Hard Love

We’re closing in on another week and rounding out about our first month on the Intro GAPS diet. It’s been pretty brutal, overall, on all of us. We’ve had some ups and, it seems, more downs and really just not a lot of clear cut answers.

Sometimes, at the end of the day, once Raleigh is in bed, all I can do is cry as I feel discouraged when we’re reevaluating the shape his skin is in. The heat plays such a factor in how he feels and can send him over the edge quickly into a bout of itching madness in seconds. His skin has cleared a bit in some areas and flared in others. We don’t really have any answers as to why that is happening, but we think it has something to do with his lack of bowel movements and all of the toxins in his body are trying to escape through his skin. This is only a theory, but we feel like it may be right in some ways.

I’ve spent a lot of time listening to NeedToBreathe’s newest album, Hard Love, this week. If you’ve never listened to them you should go do that as soon as you finish reading this, and you can thank me later. Their lyrics are inspired, and we listen to them often. The entire album is just wonderful, but the album’s title song, Hard Love, really pulled me in this week. I feel like God speaks to me a lot through songs, I’m sure I’m not alone in that, and this song has been a theme song for me this week. I know God is using this experience in ways I can’t even begin to imagine, but I see a lot of my old self sort of burning away as my faith is really finding itself in a very new way.

The chorus:

Hold on tight a little longer

What don’t kill ya, makes ya stronger

Get back up, ’cause it’s a hard love

You can’t change without a fallout

It’s gon’ hurt, but don’t you slow down

Get back up, ’cause it’s a hard love

Sometimes I don’t know what is hardest about all of this for me. Most of the time it’s the complete uncertainty, the wondering if what we’re doing is right and if it’ll work. And that line, you can’t change without a fallout just plays on repeat in my mind because we are in a fallout and this is a hard love. It’s easy to love your kids, it’s not always easy to do what needs to be done, and many times short cuts are taken that seem to make life easier, or the day survivable, but when you choose the hard road you also choose the hard love. Every bit of this, from the emotional and mental side to the physical, is pushing me to an edge of myself where I’ve got to find Jesus or I won’t make it. His love is a hard love, and it’s worth every fallout.

We brought in a GAPS practitioner this week and felt good about where we are headed with her regarding Raleigh. We will start him on a different probiotic and a digestible enzyme as soon as they arrive. The hope is that both will aid his body in taking in the food he is eating and digesting it properly so that we can move on to adding in more foods. Since he has reacted to eggs, ghee, fermented cod liver oil, and soy in a previous probiotic, the top 8 allergens will be something he stays away from for a very long time. I’m not sure what the next food will be to move us forward, but as soon as he begins having regular bowel movements and, hopefully, some significant skin clearing, we can choose something to advance us into the diet.

Some of Raleigh’s favorite things right now are bone marrow and the soft, gelatinous tendons from the outside of the marrow bones. He calls them “crunchies” or “crunchy things.” He asks for them every day and says “mmmm” with every bite. It’s pretty comical. If you’ve never seen bone marrow, it’s pretty gross looking too. It just looks greasy and fatty, which is why I’m sure it tastes divine to him, and he slurps it right on up. The extent of his diet at this point is chicken, chicken stock, bone marrow, meatballs made with cooked and pureed carrot, onion, and chicken liver, and a variety of very soft veggies in stock. It’s not a lot, and we are eager to add to the list, but healing takes time. This isn’t our forever, though I’ll admit it sure feels like it. I also felt that way about the baby years, and they’re long gone. One day he’ll be grown, and it’ll be just me and Sam. I almost don’t believe that even in typing it out, but I know it’s true, and I know I must hold on tight a little longer.

We talk often about the good bugs and the bad bugs in his gut and how he’s got to eat the broth because the broth helps the good bugs kill the bad bugs. Sometimes he will get sad when he’s very itchy and tell me he thinks the bad bugs are winning because they are making him itch. Sometimes I feel the same way, every day actually. It’s a hard love.

We forge forward. I’m not getting much sleep as Raleigh is waking every night between 1-4 a.m. needing to use the bathroom. I’m thankful this transition is finally happening because we feel like the years of corticosteroid use and benadryl have somehow dulled his body’s natural responses and kept him from this transition. Now that he is off these medications, it seems he is progressing as he naturally should, so that’s a wonderful gift. However, it’s leaving me incredibly tired at the start of each day because we deal with the potty issue, then some itching issues, reapplying lotion, and sometimes he just gets back up a couple of times for a variety of reasons, and I’m left wide awake and alone with my thoughts at 3 am. It’s a hard love.

We got to go swim at the El Dorado Springs pool yesterday. We haven’t been able to swim in chlorinated swimming pools due to all the chemicals, so this was a really nice day and we all had a fun time.

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