The mind is a tricky thing. Belief is a tricky thing. I sit here at my keyboard hesitant to type the words I want to type, to say the things I’ve been longing to say for nearly 5 years. I’ll admit, it is difficult to say Raleigh’s eczema is fully gone. But really it is. It is newly gone, however and we are still waiting with baited breath. Or perhaps, I am just waiting with baited breath. Waiting for it to return. Waiting for another flare or healing crisis, perhaps. And maybe one will come. Maybe.
June 13th, 2022 marks 5 years on the GAPS diet. That feels unreal. We’ve spent half a decade at this. I never would have imagined it would have taken us this long. The journey has been a teacher and I feel I still have so much to learn somehow.
But as I type this Raleigh is essentially eczema free. The eczema is gone. Raleigh doesn’t have eczema anymore!
This thing that has defined our lives for so long is now essentially a thing of the past. He will still have some skin irritation from certain things, chemicals especially, so his body is clearly still working out some kinks. But eczema as we know it no longer exists.
So where do we go from here? Logistically, Raleigh needs to remain on the GAPS diet for another six months while we watch and wait to see if the eczema will return. You begin coming off of the GAPS diet, challenging other foods like potatoes and sourdough, once you are 6 months symptom free. So that is one part of it.
The next chapter of our journey requires the help of a GAPS practitioner. Raleigh has done GAPS without egg, dairy or tree nuts. We recently tested egg and he had a mild to moderate anaphylactic reaction. It was pretty intense and scary. So we are bringing in some expert help with the goal of reversing his ANA allergies. There are many stories of people successfully reversing ANA food allergies so I am very hopeful but again, this journey may also be a lengthy one.
As I reflect upon our last *almost* five years I’m always overwhelmed with intense gratitude for the journey. It has taught me so much about life, about fighting for a worthy cause: advocating for your child. It has taught me to trust my intuition, that mother’s intuition the world of “experts” tends to brush off in favor of what they are taught to be truth and fact.
I have found myself in the darkest of days. The Lord has met me there and given me the strength I needed to show up day after day, even when I could see no light, even when there was very little hope. I now know who I am when trials are upon me.
The Lord has been faithful to us. I spent months crying out for healing only to be lead to GAPS and told I must partner with God in my faith that He would heal my son. In my faithfulness to the task God has been faithful to heal Raleigh’s body. It wasn’t a miraculous, instantaneous healing, but one of patient perseverance and trust that He would lead me along the path he brought me to.
I have struggled over the years with intense guilt over Raleigh’s illness and suffering. I know a great deal of what happened was directly connected to choices I made for him. I was recently asked if I had forgiven myself for that, for what I didn’t know. Because we only know what we know and we make the best choices based upon that knowledge at the time. I’ve been reflecting upon that question for a couple of days.
Have I forgiven myself? Not fully, no. I still grieve. I’m still processing and will likely be processing the trauma for years to come. I want to be able to forgive myself fully. But man is that hard.
Truly, my fear is that Raleigh will not be able to forgive me.
Pat Conroy wrote in the Prince of Tides:
“I wish I had no history to report. I’ve pretended for so long that my childhood did not happen. I had to keep it tight, up near the chest. I could not let it out. I followed the redoubtable example of my mother. It’s an act of will to have a memory or not, and I chose not to have one. Because I needed to love my mother and father in all their flawed, outrageous humanity, I could not afford to address them directly about the felonies committed against all of us. I could not hold them accountable or indict them for crimes they could not help. They, too, had a history — one that I remembered with both tenderness and pain, one that made me forgive their transgressions against their own children. In families there are no crimes beyond forgiveness.”
Pat always said it best.
My words fall short. But I will leave you with this:
The journey is meant to teach us many things. I’m still learning and I’m thankful for that. The more I learn the more I realize how little I know. There is always hope. There are those like me who are holding the torches in the darkest places to help show the way. I will always be holding a torch.
I began this blog 5 years ago with the hopes of helping just one person find healing. My life has been so richly blessed. Not just in being a witness to my son’s healing but by those of you who have reached out to tell me how Raleigh’s journey on the GAPS diet has helped in many ways.
God has a way of taking the absolute worst thing and turning it into a gift. That doesn’t make sense but it’s true.
Thank you for being here. Thank you for all your kind words of hope and encouragement over the years. Thank you for the prayers – I know there have been many.
I remain. I will continue to hold the torch for those who need it and I will continue to share Raleigh’s journey as it unfolds.
Trading punches with the heart of darkness
Going to blows with your fear incarnate
Never gone until it’s stripped away
A part of you has gotta die to change
In the morning you gon’ need an answer
Ain’t nobody gonna change the standard
It’s not enough to just feel the flame
You’ve gotta burn your old self away
Hold on tight a little longer
What don’t kill ya, makes ya stronger
Get back up, ’cause it’s a hard love…
Hard Love by Need to Breathe