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#68 - 7.29.09


Get Linda's new book at

Looking for a new Bible study
for your HopeKeepers Group?
"The Silver Bullet" and
Choices are both terrific!

A Woman's Health Journal is Back!
This was out of print until we updated it, and now we've got it again. It's a 5.5 x 8.5 inch 3-ring binder with cardstock pale pink paper and online access to be able to click on all link and print out extra pages to make it last indefinitely! Hundreds of resources, lots of room for your medical information, charts, and more.

Are You Following Our Blog Tour for II Week?
Lisa has an interview with different illness bloggers M-F for the next couple of months. We kicked off on Monday. Each blogger has a couple of unique questions. Christian blogs have an asterick beside them.

Tweets! 20 Things to Say to an Ill Person
We've been tweeting out 20 things TO SAY and 20 things to NOT SAY to an ill person. Feel free to add your suggestions at our II Week blog too or tweet them as well! It's a great way to bring about more awareness in a fun way.

Lisa CopenHey there,

I'm grateful that you take time each week to let me into your life. Please feel free to write and share any of your tips and ideas on how to make this newsletter more informative and meaningful. I always love to hear from you!

It was a dry week as far as my blogging, but I did write a post you may relate with if you are a mom, How Not To Be An Angry Mom Who Lashes Out! Ironically (or not) God gave me the opportunity to follow my own advice less than 12 hours later when my son tried to push all my buttons (and my husband's too!)

Posts this week:

* The “Times” Can Bring Fresh Awareness
* How Not To Be An Angry Mom Who Lashes Out

Here's an informative coping with illness article I'd like to share with you this week -hope you like it!

Just a reminder that since I am the author of the article I can give you full rights to reprint it. You are welcome to post it in your newsletter, blog, web site, etc. Just leave the article and footer "as is." This is one of the ways we spread the words about Rest Ministries!

You Are Not Old Enough to Feel that Bad
by Lisa Copen

At the age of twenty-four, a thousand miles away from my family, living in a new city, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Over a period of four weeks and about eight doctor's visits, I finally found a physician who listened to me explain my symptoms and in less than two days I had a diagnosis.

As with many people, having specific terms like "chronic" and "forever" attached to a painful condition can simultaneously create emotions of fear and relief. At least something describes the chronic pain. There were not many friends, however, that understood or participated in my enthusiasm for a diagnosis. And the office managers at my place of work were not concerned about my pain level, but rather about when I would be able to get back into some heels to keep the office looking professional.

"Encouragement" was quickly tossed around, like "You're too young to feel so badly!" Rheumatoid arthritis was only something that could be related to the aches and pains their grandparents suffered from and a hot water bottle made it go away. They'd laugh and say, "You can't have arthritis yet!" Those who attempted to sympathize, compared my weary body to a sports injury they had. "I have a touch of arthritis on my knee cap from football in college. It's not fun when the rain comes, but you just have to keep pushing and not think about it." Even well-intentioned words were enhanced by the brush off of a hand or even rolling eyes.

When you are diagnosed with a chronic illness while in your twenties, all typical decision making it thrown off schedule. This time in your life should be about choices for areas of education, a career, relationships, and even where you will live. Instead, all of these decisions are put on hold and you must make more life-changing choices - fast! How you accept (or do not) accept the diagnosis? What medications should you take? What is the risk of side effects and are worth it? How do you find the best doctor? We get a fast education on how to read lab test results, what forms of alternative treatments to try, and even when to let yourself have a good cry versus when to just bite your lip and hold the tears back.

I tried to make each decision based on thorough research, a bit of instinct, and "worse case scenario" situations. So when I heard someone facetiously say, "You're too young to have that illness" it felt like a slap in the face; as if they assumed I was too gullible to fight the doctor's diagnosis and get "right one" that could be cured with a simple pill. I had to be incorrectly diagnosed, they assumed, because, after all, I "looked so good."

Laurie Edwards is the author of a great book called 'Life Disrupted: Getting Real About Chronic Illness in Your Twenties and Thirties,' She explains, "However infuriating and irrational such comments are, they only have the power to define or validate our conditions if we allow that to happen. There are all sorts of reasons why people find it easy to scorn or deny illness, especially in younger people who 'should' look and act healthy."

The ambush of advertising for prescription medicines has given the general public a small education on the fact that illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia are legitimate diseases. However, with this education, comes the feeling that everyone is an expert and their assumptions about various diseases are now based on what one sees in those same commercials. For example, people with disabling illnesses can somehow be miraculously playing tennis or doing a marathon. While it's true that a very small percentage of people may go into remission, or those just diagnosed may have favorable results, most of us are happy if we can get out of bed, get dressed and drive a car. These commercials neglect to inform people that though an illness can be controlled somewhat, the person may still be in significant daily pain.

With any chronic condition or illness, nearly 1 in 2 which are invisible, there will be people who will always be skeptical that about the amount of impact your illness has on your life. When you are in your twenties or thirties, it's even more difficult for them to wrap their brain around the fact that you feeling better requires a great deal more than a positive attitude of a bit of exercise.

Get a free download of 200 Ways to Encourage a Chronically Ill Friend from "Beyond Casseroles" by Lisa Copen when you subscribe to HopeNotes invisible illness ezine at Rest Ministries. Lisa is the coordinator of Invisible Illness Awareness Week


So until next week, may you continue to know that we are here for you to pray for you and offer encouragement of the Lord during this difficult journey.

I know times are difficult right now. Proverbs 15:16 says, "Better a little with the fear of the LORD than great wealth with turmoil."

Lisa Copen
Founder and Director
Rest Ministries Chronic Illness Pain Support
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