Friday, October 11, 2019

Papa picture

The art school posted photos from Bogdan's class of the kids' portraits of their fathers. They also sent out a few photos of the works in process over the past few lessons. Oh, and there was one of Asya, too.

It's one week since Keytruda for me, and I'm doing well. No side effects, except that I want a nap every day, and I'm usually ready for bed by 8:00. I'm going to buy tickets for the next trip now. And--this is the fun part--it's for the day my parents arrive for a visit, so they'll be here when I get home afterward.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Keytruda #6

Thank you so much for all the prayers and support. My trip to Kyiv and back was quite uneventful. Two overnight trains in a row is rough, but I made it. Everything went really smoothly at the clinic, too. No trouble with the IV or anything. I was worried about that, after the IV disasters here recently.

The one complication that did come up is that I am now officially too underweight for the Keytruda dosage. Apparently it's all or nothing, too; when medicine is worth its weight in gold, you don't just dump a little down the sink before giving it to a smaller person. My own doctor examined me very thoroughly and decided that she couldn't approve it, just because of my weight. So, she called in the head of the chemo department. That doctor also examined me and very tentatively approved. She cancelled the sleepy medicine, too. (That's the allergy medicine they've been giving me to avoid a repeat of the little rash I got after the first time.) Without that, I'm tired, but I didn't have the extreme sleepiness during and after that I usually get. But, she said that if I have the slightest reaction of any kind, we're done with Keytruda for now.

I felt so much better than usual that I went to the botanical garden and walked and sat and took pictures after I left the clinic. That was wonderful! I even saw a squirrel there.

It is so good to be home now, too. Bogdan can't stop hugging me, and I'm loving that. I'm tired, but I'm loving my soft bed after the trains.

My next appointment is very tentatively scheduled for October 25, but they said not even to buy tickets yet. We're supposed to see how things go for at least a week or more, then they will confirm, if I'm doing well (and gaining weight?). So, please keep praying!

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Raia and the Americans

I think Raia has mostly recovered from her hard-working, fun week as a translator. Thank you for praying for her! We hardly saw her all week, because she left so early and came home so late every day, or some nights she just slept on a couch there. It was a great experience for her. I have a few photos of her with two of the Americans and two of the kids they were caring for:

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Asya's birthday

One week ago was Asya's twelfth birthday. She had a great time celebrating! First, she got the bicycle she had been wanting (and needing. Our kids do a lot of commuting on their bikes.) Then Will took her and her friends to the big mall. They planned to go bowling, but it was too full, so they ended up at Jump Park, the trampoline and climbing place. After playing hard, they had dinner at MacDonald's. Asya was so sweet and flexible about all of it. Changes in plans didn't bother her at all. It was all exactly what she wanted, no matter what happened.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Thanksgiving Fest

I am slowly getting less itchy. After the IVs there was a nice jump in comfort level, and then the rest of the week has been slow progress. I was happy to switch from shots to oral medicine a few days ago. Most of the spots are finally gone, and pretty much only my hands still really itch badly.

Saturday I went to the Thanksgiving Fest put on by the churches here. It was so good to get out and see so many people. We hadn't been planning on it, because I'm really avoiding crowds and germs, but I just couldn't stay home. I wore a mask in the bus, and then sat on the edge at the park and felt happy and thankful. We even saw the doctor who had prescribed the antibiotics there.

Jaan ran a game where kids crawled through a spider web. His friends were nearby with a box labyrinth that Bogdan really liked. Raia came with the Americans she had been translating for all week. Asya went to the park with us, and we brought one of her friends along, and then she disappeared with a whole group of friends for the rest of the time, so I didn't get even one photo of her.

Also my flowers at home are still really flourishing:

We've set my next appointment in Kyiv for Friday, so please pray that all the itchiness will go away and that I can stay well and go!

Monday, September 23, 2019

Difficult days

Yesterday and today have been really difficult.

First, though, we had a lovely dinner out on Saturday night. That was the calm before the storm, and I'm so thankful for it!

Saturday morning I woke up covered in a very itchy rash. Very! Itchy! And very covered. Will started contacting doctors. My wonderful doctor in Kyiv answered right away, but she's too far away to help. She told us to go straight back to the doctor I had seen for the complications of my cold. That doctor--and most doctors--don't work on Sunday mornings. We signed up for the first apointment with her this morning. Then I started in on everything my Kyiv doctor could suggest for comfort, plus an oatmeal bath, and finally an evening with our English-speaking group of friends to distract myself. (That was the bright eye in the middle of the storm. So thankful for them, too!)

This morning when I got up, it was much worse. By the time we got to the clinic, I looked bad enough that they were talking about calling an ambulance, instead of waiting for the doctors to get there. But we waited, and I ended up with several doctors taking care of me. After a very traumatic IV situation (that should have been easy; IVs are a big part of life for me lately), and a shot, I'm feeling somewhat better. I still look like a leopard, but not very itchy, and I can breathe normally! And fit my glasses on to my face!

We're not entirely sure what caused all this. It was either a delayed reaction to the antibiotics I took last week, or a very delayed reaction to Keytruda, or as one doctor said, something like a "combined reaction." Whatever it was, please pray that it will go away and never, ever come back.

I think we're back to Will giving me shots twice a day for at least a few days now, depending on how quickly the rash goes away. Since I'm healed from the 5-per-day hospital shots, I don't know how he'll find the right place to inject. You can pray for both of us. Thanks!

Saturday, September 21, 2019

This week, next week

The first photos are from art school this week. The elderberry is from our long nature walk Tuesday morning; it's almost ripe.

His butterfly is carnivorous; I doubt that the girls' are.

We have definitely learned how important it is for me not to get sick and what a miracle it was that I went so long without picking anything up from the children! This cold and complications from it have hung around for almost three weeks now. I am still not well enough to travel, but my doctor in Kyiv wanted to see current blood work, so we had that done yesterday and sent it to her. It all looked good. Other than bronchitis, a sinus infection, and cancer, I'm really healthy. Tonight Will and I are going to go out to dinner, "just because." I needed something fun to look forward to. Plus, we never really celebrated my good results almost a month ago. Next week I won't be going to Kyiv, and I'll get to be here for Asya's birthday. Please pray that I'll get well, though.

Also, please pray for Raia next week. There is a group coming from our church's sister church in America. They're foster parents, and they're coming to let the foster parents at the church here go on a vacation. Each American is going to have a personal translator, and Raia has been asked to be one of them! She'll be on duty all day, every day for a week. Pray for health, stamina, and language skills.