Slow and steady wins the race. How cliche, but likely very true. This last week has been a slow and steady kind of week. And after four weeks of what feels like a roller coaster ride, it was nice to feel a little coasting. Now that doesn’t mean it was easy coasting, we’re still struggling with exceptionally dry and flared skin, night wakings where the itch is very present and requiring attention, and the relentless amount of cooking this diet demands.
To be quite honest, I don’t know how you could do this for more than one member of the family at a time. The time commitment in the kitchen for Raleigh’s food alone is astronomical. I’m finding some grooves as I turn certain mornings into prep mornings, but, throw everyone else’s meals on top, and I pretty much live in the kitchen these days. Thankfully, I enjoy cooking very much, and thankfully, I can do this for my family.
We finally got the probiotics and digestive enzymes this week. We saw some pretty quick results from Raleigh’s stomach the first two days of taking them. The goal is daily bowel movements, and that’s something he has not had since we began the GAPS diet. He’s been consistently inconsistent in this area, and the hope is that the probiotic and the enzymes will correct this.
We also think we see a direct connection between his skin’s condition and when he does have bowel movements. This makes sense to me because the body tries to rid toxins two main ways: excreting waste and through the skin. So after the second day of having the probiotics and enzymes and clearing his system of waste, we saw some significant areas of skin clear. Not only did his skin clear some, but it began to feel soft and moisturized. Exciting and encouraging. However, a couple more days went by, and since there were no bowel movements, his skin has flared back up.
I remember holidays with my Texas grandparents where big puzzles would come out and take over tables. There were family members who took their place at the table with excitement and determination to put the masterpiece together. I remember watching and at times trying to help solve the riddle of the 1500 pieces and feeling overwhelmed as I held my hands back. The picture always seemed to be of some landscape where there were hundreds of tiny pieces all the same color, blending together, but never fitting together. You could spend hours trying piece after piece and not find a connection or make any progress. But as soon as you did find a match, the entire puzzle opened up, at least for a moment, and there was excitement and that push to keep going because how beautiful would that finished puzzle be and how proud to have found the pieces and put them together.
We’re still finding pieces, and it is slow and steady. Some days we find real encouragement and excitement. Other days, we have to keep going amidst the lack of change, keep praying, keep searching, keep hoping. I spend a lot of time thinking about the kind of man Raleigh is going to be when he grows up. I dream about a healthy man who maybe doesn’t remember much about all of this; the itching, the really hard days, the face wraps, the body wraps, the feeling and looking different from everyone else. I so desperately want him to have a life without so much physical pain so he can live. I want his children to have a different life and his children’s children.
Often I think how we’re possibly affecting change for generations, and that gives me hope and helps to squash that overwhelmed feeling I have just looking at all the similar-colored pieces. It makes me want to jump in, to stay in, to keep searching, and keep trying until I find all the matches and finish the puzzle.
Raleigh has such a light-hearted, care-free, and sensitive personality. He is fun and funny and has been making us laugh from the beginning. He’s an adventurer at heart. A Sanguine. An ESFP Artisan. We’ve gotten more glimpses into who he is this last week and, despite the itch still being very present, he’s been himself more often. I miss him desperately when he’s not himself, and, when the itch takes over and causes so much discomfort, he sort of disappears. The itch he feels is the dark night sky in that ominous puzzle we’re trying to piece together. All the pieces look alike and there seem to be millions of them. But there is a promise that the pieces do fit, they will fit together, and we just have to keep trying. One of my favorite verses comes to mind as I type this:
Count it all joy my brothers whenever you face trials and temptations for you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish it’s work so you may be mature and complete not lacking anything.
Without a doubt this has been my life verse. Keep on keeping on. And so we do.