I am creative. I am a Warrior.
Rachel Winner...hmmm I think I can only be explained as "creative".
My creativity likes to explode into this world using several types of media. Graphite watercolor, pen and ink, illustration, portraiture, woodworking, documentaries, mixed media, sculpture, textiles and digital illustration is some of the tools I use to express myself.
Wife, Mom, Sister, Daughter, Friend, Ankylosing Spondylitis Warrior, Advocate, Artist, Small Business Owner, Geek, Animal Lover, Horsewoman, are just a few of the titles I could carry at any time.
So when others ask what I do...I simply say, "I am c[r]eative."
Please enjoy and support my work!
My personal greatest artistic achievement to date was the inclusion of my photography in an international campaign for the organization Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. This amazing organization is a collection of professional photographers that offer free 'on-call' services for families with newborns that will not come home from the hospital.
During my three years volunteering for NILMDTS I had the greatest honor of being one of the few witnesses for many precious angels. My service to these families was the most rewarding work of my life.
Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep founder Sandy Puc, is an internationally awarded and recognized photographer for her family portrait photography. In my early days I set out to create images as stunning and emotional as Sandy's work. Words cannot express the sense of accomplishment I felt when my work was included in there international marketing campaign...right next to Sandy's work.
My Battle With AS
I could give the long answer which will bore you tremendously so I am going to give the elevator pitch of information you need to know.
Ankylosing Spondylitis a.k.a A.S. is an incurable, degenerative, arthritic autoimmune disease that affects over 2.7 million people in the United States alone.
Incurable: Yup that's right no cure. There are several medications on the market that help prevent symptoms, or slow progression of the disease but there is nothing that cures AS. The best you hope for is a period of remission.
Degenerative: Things only go downhill. The eventual goal of the disease is to transform my neck, spine and S/I joints into a solid column of bone. It also affects peripheral joints including fingers, wrists, shoulders, hips, knees, ankles, and toes.
Arthritic: It breaks down your joints causing, inflammation, swelling, bone damage and pain.
Autoimmune: My own immune system is attacking me.
Little is understood about how or why an individual comes to have active Ankylosing Spondylitis. There are a great number of academic and scientific websites that offer accurate and the most recent developments in Ankylosing Spondylitis. The information I offer on my site unless referenced is my personal experience and battle with Ankylosing Spondylitis. Every person is unique and every case of Ankylosing Spondylitis is just as unique. I hope that my experience has some comfort, wisdom and connection for anyone else that is suffering from Ankylosing Spondylitis.