the Van Dyke's

the Van Dyke's

Saturday, January 18, 2014


It's been what seems like forever since I blogged, and I've been missing it. We are quickly coming up to the 2 year anniversary of Jon's official diagnosis. Hard to believe it's been over 2 years since that nasty tick changed our lives. While we were hopeful that he would go into remission, that unfortunately hasn't been the case. Jon's body continues to battle Lyme & Bartonella, but we are all learning to adjust.

As a family we've learned to accept the journey God has chosen for us. We've learned to communicate better, forgive more often and love unconditionally. Jon continues to "pulse" his antibiotics to help keep Lyme from taking over. With the hard use of antibiotics, comes not-so-fun side effects. Poor guy has lost quite a bit of weight. My once 36x32 hubby is now a 32x32, without trying to shed the pounds. He continues to battle memory issues, but has become a champ at taking notes. Jon is scheduled to have blood word done in the next couple weeks. I have to admit, it makes me nervous about the results. Being on antibiotics for such a long time is scary, but at the same time I am extremely grateful Jon's life has been saved because of them!

Jon is extremely fortunate to have some wonderful friends who help keep his spirits up. Whether it's watching their traditional "Michigan Out-of-doors" every Thursday night or heading out in the woods or on the ice for the latest outdoor activity, Jon's friends are the best! I have to be honest, I sometimes get jealous of the amount of time he gets to hang out with his friends, but I know it helps lift his spirits and am very fortunate his guy friends don't seem to mind me hanging out with them as well.

Not only does Jon have awesome friends, I too have the best friends. While I may not get to enjoy girl time as much as I would like due to my crazy, busy life. My friends are ALWAYS there for me whenever I need them! The last 6 months have been very difficult in regards to work, but the support I have received from those closest to me has been amazing.

Within the last 5 months, I have been laid off, rehired in a different role and then asked to go back to my old position. It was tough. Depression set in, and I was a very unhappy person. I am extremely grateful that I was able to go back to my old position. It felt really good to wear a genuine smile on my face this past week. The darkness in my heart is also starting to be filled with light, and I'm slowly seeing how I've grown because of the heartache.

The girls are doing great! Life with a 9, 6 & 4 year old can be challenging at times, but also AMAZING! They are constant reminders why we are blessed beyond words and why we fight so hard to push on during the dark days. We are excited to see what 2014 has in store for our family. As I sit here blogging, in my jammies, the girls have turned the living room into an American Girl adventure land. They have it covered, complete with a campground, restaurant, school and hospital. Their imagination is inspiring!!!

For those of you who have continued to uplift us in prayer... thank you!!! Please know that we are SO grateful for each and every one of you! We Praise God for you all daily!!!!

Please continue to pray...

Pray for Jon as he battles Lyme & Bartonella daily...
Pray for our family as we continue to adjust to our new life...
Pray for good results with Jon's blood work...
Pray for remission...
Pray for peace...

and as always...

Make EVERY Moment Count!!!!

Much love to you all & blessings for a fabulous 2014!!!

Sunday, June 9, 2013


So often I find myself coming here to pour my heart out... this morning I'm here to do the same, however this time my heart is filled with HOPE!!!

Life has been a whirlwind of ups and downs for us this past year, and while there are MANY downs I would love to forget, it's all part of our journey.

Last Sunday was a horrible day/night for Jon. I put out a plea for prayers on Facebook and we were blessed by those thoughts and prayers... THANK YOU!!!!

This week, unlike so many, has been filled with HOPE and it feels good!!!

Jon is such a fighter!!! He continues to amaze me daily. He needs to learn to not over-do it, but that will come. His spirits were also greatly lifted when his boss came to him this week and gave him a big raise. It was just the boost he needed!!! He was filled with HOPE and it felt good.

On Thursday a good friend of mine offered to walk in Ashley's Life Over Lyme Walk/Run 5K with me. I quickly printed off the registration forms, and got the girls and I ready for the fun event. We were filled with HOPE in so many ways that day. Seeing someone who at one time was wheelchair bound by Lyme to now running a 5K filled our hearts with HOPE. Meeting her family and doctor also filled us with HOPE. While we wholeheartedly trust Jon's doctor, it was great to meet someone else who may also be able to help Jon. It's a new possibility when all else feels hopeless... it was HOPE!!!

The walk not only brought us HOPE, but we made great memories, filled with LOTS of giggles and some major encouragement (thank you Rachel)!!!

My friend Rachel, her darling daughter, my girls and I before the 5K.
The girls and I with Grandma Van Dyke... I am SO proud of my Mother In-Law!!!
After the 5K...
WE DID IT!!! 1st 5K was a complete success!!!

There were also some "behind the scenes" moments of HOPE this week. Prayers were answered, new friendships made, lots of love shown & many memories made. While a week ago I sat here feeling so helpless, today I sit here filled with HOPE, and gosh darn it... it feels GOOD!!!

If you were someone that sent us a good thought this week, or said an extra prayer... THANK YOU!!! It's because of God and the wonderful people he's brought in our lives that we are blessed beyond words. Lyme has changed us forever. We know the "UP" moments are many times forgotten, but today we are reflecting on them and giving thanks!!! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for giving us HOPE!!!

With all of our love... and appreciation!!!!

the Van Dyke's
{Make EVERY Moment Count}

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Life with Lyme

It sure isn't a walk in the park, that's for sure!!! Once again we're smack dab in the middle of this battle with Lyme. I've had a few people ask how Jon's doc makes his diagnosis, so I thought I'd explain what goes on at each appointment.

Every 4 to 6 weeks Jon sees his doctor. All the normal office routines take place, as well as a mile long list of questions. The questions never change, but Jon's answers do. The doc takes notes on all of Jon's answers and then compares the results. 

Jon has a confirmed diagnosis from IGeneX, Inc, and his doc is following treatment plans accordingly. For the last 6 weeks Jon's Lyme symptoms were minimal compared to his co-infection (Bartonella's) symptoms, so we were actively fighting the Bartonella. At Thursday's appointment Jon's Bartonella symptoms were improving (not great, but improving), but his Lyme symptoms were in full force again. Jon's rash was also more bothersome. Here is a picture that looks very similar to Jon's. This is NOT Jon, but I wanted to share what his looks like to give you all an idea. When Lyme is attacking Jon's body the rash grows and itches horribly. Unfortunately not all Lyme patients get the rash, many don't even know that they were bit by a tick.

Jon's rash looks VERY similar to this rash...

For the next 6 weeks Jon will be doing Pulse Treatment to kill the Lyme & Bartonella. Daily he will take his Bactrim for the Bartonella and then he will add Metronidazole for 2 weeks, then he will switch to Minocycline for 2 weeks. This will continue for the 6 weeks, and we pray that it will kill both the Lyme & Bartonella. If this treatment does not work then we will talk about a new line of treatment. As Jon's doctor finished his list of questions and physical examine, he sat back on his stool, pushed the computer screen out of the way and looked at both Jon and I with a perplexed look. It's so frustrating that what works for some doesn't work for others. Oh how I wish there was a miracle drug that would kill the Lyme and give Jon back his life. Yes, we are striving to live life to its fullest, but it freaking sucks being in the middle of this!!!


Please continue to pray for Jon and our family...
Pray for:
  • Jon's physical health especially his joints in his fingers & elbows, his back and his feet.
  • Jon's short term memory issues, they come and go, but are becoming more bothersome.
  • Jon's treatment... he's going to be hit hard with large doses of antibiotics, pray that his body can handle all of the meds.
  • The girls, they know daddy is sick and have so far handled it very well. We don't hide the sickness from them, but we do protect them emotionally from the stress of this nasty disease.
  • Our marriage... believe me, it's not all sunshine and rainbows over here. The stress of this disease on our marriage gets the best of us at times, but at the end of the day, Jon and I both know that we are in it together. We made that commitment to each other 11 years ago and it holds true now, more than ever!!!
  • My mental well being... Lyme stress is not the only stress I'm battling these days and I could really use extra prayers to keep it all together and not have a mental breakdown. 

In closing I just want to thank everyone again for all of the support and love. When you are struck with sickness you find out quickly who your true friends are, and I have to say we are truly blessed. A special thanks to the my dear friends who had been that shoulder to cry on, whether it's literally a shoulder to cry on or just a simple text at the end of the day, THANK YOU!!! 

Enough is enough... time to get off this computer and Make EVERY Moment Count. 

Much Love,

Friday, March 29, 2013

{Chronic Lyme with co-infection Bartonella} the "NEW" diagnosis

Jon and I celebrated 11 years of marriage on March 16. We were able to travel north, while making stops at the new family cottage and then settling for the night in Traverse City. It was great to get away. Special thanks to Jon's parents, and some friends... it would not have been possible if it wasn't for those special people... THANK YOU!!!! 

While we had a wonderful time away, we quickly became overwhelmed with the diagnosis of Bartonella with the Chronic Lyme when we returned home. One step forward, followed by 3 steps back. Again, it's so hard to believe something so tiny (damn tick) could cause so much destruction!!!

It doesn't help with all of the medical costs. If you follow me on facebook, you know what I'm talking about. $400 (after insurance) for a months supply of just one med is outrageous!!! Thankfully Jon's doctor was kind enough to try him on something different to help us with the financial cost. We are very lucky to have such a wonderful doctor on our side. So far the new meds are ok, but also come with their own list of side effects. Poor guy is a mess inside. 

Jon went back to work a few weeks ago, but it was only on an "as needed" basis, and he was only working 8-10 hours a week, if he was working at all. While it was great for him to have time to rest his body, it's been financially difficult and that causes a lot of stress. Unfortunately stress & Lyme do not go well together, so it's been interesting. Jon's boss called him this week and asked him to come back to work full time. Jon is still on a restricted max 8 hour day, but 8 hours is brutal on his body. We're going to give it a little time and see how things go. We've had many people ask us about going on  Disability and it is definitely on our heart, but it's not an easy process and having Lyme is going to make it 10x's harder. Nothing about this journey comes easily.

We meet with the doctor on April 4 and we will hopefully have a few more answers at that time. We've started to prepare our hearts into going to a specialist in New York. Jon's not 100% on board yet, but he's realizing that in order to get the right treatment it may be his only option. New York will open a whole new can of worms for us. It will not be covered by insurance and from what we've learned from some of our Lyme Friends is that it costs on average $4000-$5000. I'm trying not to stress about the $$ part of it, but it is wearing heavy on my heart these day. I know it will all work out, someway, somehow.

I know I'm rambling. I really should be updating the blog more often so I don't end up writing a novel each time I post, but lack of time and exhaustion from trying to keep everything together, leaves me with little time. Thanks for listening!!!

 Many of our friends and family have asked how they can help... until we meet with the doctor next week we just ask for prayers... 

Pray for...
     * Jon's physical health (head-to-toe pain, stomach issues from all the meds)
     * Jon's mental health  (depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive, mood swings)
     * Sleep - Jon's been hit with insomnia and it's NOT fun!!!
     * Jon's doctor - to help lead us in the right direction
     * Our marriage 
     * The girls... they are SO loved and are our constant reminder that we need to push on and fight this disease. 
     * My mental health... being a caregiver is HARD and I'm tired.
We'd also like to Praise God for giving us answers. Yes, it sucks that Bartonella is now a part of Jon's life, but it's an answer. We would also like to Praise God for each and every one of you!!!! Without the help of our family and friends we would not be able to fight this journey. You all mean more to us than you will ever know!!! We are FOREVER touched by the kindness of others during this difficult time... THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!

In closing I thought I would leave you with some information about Bartonella. I'm still learning new things daily, but this is what we do know...

The tick that bit Jon was also infected with Bartonella. We were so focused on the Lyme diagnosis that it wasn't until the antibiotics were no longer working that we realized there was something else going on. The blood work Jon had done a few weeks ago confirmed the Bartonella Infection. Below is a list of symptoms that go with Bartonella... the ones underlined are ones that are effecting Jon...
{Bartonella Symptoms}
Brain Fog
Foot/heel pain

Ice pick headaches
Bowel problems IBS/IBD
Swollen Glands

OCD behavior
Peripheral Neuropathy
Rapid relapse off antibiotics
Immediate illness following tick bite
Subcutaneous nodules
Swollen Joints
Swollen lymph nodes
Psychiatric problems
Shin pain
No response to previous antibiotics

Plantar and costal margin pain (plantar=soles of feet costal margin = The lower edge of the chest (thorax) formed by the bottom edge of the rib cage)
Rapid mood shifts
Development of these symptoms during Babesia (Lyme) Treatment

Sleep Disturbances
Panic Attacks
Memory Loss
Stretch mark rash

Sucks seeing so many things underlined, but it is what it is... time to fight on!!! I will update once I know more after Jon's appointment next week. Thanks again from the bottom of our hearts...

Much Love... the Van Dyke Crew and don't forget to MAKE EVERY MOMENT COUNT!!!!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Bridges to cross and a {Merry Christmas}...

Well... I'm officially on Christmas Break and it feels SO good to have a little time off work to really focus on family, especially after everything we've been through the past few weeks.

Jon and I met with his doctor this past Wednesday. The doctor started him on Doxycycline again and will start Metronidazole in 2 weeks. Jon will be on the Doxy all the time, and will do 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off of the Metro. His doc is hitting him hard, so unfortunately, Jon will more than likely get worse before he gets better. It's such a weird feeling hoping for an increase in pain, but if his body does start to Herx again, then we know it's working.

We also talked about the "next step" if things don't improve. If we are not seeing any improvement Jon will undergo more testing to see if there is a Co-Infection. Many times when someone is infected with Lyme, they will also have a Co-Infection such as Babesia or Bartonella along with the Lyme. We PRAY this is not the case, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there. If you are bored and want to research Lyme yourself, here are a couple websites that we visit often.

IGeneX, Inc.  & ILADS

Please keep Jon in your prayers as we start up this treatment again. His doc reminded us that these are STRONG meds and can really mess up his gut. We are trying to be proactive, but some of the side effects are pretty darn scary. 

Of course when it rains it pours and all of the girls have also been sick this past week. High fevers, fatigue, loss of appetite and aches & pains struck the girls... and poor grandma Van Dyke too :( The girls are slowly getting better. Claudia suffered for over a week. Constance was hit, but it was short lived and Chloe is still fighting it, but is doing better. The doc at Prime Care said it could take 2-3 weeks before they were back to themselves. I'm hoping sooner than later, especially with Christmas being 3 days away. Hopefully we are all on the mend and healthy soon. It hasn't hit me yet and that's a good thing, because I don't have time to be sick... there's too much to do around here.

In closing I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!!! Spend more time with those you love. Hug them all a little tighter and MAKE EVERY MOMENT COUNT!!!!

With love,

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Holiday's... heartache or happiness

I'm not going to lie... I have a heavy heart this Holiday Season. This past year has been a year that I could easily forget. So much heartache, yet so much happiness...

Jon made it 4 weeks off his antibiotics. It's not been pretty. I know he really was hopeful that he would be doing a lot better, but he's not, and it's heartbreaking. It's so frustrating when you feel like crap on meds, and when you feel like crap off meds too. Lyme is just a vicious cycle. We hate it! Today we made the call for Jon to go back on meds. I know it took every ounce of his pride to tell me to make the call, but it is what it is and he can always try again later. 

Jon was thankfully able to go to deer camp back in November and as many of you know, he was quite successful. It was just the boost he needed to lift his spirits, even if it was short lived.  

In the midst of the pain and exhaustion, Jon is still able to work most of the time. I'm very grateful that we haven't had to cross the bridge of Jon not being able to work. We both know that the ability for him to work is a major blessing, and we don't want to take that for granted. However, work takes it all out of him and leaves him having zero to give. He needs a break, physically and mentally... and so do I!!!

My job is still going well.
Most days I really enjoy it, but it's also taken my stress level to a whole new level. Getting everyone dressed and out the door by 6:45am every morning is insane!!! I hate weekday mornings with a passion. It doesn't matter how routine I am, or how well I have everything planned out and organized, I ALWAYS end up running around like a chicken with my head cut off..

I miss the girls terribly during the week. Many mornings I drive to work in tears, wishing that I could spend more time with them. Counting down the days for the next "weekend" or "break". However, I have been BLESSED BEYOND WORDS, with a wonderful Mother-in-law and Father-in-law. Without them, Jon and I would not be where we are today. We are very fortunate and blessed!!! I don't know what we would do without them, and I hope they know how much we love them!!! Knowing how well they are caring for the girls helps take a little bit of my mommy guilt away. However, it's not just my girls she is amazing with... she also "gets" me and is an amazing listener!!! I can't thank her enough. 

In the midst of our crazy life we truly have so much to be thankful for... we have a roof over our heads, there's always food on the table, we have beds to sleep on, we have our Faith, Family & Friends... and we have each other. 

While our life has been overwhelmed with heartache, it's been our family motto the last few months to Make EVERY Moment Count. As 2013 quickly approaches our family is determined to move forward with happiness. Yes, 2012 has sucked in many ways, but we've learned an amazing lesson along the way... we have each other... Jon, Jenn, Claudia, Constance & Chloe... we're a team and no one can take that away from us!!! 

Thank you ALL for your support and love this past year... you will probably never know just how much you've touched our lives. Christmas Blessings to you all... and don't forget to Make EVERY Moment Count!!!