Artist and photographer, independent and caring, these are the words I want to define me, not cancer and rheumatoid arthritis patient. My name is Tracy Cornell and since 2004 when diagnosed with my first battle with Ovarian cancer, to 2006 when the Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) diagnosis was made, my life changed dramatically.
RA is an auto immune disease which attacks joints and organs, causing inflammation and destruction, resulting in chronic pain and fatigue. It also makes me vulnerable to many other Illnesses through my weakened immune system. The side effects of medications and surgeries along with progressing RA symptoms have caused me to learn how to live life again. Simple tasks I once took for granted such as opening a door or zipping my jacket, are often complicated and frustrating.
As my illnesses progress, I recognize the need for help that will allow me to continue to live a fulfilling life doing things I love that much longer. I learned about NEADS, and the wonderful work they do, through searching for service dogs options. I am honored and privileged to say I am now waiting for my new companion. Having the assistance of a NEADS Service Dog to open doors, push elevator buttons, or helping me to balance when I’m unstable will give me a renewed sense of confidence and freedom. The physical and emotional support my new companion will provide only inspires me to get the most out of life. Thank you for taking the time to read my story.