Miss Wondersmith is an artist who's practice is based in generosity. She has shared many meaningful events with strangers, personalized artwork for the survivors of tragedy, and done so much more in her goal of making the world a better place. If you are here, you have likely witnessed some of her magic yourself. And now, she needs our help. Desperately. Miss Wondersmith needs a major surgery and she needs it soon to avoid more serious complications.
(You can see more of her magic at thewondersmith.com )
For her entire adult life, Miss Wondersmith has been battling with several debilitating chronic illnesses, including endometriosis. This disease is extremely disabling on its own, but less than a year ago, things got a whole lot worse. When Miss Wondersmith went in for a diagnostic laparoscopy (a minor surgery), she was nervous but hopeful. Seeing the results of the procedure filled her with even more hope - surely she would start feeling better now after so much endometrial tissue, cysts, and adhesions were removed! ("I felt a bit like a piñata, to be honest. Only except candy I was full of disasters" she says.) Unfortunately, her body did not respond well to this kind of surgery and she has been in even worse shape ever since. For nine months now she has not been able to walk in the woods she loves, eat the foods she misses, or even unload the dishwasher without triggering a severe flare-up of pain and nausea that can put her in bed for days or weeks. (Thank goodness for the purple wheelchair!) Despite all of this, she has remained true to her passions and projects, and continues to share her magic in her own special way. It's getting harder and harder as she loses energy, strength, and health.
The recommended treatment she needs is what's called an excision surgery, done by a specialist who focuses only on endometriosis and related complications. The difference between the two kinds of surgery are drastic:
A laparoscopic ablation (What she had) is usually performed by a OBGYN and involves burning off any endometrial tissue found during the surgery. This can lead to complications like ablations (big sheets of scar tissue that can bind up internal organs). There is also a 60-70% chance that the endometriosis will grow back within a short period of time.
A laparoscopic excision (What she needs) is performed by an excision specialist, a doctor trained specifically for this particular procedure and prepared for any surprises in the abdominal cavity. Unfortunately, excision specialists are quite rare, and the closest one to Miss Wondersmith is 8 hours away in Portland, Oregon. During this (much longer) surgery, the surgeon cuts out the roots of this disease and examines the abdominal cavity thoroughly to make sure it hasn't spread to bladder, bowels, or other internal organs. These wounds tend to heal much cleaner, and there is only a 10% chance that a patient will require a follow-up surgery within 10 years.
With an insurance battle that's looking like it will take months, Miss Wondersmith's clock is running out. Last month, she spent 3 solid weeks in bed, unable to move or eat any solid food at all (in fact, most days she struggled even with water.) With each cycle, her symptoms and pain get worse. And the longer she goes without eating at least a little bit, the weaker she gets. Going into surgery in a body that has been starved for months increases her chances of severe complications in the healing process. The sooner she can get her operation, the better her chances of making a full recovery.
This is how she spends most of her time these days, snuggled up with her buddy Grimm and counting the minutes and just trying to get through another day of excruciating pain. During the brief interludes between pain and illness, she creates the content and events that so many have come to love. An hour or two at a time, tucked between procedures and doctor visits, are absolutely sacred to her.
The following photo was taken in 2013, when Miss Wondersmith was at her worst. After 3 months on a liquid diet, she took this haunting self portrait. "This is a very difficult photo for me to look at or share," she says, "it was from a period of my life when I genuinely thought I was going to die. It took immense will to make it through, and it gave me a second chance at life. This experience is what filled me with purpose to make this life count - to enrich the lives of as many people I am able to. My greatest fear is that I will slowly fade away like I did then, leaving my work here uncompleted. I'm not ready to leave this world yet. And I am really scared. "
Miss Wondersmith has already been on a liquid diet for a month now, and things are rapidly declining. Waiting until the long process of insurance approval to get processed (Likely a matter of 3-4 months) could be the difference between a healthy recovery and a last-ditch effort at life. In short, she needs your help, and she needs it fast.
If every one of Miss Wondersmith's followers donated just $2, she'd have enough for the surgery. If 20% instead contributed $25 she would land close to her goal. Even if only 10% of her community were willing to chip in $50, she'd be able to get this life-saving surgery as soon as possible. Once she has neared her fundraising goals, she'll be able to make an appointment for the first available slot with the surgeon in Portland.
Your contributions aren't just for her, though, they are for everything she stands for and shares with the world. Have you ever been impacted by her wonder-filled work? Do you know someone who has? Miss Wondersmith's greatest desire is to continue to spread ripples of kindness, wonder, and comfort with the world. With your help, we can get her back to a place of manageable health to continue her soul-filling work.
How To Help:
Firstly, your financial contribution (of any size) would be greatly appreciated in helping to cover astronomical medical costs. There's the cost of the surgery itself (about 15k), plus the costs of the hospital it will be performed in (somewhere between $20k and $40k.) Her family will also need to rent a hotel room for approx. 2 weeks for her to recover in immediately following surgery. Smaller costs like room rentals, gas money, prescription medications, and little details really add up.
If you are not able to contribute financially, there are other ways you can help. Share her story with your friends and family. Send personalized messages to people you think might want to support her during this difficult time. Advocate for her. Send her some love. When you post about this page on your social media, be sure to use the hashtag #wonderformisswondersmith to allow for greater connection.
Meanwhile, trust that she will continue to deliver on her commitments, classes, projects, and gatherings right up until the date of the surgery or as long as she is physically able to. "It's very important to me to feel a sense of purpose. My love for creating and sharing is my lifeline, it is what keeps me going when the pain and fear threaten to take over. I need this as much as I love it."
Please, if you have ever been touched by Wondersmith Magic or felt proud of the woman behind the mask, consider contributing to her medical costs. Every dollar counts. <3
If you are local to Boise and know Miss Wondersmith personally, there are a few tasks around the house she could use some help with. Since bending and lifting is very painful, having someone help to cleanand reorganize with her would be immensely helpful!
With love from Team Wonder For Miss Wondersmith <3
- Janis Buckham
- Emily Bilbie