My Story: Sarah Deveau

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What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?

I've had chronic pain, particularly in my legs, since I was 15 years old. I went through years of testing negative for rheumatoid arthritis, Lyme disease, etc. and the doctors couldn't really tell me why I was in pain. I spent the better part of my teens in knee braces, using crutches and taking high doses of ibuprofen, which was prescribed by my PCP. It wasn't until I was 30 years old that I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

I went into a major flare after the birth of my daughter in 2009. The biggest lifestyle change is that I had to stop working in 2011. Even working from home, the fatigue, pain and brain fog were impacting my work. I had to accept that I couldn't do everything, and that a lot of my independence was gone.

Who has been there for you? How?

My husband, my mother and my kids have all been understanding. My husband takes over with the kids when he gets home from work because my body shuts down around 6:30-7:30pm. My mom helps me tremendously because my husband works six days a week. My oldest daughter will often clean up or make dinner for her siblings without having to be asked. My kids also spread awareness about FM. I also have a few good friends who have been very supportive through my emotional ups and downs of dealing with a chronic illness.

I had to accept that I couldn't do everything, and that a lot of my independence was gone.

I have a few good friends who have been very supportive through my emotional ups and downs.

I have a few good friends who have been very supportive through my emotional ups and downs.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

I have never given up, even when things feel hopeless. I feel proud that I'm still able to be involved in raising healthy and generally happy kids.

What's your advice to someone else living with Fibromyalgia?

Do not be too proud to lean on others and ask for help when you need it. Don't feel guilty if you can't accomplish what you used to be able to accomplish in a day. A weight was lifted from my shoulders once I came to accept that my daily to do list is much different than it used to be. Learn to listen to your body and to not overdo things.

Do not be too proud to lean on others and ask for help when you need it.

Is there anything else we should know?

I'm 36 and a mother to a 12, 11 and five-year-old. My kids are my world. It took me a while to let go of the ‘mommy guilt’ when I had to change the level of my involvement as a parent. My kids adapted to my limitations a lot faster than I did.

About Sarah Deveau

My Story: Sarah Deveau
I'm 36 years old, married and mom of three active kids. I am a survivor of a seven-year abusive relationship which produced two of my children. I have been experiencing chronic pain for over half my life. I've lost friends over the years because I've had to cancel plans last minute, been unable to commit to plans, or because they just didn't understand the severity of what I was going through. I used to be shy, quiet and passive, but now I'm working to spread awareness about both fibromyalgia and domestic violence. Experiencing both has contributed to making me a stronger woman today.
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