We said farewell this week to four of our Kurdish children. Rizhna, Mariya, Avan, and Yaman have safely returned home together after all being discharged.
Getting them out of the country was no simple matter after almost all flights from Ben Gurion were cancelled. My father sent us word at 11 AM Tuesday that travel permission had come for them to enter Jordan; two hours and one trip to Jerusalem to pick up Yaman later, we were driving down to the border crossing in a car stuffed to the brim with children, mothers, and suitcases.
When there, we had a brief, alarming hiccup when the Israeli customs refused to let our van cross the border with them, meaning that they—and my father, who picked them up from Jordan—would, with children in hand, have to lug all their possessions through taxis and buses all the way to their end destination. But God is good, and eventually the border allowed them through, car and all.
Those four have been with us for a long time. Rizhna was here for over six months, Mariya for four, and Avan and Yaman for one and a half. We laughed with them and wept with them; we saw them arrive sick and return home healed. We grew to love them all. Our houses and our hearts feel hollow with them gone; but we also rejoice to see them restored after such long absences to their families. God indeed is good, and he keeps his promises.
This morning, we arrived at Sheba Hospital to find Mariya and her mom in the waiting room of the pediatric Ophthalmology clinic. Mariya was in a somewhat grumpy mood, and her mom explained that it was because she’d had an EEG that morning and did not enjoy the bath she had to get afterwards to wash the gel out of her hair.
Mariya’s mood persisted for the rest of the morning, as she had to undergo a series of eye tests. Because the genetic condition she has sometimes causes vision problems, the genetic doctor worked hard to arrange this evaluation for her before she is discharged from the hospital. She did not enjoy the exams one little bit, but cheered up a little when they were done and she could go back to her room to play with the physical therapist.
The test results look great, thank God, and Mariya doesn’t seem to have any problems in her vision. She has a small stigmatism in the right eye, but it’s not significant enough to cause issues.
Mariya completed her time in Sheba Hospital! And not only that, the doctors all-cleared her to return to Kurdistan! She needs to have follow-up with different doctors, but this is all available in Kurdistan. She needs to see the Nephrologist, the Neurologist, the Cardiologist, the Urologist, so a lot of doctors.
Thank God she is able to go back to Kurdistan. We are all sad. There is no staff member, no doctor, nor one of the other mothers who do not like Mariya and her mother, a mother who is known to be very caring and understanding. She always wanted to help us, she loves to clean, she is fun to be around. But I’m very thankful for her that she can go back to her other daughter and her husband.
We ask for your prayer for available flights and for safety.
Early this morning, Mariya had a CTA for her brain and body to examine her arteries for aneurysms at Sheba Hospital. Arterial aneurysm is one of the most serious possible problems caused by her genetic condition, so it was very important to check for this before she goes home.
Just a few hours later, the genetic doctor called with the great news that Mariya’s scan results look perfect! This is such a relief to her mother and to us. This is the last of a series of exams that Mariya needed, so things are finally wrapping up for her at the hospital.
The day ended on a bittersweet note, as some of our coworkers had to say goodbye to Mariya and her mom before leaving Israel tomorrow. In just a couple of months, they’ve formed beautiful relationships, and it was a tearful goodbye in Mariya’s hospital room. I’m so grateful that God gives us the gift of these relationships, even when the parting is hard.
To see Mariya today in Sheba Hospital with her mom made me very happy. When coworker Zech and I entered her room, she was crying but we tried everything to make her happy again and it worked. We played with her a lot and enjoyed the time with her mom who was very glad to see someone she knows and we comforted each other.
All of a sudden, Mariya threw up and cried again a lot. The doctors said that if this happens more often, she needs to have a blood test taken. Except for this, she is doing good, she eats but not as much as she should. The doctors also said she needs to run more tests on Wednesday and if they are all good she can be hopefully discharged to our house in Ashdod.
We ask for your prayer for Mariya and that her tests will be good so she can come soon to Ashdod.
Today I got to see my good friend Mariya for the first time since the day of her surgery. Her mom has been sending me photos for the last few days but it was so much better to see her in person, happy and giggling.
Last night, Mariya and her mom had to take shelter with other patients and hospital staff because of rocket fire from Gaza. Her mom told us today that while everyone else was tense and afraid, Mariya was laughing through the whole thing.
Mariya’s doctor said she is doing great, and is even almost ready to go home to Ashdod. She’s going to stay a couple more days to get some other tests done, but then we’re so excited to have her back in the house.
Mariya is not doing great after her surgery on a personal level, being very upset, crying and getting angry, not sleeping well. All this is putting some strain on her mother too, but thankfully Mariya’s health is good and doctors at Sheba Medical are content with her recovery, even if sometimes it can be hard to determine that. Today when I went in their room, I was just in time to help out with getting her a blood test.
The nurse had tried taking a blood sample in that room but couldn’t, so she was sending Mariya down to the ER to get a test. Mariya, her mother, and I went down to the ER where we helped to get the blood sample. It was a hard process, we only got a good sample after trying to get blood from the third limb we tried, and Mariya demonstrated her surprising strength the whole time by jostling around and not staying still. Eventually, it was over and she couldn’t stop crying, if her mother held her, if someone tried playing with her, if she watched her favorite show, it didn’t work, she just wanted to hide under her blanket.
Thankfully after a while she did calm down and started trying to sleep, a good sign for tonight. Even though Mariya is having a hard time in the hospital, we are thankful she is recovering well, and pray to God that her recovery continues.
Nearly two years ago, Mariya’s mom and I sat together in Mariya’s final appointment with the nephrologist at Sheba Hospital before she could go home to Kurdistan. I remember well the doctor’s gentle explanation that while for then Mariya was okay, if her left kidney stopped functioning completely, she’d need it surgically removed.
A few minutes later, after the appointment, we assured Mariya’s mom that if this happened, we’d be there to support her.
That’s what I thought of today, when after long months of work to bring Mariya back from Kurdistan, and another four months of waiting here in Israel, we kissed her goodbye and watched as she was wheeled into the OR for her nephrectomy procedure. The surgeons were planning a robotic procedure that would take around four hours to fully remove her left kidney. While we sat in the waiting room of the main hospital building, Mariya’s mom told us she was sorry for how tired we were from being at the hospital with her since early in the morning. “Don’t be sorry,” I told her in Arabic. “We told you we’d be here for you. This is exactly where I want to be today.”
The four hours that coworker Keyla and I spent in the waiting room with Mariya’s mother were genuinely beautiful and even a lot of fun. It was a big difference from the last time I sat with her during a surgery, when we could only talk with google translate and hand gestures. This time, the three of us spent the whole time telling stories and laughing together.
When the doctor came out of the operating room, it was to share good news– the surgery was successful and Mariya is okay! At the beginning of the procedure, the surgical team decided it would be too complicated to do a robotic procedure, and did a traditional open surgery instead. Even so, the operation was a little difficult, but thank God they were able to remove the left kidney and part of the left ureter without complications.
After a little while in the recovery room, Mariya was moved to the pediatric ICU in the children’s hospital for the night. When the nurses weighed her, we found that she’s lost 300 grams as a result of the surgery. After months of working hard to help her gain weight, we laughed at how happy we were to see this weight loss.
Mariya needs to spend the night in the ICU and if she’s feeling well tomorrow she can move back to the pediatric surgical ward. At the end of the evening, we hugged goodbye. “You’re my sisters,” Mariya’s mom told me and Keyla. “And you’re ours,” we told her.
Please pray for a good recovery for Mariya and a safe return home.
This evening, coworker Bjorn and I brought Mariya and her mom to Sheba Hhospital for a very important day– after four months of evaluations and waiting, it’s finally time to hospitalize her in preparation for her kidney removal surgery tomorrow morning.
Mariya is a pretty relaxed kid and mostly enjoys the hospital. She even enjoyed the hour we spent waiting for a blood test, and was happy to pass the time walking circles through the emergency room. The blood test was a different story, but once her IV was finally in place and she could settle in her stroller to watch videos, she cheered right up again.
After her exams, Mariya was admitted to the pediatric surgery ward to wait for her big surgery tomorrow morning.
This morning, we brought Mariya to the pre-surgical clinic at Sheba for some check ups in preparation for her kidney removal surgery on Wednesday. Her mom and I were a little nervous because she recently had a fever and we were hoping and praying this wouldn’t delay the surgery.
Mariya was the happiest kid in the waiting room. She loved looking at the pictures in the books, and playing games with her mom.
It took several check ups and tests with two nurses and two doctors, but it was all worth it when the second doctor finally cleared Mariya to go to surgery this week. This is a huge thing for her, as this operation could resolve the infections that she’s struggled with for a year and a half.
After the pre surgical appointment, we had a meeting with the geneticist to discuss the results of some genetic testing Mariya had done during her last stay in Israel. While the doctor can’t say for absolute certain yet, it seems that Mariya has Loeys-Dietz syndrome, a condition that causes congenital heart defects and connective tissue disease. There are a few tests the doctor recommended for her to help give a better picture of what’s going on. This was a little discouraging for her mom to hear, as a genetic syndrome like this is a lifelong condition with no treatment to change it.
Please continue in prayer for Mariya as she gets ready for surgery later this week, and as her parents navigate this new challenge of her genetic syndrome. Even though these are big challenges, God is bigger. He’s already brought her through so much and we know he can bring her through this too.
Last night, Mariya started running a mild fever. When it wasn’t better today, and she wasn’t showing symptoms of a virus, we decided to take her to the ER before the start of the holiday to get her checked for an infection. It was a stressful day for her mom, who’s been patiently awaiting Mariya’s upcoming kidney surgery and was understandably worried that this would delay the surgery date.
At the ER, Mariya had a series of tests, most of which came back normal. However, her urine test showed signs of infection, so the doctor prescribed some antibiotics.
I feel so grateful for how things worked out today. Because today was the start of a Jewish holiday, the ER was staffed almost entirely by Arab doctors and nurses who could easily and clearly communicate with Mariya’s mom. So things moved quickly in there, and in spite of her fever, Mariya was her normal cheerful self almost the whole time.
Finally, the last challenge was to find a pharmacy open on a holiday evening where we could get her antibiotics. When we found one, the pharmacists were very hesitant to give us the medication as tablets rather than a liquid form that would take a few days to prepare.
Thank God, in the end everything worked out and Mariya is safely back in Ashdod and starting her antibiotics.
Our beautiful Mariya had an appointment with the pediatric urologist at Sheba Hospital this morning. He explained that the doctors have reviewed the results of Mariya’s isotope scan and decided that she definitely needs the surgery to remove her left kidney. The good news is that they plan to do the surgery with a robot, which is a less invasive procedure than traditional surgery, and he expects that Mariya can live her whole life with just her right kidney.
Even though the prospect of surgery is a difficult one, this is actually very good news for Mariya because the doctors expect that this operation will resolve her chronic infections. For the last two years, almost all her parents’ time and attention has gone to trying to get treatment for her. Once this problem is resolved, she and her parents and big sister will finally be able to spend time together as a family.
We’re now waiting for a surgery date for her. Please join us in prayer for a date soon and a successful operation.
Today coworker Bria and I went with Mariya and her mother to Sheba Hospital to have a dietary check-up. The drive to the hospital was very fun, even though we got in bad traffic; Mariya giggled a lot.
Before we had our appointment, we needed to wait a little bit so Mariya could practice her walking which was really fun.
The appointment was very good, the doctors are satisfied with her condition and the doctor said that it is great that Mariya can play with the food and is really interested in it too. She is also still gaining weight which is also a good sign. The doctors told us that the next step for Mariya will be to continue playing with her food as she’s been doing since her last appointment. The only change is that she will still get five bottles a day but in the bottle in the morning, she will get a little bit less milk. Instead of 220 ml, she will get 180 ml. The goal of this is that she gets a little bit hungry so she might put some food in her mouth while playing.
We have our next check-up in one month, and we pray that Mariya’s condition will continue getting better. After that, we went to the stores and went shopping .
This morning, Mariya finally cleared a big hurdle in her treatment process; after two months and lots of coordination on all sides, she had her DMSA kidney scan at Sheba hospital!
When we left the house in Ashdod very early this morning, Mariya had been fasting for several hours and awake for half the night, but you’d never know it from her big grin and laughter all the way to the hospital.
The first step of the test was an radioisotope injection, after which we had to wait two hours for the isotopes to work their way to her kidneys. Because the injection material is radioactive, Mariya had to wait a little distance away from the other patients, which was no problem for her as it gave her a quiet space to watch her YouTube videos. When the waiting time was up, she was called back to the exam room, and a whole crowd of doctors gathered around her to administer the anesthesia and begin the scan.
Mariya’s mom and I spent the next hour drinking cappuccinos in the waiting room. It reminded me of the day nearly two years ago when we waited together while Mariya was in heart surgery, only this time I’ve studied up on Arabic so we could talk a lot more!
When the nurse wheeled Mariya’s bed out of the exam room, the first thing she said was, “She’s a strong little girl!” Apparently, Mariya refused to sleep even with the anesthesia. The doctors tried several times to re-do her IV and try again, but ended up having to give her an intramuscular injection to sedate her enough that they could do the test. Her mom smiled and shook her head. “She only does what she thinks of herself, not what anyone else wants,” she said in Arabic.
Sure enough, Mariya needed to spend a little time in a recovery room after the scan to wake up, but she decided instead that it was time for a nap. “Oh, so now she sleeps!” the nurse said with a laugh. After a while– and lots of effort from her mom to wake her up– Mariya woke up, reluctantly drank a bottle of milk, and was cleared to go back home to Ashdod.
Today was a big blessing in a lot of ways. Now that this test is done, the nephrologist can make his decision about a treatment plan for Mariya. What’s more, we met so many kind and generous people today– from the doctor who gave Mariya a gift of colorful play-dough, to the nurse, Yael, who coordinated the whole test, to the sweet Israeli woman in the waiting room who did her best to offer encouraging words to Mariya’s mom despite language barriers. We left the hospital feeling greatly encouraged and hopeful for news from the doctor next week.
Mariya, her mom, and I went to Sheba Hospital early this morning for Mariya’s hearing test appointment. The test was recommended by her neurologist because Mariya frequently doesn’t respond to sounds like people calling her name. It took a little creativity for the doctors to do the tests, as Mariya doesn’t talk, understands Turkmen better than any other language, and was not in a very cooperative mood, but they were very patient and understanding through the whole process.
It’s always a little challenging to do appointments outside of the cardiology clinic because we’re not familiar with the other buildings and clinics and often the secretaries and doctors aren’t familiar with Shevet. But today turned out a really lovely experience, and by surprise even gave Mariya’s mother and me an opportunity to meet the nurse who’s coordinating her kidney scan later this week. Every person we met was so kind and eager to help, even in unusual circumstances. In the end, when Mariya refused to go to sleep for the last half of the final test, the doctor and nurse immediately came up with a plan to finish the test when she comes back to Sheba on Thursday for a kidney scan in another building.
The results of the hearing tests were great– Mariya doesn’t seem to have any hearing impairment. This is good news, but does confirm our suspicion that she just likes ignoring us when we talk to her! It was an awfully disgruntled toddler we buckled back into her carseat for the drive home,
…but she cheered up as soon as we were back in the house.
Today was a productive day for Mariya. The trip was exciting because Mariya was going to her favorite place and that is the hospital. All the way she laughed and sang songs.
The doctor said the good news: Mariya is on the mend! She has gained weight since her last check-up and is getting stronger. Doctors are satisfied with her condition and assure that it will only get better.
Mariya still doesn’t eat any regular food, only milk. This is a problem now that she’s two and a half and needs more nutrition than milk can provide. The dietician explained to her mother to give her food to play with, even if she doesn’t eat it, to help her become more interested. If she makes progress in this in the next month, the next step will be to decrease the amount of milk she gets so that she will be hungry for regular food. We are praying for her recovery and will wait for good news at the next appointment.
After the appointment, we went for a walk to get some coffee together before going home to Ashdod.
The doctor of Mariya decided to discharge her today! Mariya is now able to drink her milk again without a sonde. She was dependant on a special milk, which was not giving her the nutrition she needs. But food is not an option yet for Mariya. She is not interested at all. During the hospitalization, Mariya was switched to a cheaper and less special milk that will provide more nutrition. She responds well to this milk. During Mariya’s time in the hospital, she even got more strength and is now able to stand up with help from her mother. This is a great step forward! Let’s hope and pray that Mariya will get better and better and will be learning how to eat, walk and talk. Hopefully a kidney surgery will help her with this. We ask for your prayer for this beautiful little girl.
When I visited Mariya at Sheba Hospital today, her mother told me with a smile: ‘sonde challas,’ which means that her sonde will be taken out. Mariya started drinking her milk normally again, so that’s good. She will still need an allergy test, which the doctors don’t want to do in-patient, but for out-patient it is hard to schedule. Please pray for an open door for this test. The same is true for a kidney test.
But as for Mariya, she is very happy in the hospital. She is playing and moving around all day.
Mariya went back to Sheba Hospital’s ER today because she barely ate over the last three days. Mariya doesn’t eat normal food, she only drinks a special milk. Normally six bottles a day, but now only one bottle spread out over one day.
We are afraid for dehydration, so we took her to the ER. After a couple of hours, the doctor decided that Mariya needs to stay. She doesn’t have a UTI, but because the doctor is also afraid for dehydration, she wants Mariya to stay. In the next couple of days the doctors will run tests for Mariya and maybe even give her a sonde to give her the nutrition she needs.
Please pray for Mariya. She didn’t have a great time in the ER. She cried a lot. But at one point someone gave me a bottle with soap to blow bubbles and it completely cheered her up!
Mariya had a short appointment with the Pediatric Urologist at Sheba Hospital this morning. He reviewed all the scans and tests done for Mariya’s kidneys during this stay and the last, but it didn’t take long for him to agree with the Nephrologist that the nonfunctioning left kidney seems to be causing Mariya’s UTIs. He is pretty sure that she needs surgery now to remove it, but since this is a big decision, he’s going to discuss it with the Nephrologist and Radiologist tomorrow.
In the meantime, Mariya is as cheerful and smiley as ever. She was all dressed up for her appointment, and even conceded to wearing shoes and a hairclip the whole time instead of throwing them across the room as usual.
Please pray for Mariya’s doctors as they make this big decision for her.
This morning, Mariya had an appointment with the pediatric nephrologist at Sheba hospital. He reviewed the results from her recent blood tests and kidney ultrasounds, as well as the scans that were done the last time she was at Sheba a year and a half ago.
Mariya’s right kidney is dysplastic, meaning it did not form quite properly before she was born. It’s a little smaller than usual, and not formed completely normally However, the creatinine levels in her blood are good, which means that the kidney is functioning well despite its abnormalities.
The left kidney, though, is not functioning at all. The nephrologist suspects that this may be causing Mariya’s recurrent urinary tract infections. The good news is that since the right kidney is functioning well and the left not at all, he thinks they can remove the left kidney without causing any decrease in kidney function. As long as the right kidney keeps working well, Mariya won’t need a kidney transplant— only if there are problems in the future. However, he wants her to see the urologist at Sheba to get another opinion before he makes a decision as to whether she will have surgery.
The appointment is scheduled for Sunday; please pray for wisdom for the doctors as they make a decision for Mariya’s treatment.
Our little Kurdish friend Mariya was getting discharged from Sheba Hospital today. Her kidney problems aren’t solved yet, but before she can receive further treatment, her specialist wants her to have a kidney scan and a couple of other check-ups so he can make a better decision regarding continuing her treatment or if she even needs kidney surgery.
That means that Mariya will have a lot of appointments in the next months including in the neurology department, nephrology department and some other special tests as she is also having problems with the recent milk she received. Maybe she has allergies that we don’t know of.
While we’re waiting for the appointments, Mariya continues with antibiotic treatment. She and her mother are both so glad to be back in our Ashdod community home and we are happy to have them back.
Yesterday, Mariya started running a high fever, crying all the time, and seemed to be having pain while urinating. Her mom is very familiar with these symptoms by now, as Mariya has frequent UTIs at home in Kurdistan. After giving her some medication to help get her through the night, we went to the ER at Sheba Hospital early this morning. There, after some blood and urine tests and a round of IV antibiotics, the doctors decided to admit Mariya to the Pediatric Ward for antibiotic treatment and further evaluation. They suspect a UTI but are waiting on the rest of the test results to know for sure.
When Mariya was here for heart surgery a couple years ago, we often jokingly called Sheba Hospital “habib Mariya”– Mariya’s love– because she was always so happy there. As we took the elevator up to the ward today, her mom smiled and sighed and said in Arabic, “She loves the hospital, she just wanted to come back. She’s spent so much time here that it’s pretty much her home.”
Mariya is frequently hospitalized like this for UTIs, and we’re so thankful that she stayed healthy long enough to make the trip from Kurdistan a couple days ago. It also seems that she’ll be able to see the nephrologist and begin treatment a little sooner now that she is hospitalized. Please pray for her infection to be resolved quickly, and for wisdom for the doctors as they make a plan of treatment.
Early this morning, coworker Doro and I were able to escort some very special friends of mine from Kurdistan to Israel! It was a sleepless night for all of us, but two-year-old Mariya was the happiest little passenger on the plane.
She impressed all the flight attendants by settling right down and happily wearing her seat belt, and charmed them all with her big grin.
Mariya and her mother were among the first people I got to know when I arrived at Shevet in 2021. At the time, Mariya was just eight months old and about to undergo open-heart surgery to correct her coarctation of the aorta. I barely spoke a word of either Kurdish or Arabic, but her mom patiently helped me learn both, all the while learning words and phrases in English herself, so we could communicate. Mariya spent four months in Israel, most of that time in the Pediatric Ward at Sheba Hospital, before going home to her dad and big sister with a healed heart.
Now, over a year and a half later, Mariya’s heart is still well, but a cyst on her left kidney is inhibiting kidney function and causing recurrent infections. After a year of visiting nearly every pediatric hospital in Kurdistan trying to find treatment, Mariya’s parents asked if we could help her get back to Sheba, where she may need to undergo a nephrectomy surgery. It took several more months of coordination with the hospital and the Interior Ministry, but Mariya and her mother’s visas arrived just in time for them to fly back to Israel with us this week.
We’re so excited to have these two back in Israel with us. It’s hard to believe how big Mariya is now! She’s still the sweetest girl– though it takes a bit of time for her to warm up to a new person, once she’s decided to be friends, she’s all smiles and giggles. Please pray for Mariya and her mom as they’re getting settled in and beginning another round of treatment.
This evening, four months after their arrival in Israel, our sweet Mariya and her mother are boarding their flight back home to Kurdistan.
Mariya had her final consultation with the nephrologist today and he echoed the urologist earlier this week– for now, Mariya’s kidneys are fine, and surgery will only be needed in the future if there is a major problem.
Little Mariya has come a long way in the last four months. Her mom and I have been sharing lots of photos with each other from our time together, and we can’t believe how tiny Mariya was when we first met and how much healthier she is now. At the airport tonight, her mom told me how this flight will be so much better because Mariya doesn’t need an oxygen tube anymore.
Thanks be to God for his healing work in Mariya’s life.
Our last few moments together at the airport were emotional as we said goodbye after four months together. Mariya was the first Kurdish baby I visited in the hospital after arriving at Shevet, and her mom has been such a good friend to me and all of us in our time together.
As we hugged goodbye just before the security line, we told each other over and over, “You’re my sister now.”
While the goodbye is hard, I’m so glad to be sending Mariya home to her dad and big sister with a healed heart, chubby cheeks, and a beautiful grin full of six new teeth.
It’s been a beautiful blessing to have these few months with this sweet girl and her mother, and I’m forever grateful for God’s goodness in bringing us together.
Yesterday, after four months in Israel, beautiful Mariya was cleared to return to Kurdistan. Her ENT doctor said there is no problem with the physiology of her throat, so the noisy breathing her mom has been worried about should improve as Mariya grows.
Later, Mariya’s urologist explained that Mariya has a cyst on her left kidney, but it is not impairing the function of the kidney at all so it is safe for her to go home without intervention. Mariya will have one final consultation with a nephrologist on Wednesday and, Lord willing, will fly home Wednesday night.
Today, coworker Joanne and I took Mariya and her mom to Jerusalem for the day. We visited the Garden Tomb, and then headed to the Old City for shopping in the bazaar.
For Mariya and her mom, the excursion included a trip to the mosque.
Mariya’s mom is truly one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. Yesterday, she told me she’s happy to go home but she’s sad to leave all of us because we are like sisters to her, and after visiting the mosque today, she told me she prayed for all of us at Shevet Achim. I’m so grateful for the time we’ve spent with her and her sweet little girl here in Israel.
Praise God for his love and care for these two beautiful souls.
Today, beautiful Mariya was discharged from Sheba hospital after a test for her kidneys this morning. The test results aren’t back yet, but she will have an appointment with the nephrologist within the next week or so to discuss her condition.
While waiting for her discharge report, Mariya got a special visit from Mizgeen, who played with her for quite some time while her mom and I talked. It’s good to see the relationships they’ve formed in their time together at the hospital.
Today’s discharge brings Mariya one step closer to going home to Kurdistan. Her mom is very hopeful that this will have been her last hospital stay in Israel. She will need follow up appointments with the nephrologist, urologist, and ENT doctor in the coming days and we pray she can go home to her dad and big sister after these checkups.
In the morning, co-worker Joanne and I went to Sheba Hospital to the Pediatric Eating Disorder Clinic for a meeting.
Mariya’s mom asked the medical staff to continue Mariya’s treatment for her eating disorders in Kurdistan, as Shevet Achim has already purchased a feeding machine that she could take with her to Kurdistan. Mariya’s mom told me she has a five year old girl waiting for her at home and it is difficult being away so long.
Later in the day, Mariya was admitted again to the hospital in order to prepare her for a kidney test tomorrow. It was a busy day and Mariya’s mom helped us translate because she speaks Kurdish and Arabic. She was told, on the part of the cardiologist and the eating disorder doctors, she can go back to Kurdistan.
It took Maria a long time to get admitted to the ward, we waited until late. We hope that the test result tomorrow will be good and that Mariya and her family will be healthy and happy and packing for their trip home!
Sweet Mariya had another appointment at the Eating Disorder Clinic in Sheba Medical Center this morning. Coworker Moshe joined her and her mother for the appointment.
Mariya has slowly begun to eat through her mouth, but she came down with a virus this week that caused her to vomit and this made her afraid to eat again. She was getting dehydrated without the NG tube so they reinserted it.
However, her next treatments can be done on an outpatient basis, so after two months in the hospital, Mariya was discharged to our home in Jaffa tonight. This is very exciting for her mother, as well as for us.
As we left the pediatric ward, several doctors and nurses waved and blew kisses to Mariya and her mom as they passed by. Her mom told me Mariya is friends with all the doctors and nurses on the floor. It’s beautiful to see their love for this little girl, as well as her mother’s heartfelt gratitude for them after such a long and challenging time in the hospital.
Mariya and her mom are good friends to all of us here in Jaffa and we’re looking forward to spending time with them in the coming days!
Mariya is continuing her time in Sheba hospital. She is seeing a specialist for eating difficulties every week; the doctors did try to remove the feeding tube, but after twenty four hours, she was dehydrated because she could not drink enough milk, so they had to put in he NG tube once again.
She is also particularly susceptible to viruses in the hospital, so please be praying for her, and that soon she would be able to be released from the hospital, although it is a blessing that she can do many of the specialist appointments as an inpatient that otherwise would have been scheduled months into the future.
Today is special because it’s Mariya’s birthday. Twice today, many doctors discussed this little girl’s case. Yesterday, she had a fluoroscopy procedure and today we had an appointment in the Eating Disorder Clinic, where coworker Moshe helped us a lot with translation.
Because of these results, and also based on Mariya’s weight gain improvement, her willingness to eat and drink milk via mouth, the doctors are very optimistic. They even plan to remove the tube very soon.
Also the doctors want Mariya to eat food via mouth and will watch how her body reacts to this. It’s clear that there is no surgery needed, but she has to stay in the hospital for at least one week. Mariya’s mother hopes that she can come to our community home in Jaffa again as soon as possible.
So let’s pray for a little more patience, although it’s been needed for a long time. Mariya and her mother still need our prayers, but let’s thank God for the improvements in Mariya, evident from today’s appointments.
The potential plan for today was for Mariya to be discharged from Sheba Medical Center to our community home in Jaffa. Those plans got changed, but truly for the better!
Mariya still has the feeding tube and is unable to eat otherwise. Mariya’s doctor was able to schedule a nephrology appointment for Mariya tomorrow (there wasn’t an opening till February initially). Then on Thursday she will be having a urology appointment. Hopefully next Tuesday, she will have an appointment at the Eating Disorder Clinic. Then hopefully next Tuesday, she will have an appointment at the Eating Disorder Clinic.
These are all appointments that God and the staff of Sheba truly provided a way for her to have. Thank the Lord for his provision.
This morning, coworker Rachel and I were excited to find Mariya happy and feeling well. She has been without a fever all weekend, and if her echo tomorrow is good, the doctors would like to discharge her to Jaffa this week.
It’s good to see Mariya feeling so well after several weeks of fevers. She loves watching videos of her big sister back home, and she’s learning to blow kisses, which always makes her mother giggle. Her mom was also in good spirits today; when I asked how she’s doing, she told me in Arabic, “Mariya is well, so I am well.”
Beautiful little Mariya has now been at Sheba hospital for over a month since her surgery. Thanks be to God, her heart is in very good condition now. The doctor on the pediatric ward shared that the cardiology team is ready to discharge her to return home. However, she still has some other health challenges, including a problem with her kidneys and an inability to eat without an NG tube.
Please pray for wisdom for the doctors going forward and for complete healing for sweet Mariya.
When I visited little Mariya at Sheba hospital, she was crying the whole time and her mother confirmed that this is her normal status currently. Mariya also doesn’t sleep very well either. It breaks my heart to hear this and I really hope that it gets better. We talked about the other discharges and really hope that Mariah will be one of them soon.
When I talked to the doctor, it didn’t seem that it would be soon. Although her heart is okay, Mariya receives her milk through a tube and because of an infection, she is taking antibiotics.
Please pray for patience for her mother and healing for sweet Mariya.
Mariya was doing well at Sheba hospital today. Her mother was very happy. The doctor said that the condition of Mariya’s heart is perfect and she could be discharged to Jaffa. But the thing that’s holding her back, is that Mariya can’t eat normally, only through her feeding tube. She needs to be trained to be able to eat.
Unfortunately, there has been opportunity for some training as yet, so please pray that the dietitian will have an open schedule soon to help Mariya re-learn to eat normally.
We hope that she can be discharged soon, so that we can enjoy her smile and her lovely mother in Jaffa again.
Since beginning to run a fever almost a week ago, Mariya has not been her usual cheerful self. Yesterday, when I stopped by Sheba hospital briefly to say hello, I learned that Mariya was having stomach problems and had not been able to have milk for a couple of days. Her eyes and cheeks looked a bit sunken, and her mom told me Mariya was unhappy all the time because she didn’t feel well.
You can imagine, then, what a welcome surprise it was this afternoon, when I found Mariya wide awake and happily drinking milk. Even better, her mom was feeding her through a bottle, and the NG tube she’s had for months is gone! The doctor said she is much better today, and they are working to help her relearn how to eat without the tube.
Mariya’s mom was absolutely elated by her sweet girl’s recovery and so excited to show me how Mariya can drink from a bottle now. She told me over and over that Mariya is good now, so she is good too and everything is okay. Praise God for Mariya’s recovery, and please pray she will adjust well to eating without her NG tube.
Today, I found our normally cheerful, giggly Mariya very solemn and subdued. She has just started running a fever, and while the doctors are waiting on blood test results, they’ve started her on antibiotics immediately in case of infection. This is disappointing news for her mother, who has been so pleased with Mariya’s smooth recovery so far.
I always look forward to visiting Mariya and her mother and I try to stop by at least for a couple of minutes every time I’m at Sheba hospital. She has been moved to a different floor and I was happy to see that her new room is right next door to a couple of other Shevet babies. I’m grateful that her mother will have good company while she waits for Mariya’s test results.
Please pray that whatever is causing the fever will be minor and easily treatable, and for Mariya’s mother, who is quite worried about her baby girl.
Rachel and I visited Mariya and her mother today. It was very nice to see her, because we already got to know each other in the guesthouse in Jaffa.
She was very cute today. We were able to talk to her mother, although our Kurdish is not the best yet. She told us that Mariya is doing very well, but crying a lot. The doctors explained that they are giving her the medicine that is needed, and Mariya is getting better and better. They will extubate her soon. This is great news and we thank our Lord. Please pray that the positive developments for little Mariya continue and that she will get more used to being in the hospital.
Praise be to God for a successful surgery for Mariya today! As of last night, the doctors were unsure as to whether they would perform the surgery today. But coworker Rachel and I arrived at Sheba hospital first thing this morning to find that Mariya had gone into surgery just minutes earlier.
Waiting with a mother during her child’s surgery is a unique experience in how anxious, yet beautiful a time it can be. Today was no exception. During the four hours Mariya was in surgery, I sat with her mother while she cried, giggled over pictures of Mariya, called friends and family back home for support, and again and again, lifted her face and whispered prayers for her baby girl.
Neither one of us could stop smiling when the doctor came out to say the surgery was over and successful. She turned and gave me the biggest hug, repeating, “alhamdulillah!” (praise be to God) over and over. When she saw I was starting to cry, she burst out laughing and kept saying, “No, no, it’s okay now!”
She was overjoyed to see Mariya after surgery, but it was a bit startling for her as well. The doctors had not yet removed the chest tube or breathing tube, and I can only imagine how jarring it must be for her to see her lively, happy baby girl lying still and connected to all those machines. When I stopped by again later, though, she was settling into the room in the ICU and full of exuberant joy over her sweet girl.
Thanks be to God for Mariya’s successful surgery and his immeasurable love for this precious little girl!
Mariya had quite a long day at Sheba hospital today. This morning, she had an appointment with a doctor in the gastroenterology clinic in the hope that we could find out why she’s still struggling to keep milk down.
Thankfully, the doctor’s report was encouraging. Mariya is gaining weight at a good pace and there doesn’t seem to be an underlying health condition behind her current situation. Instead, he suspects that her body just needs to “relearn” how to process food after being fed through an NG tube for the last seven months. He advised a consultation with a dietician and seemed confident that Mariya’s condition will improve.
As we finished the appointment in the gastro clinic, coworker Alena called me with the news that Mariya would be admitted to Sheba today and possibly have her surgery tomorrow. Mariya’s mother and I took her up to the cardiology department for an ECG and corona test, and after a long afternoon of waiting, Mariya was admitted to the hospital this evening. If there is a room open in the ICU tomorrow, Mariya will be taken into surgery tomorrow morning. Please pray that this is possible.
I really enjoyed spending the day with Mariya and her mother, who has such a sweet and beautiful heart. She’s always eager to teach me new words in Kurdish and Arabic, and we had some good laughs over our struggle to communicate via Google Translate.
It’s beautiful to see her tender love for her baby girl in the way she holds Mariya’s tiny hands in hers or hugs her close and whispers her name over and over.
Lastly, thank God for an exceptionally kind and helpful medical team today. From the very friendly gastroenterologist to the nurse who took the time to discuss a favorite singer with Mariya’s mother, the Sheba staff was warm and welcoming.
Since yesterday, Mariya couldn’t hold food in her stomach. Because she had a stomach surgery back in Kurdistan, we decided to take her to Sheba hospital’s ER after 24 hours and still nothing had changed.
The doctors checked Mariya’s saturation, blood pressure, a blood test, an x-ray and an ultrasound. The doctor couldn’t find anything significant to this problem, so after a few hours they released her to go back to Jaffa.
Mariya’s mother was very patient and nice during our time in the ER. She is a lovely woman with a lovely child. Please pray that Mariya’s stomach becomes calm. Also we thank God that the doctors didn’t find anything worrying.
Sweet Mariya was all smiles today for her release from the hospital. After a series of test and examinations at Sheba, she and her mother were welcomed into our home in Jaffa this evening. Her mother was so excited to leave the hospital with her little girl, and waited very patiently through a series of delays in the afternoon.
Mariya was in such a good mood all afternoon and was delighted to make friends with little Mohammed M. from across the hall. Her smiles and giggles brought so much joy to her mother.
Please pray for Mariya’s health as well as patience and strength for her mother during this next month as they wait for her next appointment.
Additionally, please pray that the two of them will have a relaxing month here in Jaffa with the other families as they await Mariya’s surgery.
Mariya arrived in Israel yesterday along with her mother and a group of other Kurdish families. We welcome them all.
Mariya is an eight month old girl from Kirkuk in Iraq. She was diagnosed with coarctation of the aorta, a very severe form of a congenital heart defect, in which her major artery supplying oxygenated blood to all her body is significantly narrowed.
Mariya and her mother even traveled to Turkey for help. Finally, a local doctor and a visiting doctor to Kurdistan, performed a balloon angioplasty to help open this narrowing. Now she needs intervention again, as this artery is narrowed. She requires oxygen at home. Without this supplemental oxygen, her oxygen levels decrease significantly. She also has a nasogastric tube because she has difficulties with swallowing.
Due to her complexities, we have advocated for Mariya to be directly admitted to the hospital. Please pray for Mariya and her mother as they adjust to the hospital.