“Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it.”
~ Michael J. Fox
My 2 Year Healing Diet Anniversary
On June 15, 2012, I started the GAPS diet. I was living a life of excruciating pain and disability. I didn’t know how I could survive each day, never mind a lifetime with rheumatoid arthritis. The GAPS diet was magic for me, not because it brought overnight healing (it didn’t), but because it started me on the path to healing. Within a week, my symptoms stopped getting worse, and very slowly, started to get better. That’s what reversing autoimmune disease is all about. It’s life-changing.
Here’s the truth, though: my goal wasn’t reversal; it was cure. I chose GAPS because it is advertised as a temporary diet, one that heals most people within six months to two years. Obviously I was hoping for 6 months, but I was sure I could do it within 2 years. Interestingly, the word “cure” is never used in the book, but it’s certainly implied. I held tight to that promise as I dove into the biggest challenge of my life.
When I plateaued in my healing at 6 months and transitioned to the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, I stopped seeing the diet as temporary. I understood that paleo is a life change, not a short detour that would return me to my old life. I let go of my wish for a cure (or at least I thought I did), and on my one-year healing diet anniversary, I simply felt grateful for how much healing I had achieved.
This year, as my two-year healing diet anniversary approached, something surprising happened. Instead of feeling grateful, I would find myself crying for no reason, carrying a sadness I didn’t understand. It took me a while to realize it was a deep grief over not being cured. Intellectually, I had accepted that there was no cure, but my body still held onto that wish. Approaching the magic GAPS “2 year” mark brought it to the surface. In spite of my healing, in spite of my progress, I can’t shed RA like a snake sheds its skin. It’s part of me now, and that’s hard to accept. I remember that excruciating pain very well, and when you know your body can do that, I don’t think you ever get over the fear of it happening again. I’m 95% better, which is an impressive statistic. RA used to be a scream inside my body, and now it’s only a whisper. I AM grateful for that, but it’s a scary whisper. Continue reading