We have one of those daily desk calendars and every day we get a new quote. Some days the quotes are really great, others are incredibly dumb, and some are worth keeping and hanging up somewhere to remind me during the hard days of life that it’s always worth it to keep going. I’ve done just that, and in a few areas of our home I’ve taped up these reminders, and I read them often. Raleigh will be five on March 21st. I looked ahead to his birthday, and this is the quote on his day: “Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.” -Dean Karnazes, American ultramarathon runner
This quote feels incredibly applicable to where we are in life. We are between nine and ten months on the Intro GAPS diet, and most days feel like a crawl from sun up to sun down just to go to bed to get up and do it all again. It is monotonous. It is tedious. It is exhausting in unimaginable ways, but we’ve committed to never give up. We are going to see this thing to completion.
God has graciously gifted us a handful of people who have been, and continue to be, an incredible support system to us on this journey. Most of these people don’t really know how impactful they’ve been, but I know God has sent them on days when we really just needed some support or encouragement. I was at the grocery store a few days ago. I always try to get into Barbara’s line when I’m there to give her an update on Raleigh and to see how she is doing. Before I could say anything, she told me when she had seen us the previous week she couldn’t get Raleigh’s face out of her head. She said even into the night the Lord was just bringing his face before her, so she prayed for him. She felt like she needed to encourage me to keep going because she knew God was going to heal him and do something with all of this. She proceeded to tell me how beautiful my surrender has been. I was choking back tears and thanking God for people like Barbara; for a growing community of people who are loving us through faithful prayer and teaching me about God’s goodness and grace even in this desert land. I get glimpses from time-to-time of how much bigger this picture really is, how far and wide it stretches, and how my place in it is small yet impactful to the entire landscape, and our story has great purpose.
Perhaps the biggest change we’ve seen in Raleigh of late is in the way his skin is feeling. This winter and the dryness has been torturous, to say the least, but we’ve noticed in the last few weeks a softening of his skin in a few places. His belly, specifically, and face, are feeling less scratchy and dry and more soft and moisturized even though the color remains a muted red. The eczema is a formidable opponent and continues to keep us on our toes. But the eczema is ever-changing. It is not what it once was, and we constantly remind ourselves of this fact, and that the entirety of the gut stretches at least the length of a tennis court. Something that long that has endured substantial damage takes time, incredible time, to heal. So we take our small victories that healing is happening and pray for strength to continue.
Raleigh gets a detox bath about every other day to every two days. I alternate between epsom salts and baking soda baths. We see incredible changes in his skin directly after a bath, and, typically, the day following a bath. We feel like these have been life-giving and essential to his healing process.
I have also started to use Vibrant Blue Oils on Raleigh. I use their parasympathetic oil to help calm him any time during the day and before he eats, the histamine oil a couple of times a day to help his body deal with the histamines better, and a lymph oil to aid his lymphatic system in expelling waste and assimilating fats in his body. I’m really liking this company and their transparency and accessibility. I don’t think oils are a cure-all, but I do think they can work well with other things to improve your quality of life.
Raleigh is still on a fairly low histamine diet and has been for a couple of months now. I have given him half an avocado a couple of times as well as a small bite of saurkraut. Because his itching is so persistent, and at times we think some of it is just muscle-memory since he has been itching so long, it is incredibly difficult to tell which foods are increasing his itch or not. This is maddening to me. This aspect of needing an answer and not being able to find the answer is absolutely maddening. It causes me anxiety and often grief and, to be honest, I’m not very good at letting things like this go. I consider myself an expert researcher, and I thrive on obtaining knowledge on subjects that interest me. But to have something so pressing and ever-present remain a complete mystery is maddening. I want all the answers, and many times on this journey I’ve had to resign myself to the fact that there aren’t always going to be answers. Our GAPS practitioner doesn’t always have an answer for me. Many times it is simply about perseverance in knowing you’re on the right path, crawling when you can’t walk, and just never giving up.
Something I am thrilled about, however, is Viome. This company is doing something incredible in the area of the microbiome. We ordered Raleigh a kit and have taken a sample of his stool, sent it away to be analyzed, and are waiting for results. This test will be able to tell us everything that presides in his gut. It will tell us which good bacteria he has so we can tailor his probiotics better. It will help us see which foods he is eating that are feeding his good gut bacteria, give us suggestions to which foods he should be eating more, less, or not at all. We are hoping it will give us some much needed insight into what is going on inside of him and how to better help him moving forward in continued healing. It is fascinating and I can’t wait to do it for myself one day. We should get some results coming in by the end of April. It feels like I’m waiting for Christmas. That is how ridiculously excited I am for the results.
We are still here. We’re still pushing forward, praying for continued healing, trusting in the God who brought us to this place, and knowing He has a greater purpose for this journey. I still believe that God is going to use this journey we’re on to help other people find healing in their own lives. I believe Raleigh’s story is going to help a lot of people just like him find health. This pain is not for naught. There is greater purpose.
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom” – Anais Nin