Using a single instance of Photo AI that's always up?

PC, Windows 11 Pro, currently on the laptop with Photo AI 2.0.3

I’m not at home, so I can’t see if what I THINK was happening there on the desktop when using 2.0.2 actually was. So this may be operator error or computer inconsistency or cosmic rays!

I start Photo AI. It just sits there waiting for an image.
I go to Lightroom and do normal processing. At some point I want to use Photo AI so I export the image to Photo AI - I BELIEVE the image went into the running instance of Photo AI. I could do normal upsizing, noise reduction and sharpening, whatever, then process the image. PHoto AI sent the image back to Lightroom and the image STAYED open in Photo AI. I could change the upsizing or sharpening or whatever and rerun the processing. Eventually, I’d go back to Lightroom and have multiple outputs from PHoto AI WITHOUT having to export the image over and over.

I’m traveling with a Windows 11 Pro laptop, and I just installed 2.0.3 (it had 2.0.2 and did the same thing).
I tried doing the same thing, but it LOOKS like I get a second instance of Photo AI every time I export an image, and it closes every time it processes the image.

Is there a preference or some other setting (something in Windows?) I’m missing that makes this work? I looked in the preferences, and the ONLY thing I could find that might be applicable was “Close images after saving”, which I have turned OFF so “Images will remain open after they are saved.”

Anybody had an idea what I’ve got set wrong?

When using Topaz Photo AI as a plugin, it will always open a second instance.

The stand alone and plugin instance of the application have different functions so they need to be separate.

How do I use Photo AI so I can either use the Lightroom plug-in, OR the
export from Lightroom, and have Photo AI enable me to do multiple Photo
AI processes - changing sharpening type or other setting WITHOUT having
to resend the image every time? FROM Lightroom. 'Cause it takes WAY
too long to improve the “subject” masking to be sending the same image
over and over and going through that every time.

I’ll happily START Photo AI standalone, as long as I can SEND an image
to it and NOT have it shut down Photo AI every time I processes the
image. And doing a manual “chase down the image” from the folders
outside Lightroom isn’t practical.

So, what do I do to have an instance of Photo AI KEEP the image in there
so I can process it multiple times, sending the output images back to
where they came from?

Is it simply not possible to use Photo AI from Lightroom and have Photo AI stay open so I can try different forms of sharpening to review back in Lightroom?

The problem is that since the lighting adjustment isn’t available if using Photo AI on a RAW file, it’s extremely difficult to see the effect of sharpening (and possibly other adjustments) on an image like this one that’s about a half stop underexposed and needs some shadow increase to bring out the detail in the blacks: