Author Archives: sandieloxingly

About sandieloxingly

Taking things one day at a time. Always hoping for the best while trying to be prepared for the worst. There's no time for boredom when there is so much to explore and experience in both worlds. Making a difference by supporting causes dear to my heart. I love music and love to dance and I get to combine the two by DJing in Second Life. Also, a very rusty blogger who is trying to get back into her groove.

Navigating Through the Wilderness – Coping During the Holidays

As the holiday season gets into full swing we need to remember that cancer patients/ survivors and cancer caregivers need extra patience and care during this time of year.

If you are a current cancer patient or are a cancer survivor, having cancer any day of the year is never easy, but everything seems to get magnified during the holidays. If you need some tips on how to help you through the next few weeks, please visit http://bit.ly/2OWv8Od

For our caregivers the holidays also present their own set of joys and challenges. Caregivers get little time off and with the hustle & bustle of the holidays even the little things in life get stressful. If you are currently caregiving for someone this holiday season and need some tips to make things a bit easier, read this: http://bit.ly/2OZe2Q9

And then for all of us, but especially our caregivers who have given so much of themselves caring for their loved ones there is coping with the grief of lost loved ones during the holidays as we remember those we have lost. For some help coping with grief during the holidays, here are some references: http://bit.ly/2AbKnOa and http://bit.ly/2PK2xkD

For both cancer patients/ survivors and cancer caregivers, the American Cancer Society offers support in Second Life as well as in our first lives.

Inworld we have the ACS Cancer Survivors Network group for all cancer patients and survivors. And we have the ACS Cancer Caregivers Network group for all current and former caregivers. If you would like more information about either group or to join, please contact:
Sandie Slate (Sandie Loxingly)
secondlife:///app/agent/98932850-957c-49de-af85-fd19738ced21/about

There is also 24/7 support available from the American Cancer Society via phone at 1-800-227-2345 or by visiting cancer.org and clicking “live chat”. **

The most important thing to remember every day – and especially during the holidays – that none of us living with cancer in our daily lives is alone.

**For non- US patients/ survivors and caregivers, you are welcome to contact the American Cancer Society via web chat at cancer.org and they will be happy to try to direct you to resources available for you in your home country.

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Mission Monday: Emotions & Breast Cancer

As you go through cancer treatments, many find themselves dealing with additional emotional issues aside from the physical side effects of treatment. These emotional issues can also arise after treatments are finished.

For women dealing with breast cancer, these issues are sometimes amplified even more from the changes to their bodies as a result of treatments.

Finding a good support system to help you through this period on your journey is key to helping navigate these times.

For those breast cancer patients and survivors in Second Life, there is the ACS Cancer Survivors Network inworld. This is a peer to peer support group, connecting people who have fought cancer who will provide support, advice, and encouragement to cancer patients in Second Life who are undergoing treatment and other survivors.

For all breast cancer patients and survivors there is also the Reach To Recovery program available through the American Cancer Society.

The most important thing to keep in mind is you are never alone.

To learn more about Emotions & Breast Cancer visit cancer.org.

 

Special Auctions to Benefit Making Strides!

Thanks to some generous donors in Second Life we have some fabulous auction items available with proceeds going to the American Cancer Society.

Inworld item:
Alfheim Winter Palace – Rhîw Círbann
Rhîw Círbann was built during the early years of the Little Ice Age. Located deep in the northern forest, it encloses both the hot springs which keeps the palace warm in the coldest of weather and one of the elder trees of the forest. For centuries it protected many species of rare magical and medicinal plants from the long and harsh winters.

Build Information:
* Rhîw Círbann footprint is about 50 x 70m
* 1/4 Region (128 x 128m) would provide plenty of space and prims for this build.
* Much of the palace construction is prims. The mesh has a high LOD so that you can still see the palace from 250m.
* The total prim count is around 2000+, the castle is Copy/Mod.
* The plants included are from Cerridwen’s Cauldron/ Elicio Ember
* This is a limited edition build, one of only 5 across the grid.
Donated by Cassie Eldemar of Little Big Designs
You may view the Alfheim Winter Palace inworld here:
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Rosehaven%20Reverie/146/222/22

Real life jewelry– yes, real pieces of handmade jewelry that will be shipped too you anywhere in the world! Each of these items are from Creations Jewelry, the RL counterpart to the SL business, Stones of Heaven.

MSABC Silver Bracelet 2018
This bracelet is 8 inches in length and features silver beads and pink crystal accents. There are three pink enamel ribbon beads, in honor of MSABC Across SL and breast cancer awareness.

If you win the item, a valid postal address is needed for shipping. The item is in the United States and Creations Jewelry will ship it to you, free of charge. Yes, even if you live outside of the US.

If you have any questions, please send a notecard to Serina Juran.

MSABC Silver Earrings – 2018
The earrings are 2 inches in length and feature silver beads and pink crystal accents. There are pink enamel ribbon beads, in honor of MSABC Across SL and breast cancer awareness.

If you win the item, a valid postal address is needed for shipping. The item is in the United States and Creations Jewelry will ship it to you, free of charge. Yes, even if you live outside of the US.

If you have any questions, please send a notecard to Serina Juran.

MSABC Silver Earrings & Bracelet Set – 2018
The earrings are 2 inches in length and feature silver beads and pink crystal accents. There are pink enamel ribbon beads, in honor of MSABC Across SL and breast cancer awareness.

This bracelet is 8 inches in length and features silver beads and pink crystal accents.

If you win the item, a valid postal address is needed for shipping. The item is in the United States and Creations Jewelry will ship it to you, free of charge. Yes, even if you live outside of the US.

If you have any questions, please send a notecard to Serina Juran.

**Silent bidding for each of these items will close on Sunday, October 28, 2018 at 4:30 pm SLT.
To place your bid, simply touch the box saying “Bid Now”.
Bid here:
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/MSABC%20WalkaThon/144/129/23

 

Spotlight Story: LyricWinterwolf Composer

Once again this year LyricWinterwolf Composer is allowing us to share her story. Lyric’s story takes you beyond the diagnosis as she shows us how she fights back against this terrible disease by offering comfort and support to others.

Included are some links to show how you can pass along Lyric’s dream of helping breast cancer patients one person at a time. Keep reading and be inspired to make a difference for someone as well!

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When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, my surgeon directed me to a local charity that supplied useful items to newly diagnosed cancer patients.

To my surprise, this organization provided me with one of their “goody bags”. This little treasure trove contained informational pamphlets, books, a day planner to help keep up with appointments and a little rectangle pillow. The curious side of me asked what the pillow was for and I was told to cushion my chest from the seat belt once I had surgery.

I thought to myself, “Wow, I never would have thought of that!”

The small pillow was appreciated greatly but unfortunately was not much help. A year or so after my mastectomy and reconstruction I ran across a “how to” video on Facebook for a post mastectomy pillow. I was fascinated.

Again my thought was “Wow…if only I had one or two of those when I had my mastectomy and what a wonderful way for me to give back to the organization that helped me!” and my Mastectomy pillow fund was off and running.

I set up a Go Fund Me, downloaded the free pattern and was off. The count so far is over 300 pillows, complete with pillow shams and an elastic strap. Donations have been received in monetary form, donated material, pillow filling and elastic. SL has provided multiple friends and family that has shipped several boxes of material that has made a lot of the donations possible.

To create your own mastectomy pillows to share with those in your local community, here is a downloadable patter and a YouTube “How To” video to get you started:

Mastectomy pillow pattern
http://sewveryeasy.com/helping-hearts-pillow.pdf

How To Sew a Mastectomy pillow video

To support Lyric’s personal mission of making and delivering Mastectomy pillows, you can donate to her project’s Go Fund Me page here:
https://www.gofundme.com/MastectomyPillows

 

Fact Friday: Supporting Cancer Patients, Survivors & Caregivers

The mission of the American Cancer Society is to save lives, celebrate lives and lead the fight for a world without cancer.

Thanks to all of those who give, the American Cancer Society is able to help so many in their daily battles against cancer, whether they are cancer patients, survivors or caregivers.

A few of the statistics* from how your donations helped cancer patients and survivors in 2017:

  • Helped more than 33,000 women manage appearance-related side effects of treatment
  • Provided more than 9,000 peer support services to breast cancer patients
  • Provided more than 112,000 special kits of tailored information and resources for newly diagnosed patients
  • Thousands of patients, survivors, and caregivers use our online Cancer Survivors Network

*statistics can be found at cancer.org

Not only do patients, survivors and caregivers have access to the Cancer Survivors Network in their first lives, they also have access to support groups provided by the American Cancer Society within Second Life.

The American Cancer Society offers cancer survivors and caregivers the opportunity to receive and give support through our Hope Haven program.

Hope Haven is one of the best examples of the impact of our fundraising dollars making a real difference in our virtual world. The program exists to offer emotional support to people going through their own personal cancer journey.

The two primary functions of Hope Haven is the cancer survivor support group and the caregiver support group.

Each support group is led by a volunteer who works closely with American Cancer Society staff to:

  • Deliver the type of support that Second Life residents need
  • Reach out across the grid to let Second Life residents know about Hope Haven and offer support to cancer survivors and caregivers, everywhere
  • Work together with RFL & MSABC volunteers so that event opportunities are made available to members of Hope Haven
  • Offer event participants the opportunity to join Hope Haven support groups

For more information about the American Cancer Society and the inworld support groups for cancer patients, survivors and caregiver, please contact, Sandie Slate (Sandie Loxingly), Hope Haven Services Lead.

Visit Hope Haven on the American Cancer Society region here.

 

Spotlight Story: Aryon Dagger

As the month of October gets into full swing and our focus turns to how we can Make Strides in the fight against breast cancer we will once again be spotlighting stories of our fellow residents in Second Life who have been touched by breast cancer as a patient, survivor or caregiver.

For our first spotlight story of the 2018 Making Strides season, we are sharing the story of Aryon Dagger, one of our many warrior survivors.

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My name is Aryon Dagger, and I am a survivor!

I am a survivor … four words that mean so much to so many. To be able to say them, to have fought and won the battle, gives life a new meaning. People who have survived cancer live life, for the most part, as they never have before. Oh, I am sure that some survivors lived life to the fullest before, but some, like myself, went from day to day doing the mundane and not much more.

Carpe Diem, Seize the Day … there is a great deal of motivational truth in that phrase. I try to live each day like it will be my last. Every day, I get up and mentally give thanks for the gift of another day and each night, I again give thanks for having seen the day through. Sounds corny, doesn’t it? Call it what you will, but I know how lucky I am . Keep reading and I’ll explain.

July 4th 2001, is a day that will remain engraved on my chest for the rest of my life. On that day, I was told I had breast cancer.

After undergoing the usual probes, gropes and lumpectomies, it was determined that the cancer was in stage 3. It might be worthwhile my mentioning that what was found were cysts, these were drained and the husks mutated from benign to malignant both in and out of body.

I was fortunate to be under the care of the Chief Consultant of the breast cancer department. A man who, unusually for me I would come to trust blindly with my life during my bout with cancer. I was forty-five, married and was looking forward to the birth of my first grandchild when suddenly, I was being told that unless something was done fast, I would not see my next birthday. The time, from initial finding to the last in a group of stays in hospital for operations, spanned a period of a little less than four months. The penultimate operation occurring on another date that will, just like December 7th, 1941, live in infamy … September 11th, 2001.

Shortly after this operation, I went in to have the results explained to me. My surgeon told me that on October 9th, I would be having a double, radical, bilateral mastectomy. I sat there and went numb, became a robot of sorts in my responses, got up and walked out. It had taken all of 20 minutes, but it took me nearly 2 hours before I could drive away from the hospital. My life flashed in slow motion before my eyes but it wasn’t over yet.

I had a choice, I could sit back and let this vicious disease that knows no bounds regarding age or gender take control of my life until it consumed me completely, or I could stand toe to toe with it, stare it in the eye and tell it where to go. I chose to do the latter. I wanted to see my son happy, to hold my first grandchild, and so much more.

I’m one of the lucky ones. I don’t know why one person wins their battle and another loses it. But I do know that everything happens for a reason. I know that we are all on this planet for a reason too and that when we have completed our task here, it is our time to pass over. I’m not sure what my reason or purpose is, I doubt if any of us ever know for sure but I do know that I prayed, begged and pleaded to win my battle and I did. I got to hold not only my first grandchild but my second, and third. I got to see my son, finally happy, a college graduate and a man with a wonderful family. And I got to spend the last four years of my partner’s life, with her. For that, I will be eternally thankful.

I came into Second Life to heal. From the loss of my partner of 26 years and from the immense trauma that breast cancer brought upon me. I present myself here as I am in real life. I chose the hard way as part of my journey along the path of healing. I never gave a thought to the scars during the days prior to any of my surgeries. It was not until I came home from the hospital that my scars became an issue both to my partner and myself.

I would wake up in a cold sweat, I had recurring nightmares, I was convinced it was all a bad dream and that I would wake up and the scars would be gone and my body would be complete and whole again. To make matters far more worse and in actual fact, playing a huge part in my growing to hate my scars was that from the day I came home, my partner refused to look at or touch them. They were not discussed, though I wanted to and almost assuredly needed to, as part of the mental healing process.

My partner passed away, probably never realizing how I felt, though I know many times I tried to sit down and talk about it. To say that they did not hurt … a bit of a lie since I had extensive nerve damage and still to this day get the occasional “zap of electricity”, that I was still the same person even though my body looked different. I really felt like instead of running away from my scars, that getting to know them was more important because through them and my undying will to live, I had survived. My partner never got to hear the “all clear” given to me.

It was about seven years later that someone other than a doctor, nurse or myself actually touched those scars of my battle. Not only touched them but looked at them, traced round them, recognized them for what they were and said the words that she had said many times before, without having seen them … “it doesn’t matter”. I remember it like it was yesterday. The sound of her soft voice, the tender touch of her fingertips, the look on her face. And it still brings tears to my eyes. Until that day, I didn’t know what it meant to be accepted, physically for who I was now.

Loving and caring doesn’t always bring with it total acceptance. Especially when something changes that is beyond our control. It holds no guarantees, either. When bodies become modified, whether electively or not, more often than not, there are consequences. Its not like cutting your hair, because your hair will grow back. The scars will always be there as a constant reminder of life’s little misfortunes. They will remind us of the people that turned away but, they will also record an indelible memory of the tender moments when you meet someone with no insecurities that makes you feel whole again.

I will continue to battle, wearing my scars like a medal won in a war, for life … mine and everyone’s.

Looking For Your New Home Sweet Home?

 

Then look no further than the Strides Parade of Homes in Second Life in support of Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and the American Cancer Society.

Take a tour across the grid during the month of October and explore unique homes that were designed specifically for this event. With homes ranging from a skybox to a 1024m to a quarter region, there is sure to be something for everyone.

All homes are available for purchase, some with various package options. There are also decor and landscaping items available separately.

After visiting the homes on the tour, please cast your vote for your favorites here.

Strides Parade of Homes Shopping Guide