goodies for my new friend, Inger

I've become acquainted with a nice young woman, Inger, from Norway. Inger found my blog and started leaving little comments. i would visit her blog as well and we just started chatting. A few times, Inger mentioned not feeling well, so i finally asked her about it. Inger is 25 and now lives with her parents as she suffers from an illness very similiar to CFS - chronic fatigue syndrome. Her illness is Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. i recently asked her to tell me more about it and this is some of what i learned:
I have been ill for about 5 years now, with my illness gradually getting worse. I am 98% housebound now and at times bedbound. It took a long time to get a diganosis and I finally got one in January. This summer I finally got disabilty benefits after two and half years.
The last year has mostly consisted on getting back on my feet. I finally allowed myself to grief over what I lost due to my illness last summer and it changed everything to the better. Now instead of trying so hard to be keep my chin up and be postive, I actually am and see my illness as a just part of my life, instead of who I am. Even if it means I have to change all my dreams to fullfill them I am determined to do so and make the best of things. I learned a way to find something postive in everything. It doesn't mean I am never down but it does mean I don't stay there and I manage to make life well worth living dispite not being able to do much at times. M.E. is a long-term disorder affecting the brain and other systems, including the immune system, the endocrine system and the autonomic system. Debilitating fatigue is usually the most prominent symptom. Other common symptoms include poor sleep, body pain and mental confusion (“brain fog”). Emotional problems such as depression, anxiety, irritability and grief, are common.

I am so impressed by her attitude. I find talking to her humbling as the more i learn about her life and what little she has, the more i realize i am lucky to have everything that i have. What really got me thinking about her was when i blogged about how crappy the shopping in NJ was and she left me a comment about how there was very little shopping where she lived. I pictured an aisle of crafts at the local hardware store for her shopping extravaganza! It made realize that i am lucky to have what little i do have - and in fact, i'm a little spoiled!

after exchanging a few emails with her, she told me that she loved photography, but that her camera had broke a few years ago. that's when i decided to do something for her. I just got a new digital camera (see, spoiled!) and my other one was just sitting around. So i have decided to give it to her. As a matter of fact, i sent Inger a box today full of wonderful stuff. I gave her my camera, some rechargable batteries, the battery charger and a card reader for her computer. i really hope she is using it in no time, even if she has to take pictures of the walls in her bedroom! i also sent her a project to work on - a manikin. I started it for her by collaging it with tissue paper and adding some wood balls for feet. I cut holes on each side of the body for a dowel that will become the arms. i made a little baggie with the dowel, some wood pieces to use for the hands and a wood piece to use for the head and some instructions. i collected 3 bags of ephemera from my studio and created a little folder for her of extra copies that i had of collage sheets, vintage photos, clip art, etc. I also bundled up my copies of "altered arts" magazine and then at the last minute i through in my DVD collection of the Soprano's, which is a favorite show of hers.

I spent $62 mailing that box to her and it was worth every cent. if i can share a little of what i have to someone else in need - a budding altered artist- a young woman with a debiltating/life altering illness - then i feel quite content. I am quite happy to know her and appreciate the perspective she has given me.

If you are interested in sending a box her way full of goodness, then feel free to contact me. I am already working on putting together a christmas box for her. I would also like to extend a call out to anyone who has any audio cd's (books on cd) that you are done with. she loves to read, but has to limit the activity - so i thought audio cd's would be great for her. i have several to send, so if you have any or just want to pick up one for her - let me know. she loves mysteries.

i can be emailed privately if needed at