Shari Bodofsky, Camp Oasis veteran and artist extraordinaire, is the creator of I Be a fooDie’s logo. Shari speaks out about her experiences with Crohn’s Disease.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself:
A: I am 15 years old and in high school. I do art almost every second of my life, including in the margins of my notes. I am a little quirky, and love to laugh. I am from good old New Jersey, and have always lived here.
Q: What is your connection with IBD?
A: I suffer from Crohn’s disease. I am not in remission (when your body has no active disease), but hope to someday get there.
Q: How long have you had IBD?
A: I have had a “sensitive stomach” since I was a little kid. I was officially diagnosed at age 11.
Q:How has IBD affected your life?
A: It is something I have to deal with every day. It by no stretch defines me, but it is a part of me. It something I have to consider every time I go somewhere, and every time I take my meds. In some ways, it has made me stronger. It helps me to measure what is really important, and know how quickly I can reach rock bottom. It makes me even more determined to achieve, knowing I have overcome the hassle of IBD.
Q: What is the hardest part of living with IBD?
A: The hardest part of living with IBD is the uncertainty. I cannot predict when I will be sick, and where I will be when it happens.
Q: What kind of diet do you follow? What foods do you avoid?
A: Oh boy, a big topic for me. I am gluten free (wheat) and lactose (dairy) free. I also stay away from seafood, berries, bananas, grapefruit, whole corn, anything really thick or crunchy. Staying on this diet doesn’t cure me, but I have found that it helps to avoid any unnecessary trouble.
Q: What are the food(s) that you miss the most?
A: I miss breads and cakes the most. Mostly baked goods. I was never a big chocolate fan, but I am a big cake, pie, cookies kind of girl.
Q: What is your favorite dish?
A: I love stuffed cabbage or other thick homey meals.
Q: How do you cope with your disease?
A: Besides the medications I take every day, I deal with it by finding pride. I have absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about, and I will never hesitate to ask for help. Of course I cannot avoid every “awkward moment” out there, but accepting my disease as part of me helped me to seek what I needed. Even in school, just telling the teachers ahead of time helps greatly down the road.
Q: How long have you been drawing?
A: I have always had a passion for art. Even as a very little kid I loved to draw. Art is like music on paper. It is a feeling of control and promise.
Q: Tell me a little bit about your artwork:
A: I use a wide range of materials in my art. I sew, paint, draw, sketch, and knit, just to name a few. I have never been one of those artists who spills out dark and thrilling emotions onto a canvas. I embrace the fun and quirky side of art. It is about appreciating all of the beautiful things mixed into everyday life. If we forget to look for those amazing little pieces of happiness, they go unnoticed.
I have recently been selling online. It is very encouraging to share the happiness I feel from what I create. In my store I sell cards, toys, and other odds and ends that find their way in. My store really developed after my stay in the hospital last holiday season. I really wanted to do something for the CCFA (Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America) and created my line of charity cards. All of the profits from the sales are donated to the CCFA during their Philadelphia walk. I have gone to the walk for a few years now, and love it every time!
To view my online shop (Fresh Crayons), visit http://www.etsy.com/shop/FreshCrayons
To view Fresh Crayons’ Facebook page, visit http://www.facebook.com/FreshCrayonsArtShop