Every week I comb through the GAPS cookbook I own, review the list of vegetables that Raleigh is allowed and check their salicylate scoring. We haven’t ventured over a “moderate” score which really limits what he can have. Salicylates can aggravate eczema and make it worse. I work to rotate the ones he can have in and out, and we always have the carrots and celery for a fast snack. He’d just eat the meat and only meat until he could touch his protruding stomach to the table if we’d let him, but we don’t. We recently, somewhere between two and four weeks ago, have since removed sauerkraut. It can be high in salicylates. I knew this before but was choosing to give it because of the immense probiotic benefits. In one teaspoon of homemade kraut there are trillions of beneficial bacteria; compare that to anything that’s worth it’s salt that you can buy on the market, and those only contains billions. He does take a very potent and expensive probiotic daily, but I’m a huge believer in fermented foods. I have noticed improved gut health in myself by eating fermented foods daily and no longer take a probiotic pill. Nonetheless, we decided to remove the kraut as a trial to see if we could notice any difference in his itching or the redness of his skin. I’m still not sure because he fluctuates as the day goes on, but we do feel like we are in a constant state of seeing positive change, and there may be some gradual improvement in the redness at the beginning of the day since removing the kraut.
Yesterday was day 4 of allowing him to try black olives. Last night as I was administering his lotion, I noticed the large white portion of his upper back was speckled with spots of eczema. This was the first time I’d seen any eczema creep back into that area that remains clear and soft all of the time. It made me really sad, and our first thought went to the olives. Now, we don’t know if it was due to the olives. He’s also had turkey introduced for the first time, and they have overlapped by a day. To tell you the truth, all of this is maddening when I start thinking about it, trying to dissect it, and wondering if it’ll clear back up again, and my mind just goes a little mad.
I am a researcher by nature; I love learning and knowing, and something about this journey just brings me to my knees because I can’t always find answers as we navigate through it. As Sam says, “it’s like we’re building the plane while we’re flying it.” And truly, we are.
This morning was difficult, as most mornings are, and I fought through desperate prayers for God’s strength and grace to turn the day around. I feel very isolated in this house day in and day out, and everything I do for Raleigh and my family goes very unseen and, therefore, can be very undervalued by the rest of the world. I don’t struggle so much with those realities as I do with the daunting nature of this task that is GAPS. What I struggle most with is if I choose a new food to try and Raleigh reacts negatively, it essentially is at my hand. Sam doesn’t make me feel that way; it just comes on naturally, and I’m sure any mother would understand that sentiment. I feel guilt.
I work hard to stay off of my phone for the majority of the day to be able to give my kids more of me, and the only social media platform I have and use on a regular basis is Instagram. I have found a unique community there and a lot of encouraging food people and Believers. Today, I found a hidden direct message from someone I don’t know from December 21st. In a few brief lines she told me she spent the morning in tears and pleading to God on Raleigh’s behalf. She then encouraged me to keep going because she knows how difficult it can be. I’m thankful for that sweet note. She didn’t have to do that or reach out to me, but she chose to.
We want the world to know Raleigh’s story and journey because we want to help others find healing in their own journeys. Thank you to all of you who have encouraged and supported us in this almost 7-month journey. You really can’t know how much it means or how often it comes at a time when I really need the encouragement. If you are praying, please pray for Raleigh’s continued healing. Please pray the eczema on his upper back will clear in the next few days and we can possibly pin point the cause. All the little pieces continue to come together, and we press on.