogate.

To say that Nolan is a problematic character is an understatement, but at the same time, he’s very representative of some of the arguments and issues I’ve heard breast cancer friends go through. He’s very biological-essentialist, like much of our society, and it’s gross. Breasts do not equal womanhood. You do not need boobs in order to be a woman. And from the way he talks, he values these fluffy sacks of fat and mammary tissue more than he does his wife and his marriage.

This is also why I have issues with breast cancer awareness campaigns that try to use cutesy marketing all about saving boobs. Like, seriously. BOOBS ARE OVERRATED. Why can’t we value the lives of the people we’re saving, not these non-essential bits of anatomy? Nolan and campaigns like these embody the way that our culture values the sexual parts of our bodies, but not the person that lives inside that body.

In our next blog post, look for the comments and discussion on chapters 16, 17, and 18!

We will talk about a few chapters each Monday until the book is done. If Monday happens to be a holiday, then the post will publish on Tuesday. Once we finish the book, we’ll use one more Monday to talk about general feelings from the book and anything else you’d like to discuss. We’ll also have a video chat book club discussion at the end! Join in, in the comments every week! Also, there will probably be spoilers so read along with us! Excited about the young adult cancer book club? Have any suggestions for future reads? Let us know!

Book Club: The Cast, Online Discussion!

meeting on zoom with coffee

Welcome to the comments and discussion of the Young Adult Cancer Book Club!  We are reading The Cast by Amy Blumenfeld!  Catch up on Chapters 1-2, Chapters 3-4Chapters 5-6, Chapters 7-8, Chapters 9-10, and Chapters 11-12!  Read participant reactions and follow along with us each week as we read through the book.

It’s time for our Young Adult Cancer Book Club Online Discussion!

After having read through the entire book together, it is time to get together and discuss!  Plus, this time around we are extremely lucky to have the author joining us!

Who: young adult cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers along with the author, Amy Blumenfeld!

When: Monday, October 26th @ 5-6 pm PT / 7-8 pm CT / 8-9 pm ET via video chat.

How does it work? You’ll receive the zoom link to join the online discussion in your inbox if you’re signed up to receive notifications about the book club.  If you haven’t already done so, click the link below, and under “programs you’re interested in,” choose ‘book club’ to be notified with the link for the video chat. Lacuna Loft will send you an email a few days before the workshop with information on how to join. ***You’ll need the link that we’ll provide you, a headset with a microphone, and a webcam.***

Join in next Monday for the young adult cancer book club online discussion!

Click here to sign up to be notified with the info you need to join the book club discussion.  Go under ‘Programs you’re interested in. and choose ‘book club’’ (Feel free to choose to be notified when other programs are announced too!)


We will talk about a few chapters each Monday until the book is done. If Monday happens to be a holiday, then the post will publish on Tuesday. Once we finish the book, we’ll use one more Monday to talk about general feelings from the book and anything else you’d like to discuss. We’ll also have a video chat book club discussion at the end! Join in, in the comments every week! Also, there will probably be spoilers so read along with us!  Excited about the young adult cancer book club?  Have any suggestions for future reads?  Let us know!

Meet Lacuna Loft’s Featured Community Member of the Week, Yolanda!

Meet Yolanda Murphy.

Home: Pittsburgh, PA

Horoscope: Aries

Favorite Book: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Hero: My Mom!

Superpower: My ability to see the silver lining in any situation.

Hardest Challenge: Facing and surviving my breast cancer journey.

Guilty Pleasure: A hot, steamy seafood boil with spicy butter sauce, (I make it myself!)

Favorite Lacuna Loft Program: Unspoken Ink: Creative Writing Workshop

Proudest Moment: My first time as a keynote speaker.

The best piece of advice I’ve ever received: “The only thing hindering us from our next level is us.” -DK

How I stay mentally healthy: Pray! Continually connecting to family & friends; also having me time!

Personal Mantra: “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

My favorite part of being part of Lacuna Loft: Being connected to other amazing young adult survivors who just get it!

Make Beaded Coasters With Mary Clare

Join Lacuna Loft for our next online Creative Art Workshop: Bead Coasters and #LetsMakeStuff together!  Find your zen while crafting a bead coaster in this meditative (in technique) craft!  Make a beautiful coaster all while hanging out with other young adult cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers.  We’ll send you what you need! Mary Clare will teach and lead you through the method!

Who: 20 young adult cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers.

When: Thursday, October 22nd @ 5-7 pm PT / 7-9 pm CT / 8-10 pm ET via video chat.* (*US time zones…please double check when to participate where you live!)

How does it work? We’ll send you all of the materials you need to participate! Lacuna Loft will send you an email about a week before the workshop with information on how to join the video chat. ***You’ll need the link that we’ll provide you, a headset with a microphone, and a webcam.***

Click here to sign up to be notified when this program is announced by choosing it under ‘Programs you’re interested in.’ (Feel free to choose to be notified when other programs are announced too!)