A.S. Face 0582: J. Thomas Little

My Name is J. Thomas Little

I always walked funny but the real problems started when I was 8. Teachers, students, doctors, even my dad thought I was just a complainer or faking. Most of you all dealt with that too.I always roll with the punches after realizing that I could not be a mechanic ( my dream since I was 10) at 19 on a whim I when to college for art (2006). My second year I had to drop out because of chest pains and just not able to keep up. That was probably the lowest point, leaving friends, social life, being on my own.  The only time that I really felt sad and lost . so  in  the coming spring (2008) I cashed in my savings and with the help of my mom (dad didnt believe still) I built a Studio on the farm. I did not get diagnosed till 2010 when after doctor, family and friends said I should be on disability ( Turns out I was diagnosed at 18 with A.S. but the doctor never told me, my doctor, anybody). Pride and not wanting to feel like I gave up prevented me from inquiring prior. How ever it was when I first asked that question my Doctor was surprised I was not.  So early 2010 I was diagnosed with A.S. Inflammatory and secondary osteo in my Hips and Knees from compensation for so many years. Things were rough with the medications. Humira which I looked so forward to caused severe allergic reactions, so did enbrel. The doctor said He could not do anything for me. He did offer to refer me to a Doctor who specialized in Spondylitis. That doctor put me on Remicade and has slowed up the rather recent rapid progression of the disease. I do have partial fusion of my spine, chest and neck (with in 4 months). I was an artist for several years how ever losing the use of my arm for several months (spine fusing). I did not want to sit down and paint. I started wood working and with the help of remicade I feel as though I am fighting back. I know I will never win but every morning I am ready to give it my all.  I may be less mobile then when I was diagnosed, but I am striving and working as hard as I can to become independent. I live my bucket list now.  Wood working has renewed my passion for life and enjoying every moment. It is helping me hold back the disease.  I hope to build my own house and a larger shop to continue. These are big dreams but they are what keep me going.


This is really great thing your doing, we all appreciate it greatly.


11 Responses to “A.S. Face 0582: J. Thomas Little”

  1. Rock on with your bad self! I am also an artist with AS (among other autoimmune crap) and it makes working more difficult at times – but the work is mine and truely meant to be – as is yours!

    • Thank you Linda would love to see your work. I had no idea i had so many wonderful comments. I would of thought i would get emails.

  2. You are an incredibly talented artist!

  3. LOVE your work! Your attitude is outstanding! Thank you for sharing your story.

  4. Welcome to Faces, J. I, myself, just recently joined a week ago, and I have to say, I wish I had done it sooner. Many of the stories on here are so inspirational, I would encourage you to try and read them. I know they’ve helped me tremendously.

    One thing I would like to say, you mentioned you know you will never win the fight, but just the fact that you’re willing to give it everything you have, every day, to live your life.. I’d have to say you’ve already won. Keep on fighting, do your best to stay positive, and most important, remember you’re not alone. You have an amazing gift, don’t let anything get in the way of it.

    Steve ~ face 579

  5. OMG Thomas, where did you get those “burls”!! I havn’t seen those since I was loggin in Montana. Is it lodgepole? I always wanted to make and sell “bookshelves”, or funiture, from them. I did one bookshelf, using “barnwood” for the shelves and burlwood for the corner posts. Notched the barnwood into the burls. wanted to design a “jig” that could “router” the notches into the burl…for a tight fit. Sell it for a fortune to rich Ted Turner types to furnish their “western home.” Anyone can build a bookcase. No one can find “burl wood.” You gots somethin there man.

    Oh, ya, sorry about that. Off on a tangent. forget about the AS, loose yourself in the woodwork. I refinished a desk a year ago. Thought it was gonna kill me (ya know, movin around, bendin over sanding, ect.) , instead I felt great. Turns out it was Just the right amount of “mobilizing.” Let the Remicaid get on top of the AS, let the wood working do your mobilizing, let the “creationism” fill your mind…Man, I don’t feel sorry for you-I envy You!

    • Sorry for the late reply. I thought I would get email notifications about my profile and did not. I actually have about 5 times that amount sitting outside my shop now. The wood working is going great and keeping me very busy. I hope to become less reliant on the disability I received pave my own way. I hope in the spring I can justify building a shop about 12 times the size of the current shop.

  6. Hi J. Thomas. My name is Lisa, & I wanted to tell you how inspirational, I thought your AS story is. I was really touched by your amazing attitude, & uplifting spirit. I also wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your incredible story with all of us. I love reading the all of the stories on this site, especially when I find others who are creative, & are able to find a new way to be creative, when they’re no longer able to make the kinds of tihngs they could before AS. I admire your never give up ways, & while I know having AS is both challenging & frustrating, you seem to have a great way of dealing with & looking at life with AS. Of course, I wish none of us had AS, I’m happy to know that Remicade is helping you, & you aren’t letting AS get in the way of achieving your goals & dreams. I love the wood work you create, is absolutely beautiful, you are so very talented. I’m grateful to you for writing your story on this wonderful website, & I want you to know the people on here are so very supportive & also very friendly. Welcome to the Faces of AS family, I hope you find this to be an incredible experience for you, & you meet many new, awesome people. Thank you for sharing your amazing story! 🙂 Take care & stay positive! -Lisa #535

  7. Thomas, thank you for your story. I hope you accomplish your dreams too. Please let us know. Another studio, a home. You can do it !!!!

  8. Dear Thomas,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. Good luck on your studio and such amazing work!
    Sincerely Cookie

  9. It’s tough when your means of expressing yourself is through your art, it’s as natural as breathing. It hurts so badly at times to express yourself (thanks to the pain of AS) but it is your saving grace also. Keep up the awesome work.

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