Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 18

Partners

SURVIVORSHIP

Survival Is Insufficient

B

BY M A L L ORY C A SPE R S ON

eing a caregiver to my
mother was a life changing experience for me.
Two months after she
passed, to the day, I was
diagnosed with cancer myself. Being
a caregiver as a young adult and then
becoming a young adult cancer survivor was like a death by a thousand
paper cuts. All of a sudden, I felt so
much of who I was shift. At the time,
I couldn't put words to the disconnect
I was feeling between my pre-cancer
life and my post-cancer life. I had gone
from being able to work constantly and
live my life courageously and carefree
to feeling constantly anxious and
fatigued. I went from feeling excited
to get married and have a family to
wondering if I'd survive long enough
to see either of those futures. I went
from feeling connected and in line
with my peer group to feeling left
behind, out of sync...totally isolated.
Each little shift, little change, all on
its own, didn't seem like much. But
add them all together. All of a sudden,
I was no longer the person I had been.
I couldn't connect with my friends
the way I had before. I couldn't do my
job the way I had before. I couldn't
think about my future the way I had
before. I felt like my whole world was
slipping out from under me, like I was
dying from a thousand small uncertainties and changes that were out of
my control. Where I was living, there
were no places to find support from

18

ELEPHANTSANDTEA.COM
JUNE 2020

others who understood. I had no one
who could relate to facing cancer as a
24-year-old. There were support organizations around the country, but
none within 100 miles. There were
survivorship conferences and camps,
but nothing offered anytime soon.
At the time I tried with all my might
to overcome these intense feelings
of isolation, but I had no place to go.
Now there is scientific research
showing that the young adult cancer
population, aged 18-39, is the most
isolated age-group who experiences cancer, and that this isolation is
linked to all sorts of quality of life
issues. It affects survival rates, reintegration into normal life, and a host
of other things. There is data showing
that surviving cancer is not enough,
we must also be helped to thrive.
There is data showing that survival
is insufficient.
When I left graduate school, I decided to spend some time connecting to other young adults who had
faced cancer. I started a blog, and
over a period of a year and a half,
had hundreds of conversations with
young adult cancer survivors from
all over the world. We all had three
things in common: we wanted to be
connected to one another, we wanted
our concerns to be validated and we
needed a safe space to sort out this
new life during and after cancer.
It didn't matter where the young
adult was diagnosed or treated or

what type of cancer they had, these
three pain points came up again and
again in my conversations. From
these chats, Lacuna Loft was born.
I started a board and we started to
grow programs, little by little. It was
always at the forefront of our mission
to offer a supportive place for young
adult cancer survivors and caregivers to come, regardless of where they
lived, and connect with one another,
sharing tips and offering a shoulder
to lean on.
Lacuna Loft saved my life. I met
young adult cancer survivors who
were experiencing the same anxieties, the same feelings of isolation,
the same hesitation about the future. They made me feel sane again
at a time when my whole world and
perspective were turning themselves
upside down.
After finally meeting other young
adults facing cancer, after finally
breaking down my own barriers
of isolation, I created exactly what
I needed: a connection to young
adult cancer survivors who could
validate one another's concerns, fuel
one another's passions for life and
support one another through their
biggest transformation yet, becoming
a survivor.
Survival is insufficient. Together,
we created a place where everyone
understands that it isn't enough
to survive cancer, we must also be
helped to thrive. l


http://www.elephantsandtea.com

Elephants And Tea - June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Elephants And Tea - June 2020

Contents
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - Cover1
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - Cover2
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 1
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - Contents
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 3
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 4
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 5
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 6
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 7
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 8
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 9
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 10
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 11
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 12
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 13
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 14
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 15
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 16
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 17
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 18
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 19
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 20
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 21
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 22
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 23
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 24
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 25
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 26
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 27
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 28
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 29
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 30
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 31
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 32
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 33
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 34
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 35
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 36
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 37
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 38
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 39
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 40
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 41
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 42
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 43
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - Cover3
Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com