The Ministry of Lisa Copen

Lisa Copen, Founder of Rest Ministries which serves the chronically ill, shares about mothering, illness, ministry and more.

Archive for Illness Pain Statistics

Christian Illness Ministry Sponsors 5-Day Virtual Conference Online

09_logo-for-blogSBWIRE – SEPT 14, 2009 / Nearly 1 in 2 people in the USA live with a chronic illness and about 96% of these illnesses are invisible.* Rest Ministries, Inc., the largest Christian organization that serves the chronically ill, and an affiliate of Joni Eareckson Tada’s International Disability Ministry, is encouraging those with illness, friends, family, caregivers, and churches to get involved in their annual outreach, National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week, September 14-20, 2009.

In addition to churches having outreach events for those with chronic conditions, Rest Ministries organizes a 5-day free virtual conference with 20 seminars that can be attended via one’s computer and computer speakers. Seminars are on a variety of topics including marriage, parenting, starting a business, how to apply for disability and more—all when you live with a chronic illness. The seminars are held via Blog Talk Radio and listeners can call in through their phone line with questions.

Well known Christian authors who will be presenting include:

  • Bill and Pam Farrel, best-selling authors; The Marriage Code (Harvest House, 2009)
  • Naomi Kingery, author of Sugar Free Me (Xulon Press, 2008)
  • Dena Dyer, author of Mothers of the Bible (Barbour Publishing, 2009)
  • Georgia Shaffer, author of How Not to Date a Loser (Harvest House, 2008)
  • Joanna Faillace, Certified Biblical Health Coach an author of Super-Naturally Healthy Families Cookbook Devotional
  • Lisa Copen, author of Beyond Casseroles: 505 Ways to Encourage a Chronically Ill Friend (Rest Publishers, 2008)
  • Maureen Pratt, author of Peace in the Storm: Meditations on Chronic Pain & Illness (Galilee Trade, 2005)
  • Jennifer Saake, author of Hannah’s Hope: Seeking God’s Heart in the Midst of Infertility, Miscarriage and Adoption Loss (NavPress, 2005)
  • Marcia Ramsland, author of Simplify Your Life (Thomas Nelson, 2004)
  • Jolene Philo, author of A Different Dream for My Child (Discovery House Publishers 2009)

Lisa Copen, 40, founder of Rest Ministries says, “Many Christians may have a solid walk with the Lord, but the emotional roller coaster of a chronic illness and its constant progression can leave them feeling alone and misunderstood. They are hanging on by a thread and being told they look fine and should just make themselves get up and go to church only adds to the isolation and bitterness of others ‘not getting it.’ The emotional scars can be harder to cope with than the actual illness.”

Copen, who has lived with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia since the age of twenty-four, ended up in the hospital for a week last fall fighting off the flesh eating bacteria in an ankle wound. We never know what the next day will hold,” she explains. “It is so important that there is good communication between those who are ill and their loved ones, as well as the church body.”

Did Copen’s circle of friends and church come through for her? “It was an enlightening experience,” she says. “Although I teach others to ask for help, I found out how difficult it is. And then when I did ask for help, I experienced what it is like when you fall through the cracks and everyone thinks someone else is providing both the practical support as well as emotional encouragement.”

Rest Ministries extends their outreach about invisible illness awareness to churches, providing materials to start up HopeKeepers groups, books, cards, tracts, etc. About 96% of those with illness may appear perfectly healthy on Sunday mornings, but may struggle to get out of bed the remainder of the week.

Ken Chambers, Director of Church Relations at Joni and Friends International Disability Center, says, “It is vital that Christians understand the emotional and spiritual trials of those with invisible disabilities, as well as those with visible disabilities. I encourage church leaders to take advantage of the wealth of resources at Rest Ministries and to participate in the National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week, which they sponsor annually.”

One can get involved by joining the hundreds of bloggers who are writing about illness in the next few days, by joining the cause on Facebook, and most especially, by tuning in for the conference. All seminars will also be recorded and archived.

See for more information or for the sponsor of this event, Rest Ministries.

*Source: Chronic Care in America, U.S. Census Bureau

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Do You Live in Australia? Got Pain?

Map of Australia with Bass Strait marked in li...
Image via Wikipedia

Check out the Pain is Not Invisible Project of Australia! It’s sponsored by the Chronic Pain Australia Association which incorporated in 2006.

It’s estimated about 1 in 5 Australians live with chronic pain.

If you are one of them, you can register if you deal with chronic pain.

Very cool! Wish we had this in the USA.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Rheumatoid Arthritis Surging Among Women


Me typing. I use 3 fingers, 2 thumbs. Right hand: Index finger and thumb. Left hand: index finger, pinkie. and thumb

A recent article in Bottom Line Daily Health News said that rheumatoid arthritis is increasing among women. It’s been 16 years ago this summer I began having symptoms. I was diagnosed a few months later and had just turned 24 years old.

In some ways it is nice to have people at least familiar with the name of the disease. However, overly optimistic commercials about treatment have led to this knowledge.

Someone recently emailed me who was just diagnosed to ask for rheumatoid arthritis resources. The 2 I immediately thought of was The Arthritis Foundation and their magazine Arthritis Today. The magazine has gone through many editorial changes in 16 years and just this year made their web site much more interactive as well as geared towards people under 50 too.

Bottom Line Daily Health News states in their Wed 5/13/2009 edition:

Rheumatoid Arthritis Surging Among Women

Why the increase? Some of the growth can be accounted for by the fact that doctors now have more awareness of how to diagnose the disease. Other factors are at work too, I learned from Eric L. Matteson, MD, chair of rheumatology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Hormones are known to play a role (since RA typically improves with pregnancy but comes back after delivery) but researchers are examining possible environmental explanations as well. For instance, researchers recently learned that there is an association between living near busy highways and development of RA.

Here’s another theory: For unknown reasons, some people are prone to develop RA after exposure to particular viruses. After a virus has made the rounds and exposed large numbers of people, it may be dormant for a long period, since many people have built immunity. That immunity eventually fades — then, if the same virus returns, it once more affects many people, including some who are susceptible to developing RA. Dr. Matteson noted that such a swell in chronic diseases due to reemergence of a triggering cause, such as virus, is not uncommon.

– Eric L. Matteson, MD, Chair of Rheumatology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

So why do I have RA?

  • Well, I lived on a dead ended gravel road in a little tiny town with two stop lights, in the same house from age 1 to 18.
  • I was rarely ever sick.
  • I got RA before any pregnancy. In fact, I never had a pregnancy. We adopted.

Hence, once again, I am still stumped when people ask, “How did you get RA?” I have no idea. Just blessed I guess. Sometimes we have to live without the answers.


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Depression and Pain Linked

umbrellaA recent article on explained once again that the depression/chronic pain cycle is just that… a cycle–one that many of us cannot get out of.

The columnist writes:

While depression can generate and amplify pain due to an imbalance in neurotransmitters, extended pain, in turn, can cause a person to become depressed.

Over 75 percent of patients with depression complain of physical pains and most are unaware that its chemical effects can aggravate chronic physical conditions and increase pain. Depression can precede and even predispose a patient to developing chronic pain because of the chemical imbalance it creates along with its hindrance of the usual pain threshold and coping mechanisms.
> read more here, including treatement tips

So what exactly does this mean to you and I?

  1. Psalm 42:3 and 10 say, “My tears have been my food day and night… My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?'” Many places in the Bible it shares how people were suffering spiritually or emotionally, and their body ached. This “news” should no’t come as a surprise to us.
  2. When the doctor tells you that the pain is all in your head; you’re really just “sad,” that very likely may not be true. Your depression could actually be causing some pain, or at least increasing it. Be persistent about trying to treat both the depression and the chronic pain, to end the cycle.
  3. Depression is a serious issue. Don’t be ashamed if you seek out counseling, just be sure it’s a counselor who shares your Biblical beliefs. You aren’t a “bad” Christian or someone who “just doesn’t believe enough” just because you are coping with depression.

I know living with illness is difficult. It’s hard to get over depression when you don’t know if you will still be here next year to see your future. Be we’re in it together.

One of the reasons I am so excited about starting the Hope Endures radio podcasts is so that we have a chance to hear from real people who have truly suffered and try to discover exactly what is it that made them turn to God when they could have turned away.

Remember… 1 Corinthians 15:58 says, “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (NIV).”

And around here just getting out of bed (or maybe calling a friend from bed) is the work of the Lord!


Just Published – The Aging of America: Implications for the Business of Health Care Features Data, Trends and Research Findings from More Than 20 Organizations

This study was just released Oct 15, 2008, which is an update on how many people in the USA will be over 65 years old (and many of them chronically ill) in the next 20 years. It can be hard to find specific statistics so this is always wonderful when they are updated.

As I approach churches about the need for HopeKeepers groups and publishers about the need for encouraging resources (that point people toward the Lord!) during their difficulties of living with illness, hard statistics are always a huge benefit.

I hope you may find them of interest, and possible use, as well.



Just Published — The Aging of America: Implications for the Business of Health Care Features Data, Trends and Research Findings from More Than 20 Organizations.

Just Published — The Aging of America: Implications for the Business of Health Care Features Data, Trends and Research Findings from More Than 20 Organizations This clearinghouse of data and research from more than 20 agencies and organizations provides readers with impact that the growing "boomer" population will have on the health care industry. Washington, DC (PRWEB)

October 15, 2008 — Atlantic Information Services, Inc. –

The number of people in the U.S. who are 65 and older is expected to double in the next 25 years, to nearly 20% of all Americans (more than 70 million).

The age group 85 and older is now the fastest growing segment of the population. And with the explosion in raw numbers, the face of aging is also changing dramatically, in terms of longer life expectancy, more chronic illness, higher disability rates, growing long-term care needs, changing retiree migration patterns and their impact on hospital services, and much more.

Critical issues – such as the cost of managing chronic disease, and funding Medicaid, Medicare and Part D – will be magnified by the exploding number of Boomers who will live with chronic illness for longer periods of time and be eligible for these and other programs.

Research on Pain Shows Doctors Not Educated Well On Chronic Pain

chronic illness pain statistics The following research on chronic pain, "Relieving the Costs and Consequences of Chronic Pain: A Best Practice Multimodal Approach," was just released.
You may find some of the statistics interesting.
 Oct 08, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) —
Research and Markets  has announced the addition of the "Relieving the Costs and Consequences of Chronic Pain: A Best Practice Multimodal Approach" report to their offering.
The financial, physical and emotional toll of pain on the United States is excruciating, but "Relieving the Costs and Consequences of Chronic Pain: A Best Practice Multimodal Approach" offers an antidote for the 25 percent of Americans suffering daily from chronic or persistent pain and the healthcare organizations that treat them.
Featuring contributions from two of pain management's foremost experts, this special report offers multi-faceted strategies in pain assessment and management to improve quality of life for the chronic pain patient, reducing healthcare utilization in the process.
In this 35-page report, Marilee I. Donovan, Ph.D., R.N., regional pain management coordinator, Kaiser Permanente Northwest, and Cheryl Pacella, D.N.P., R.N., performance improvement advisor at MassPro, describe patient-centric pain management tactics that engage the patient as an active partner and employ creative and alternative therapies and interventions.
Rooted in best practices in pain management that avoid a cookie cutter approach, Donovan's and Pacella's programs seek to remedy these painful truths:
— The American Pain Foundation in 2007 found that there were more patients with pain who needed treatment than with cancer plus heart disease plus stroke plus diabetes;
— Low back pain is the leading cause of disability for Americans under the age of 45;
— In 2004, $2.6 billion was spent on over-the-counter pain medications and $14 billion on outpatient analgesics;
— Two recent surveys indicate that less than two hours is spent on pain management in most medical school curriculum and that most residents come out of medical school believing that 80 percent of patients are addicts and just seeking drugs.
Throughout "Relieving the Costs and Consequences of Chronic Pain: A Best Practice Multimodal Approach," Donovan and Pacella describe the components of their pain management programs, including:
— Recasting chronic pain as persistent pain;
— Using scales, ladders, totems and other pain classification tools;
— Addressing pain medication side effects and addictions;
— Applying cognitive behavior therapy in pain management;
— Developing a patient-centered partnership in pain management;
— Building a pain management foundation in primary care with a focus on patient and provider education;
— Utilizing pharmacologic interventions and alternative therapies for pain management;
— Understanding the needs of the elderly chronic pain sufferer;
— Analyzing the impact of individualized pain management on healthcare utilization and patient satisfaction;
…and much more, including a summary of responses from more than 185 healthcare organizations to our April 2008 e-survey on pain management initiatives at physician offices, hospitals, nursing homes and health plans.
SOURCE: Research and Markets Ltd.
Copyright Business Wire 2008 

How People with Illness Use the Internet

I am working on an article that needed some statistics and came across this research I thought you may find interesting.



E-patients with a Disability or Chronic Disease

Adults living with a disability or chronic disease are less likely than others to go online, but once online, are avid health consumers.

About a fifth of American adults say that a disability, handicap, or chronic disease keeps them from participating fully in work, school, housework, or other activities. Half (51%) of those living with a disability or chronic disease go online, compared to 74% of those who report no chronic conditions. Fully 86% of internet users living with disability or chronic illness have looked online for information about at least one of 17 health topics, compared with 79% of internet users with no chronic conditions.

> Read More