I had a lot of time to sit and talk with Mustafas mother today during his surgery. She told me that she found out about Mustafas heart condition one month after he was born. At two months old Mustafa underwent a catheterization in Baghdad. If this first operation wouldnt have taken place he would have only lived a few more months. Following this operation in Baghdad, the doctors told Mustafas mother that he still had a very serious condition. Without intervention he would only have a life expectancy of about 18 to 20 years at best.
At this point Mustafas family used all of their resources in order to find some help for him. They wrote letters to many organizations around the world. Often it would take up to a year to hear back from some of them and the answer was always that for this or that reason they were unable to help Mustafa. She also said that there were a few countries around Iraq with the ability to help Mustafa, but all wanted an astronomical fee that her family didnt have the money to pay. Finally, after four years of continuous searching, she was pulled aside by a doctor who told her about a secret organization in Israel. That was seven months ago. Only a few weeks after hearing about this secret organization, Mustafas mother found herself and her son in Israel preparing for the first of what would be three operations. Today Mustafa had his final operation.
Immediately after the operation was complete, one of the doctors came out with a big smile on his face and informed us that everything had gone really well. Mustafas mother and I sat outside of the ICU waiting for Mustafa to be brought up. Finally we saw him coming down the hall. He quickly passed us and as he did the worry on his mothers face quickly diminished. She turned to us and said, His lips! They are pink! After we went into the ICU we discovered that not only were his lips pink, but his fingers and toes as well. (Before the operation they were blue.)
Another thing she quickly noticed was his oxygen level. Before any of his surgeries his oxygen level was around 60%. Following his second surgery it was around 70%, but today his heart was completely healed. His oxygen level (shown below in turquoise) was fluctuating between 98-100%.
Initially the doctors told us that Mustafa would be attached to an artificial heart that would assist his heart until it was strong enough to pump blood to the body on its own, but by the time he arrived to the ICU there was no need for this.
Praise God for a smooth and successful operation thus far. Please continue to pray that Mustafa would remain stable throughout the night and continue in his recovery.
Staff member Hank, along with his family and guests, brought a birthday celebration to the hospital for Mustafa's mother:
Little did Mustafa know that while he was sleeping in the ICU his mother's birthday had come and gone, but not without a little birthday celebration. We tried to prepare a meal that his mom would enjoy--vegetables in sauce over rice--and then we made our way to the hospital.
The dinner and the cake were a hit but the small gift, a picture frame with a picture of her and Mustafa by the Dead Sea, was better than the icing on the cake.
Barb Yeakel, one of our guests, said that "just to be able to fellowship with people of other nations in a land of such uncertainty has blessed me beyond what I could have imagined."
As the night came to a close, Mustafa's mother asked if we could make a small cake for her son when he is out of the ICU. Our trust is in God for a quick and total recovery.
Mustafa returned to Wolfson Hospital today for a three-hour cardiac catheterization procedure to check from within how his heart is doing. From 11 am until 2 pm this afternoon Mustafa's mom waited anxiously for her son's return from the cath lab. Results were positive with good heart function signalling success after his initial surgery a month ago. Staff doctors making their rounds discussed his pulmonary arteries and we were informed that within 24-36 hours from now he will return to the children's house, to await his second surgery in approximately one month. He tried to drink a little water while we were there and his stomach immediately reacted but the doctors reassured us that he is right on schedule with targeted recovery.
To our great pleasure, upon arrival at the hospital we found Mustafa's mother is in wonderful spirits and socially interacting with the other Arab moms in the rooms surrounding Mustafa. We shared tea together and watched Mustafa smile continuously as he enjoyed his little cars given to him to pass the time before he can be released tomorrow.