Love & Karmic Kindness For Jen

For: Jen Bulik
Organizer: Jeniffer Bulik
of $10,000 goal.
Raised by 140 donors
67% Complete
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

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.


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 [email protected]

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

Check out Jen's Caringbridge website to keep up to date with her journal entries:

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on June 23, 2013

Posted on June 23, 2013

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.

Posted on June 21, 2013

Posted on June 21, 2013

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)

Posted on June 21, 2013

Posted on June 21, 2013

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.

Posted on June 21, 2013

Posted on June 21, 2013

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.

Posted on June 21, 2013

Posted on June 21, 2013

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.

Posted on June 21, 2013

Posted on June 21, 2013

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.

Posted on June 21, 2013

Posted on June 21, 2013

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.

Posted on May 11, 2013

Posted on May 11, 2013

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. 

Posted on May 8, 2013

Posted on May 8, 2013

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. 

Posted on May 7, 2013

Posted on May 7, 2013

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.

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