You know when you’ve been doing something so long and you lift your head up to look around and see exactly where you are, realizing you are somewhere utterly different than when you started and wonder about the how? The day-to-day how of everything? How have we done this for this long? How did we get here? What will life look like on the other side of this? Will there be another side of this? That is what 15 months on GAPS feels like to me. When I start thinking about how I’ve been making two different dinners every night, three lunches, often three breakfasts too, I realize just how normal all of this feels now. It amazes me how adaptive we are and how, when you commit to something, just how possible the impossible can become. Because GAPS certainly felt impossible to me. It took me an entire year before I felt ready to commit to it, and anyone I’ve spoken to these last 15 months I’ve encouraged them to take their time and read, learn, cook, get the basics under the belt because you need to be ready for GAPS. Mentally, emotionally, physically, skilled-in-the-kitchen ready for GAPS.
A lot has gone down in these 15 months, and if you’ve been reading and following along you’ve gotten a pretty good glimpse into our lives. There is, and always will be, facets that remain unknown to everyone because they are sacred moments in this journey that belong just to us, to our family. Moments of frailty, of strength, times where the tears could fill rivers and hurdles miraculously crossed. There is so much I want to share, and many times I just don’t know how or even have the words. If you’ve been through a wasteland, you know, sometimes, there just aren’t words.
If you’re also listening to our podcast (FFN) and are caught up, we chronicle a year to fifteen months. Our heads were spinning, Raleigh’s eczema was ablaze and it took us some reflection to be able to see the why and the how. We’ve since stepped back a bit from pushing a lot of new foods on him. He tried a lot of new things in that time frame and it seemed he reacted to most of them. I got excited and over zealous and his little body paid the price. But, we also learned some invaluable lessons in the process. Which, isn’t that what all this is about? Learning invaluable lessons and of course, healing.
After the painful realization that we pushed far too much on Raleigh (food-wise) in the three month span between reaching a year and 15 months, we began to help his body detox. The detox methods we used, and continue to use, consisted of epsom salt and baking soda baths. Really, really hot ones. Literally as hot as he would tolerate, making his cheeks flush red and provoking sweat. In these baths he would drink copious amounts of water and at times complain of nearly throwing up. Sounds like a torture chamber, huh? It sort of is. I’ve put myself through a couple of these baths and they’re a bit uncomfortable to say the least, but they are effective in purging toxins from the body. His skin always clears significantly after one of these. It is a fascinating transformation to watch.
To help him detox we also increased juicing in the morning after he had his lemon water. The juicing on an empty stomach is a wonderful way to aid your body in detox. He loves it, too, if he can be the juicer. Before he gets dressed I dry brush him, use a lymphatic oil on the areas of his body where his lymph nodes protrude, and, as often as possible, I have him jump on the rebounding trampoline. We also get out in the sun every day and put our feet in the grass. All of these modalities help his little body churn out all the junk.
We started to see the eczema subside after a while of pulling out offending foods, not trying anything new, and detoxing. I know I’ve said it before, but this journey is one step forward and two steps back on a continual basis. Sam and I have many conversations about what in the world it will be like when things change and change for good. Like, when we stop taking steps backward. It’s hard to imagine. It doesn’t seem like it is anything that will be for us and for Raleigh. Yet, everything that has happened so far on this journey only tells us one thing: it will be. I find I struggle to hold onto that truth. I do believe food is medicine. I do believe we will see Raleigh completely healed one day, and yet I struggle to imagine a different life beyond GAPS. It’s curious.
Here is what his body looks like in a significantly flared state, and what we were looking at between a year and 15 months:
The eczema was red and raised with a distinct texture. The itch increased significantly during this time, and we did a lot of extra lotion and wrapping.
But as he began to clear and the detox worked it’s magic, his body came down from the flare. He would wake with clear skin and maintain it pretty well throughout the day:
Huge differences. Undeniably huge. Before we began GAPS, his body, when we didn’t put copious amounts of corticosteroids all over him, looked more like the two flared pictures above. The eczema never cleared on it’s own; it never came down; it only worsened. The seven clearer pictures above show undeniable proof that Raleigh’s skin is healing. These seven pictures were taken between 14 and 15 months.
Raleigh’s skin is a truth teller. If he eats something that isn’t sitting right with him, his body will flare and inform us to the fact, not always to that severe degree seen above, but to some degree it will flare. That flare was a culmination of multiple foods having built up that were not aiding his healing. As difficult as it is to find him in a severe flare, we always walk away with another piece to the puzzle. The one step forward, two steps back dance. It’s sort of like contra dancing but not as fun.
I do look forward to the day when he doesn’t flare anymore or regress. I dream of what full healing will look like and when it’ll be. I wonder what my life will be like when I don’t eat, sleep, breathe and dream GAPS. I wonder what it’ll be like not to have to slather my kid in loads of lotion, put wet wraps on him to keep him from being so bothered by the heat or a healing cut. One day the troubles of today will cease and lend themselves to other troubles. That is life. But one thing I know for certain right now is this: we are freeing him from the bondage of a life of sickness. Sickness is bondage. By the grace of God and through His healing hand in the form of food as medicine, Raleigh is being healed. He is and we stay the course.