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Love & Karmic Kindness For Jen

$6,796raised of $10,000 goal
67%

Organizer: Jeniffer Bulik Beneficiary: Jen Bulik

A benefit website for Jen Bulik

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Fundraiser Details

Anyone that has met Jen will tell you what a beautiful, kind soul she is. Always generous and true to herself, Jen is an inspiration to many in her community, and an amazing friend to all.

Jen was recently diagnosed with stage 4 Lung Cancer at age 34. Jen began Chemotherapy treatment on February 15, 2013 and is scheduled for treatment every 3 weeks. In late May Jen was told that the tumors in her lungs had shrunk 80%. The following week she was told it had spread to her lymphnodes and spinal fluid. The pronosis isn't good but Jen remains hopeful. Friends of Jen have created this website to allow those who would like to support her financially through her journey. More information will be added soon about current costs, treatment, fundraisers, and other ways to help.

Thanks in advance for your love and support. We encourage you to check back for updates, and add comments of encouragement.

UPCOMING FUNDRAISERS & ACTIVITIES:

1000 Paper Cranes - Donate on this website to sponsor a paper crane for Jen. For $1 you can add a personal message to Jen on a paper crane. Our goal is to make 1000. If you wish to help make the cranes, please contact Emily at EmilyElectra@gmail.com

Ongoing, meal donations. Visit Jens care calendar to sign up to provide a meal for Jen and Jeff: http://www.carecalendar.org/logon/140394
Calendar ID: 140394 security Code: 6170

Check out Jen's Caringbridge website to keep up to date with her journal entries: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/jenbulik1
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Updates

Updates

06/22/2013
by Jeniffer Bulik

I need a miracle

Written 16 hours ago

I just got news that there are cancer cells in the spinal fluid. This happens to 5% of cancer recipients. And I'm 1. Talk about special. According to the doctors the prognosis is grim. According to me there is still hope and possibility.
 
I need your prayers, positive energy, reiki and miracles.





06/21/2013
by Jeniffer Bulik

Rough Week

Written 18 hours ago

The headaches have continued. I tried norco, morphine and Advil combinations, along with anti nausea meds to try and give myself some peace. No luck. I puked it all up. All last weekend I just laid on the ground in front of the tv, napping, watching or crying while Jeff helped me. 

By Monday I was spent and went into kaiser for fluids. 

Tuesday I had an appt for a lymph node biopsy. I woke up that morning feeling so discombobulated, weepy, sick, and sad about what my life has come to. I ate at 5 am and fasted after that. I took a norco on an empty stomach and by the time I got to kaiser I felt nauseous. My mom wheeled me to the radiology dept. I felt cold and sweaty. My mom found me a puke bag. Within minutes I was heaving into the bag sitting in the waiting room. Thank God I was quiet. I held the bag of puke and cried. The lady at the desk brought me warm blankets and I curled into a ball on the chairs holding my head, which was achy and stabby. 

I was finally called back. The level 8 pain headache continued for another few hours until some nice nurse gave me fentanyl, which helped me relax but didn't touch the headache. 

The doctors then decided to take me to the emergency room to get the nausea and headache under control. I wasn't keeping anything down. 

After a short stay in the ER with lots of vomiting, I have been admitted to the hospital. Tonight will be the third night. 

I've had a 2nd brain MRI, spinal MRI, another lumber puncture and lots of narcotics in different combinations. 

The first MRI and LP were clear. The second brain MRI suggested there could be cancer in the spinal fluid. But they are waiting to hear what the LP says to confirm.

So yeah, 85% shrinkage to cancer spreading to the lymph nodes and possibly spinal fluid. This is a lot to think about. But what I noticed yesterday is that the diagnoses was easier to be with when I was in pain. I started receiving steroids last night and those made me feel pretty good and life didnt seem so bleak. 

I would deeply appreciate your prayers, positive energy, reiki, or any other name that would heal it. (Thank you Marianne Williamson for your phrasing)





06/21/2013
by Jeniffer Bulik
I take that back... Written June 13, 2013 7:03pm I mentioned the headaches in the last post.  The brain MRI came out negative.  That test was last friday and the headache persisted.   Doctor prescribed morphine. I felt a little jolted that doctor went straight to the morphine.  To me that meant serious and he thought it was cancer. I didn't fill the prescription.  Narcotics are a paper prescription that I would need to get from my doctor and hand to the pharmacist.  I went the whole weekend in so much pain because the norco I had didn't touch the pain.  By monday I didn't care about the fears I had about taking it.   The dose prescribed didn't touch the headache either.  I called the doctor about it and he said double the morphine and take norco on top of it every 4 hours.  This combo mostly helps, but doesn't cover the headache completely.  I still have to hold my head when I cough sometimes. The doctor also said he was concerned that there might be cancer cells in the spinal fluid.  great. and I will need to have a lumbar puncture.  I had that today. Also the lymph nodes in my arm pit and my breast are swollen and have been for a little while, doctor told me he thinks that's cancer and that the cancer has become resistant to the chemo.  (wtf, what happened to 85% shrinkage??) I think he could have mentioned this sooner, I've been shying away from hugs for awhile because of the pain. My cousin works for Stanford and she set up a conversation today with Dr. Neal, an oncologist there.  I saw him earlier this year for a second opinion.  Dr Neal talked to my oncologist at Kaiser today and wanted to share what they talked about.   It sounds like both agree that the cancer is growing.  (wtf) Dr. Neal suggested the lymph nodes be biopsied to test for more mutations.  I  like this.  And possibly start a new chemotherapy drug. Taxotere. I don't really like that at the moment.   I will probably lose my hair.




06/21/2013
by Jeniffer Bulik

It's not cancer.

Written June 6, 2013 3:56pm

I've had a headache for 2 weeks. The pain has been constant for about a week. 

I thought it was due to poor sleep positions. Pain meds aren't helping. I've had a chiropractic adjustment. 
I've had 2 acupuncture appointments since it started. I'm getting a massage. The doctor gave me a brain MRI last Friday. That was negative. 

The chemo is not so bad compared to having to hold my head as I cough because it hurts.





06/21/2013
by Jeniffer Bulik

Last week

Written May 28, 2013 9:59pm

I have been getting sleep. Quite a bit of sleep. I'll have to find another time to write. 

I tapered off the norco (narcotic like Vicodin) and I stopped being able to sleep because it helped with the cough. I was up coughing many times a night. This was ruining my days. I decided to take just a half pill at night and now I'm sleeping. I still cough if I wake up at night but it subsides after 10 or 15 minutes. I can sleep and still poop. Win win. 

I went to a lung cancer support group in San Carlos last week. It's more information driven. The group is hosted by the Bonnie addario lung cancer foundation. Bonnie is a lung cancer survivor and she is "cured". The cancer was cut out, chemo'ed and radiated. Now she is an advocate for lung cancer research. 

The topic of Tuesdays group was genome sequencing. Dr Paul Billings from El Camino hospital spoke.

When I was diagnosed, I was tested for 3 mutations. If I tested positive for any of them, that would have determined a specific treatment. I tested negative for two, EGFR and ALK, and there was not enough tissue for the third, KRAS. Testing for these mutations is pretty standard. 

In the short future doctors will be testing for many more mutations than just the three. This is already possible but insurance probably won't cover it. The cost is anywhere between 1,000 and 10,000$. The benefit would be to discover what mutations are there and use specific drugs to target those mutations. 

A woman in the group had her tissue sent to a lab on the east coast to be tested. The result showed that a drug used for renal cancer would be effective. The problem that she is facing is that insurance doesn't want to cover off label drugs. 

The group was held in what seemed like a warehouse. They had huge couches to sit on. Wine and dinner was served. The whole group was filmed and will be available online in a month or so. 

I felt empowered being there. I made connections with people who have connections and I was educating myself on the illness. 

That was the most exciting that happened last week. People ask me, "what do you do?". I've noticed my attention span is short, so I'm not really reading. I'm almost done watching 5 seasons of the new "90210". I listen to astrology classes. I do household things. I practice yoga from "yoga glo". I do breathing practices. And that's what the days look like. Sometimes my mom and brother or friends come over. 

I'm focused on self care right now. The 6th and final round of the 2-drug chemo is Friday. And then onto a three week cycle of 1-drug chemo. I'm planning the rest if the year around this 3 week cycle for now.





06/21/2013
by Jeniffer Bulik
Comfort
Written May 16, 2013 7:10pm

After this last round of chemo I feel super uncomfortable all the time. My throat is scratchy and I'm coughing a lot. Since I tapered off the pain meds the cough is more persistent. It wakes me up at night and I spend a half hour hacking until I fall back asleep. Last night I popped a lozenge every time I woke up. It helped a little. My dreams were also really colorful and intense. I didn't sleep well so much that I'm starting to dread bed time. Jeff seems to sleep through it and occasionally he rubs my back if he wakes up to me coughing. I would sleep in the other room if I kept him up. I'm tempted to sleep there anyway because I'm so annoyed with myself. Today I went to the DMV to get a handicap placard. I used it at whole foods, just pulled right up front. I did feel a little insecure like I was announcing to the world, I'm sick and flawed and can't walk from the normal lot. I also thought, "sweet, this is pretty cool". I get out of breath so it will come in handy. I made an appointment at the DMV and was in and out in 15 minutes. As the lady looked over my placard application I noticed I was hoping she would say something about my reason for needing it. She didn't. All she said was, "looks good". I don't feel good though. I feel like I'm stuck in mud that's drying and all the moisture is being sucked out of me. Things hurt. I think I have a swollen lymph node but I'm afraid to touch it. I'm out of breath from fatigue. I've had these "dry" life moments before, but not from a drug. I'm not getting excited about much and I seem to be avoiding human I interaction. My intuition says this is part of a cycle, so just stay and be with it. The only way out is through.




06/21/2013
by Jeniffer Bulik
Awake Written May 14, 2013 6:32am Being up at 3 am gives me something to write about. I can't think of anything else to do. Writing brings meaning to the madness. I take steroids the day before chemo to two days after. They help with some side effects of the treatment, but they keep me up at night. I've been up every three hours coughing. And then my mind starts wandering. The few days after chemo I have a decent amount of physical energy due to the steroids. Though I do experience a lack of mental and emotional energy. Life looks pretty bleak for a few days. A teacher of mine gave me a symbol that I picture when I'm being pulled to the dark side. I'm practicing being in the middle of a teeter-tater where one side is life and the other is cancer. Right now the cancer side is large and black and has a pull. Every 10 minutes I hear, "f**k, I have cancer". I wish I could just squirm out of it. The intensity is overwhelming. One of my quotes on Facebook is "keep riding the tiger". It's an Asian proverb or I got it from a tarot card, I don't remember which. Right now the tiger is crazy and I'm using all the training I've ever received to stay on. I'm recognizing that I need to build up the "life" part of the teeter-tater. I even got a pep talk today from the acupuncturist telling me that the rabbit hole is endless and you could live your whole life thinking about death. (My summary) What I heard is that I need to continue to generate meaning and pay attention to what brings me vitality and life. And give space to grieve the ideas about my life and let them fall away.




05/10/2013
by Jeniffer Bulik
I will eat more cake.

Written 16 hours ago

Ok, I'm up. Jeff came in to kiss me goodbye and I said, "are you taking the dog out?". He said, "no, she's not awake, I'm sorry you hate the dog.". (I have no idea how to do punctuation properly I just realized) Once he said that I started thinking and coughing and couldn't go back to sleep. 

We are dog sitting this weekend and last weekend. The dog we are sitting is really cute and little and full of joy. When I said yes I didn't pay attention to how many days, 4 full days and a night, or that I had chemo today, or that its my birthday Sunday, and I'm feeling a lot selfish at the moment. I'm mad now. I'm not mad at the dog, I'm mad at myself and for not honoring my need to be selfish. 

I'm breathing and crying and hoping this dispels enough of the energy so I don't take it out on Jeff or the dog or anyone else today. 

I made myself a birthday cake last night that I just realized I can eat for breakfast. It's a maple almond pumpkin cake I think. Kind of paleo. Made out of almond butter, pumpkin, maple syrup eggs, tons of spices and the frosting is coconut oil and coconut butter. It's a holiday cake and its amazing and I'm adding more fat into my diet. Or just desserts really. 

I saw a video of an oncologist yesterday that inspired me. Geoff Oxnard at the lung cancer living room. He was talking mostly about clinical trials and then went on to say he doesn't allow his patients to lose weight. I'm ten pounds down right now. He said, if you want to get on a clinical trial you can't lose weight, that means you're not doing well. Also there can be bumps along the road like getting pneumonia or something and landing in the hospital and losing ten pounds. You will need ten pounds to lose. All in his words. But it resonated. The oncologist said he liked his patients to have an extra 10. For me that wound mean 20 more. Scariest ever. 

My cousin (oncology drug researcher) said I needed to be 'robust' a few times. I didn't know this meant 'chunky'. 

I've been enjoying my smaller size and not telling anyone. I noticed the concern when I gained a few pounds going up to 127. Then I went back to 125, probably because I was so constipated that day it showed on the scale. TMI? ;)

Gaining weight in any capacity triggers some things in me. Then seeing that video gave me permission to deal with the feelings that come up when I do gain weight. It made this a challenge, which I realize now motivates me. 

Now I'm not gonna go out and eat crap all day. I will still eat high quality food, but more indulgent and I will enjoy myself too. 

Hence, the inspiration to make cake. 





05/07/2013
by Jeniffer Bulik
The doctor was happy

Written 6 hours ago

He came into the room the most joyful I've ever seen him, shaking hands and saying hello with confidence. The PET scan looked good, he said. 

The tumors have shrunk over 85%. I saw the difference in the imaging and it was distinct. From big super bright to smaller and not so bright. 

Also I'm down to one shot of lovenox a day. Yay. The PET scan report said I had air in the subcutaneous fat on the right thigh. Probably a self-given shot gone awry. 

The plan thus far is two more rounds of chemo and then a maintenance dose of infusions at three week intervals. 

Good results today. This is a marathon though that I'm still adjusting too. 





05/07/2013
by Jeniffer Bulik

The PET scan

Written 18 hours ago

My day changed mid-day. Since waking up so early I crashed around 11am and woke up achey all over. I thought, there goes being pain free, I spoke too soon. I felt like a truck ran over me while napping. I was fasting since 9 so I didn't take anything for the pain. 

I went to the PET scan at 3 and walked the slowest ever to the nuclear medicine department. I've never had an issue with needles but poking myself twice a day, giving blood and receiving infusions has freaked me out about needles. The nurse brought out the iv and I felt my insides contract in fear. I began settling more into the body and consciously breathing. Then she says, oh you have a scar right there. I lost it. 

The nurse leaves the room and turns the light off where I'm to lay and "relax" for a whole frickin hour. I cried for about half the time. As sad as this sounds while writing it, I felt comforted by the tears. The reality of this journey is tough to be with some days. 

After being in the dark room crying with a baby monitor on me, I had the scan. That was 20 minutes. I put my sleep mask on and lay there with my arms over my head while I moved back and forth in the machine. The PET scan is no big deal except for the amount of time I'm there for. A CT is less enjoyable because they inject something into the iv that makes me feel like I'm going to pee my pants. 

I receive the results tomorrow at 11am.

I still feel like hell, but once I ate I took a pain pill. I'm not trying to be a tough guy. Or I'm practicing not being a tough guy.





05/07/2013
by Jeniffer Bulik

SCANticipation

Written May 6, 2013 8:18am

I've been up for awhile, laying in bed, listening to the birds, and surfing the web. I got up to go to the bathroom then coughed for a half hour and can't go back to sleep. Jeff doesn't seem to be disturbed. 

I have a PET scan today. I heard someone say the term recently, SCANxiety. I'm not sure that its anxiety, it feels more like anticipation. 

I've been laying here and reflecting about my progress since last December. I was up in the middle of the night coughing and lucky to get a couple hours of sleep in a row. I slept propped up on pillows, envying those who could get a massage laying flat. At the time resisted taking Tylenol or Advil every 4 hours but I succumbed and that turned into two 10 mg norco's every 6 hours, barely. I felt self conscious about how "noisy" and diseased I sounded. Boxes of Kleenex littered the apartment. I was so out of breath I could barely walk to the car that my parents brought over a borrowed wheel chair and left it in the storage closet. It's still there. 

Now I'm mostly getting a full nights sleep, except for the occasional morning awake at 4am. I was sleeping on 3 pillows, threw one off the bed for about a week, then just pulled out my fancy neck pillow last night. Because now I can lay mostly flat. OMG yay. The trees by our place are full of pollen and my nose has been running and I'm hunting to find a Kleenex box. I tapered down to one norco every 6 hours because I lost so much weight and it made me feel crazy to take two. Last week I wondered how much pain I was in and tapered it down to a half. I haven't taken a pain med in over 5 days now. The detox night sweats have ceased too. Jeff and I are taking walks down Castro street at night and I feel good about it. Not out of breath. I've also gained some weight back. The cancer is the culprit for weight loss I found out recently. So weight gain is a good sign. 

After saying all if that I'm excited to see the PET scan results. I'll know tomorrow when I see the doctor at 11.

Sent from CaringBridge iPhone app






05/07/2013
by Jeniffer Bulik

Not so fast

Written May 2, 2013 7:15pm

The only thing fast I can do now is drive.  Well, that's not completely true.  I took a walk this morning that was somewhat brisk.  We live near a park and I walked around the outskirts.  I enjoyed watching the people living their lives.  People were out eating and walking their dogs, and then I saw some men playing frisbee on the lawn and I felt a little sad.  My lung capacity is not what it was.  The walk around the park left me out of breath.  So I can go fast but then I need to rest for awhile.  I'm now considering what it might be like to live in a medium pace.
I went to the emergency room last saturday.  I had a female thing that was bothering me and when I called the advice nurse, she said I needed to come in to have it checked.  But I received a chest x-ray.  It's been months since I've seen what my lungs look like.  The last one was close to completely cloudy.  When I followed up with the doctor I saw the x-ray and there was a lot more black.  The radiologist report still said "pneumonia" and I'm still coughing up mouth-fulls of phlegm occasionally, but it's way better on both accounts.  
Yesterday I went to a Lung Cancer Support Group at the Stanford Cancer Center.  The Cancer center is a beautiful place to go.  It has an organic cafe, the place is full of light from sky lights and it has super glossy hardwood floors.  This was my second time going to the group.  I had a much better experience of the group this time.  Apparently not many recently diagnosed people show up to the group.  Here's another place where I am above average.
I initially wanted to go to get some perspective.  I was starting to feel alone and isolated and I was curious about what other's were up to.  Going to the group helped.  I felt a little more coherent this time, at least I could speak without crying, so much.  The other's that were there have had the illness for at least a year and all of them are still taking a treatment, whether it be a pill or 3 week infusion's.  The pill is only an option if the cancer has a certain genetic mutation.  I do not have that mutation which is why I'm doing the infusions.
The main piece of information I took away from yesterday is how unique our experiences are.  Specifically that reactions and side effects to the drugs we take are different.  One woman was in bed 10 days out of the 21 day cycle from her maintenance dose of Alimpta.  This is one of the drugs I've had and will be taking as a maintenance dose and that hasn't been my experience.  I'm more tired after chemo but I've never felt like staying in bed all day.





05/07/2013
by Jeniffer Bulik

Maintenance dose

Written Apr 30, 2013 6:02pm

The Oncologist told me yesterday I will be receiving 2 more rounds of chemotherapy, making it 6 total.  And then I will receive a maintenance dose of one of the drugs, Alimpta, indefinitely.  He mentioned this a few times about the maintenance chemo and each time I inwardly scowled.  The thoughts I'm hearing are, "great, my body will always be toxic, what about the liver, that's a lot of doctor visits, the steak bandit won't ever leave, will I ever get any energy back?".
Today, I've decided I'm ok with this chemo for life program or until something more effective comes along.  This is the best option right now.  From the little I've read, lung cancer is serious and from what I heard a few times recently on tv, "there is no stage V".
My mom's cousin is in oncology drug research and he went to a cancer conference.  There are clinical trials happening that are new and hopeful which could change cancer treatment.  He said my job is to be aware of what's available so I can be ahead of the game if the tumor comes back.  Which from the stats I read (I won't be doing that anymore) this could happen within a year or two.
I've gone down a dark hole with these statistics a few times and I wonder how I can authentically turn it around and be positive with it.  I'm not going to just slap a bandaid on the sad images and say to myself, It'll be ok.  It might not.  I can though, get behind the fact that I am in a good position with the people I know, how quickly science is evolving, where I live, and chiefly that I am a unique and highly creative individual whose awareness is way above average.  





05/07/2013
by Jeniffer Bulik

Steak knife bandit

Written Apr 29, 2013 10:27am

The bandit only comes at night when I'm laying in bed vulnerable. I readjust my body and scream as I feel the knife ripping into the quadricep. So I lay still until he's gone. Sometimes rubbing the wound vigorously, but its numb and raw from being stabbed in the same spot. I don't even know what invites him in, there's no pattern to his attacks, just that he catches me by surprise. 

Neuropathy sucks.





05/07/2013
by Jeniffer Bulik

Up at 5 is better than 4

Written Apr 23, 2013 7:45am

I'm waking up so early some days. Today 5am. I get up to go to the bathroom and don't fall back asleep. I look at my phone while Jeff sleeps playing candy crush or searching online. Some mornings my stomach aches so I have to get up and eat. Usually grapes. The hydration from a grape is wonderful. 

I wake up and think and get upset. I'm not happy about having infusions every 3 weeks. This is the plan at the moment if the pet scan is clear. If its not clear I will have a couple more chemos. 

I've been talking with the doctor about the possibility of having children or at least a child. I wasn't given the option of freezing an egg or anything. This means going off the chemo for a period of time to get pregnant and going back on chemo on the 2nd or third trimester. The risk is that the cancer would come back. 

I heard this and thought, I could be ok not having a child. Especially since I'm choosing life and Jeff said we could buy one. Or a bunch of pets. 

Then the doctor brought it up again last Thursday. I said, well I could just wait a few years. And his comment was, the average stage 4 lung cancer patient only lives a few years. Hopefully you are above average. 

Fuck.

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05/07/2013
by Jeniffer Bulik

Ehh...

Written Apr 22, 2013 10:15pm

I'm in a foul mood today. I don't have much energy. I drove myself to this cancer support group meeting at kaiser hoping to receive some support through others. It was me and the social worker. I left early. 

The weekend was good. I had chemo Friday and have had a decent amount of energy since then. It's starting to drop though. The doctor said that seems to be what others report too. The peak of the treatment is at 7-9 days. 

I've been having more alone time lately and that feels good. I need it and crave it so I can think. There was a period where I didn't want to see anyone and that shifted once I had enough alone time.





04/19/2013
by Jeniffer Bulik
I just decided to share more on this thing

Written 11 minutes ago

Chemo was pretty good today. 

Jeff's parents are in town so I invited his mom to come along with my mom and I. They had a nice time together sharing stories and chatting. I had fun listening to it. 

The appointment today took longer than normal. I was there for about three hours. I feel pretty lucky though, some people's chemo can last all day I've heard. Or for multiples days in a row. This every three week process is being prescribed indefinitely. I'm receiving another pet scan next month which will determine if I need another cycle or two. Then doc says I will be put on a maintenance dose which is an every three week infusion. Using only one drug, alimpta, that one is a ten minute infusion. 

I'm wondering now how my life will be put back together after this. I hardly ever went to the doctor before and it's looking like it will be a monthly deal. I have two appointments booked for may already. 

Something is changing within me, I feel awkward a lot. I don't know what it is yet. I seem to learn more when I'm on the other side of things. 

I'm beginning to consider what it will be like doing hair and in what capacity. Will I go back to the salon? And the same one? Or will I just do house calls? Being around chemicals in the salon concerns me and just doing house calls keeps it to a minimum. Then I could change the color line I use to something less toxic. 

Cancer has given me opportunities to change things I've been considering for awhile. It has given me a good reason. Good reasons mean something to me. 





04/19/2013
by Jeniffer Bulik
End of three week cycle

Written 15 hours ago on Caringbridge

I usually feel pretty good at the end of the three week cycle. I still get pretty tired in the afternoon. 

Yesterday I drove around in my car and in doing that I felt somewhat normal. It was pretty fun listening to music with the windows down. I haven't been driving a lot. My mom is my appointment companion and she usually drives. 

Everyone who sees me says that I look good. It kind of nice to hear all the compliments. I guess it also means I don't look sick. I have lost about ten pounds. Well more but I gained back 3 which I saw today. But that's about the extent of me looking sick. I have hair. And color in my face. 

I'm assuming that the combination of everything I'm doing including my attitude to me doing so well. 

I do have a couple annoying side effects. I give myself shots of lovenox in the stomach everyday. That wasn't so bad until the hematoma I got. It's this hard little knot in my stomach. Pretty gross. I feel like passing out when I tough it. So I give them in the leg now to give my stomach a rest. I wonder if I overlapped something because I don't bruise and its hard to tell where I've been. My leg is all bruised though. 

The other is these shocks of pain in my thigh that happen at night. It's like pins and needles and this tearing sensation and I'm not able to move my leg without screaming inside. I don't want to startle Jeff, too much. I'm not sure if its neuropathy. The Dr says that usually happens in the hands and feet but I don't have that. The leg thing doesn't happen all the time, maybe a few times a week. 

Chemo feels kind of dirty. I walk out of there feeling icky and I don't know what I want to do with myself. As I write about it the word that comes to mind is mourning. I feel like I start grieving. Which makes sense to me knowing that cells are dying. 

I have chemo tomorrow and if you're into praying I would like some prayers to help me stay grounded, calm and peaceful within myself. 





03/29/2013
by Jeniffer Bulik

Approaching Number Three

Written 23 hours ago on CaringBridge.org

Tomorrow I have chemo number three. I feel nervous about it. Probably because the days have been uncomfortable the past two treatments. 

After the past two I felt weird. It's this awkwardness, I find myself wandering around the house closing blinds and straightening up, getting upset with Jeff for the things he leaves around. Wanting order because I feel so chaotic in myself. I feel weepy and notice my thoughts tend towards dark places. 

Physically I felt sick and ran to the toilet many times. I have prescriptions for this that didn't work. My feet hurt. I feel an achenes as I walk. Ball rolling helps a little. I have more energy than I imagined someone going through chemo should have. My eyes feel blurry. I notice two dark spots that come and go in my vision. I had this checked out. It's all normal. I've heard the phrase "chemo brain". To me that means I can't think. Words I use all the time aren't accessible. I don't try too hard here and allow things to come to me. 

I've had a lot of support. Friends check in and stop by. I hear people are sending prayers and healing. Friends and family are bringing dinners. This part is amazing. I dont have the energy to cook for myself so its a huge help to be brought healthy meals. I'm having acupuncture treatments, which I was told by my doctors not to use acupuncture, but after looking into it I decided it would be ok for me. I checked out a few Accupunturists and decided on the one who spends a good 20 minutes consulting with me every time. I also receive herbs from him. I felt secure knowing he researched the chemo drugs and the medications I take. The herbs are nasty. I cook them on the stove and want to gag when I drink them. It helps knowing after reading an article that patients taking Chinese herbs do better on chemo than those who don't, this study said. I also receive energy work/healing touch/reiki once or twice a week. My mom has also been with me since this started. Helping me with house work, watching shows, taking me to appointments and the store. Jeff and I have a great relationship and that makes this time easier, being able to talk about the hard things. We see a counselor together and I see her alone too. 

I've had a thought during this process that I fear I'm not doing enough to support myself. But after writing this, damn, I'm doing a hell of a lot. Actually, I'm allowing others to help me a lot. Thank you :)





03/29/2013
by Jeniffer Bulik

BACKGROUND STORY

It started with phlegm. Hocking a lot in the morning. I would take a tablespoon of vitamin c and "boom", something started clearing out. Throughout the day I was constantly clearing my throat prior to speaking. This was October '12

Then the cough came. The 8 week plus cough brought me into the doctor, along with shoulder pain. I was given an inhaler and told to take OTC cough stuff. Neither helped. The inhaler gave me a splitting headache. The shoulder pain became more intense. I was using Advil and Tylenol around the clock. The pain and the cough would wake me up. This was November and I was sleeping in blocks of time around taking the pills. 

I went back to the doctor. I was given a zpack and an order for a chest X-ray. I was hesitant about the chest X-ray because of how much I paid out of pocket already. After receiving 3 calls in a row telling me to get the X-ray, I went and got it

I got the X-ray the day before leaving for Rhode Island. After I landed I received the results that the diagnosis was pneumonia. 

I had a low key Xmas, with lots of rest but i didn't feel much better. So back at the doctor. I saw a different doctor who gave me a really aggressive antibiotic. Nothing changed, still annoying cough and chronic shoulder pain that chiropractic and massage didn't touch. 

I went into the er because I was told the pain could be something scary like a blood lot or a new infection. The doctor did some scans and found 2 masses. The options they could be at the time were lymphoma, carcinoma or infectious mass. 

I stopped working around now. I didn't have the energy to be all there for my clients. 

I started the testing, which included 2 biopsies, a pet scan, a brain MRI. All technicians said it was imperative I did not cough. I was pleasantly surprised that with enough drugs that is possible. 

I knew within me it was cancer. I received the confirmation on the 31st of January. The diagnosis is non small cell adenocarcinoma lung cancer. 

I smoked for short times in my life and I generally live healthy. There is no genetic history of cancer in my family. 

I am coming into acceptance that this is my path bringing me a great transformation that will benefit the highest good for all those concerned. 



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