I spent part of the afternoon yesterday listening/watching Dr. Natasha Campell-McBride speak at the 21st International “New Scientific Outlook” World Congress on a You Tube video that was recorded last November. Every time I listen to an interview or to her speaking on GAPS, I learn something fascinating and something new. GAPS truly is the key to unlocking healing in our sick bodies. Most people I know have some sort of illness and something they are taking a pharmaceutical drug to try and manage their symptoms. I even have a handful, a large handful, of friends in their thirties who are already dealing with an autoimmune or thyroid disease. Doesn’t thirty-something seem terribly young to be dealing with so many health issues? It does to me. There seems to be a trend where the diseases are striking generations younger and younger, and I can’t help but wonder if the next generation will be facing these chronic, obscure “autoimmune” diseases in their early twenties. Isn’t that a scary thought?
I’ve had a revelation of sorts lately, thanks to my therapist who helped me see something important about how we deal with difficult things in our lives. In order for the thing you’re dealing with to change, the pain must be greater than the fear. For me, the fear of changing anything for Raleigh, veering from the Western medical ways of treating his symptoms, was far greater than the pain he was in, or Sam and I were in, in our day-to-day dealings with Raleigh’s needs. I was very afraid of changing anything because it’s impossible to know if something else will work until you try it. It is scary to give up on the typical way of treating illness in our country when the majority of what we hear and see is how this new drug will fix that and just take an antibiotic for this and it’ll fix that. The fear of veering from the Western way of “healing” is a legitimate thing because they’ve made it so easy to get drugs for all ailments, and they make it seem as if there is no other way. Using food as medicine is still on the fringes of our society. I still often feel a bit isolated or extreme when I talk about it to people. Many do not agree, and many think we’re a little crazy, but the tides are turning. Food is medicine; people are beginning to come around to considering a different way of living, other than always reaching for the ibuprofen or running to the doctor for an antibiotic for every ear infection.
I spent quite a long time in the fear before the pain grew too great for me to bear it anymore. But when it did, when the pain Raleigh was experiencing with his asthma stopping him from jumping on a trampoline after 30 seconds, his eczema out of control, his face riddled with cuts and scabs that would not heal, nights where he would scream out in pain, and many other things that break my heart to even mention; then, then the pain shoved the fear down, and I stood up. The pain must outweigh the fear if you want to make a change in your life.
We are past the five month mark. December 13th will be six months on the Intro to GAPS diet for Raleigh. Half a year. I remember wondering what six months would mean for him since the GAPS book says complete healing can happen for a child between 6-18 months. So, I wondered what the short end would be. Would we be in the short end? We aren’t, and, likely, we are looking at the long end of this, the marathon version not the sprint, and that is okay. But we see healing. We see hope. We still have really difficult days, but we also have really wonderful and joyful days too.
Raleigh has done well with the last few foods we’ve introduced in Stage 5 of the Intro diet. He loves the peeled cucumber and romaine lettuce. He also loves the fermented apple and pear chutney and eats it multiple times daily with some coconut manna. Raw carrot is his new favorite treat though, and it really is a treat to him. It is so wonderful to be able to give him new foods and have them go well. We try to juice a few times a week to help his body detox, and we are trying to increase bathing as well for detox purposes. His body is very toxic and detoxing is a very important part of this journey.
We plan to move him into Stage 6, the final stage of the Intro diet, today. We are going to give him a chance to try some blueberries. Stage 6 has quite a few new fruits in it and, to be honest, I’m nervous to begin him on them. When we first tried applesauce he had stomach pain and, at times, diarrhea. His GAPS practitioner thinks he has a carbohydrate intolerance but wants to keep the apple sauce in the rotation. He hasn’t had much applesauce and usually refuses it due to how it makes him feel. So I am hesitant to move into the final stage and try these fruits, but I know we can’t stand still. We must keep moving forward. The wonderful thing about the apple and pear chutney is the fermentation. I can’t say enough good about fermenting fruit and veggies. He hasn’t had one problem with the sugar in the chutney because of the wonder of fermentation. If you don’t ferment you should. Your health will thank you.
I should have taken a Day 4 picture but forgot since the scratch was nearly non-existent. His skin is healing at an incredible rate now. This is a huge deal.
This journey is no where near over, and, in many ways, I still feel like we’re at the beginning. I know pain isn’t something we want to feel in life; I know it’s never something I want to feel. In some strange way, there seems to be a freedom and release when you begin to feel the pain and then choose to do something about it. We all experience pain in different ways, and we all struggle with fears. I was afraid to turn away from Western medicine and try healing holistically because we might have failed in our attempt. I was afraid of what his doctor would say to me. I was afraid of being called foolish or stupid. I was afraid of forging my own path, being a trailblazer and doing something no one else was doing. But, if I wasn’t going to fight for Raleigh, no one was. The pain of realizing his health was slipping down the drain and we were watching him deteriorate before our eyes grew so intense that all of my fears did not matter. I had to do something about the pain. I had to fight for my son in a new way, a way that felt God-led and God-breathed. I had to jump, release the fear, and embrace the pain.
There is still a lot of pain. Everyday there is some; and some days the pain is palpable. The pain hasn’t gone away, but the fear has changed. It isn’t controlling us or stopping us from traveling down this very isolating and lonely path we believe God has led us down to find healing for Raleigh. I have said it before and I’ll keep saying it: healing is happening. God is healing Raleigh. We’re on the right path. One day he won’t look at his hands and say, “this skin isn’t skin.” One day he will never say again, “I shouldn’t have got this skin.” One day. One day I hope I don’t cry as much. One day I hope we can help others heal because the pain pushed down the fear just enough so that we could finally begin the journey to healing and we’ll be able to say, “God gave you this skin so that you could help a lot of other people heal.” One day.