GAPS Running Races of The Mind

March 10, 2011

This morning I was thinking:

1. When trying to affect gut flora, one is up against absolutely entrenched homeostasis.

2. Changing this, even in order to heal "mild" symptoms, takes a looooong time and a lot of faith, since as Natasha Campbell-McBride says, medical knowledge of the human gut "is in its infancy."

3. Dr. Campbell-McBride says that healing requires an average of 2-3 years of "hard work" while adhering strictly to the GAPS protocol.

4. I used to interpret that to mean that I just needed to start GAPS "right" and find the perfect combination of easy-to-digest foods, whereupon my kid would heal up in a couple of weeks, stop throwing tantrums/acting OCD/looking at people sideways/being a picky eater/having terrible stomach pains, and I would then just shovel more good food into him for two years or so to make the healing stick.

5. I didn't believe Millie and so many other wise people at first, who so patiently posted reminders [to the GAPS list] about how healing is non-linear, and messy, and waves of die-off can occur with no discernible cause, and that stability can take a long time to achieve, even if a kid "isn't so bad", like mine. I sort of thought about diet as Equal and Similar To other therapies--just one piece of the puzzle.

6. But I finally have to admit, at least after unscientific analysis of our family, other GAPS families I know, and other GAPS families on this list, that _healing really does take a long time._ And die-off isn't generally a one-shot, one-week-and-you're-done type of deal. And people often feel worse in some ways for a long time before they feel better. And that while maybe diet is only a piece of the picture, it's a GARGANTUAN piece, larger than any other single thing by far, maybe 97% of this unknowably complicated puzzle of healing.

7. Healing Happens. This is the biggest truth, I keep reminding myself.

There are so many times when the crazy reality of trying to heal a GAPS family really gets me down. I have such goals of being really zen about it all, like the monks in my Dad's books about Buddhism who don't mind whether they've chosen to do something or not--they only note that a thing might be happening right Here/Now, and might demand that it be done.

Being zen is really, really not something I'm good at.

About halfway through last year, someone introduced me to a saying that is evidently very common in Autism Circles: "It's a marathon, not a sprint." I'm sorry to say, but this rallying cry depressed me deeply. Because lets face it: here I have this job, of healing a more or less deeply sick family, which is not a glamorous or glory-filled position, and it's NOT full of external validation. In fact, it turns out that just about the only person on the planet who has even the tiniest possibility of wanting to do this job, is me. And when I imagined the whole thing as a marathon, all I could see in my mind's eye was a bunch of grim guys, pounding the pavement that stretched to the horizon and beyond, with me huffing and chuffing and not keeping up, and not even wanting to be running to begin with.

But the other day, an amazing woman gave me a very different image to play with. She pointed out that a whole lot of a runner's strength does not come from the muscles, but exists in the mind. And she said that doing GAPS is like this, too. And that even despite the physical distance between our families, we are running together. And I can't exactly explain how this made me feel, so inexplicably flooded with courage and community and the sense of being a _part_ of something, something much bigger than the endless vegetable chopping and dealing with screaming tantrums and giving enemas and getting all dressed up to go grocery shopping at 7 a.m. for the third time in a week...

I could sort of see simultaneously, the ways that each person's GAPS marathon can be so lonely, and so isolating, and so scary--and yet ultimately, potentially, exhilarating and mind-altering and and so, so Good. Even along the messy, crazy, not-yet-healed way. It's incredible to me that I, one of the least likely runners I can imagine, is suddenly running so hard--with YOU! And all the hundreds and thousands of others who are working so hard to heal their children and their families and themselves.

It's difficult to explain the gratitude I am still feeling, three days after I started re-envisioning marathons. I'm honored to be right where I am.