Saturday, January 25, 2020

Update before Poland

I've been so, so tired since my most recent treatment, and we've been busy with all our usual life, plus preparations for travel. All is well, though. The documents we need on this end are ready. Will did get our visa applications switched to Krakow, so we'll fly there on Tuesday and turn in our documents on Wednesday. Then we should have our visas and free time to enjoy Krakow, until our flight home on the 4th.

These cheap plane tickets we have don't include baggage or even full sized cabin luggage, so our girls are having fits about how they're going to pack. Asya's flute teacher is also trying to figure out how Asya can practice in Poland. Today she sent home a lighter flute case, hoping that Asya can somehow take her instrument with her in that.

I am also set up for a PET scan on February 12. When Will called the place my doctor recommended in Kyiv, they didn't have anything until May 22! And we couldn't connect with anyone in Poland, even with Polish people helping and trying to make calls for us. But, there's another place outside Kyiv, and they'll take me. So that and all those travel arrangements are set for after we get back from Poland.

School with Cinnamon again

Monday, January 20, 2020

Keytruda #11 (and no Warsaw?)

The travel itself wasn't fun, but otherwise I had a really good trip this time around. That's just what I needed after the difficulties last time. My friend Anne gave me her whole day. The time at the clinic went smoothly and quickly, and then we had lunch and went back to Anne's to rest. In the evening her small group from church came over, and I got to meet them (and all their babies!) before my train home.

Anne took this photo.
My blood work was good, and there weren't any problems. My doctor said that I have had such good results with Keytruda, that it might be time to start talking about finishing treatment. So, she wants me to get a PET scan, instead of scheduling another Keytruda. It is possible that what CT scans show as remaining tumours might just be dead tissue, and a PET scan should tell us if that is the case or not. There are only a few places that do them in Ukraine, so it can be hard to get an appointment. When she heard that we're going to Poland soon, she jumped on that and suggested that we do it there. My friend in Poland already did some research for me, and Will's going to call to the other option in Kyiv today. Then we can decide when and where and how.

Also, there are visa appointments at the Kraków embassy now, so Will is going to try to pull our applications out of the Warsaw queue and get us in for Kraków.

I seem to be even more tired than usual this time around, but otherwise I feel fine. I'm enjoying naps and early bedtimes. As always, it's just really good to be home.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

2nd Christmas, back to school, and Warsaw

We had a really nice "2nd Christmas." Will and the kids went to church, while I watched online. They brought home gift bags for our neighbours. Raia went to a Christmas play at another church with her friends, but the rest of us had a nice Christmas dinner at home. In the evening, after Raia rejoined us, we went around to our closest neighbours to carol. Some of them had been waiting and asking long in advance. This year Asya played her flute for them, too. When we got back to our own house, we took treats over to our neighbour here. The mother and children are in Crimea for the holidays, and we miss them terribly. Their father got them on Skype for us, though, and there was a joyous virtual reunion. (They should be home soon. Hurrah!)

The next day we started back to school. That's going well. Only Bogdan got a cold, so he hasn't been able to go back to music school, but it's not slowing him down otherwise. His teacher was cancelling lessons yesterday, too, because she was sick. I'm hoping all will be healthy to start again soon.

And... Warsaw. We already made our travel plans for Krakow, and that's the only flight anyway. However, when we tried to turn in our visa applications online, we found out that there are no appointments at the Krakow embassy this month or next month. We had to do something, so we applied to Warsaw. Now we'll fly to Krakow as planned, spend the night, and then Will and I will take a train on to Warsaw early the next morning, while our kids spend the day with our friends. When I told Bogdan that they would be staying with our friends for a day without us, he wanted to know if these friends speak Russian. (He calls them "the friends that I don't know," because he was too little to remember anything from the last time we were together.) I told him that no, they don't speak Russian... or Ukrainian. They speak English and Polish. He was upset. I reassured him. Then he gave a big sigh and said, "Well, that's better than Chinese."

We will go back to Krakow that same day, and we're really hoping that we'll have our visas with us. Somehow. But Warsaw apparently takes 10 days to process, although that can be expedited to 5. Could they be ready on that Monday? Maybe Will can go back again alone to get them, just before our flight home Tuesday? Or something. We need lots of prayer, for that part and that our documents here will be ready in time; the offices here can be notoriously slow.

Sunday, January 05, 2020


In trying to remember the last time we went to Poland, I went back through old blog posts. I remembered that Bogdan had his first birthday while we were on our way home, so it was 2012. Everyone was so little!

And the time before that, 2010, Asya was the baby in the stroller. I'm thankful that we can fly this time, and that everyone is so grown up and independent now. They don't really remember much of anything, so it's going to be fun to discover it all over again. We're rereading The Trumpeter of Krakow, and I found some other books for us, too....

Saturday, January 04, 2020

Christmas program and travel plans

Today the art school and the children's ministry team that Jaan and Raia serve with put on a Christmas program. Asya and Bogdan attended the first run through, and it turned out that Asya was in Jaan's group, and Bogdan was in Raia's. The teens guided their groups through crafts, cookie decorating, the Christmas story, and other activities. Then they did a second run with different kids. Here are a few pictures that they shared with the parents' group:

And travel plans: there are brand new weekly flights on a budget airline straight from Kherson to Krakow. So, on January 28 we are going to fly to Krakow to apply for new visas. We're all starting to get excited about seeing our friends there and doing some sightseeing. We want it to be a really fun and educational trip. Please pray for us (and Olga, who does paperwork) as we get all the papers ready, and then as we travel. Pray especially that I'll be strong enough to handle the travel and enjoy it all.

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Merry Christmas again from all of us to all of you!

Thank you for all your love and support through what has been a very hard year (but not a bad one). I hope the year ahead will be a little more gentle to us, but no matter what, God is good.