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.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Children's ministry

Do you recognise this person?

Raia loves serving in the kids' club at church. They started a new season for this new school year with a watermelon quest, which included painting some of the helpers (Raia!) and sticking stuff on their heads. By the way, her face was supposed to look like a watermelon, but she had the youngest group of artists working on her; they were very thorough and worked with a very impressionistic style.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Jaan's birthday

On Tuesday Jaan turned 16. He wanted to have his friends over and play computer games with them, but our electricity was off all day, so they went to a place where they could pay to play games. That means I don't have many photos. But then they came here for hamburgers that Will had made. We had a really nice dinner together.

Bogdan had to show Seryozha his bandura.

Then I brought out our attempt at ice cream cake, after a day without electricity. It turned out to be a melty volcano, but they liked it.

And presents!

It was a fun, simple day to celebrate someone who is really amazing.

(And we've been on this side of the world for 18 years. Jaan's birthday coincides with the anniversary of when we moved.)

Friday, September 13, 2019

A bump

Everything has gone so smoothly with my treatment so far, but now there's a little bump in the road. It's a very little one; I think I'm just disproportionately upset by it. 

I had a cold, and it has turned into bronchitis and a sinus infection. When we wrote to my doctor in Kyiv yesterday to find out if I could come on Monday as planned, mostly well but still coughing some, she said that I needed to see a doctor here right away before she could say yes or no. So, we did that this morning. The doctor here was very nice. She looked at x-rays of my head and chest, and decided that I should get well first here, then go to Kyiv. Boo. I'm supposed to take several medicines and drink warmed Georgian mineral water. I'm really not terribly sick, but she said that with my immune system fighting this, it would be better not to add more immunotherapy on top, which makes sense.

So, we've rescheduled Kyiv for September 23. I'm really grumpy about that, since it means I'll be traveling back on Asya's birthday. (It was so perfect to have Keytruda #6 scheduled right between Jaan and Asya's birthdays, the way we had it before.) I still have to switch out my train tickets, and that's probably not going to be easy. Please pray that I'll get well soon and that all this will work out well.

(P.S. I got decent new tickets.)

Friday, September 06, 2019

First week of school

We have had a wonderful and hard first week of school. It's been hard, because we've had colds, and they're really hitting some of us hard. Wonderful because, well...

Monday I had planned to do photos, the part of school we all do together, go over schedules with everyone individually, then go on a picnic for lunch. Music teachers started calling and asking kids to come in, though, so we put the picnic off for dinner. (That was good, because it was hot in the middle of the day.) Bogdan had his first meeting with his new music teacher to prepare him for his (terrifying!) entrance exam. And our evening hike and picnic was great.

Tuesday the older three and I did school, while Will took Bogdan to the doctor to get his health paper to start music school. Then Bogdan had his first art classes for the year, followed by his exam, which he survived.

Wednesday turned cold and rainy, and our electricity was off all day. Midmorning and it was almost completely dark in our house! We still had a pretty good morning of school. After lunch Asya had her first meeting with her new flute teacher, and I went with her. She was very happy that her friend from church was scheduled at the same time as her. They're at almost exactly the same level, and they picked all the same new pieces to start learning.

I am really amazed by how everyone is mostly settling right back in to the school routine. Thursday, after lunch Bogdan had his first real bandura lesson, and then more art. This year it's Jaan's job to take him everywhere, and I think that will go well. Raia also started into art, but she's still trying to figure out her schedule and maybe switch it around some.

Today... also good. It's definitely not easy, but we're getting a good start to the year.