If we look back at the last three and a half months of Sohaib’s life, we can just thank God for all he has done and that Sohaib is alive and doing so well.
When he first arrived here in Israel, doctors were not sure whether they could do surgery for Sohaib as his VSD was so big. I still remember how I admitted this cute boy for his first cath on my last day before I went home for my vacation. He got his cath and the doctors had the good news for us that they believed they were able to fix his heart.
Not long afterwards he got his surgery, had a great recovery, and was doing fine. But only a few days after he was discharged to our house in Ashdod, his oxygen dropped all of a sudden and he got rushed back to the hospital by ambulance and intubated in the ICU. And that’s how I found him coming back from my vacation. The little boy that I remembered walking around and happy was now fighting for his life.
He had two more surgeries and two more caths until he was finally stable again and slowly slowly recovering, waking up and becoming himself again. It was a hard time for us all, but especially for his mom as no one really knew why all of this happened and whether Sohaib would fully recover from this. Looking back, I’m just amazed what God did! Sohaib is again this little happy boy with a lot of personality or as we like to call him: a little business man.
Three caths and three open heart surgeries later, Sohaib’s main problem, the whole between the lower chambers of his heart, is still not fixed and he needs to come back in some years for this surgery. For now he is stable and his mom is very happy to go home after this hard but exciting time here.
Through all her time here, she was the most patient and wonderful mother, loving her child so so much. She never complained that she spent so much time in hospital and cared for Sohaib and all of us volunteers amazingly. We will miss her beautiful personality a lot in our house here and have learned so much from her. I was reading 1.Corinthians 13 today and had to think of Sohaib’s mom after reading the first verse.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
She showed us so much the opposite of what is written here. We couldn’t talk a lot to her as she spoke a different dialect of Kurdish than the other moms did, but regardless she showed us without words how deeply she loved us. I hope we can learn from this woman to love even without knowing the language. And we pray for Sohaib and his mom as they are heading home now. May God keep them safe until Sohaib is big enough to return and have his surgery!
Before our team left with Sohaib and his mother for his appointments at Sheba Medical Center this morning, coworker Bria already told us that there is a possibility that the doctors would allow Sohaib to fly back to Kurdistan. So, full of hope and expectations, we started the blood test and the echo.
When the doctor then told us how things were going, we listened very carefully. She explained that Sohaib still has a big hole in his heart. However, it cannot be closed now, as this would have serious side effects for Sohaib. So the doctors decided to wait a few years before surgically closing the hole. Since the results of the echo and blood tests were good today, Sohaib can return to Kurdistan with his mother for this time.
What a great pleasure! Sohaib’s mother happily hugged the doctor, who was also visibly happy for the family. It’s great to see how the doctors in the waiting area go to Sohaib and share the joy of his return.
Tomorrow there is one last ultrasound appointment and then the flight can be booked. May God bless the doctors for their great work and keep his protective hand over Sohaib on the return flight.
Sohaib is waiting for the next echo follow up appointment at Sheba Medical. Meantime we are having some fun in the house.
We’ve been decreasing Sohaib’s medication according to the doctor’s instructions. His response to the treatment will be checked by the doctors in his next visit to Sheba.
Yesterday we went to a Israeli shuk, to buy some clothes and food with the Kurdish families. They were happy to see this “bazaar” near to the beach. Sohaib’s Mom put a Kippa on his head, and said now he looks Jewish and charming.
For Sohaib, it’s been a while since he was enjoying the beach, as you can see it was an adventure. There was a black flag, indicating the waves were strong. They were strong enough to make us fall on the sand, and at the end of it, all of us were wet and laughing so much. It’s a real pleasure see God’s hands healing Sohaib, it’s a miracle.
Sohaib was walking by himself, enjoying the sea and communicating his needs or desires. Please keep praying for his improvement, so he could go home with his family soon.
Sohaib had another echo this morning at Sheba hospital, this time with his regular cardiologist. She was surprised to see how many medications he was taking, and much to his mother’s delight, she gave instructions for us to reduce a couple of his meds.
Sohaib is doing well considering the difficult journey he’s had so far. He still needs surgery to repair the holes in his heart, but his cardiologist has decided it’s better for him to wait a year or two at home in Kurdistan and come back for this surgery when he is a little bigger. His mother was a little disappointed at this, as she was hoping to have the surgery now, but the doctor assured her that it is better for Sohaib to wait. For now, he will come back to our house in Ashdod for another three weeks before his next echo, after which his doctor hopes to send him home to Kurdistan.
“It’s good to see him back to himself,” Sohaib’s doctor said with a smile. And she’s right– the laughing, joyful little boy who ran around the echo clinic all morning is a far cry from the quiet, mostly unresponsive toddler in the ICU a few weeks ago.
We’re looking forward to another few weeks with Sohaib in Ashdod, and hoping he can go home soon after.
Today we brought all of our Kurdish kids in the house for an echo to Sheba Hospital. Sohaib was the first one in the row and he was very brave during the procedure as his mother was showing him videos and talking with him.
For now Sohaib is stable and doing well, but the doctors still need to make a decision about his future surgery to fix his VSD, the whole between the lower chambers of the heart. He will return to Sheba for an echo in one week where we hope to hear about his future plans.
In the meantime, we will enjoy the time with him in our community house in Ashdod. Thank you for praying for our Sohaib and his amazing mother!
When I arrived at Sheba hospital this morning, I was surprised to find handsome Sohaib toddling around the cardiac clinic waiting room. His mother was excited and a little nervous. “If his echo is good, he can go to Ashdod today!” she told me in Kurdish.
After such a difficult recovery after multiple surgeries, it’s a big milestone for Sohaib that he is walking again. We’re seeing his grown-up independent streak again too; when his mom reached out to steady him, he swatted her hand away and focused intently on adjusting the mirrors of his ride.
Just a few minutes later, I returned to the cardiac clinic to find Sohaib’s mother with a big grin on her face. “Ashdod!” was all she said. Sure enough, when I spoke with Sohaib’s cardiologist, he confirmed that Sohaib’s heart function is very good and he is cleared to leave the hospital!
Sohaib will come back in one week for another echo. In the meantime, please pray for safety for him as we and his mother adjust to caring for him here in the house.
Walking into the pediatric ward of Sheba Children’s Hospital, I saw Sohaib standing in the corridor with his mother. What a joy to see Sohaib walking again. Praise God! He’s doing pretty well. The doctors and nurses are very satisfied with the process Sohaib has made in the last few weeks.
The doctor told me that Sohaib already could be discharged, but they want to monitor him until the beginning of the next week because of a medication that possibly could cause fever.
Let us pray that Sohaib remains afebrile and actually can be discharged in the next days.
As I was going to visit our children today in Sheba Hospital, a Nurse came towards me with Sohaib’s mother, pushing him in his stroller.
Sohaib is doing very well and as a result, has been moved to the Department of Pediatrics. This is hopefully a good step towards him leaving the hospital. The doctors are thinking about discharging him in a few days if he is still doing fine.
Lets hope that this hope will be fulfilled and that he can go home soon.
Yesterday evening we brought another child to Sheba Hospital for her surgery today. She was getting admitted in the room where Sohaib stayed before, and so I directly asked where Sohaib is now, and they surprised me with the good news that he is moved to the secondary ICU!!
When I visited him today I was absolutely amazed. He is looking so much better than last week. He is sitting in his bed, reacting to his mother, she even helped him to stand up a little bit.
Later, his mother was walking with him in the stroller through the hospital. She is such a wonderful mother who spends so much time with her child, plays with him, talks to him and shows him how much she loves him. To see her love for her child is so beautiful! I’m sure that she has such a big part in why he is improving so well now. The doctors are also very happy about Sohaib’s recovery since his last surgery, and want to give him more time until they decide what is coming next.
Thank you God for this cute little boy and for his amazing mother who is caring so wonderfully for her child!
Today was the first time after his surgery that I saw Sohaib a little awake. His mom was helping him to sit up a little bit and he looked much better than the last time I saw him.
But still he is not really alert and his doctors are a little concerned about this. He doesn’t react to someone saying his name or to his mother. The only thing where I could tell that he is at least a little bit realizing what is happening around him was when his mother showed him some videos and he was following the phone with his eyes when she moved it.
The doctor think that all of this could be because he still gets so much medications. So for the next time they plan to reduce those and watch how he reacts to that.
Thank you for praying for our Sohaib and that he will improve soon!
Sohaib is looking so much better today as he bounces back from his third surgery. His eyes are open and he seems aware of his mother’s presence. Doctors are hoping as he improves to assess whether he can have a final repair of his heart during this visit to Israel, or if he should return home for a period of at least six months.
His mother’s preference is to stay in Israel until all is completed.
After some neurological worries at Sheba Hospital for Sohaib yesterday, today brought the amazing news that the repetitive involuntary movements Sohaib has been experiencing are not seizures. We are very thankful for that. His mom told me also quite happily, that he is already doing much better than yesterday.
The doctors think that his problems were most likely coming from the withdraw of his medications. It sounds a little ridiculous, but now he is receiving some other medications to solve this problem. His doctor explained to me that this is completely normal and that it will help him.
I had some good time with his mother and another Kurdish mother eating lunch together, and I am always glad to spend time with Sohaib’s mom. Thank you for all your prayers for our little friend Sohaib and for his mother!
Sohaib’s birthday was yesterday and today, at Sheba Hospital, he was extubated.
The doctors planned that at this point Sohaib would be completely awakened, but instead he opens his eyes for a few seconds and is having repetitive involuntary movements.
In the beginning, the movements were normal, but then we had to call the nurse to check on him as he continued to have uncontrolled shaking.
The doctors decided to call a neurologist and made some tests regarding his brain activity. For now the doctors have decided to calm Sohaib with medication and make his room dark and silent. They will keep an eye on him over the next few days.
We would appreciate your prayers for this brave soldier.
Sohaib had his third surgery today, the surgery was successfully completed in four hours.
They had two plans for Sohaib’s surgery, the first one was close the connection between aorta and pulmonary artery, for the second plan they will try to fix the VSD problem.
The surgeon happily told us Sohaib’s surgery was successful according to the first plan. Sohaib as we already know is so strong, the anesthesiologist had to give him some medication because at the end of the surgery he was conscious one hour after the surgery, moving his shoulders when his mom talked with us.
A lot of doctors gave Sohaib’s mother a thumbs up because the of the successful surgery. God willing, Sohaib will be extubated on the weekend. Pray for his healing and improvement so he can continue with his next step.
The doctors at Sheba Hospital decided after Sohaib’s cath yesterday, that he will need another surgery. They want to tighten the band around his pulmonary artery which they placed in his last surgery. If this fails or doesn’t help, they want to place – as a second step – a patch over his VSD. He will already go into this surgery tomorrow morning.
For Sohaib’s mother, this wasn’t easy to hear, but she is thankful that the doctors don’t give up on Sohaib and she is trusting in God.
God please give the doctors success tomorrow and let this third surgery finally help Sohaib to improve.
Sohaib isn’t doing so well after the weekend at Sheba Hospital. His kind doctor told me today that Sohaib has very high blood pressure in his lungs. Because of this, it’s not possible for enough blood to flow from his heart to his lungs. For now, they gave him more oxygen support but if this doesn’t help, they will most likely start a new medication for him.
Also the doctors realized some movements in Sohaib lately that they suspect may be seizures. So they connected him now to a device which will track if he really is having seizures and they asked a neurologist to have a look at him.
Sohaib’s mother is still very worried and kept asking the doctor when Sohaib will wake up again. Lord I pray that you heal this little boy and comfort his faithful mother!
When I reached the ICU at Sheba hospital early this morning, Sohaib’s mother was waiting anxiously for the doctors to take Sohaib into surgery. The surgeon had just arrived to speak with her. He explained that Sohaib may have developed endocarditis, a serious infection in the muscle of the heart, and that they would need to remove the patch they placed over his VSD in his first surgery. He asked me to explain to her that it would be a very difficult surgery and she should be prepared in case Sohaib came out on the ECMO machine.
Sohaib’s mother took all of this with remarkable grace and strength. As the room began to fill with doctors and nurses preparing Sohaib for the trip to the OR, she went to his bedside and stood beside him, holding his hands in her own.
Together with the doctors, we walked him to the OR entrance, where she kissed his little hands and waved goodbye before he was wheeled through the doors.
We waited outside the ICU all morning, joined by several mothers from Gaza who shared breakfast and words of encouragement with Sohaib’s mother. She showed me photos and videos of Sohaib at home in Kurdistan and during his stay in Israel, including one from the emergency room the night he was rushed by ambulance to the hospital. Even with an oxygen mask strapped to his chubby face, Sohaib was dancing along to music.
After just four hours, one of the other mothers came out of the ICU with the news that Sohaib was back in his room. I went in first to look and sure enough, there he was, no ECMO machine in sight! As soon as I gave her a thumbs-up signal that all was well, his mother hurried to his side and kissed his hands again and again.
Thank God, Sohaib’s surgery was uneventful and successful. His cardiologist told me that she was pleasantly surprised by how well he is doing after the operation. In addition to removing the patch, the surgeons placed a band to limit blood flow to the pulmonary arteries and relieve some of the pressure on them. The doctors will wait and see how he recovers in the coming days and consider the next steps for him.
After hearing this good news, Sohaib’s mother and I celebrated with a walk to the supermarket to buy snacks and juice, and spent some time relaxing and enjoying the afternoon together.
When coworker Margarita and I visited Sohaib at Sheba Hospital today, a nurse told us that the doctors decided to take Sohaib into surgery tomorrow. They want to remove a patch that they placed during his last surgery because they fear that it causes some infections.
Also they want to place a band around his pulmonary artery so that there is less blood flow to the lungs and it is easier for the pulmonary valve to expand. His mother is very worried about Sohaib and the surgery tomorrow. I told her that we are praying for her and she was very thankful for that.
So let us pray that Sohaib’s surgery will go well tomorrow, and that it will fix the problems.
Sohaib had a diagnostic catheterization today. The doctors at Sheba Hospital have been waiting for him to recover from his fever to do the procedure. They discovered a narrowed, stenotic valve that developed after his surgery. This narrowed valve prevented blood from getting oxygenated in the lungs. Consequently, his heart has been pumping poorly oxygenated blood to his body. The doctors think he needs another surgery to fix the valve, and they will make a final decision tomorrow. As for now, Sohaib is stable after his procedure, and we pray that he remains stable while the doctors decide how to best treat him.
His mother is strong and courageous as she deals with these setbacks, but the prospect of another surgery is very frightening. Today she listened to videos of Psalm 11 and 139 in Kurdish. Please pray that the words of the psalmists and God’s transcendent peace will be with her as she endures this difficult time with her beloved son.
Bria and I found Sohaib’s mother looking sad and isolated by his bedside in the ICU this afternoon. But a discussion with the attending nurse, translated by their neighbor and friend back in Iraq, soon brought a ray of hope. Doctors are now planning to take Sohaib for catheterization on Tuesday, both to study what is blocking the blood flow in his heart (possibly vegetation growth or a blood clot), and God willing to intervene and remove it.
Please join us in praying not only for Sohaib, but also for the encouragement of his mother.
Having stayed with Sohaib’s mother during his surgery a few weeks ago, I was grateful to be scheduled to stay with his mother for his catheterization procedure at Sheba Hospital today. Sohaib and his mother have had a difficult few days in the ICU after Sohaib’s oxygen plummeted while I was checking saturation levels of our kids staying with us in our Ashdod community home on Sunday night. Just the day before, Sohaib was running and smiling at another child’s birthday party, particularly enamored with a giant gold balloon. After seeing Sohaib and his mother in the hospital that night, I was eager to see them again.
Unfortunately, when arriving at the hospital today, we received news that Sohaib had a fever. We quickly went up the stairs to Sohaib’s room, and found his mother distraught. Due to his fever today, his catheterization had to be rescheduled. This procedure will help determine why Sohaib’s condition suddenly deteriorated. It will help see if pulmonary hypertension or a reopened septal defect is the cause of this trouble and will guide his treatment. Fervent prayer is needed for Sohaib and his mother.
Sohaib has had a very difficult 48 hours. The doctors intubated him this morning with the hope that he would stabilize, but he has remained unstable. In the echo this morning, they found that his ASD is still not completely fixed after surgery, which is the main reason his oxygen levels dropped so low just two days ago. Before Sohaib arrived in Israel, we were told he was beyond help, yet the Lord moved steadily through the medical staff at Sheba to keep him alive. We are in need of the Lord’s help again today.
While checking on him and his mother today in the ICU, I was amazed by how calm and understanding his mother was amidst all of this difficulty. I recalled just two weeks ago when we waited eagerly at her side for the results of Sohaib’s first surgery. The relief we experienced that day when the surgery had gone well was overwhelming. Now we find ourselves again praying for another healing act of God. This mother and child have travelled many miles from a refugee camp in Kurdistan, and have persevered through so much. Please pray for wisdom for the doctors as they monitor his situation and discern the next step.
It’s the next day after the emergency ambulance trip last night in which Sohaib was rushed to Sheba Hospital’s Pediatric ER. The doctors are trying to find out why Sohaib’s oxygen level is so bad.
Also today, Sohaib is not stable, even with oxygen support. He had some virus tests today and the doctors are beginning to see his VSD is not totally repaired. They think Sohaib may also have a problem with his pulmonary arteries, which will be harder to treat.
Sohaib’s mother is tired after last night and very worried about her son. She remains calm and she does a great job supporting her son during his blood tests and other tests. Please pray for wisdom for Sohaib’s doctors, that God will show them the answers they need through these tests.
Little Sohaib had a big drop in is oxygen levels, as low as 30% of normal while staying at our Ashdod community house this evening. An ambulance was ordered and Sohaib was rushed from our community house accompanied by coworker Tatiana and Sohaib’s mother, to the Children’s ER of Sheba Hospital. Tatiana says they worked on calming Sohaib down during the ambulance transfer.
Sohaib is sedated now and his oxygen level is up again to around 70%. The doctors believe Sohaib may have been dealing with pulmonary hypertension; he will be admitted to the ICU where he will be monitored and observed throughout the night.
Today Sohaib was discharged from Sheba Medical Center, to our house in Ashdod. After a few tests with good results, Sohaib was able to return to all the new friends he made in the last few weeks in Ashdod.
Sohaib’s test results determined he had an allergic reaction to a specific medication. Sohaib had a follow-up echo on Monday to assist doctors in seeing how they may effectively continue to help Sohaib.
This morning, Sohaib was brought to the operating room at Sheba Medical Centre. Diagnosed with ventricular septal defect, he traveled with his mother from a refugee camp in Kurdistan for this difficult surgery: a procedure which was considered unfeasible by his doctors in Northern Iraq. Yet, by God’s orchestration, the green light for surgery was given after a second look from the doctors at Sheba.
When I first arrived at the ICU with Quinlan, Sohaib was restless, but under the steadfast care of his mother. The minutes leading up to surgery passed like hours, but the doctors were attentive and calming as they wheeled him into the operating room. “We are praying for Sohaib.” Quinlan said to Sohaib’s mother. “In God’s will,” she replied through tears.
It was a long, difficult wait in the lobby, though she was encouraged by a visit from Brwa’s mother, whose conversation helped keep her mind occupied. Finally, at noon joyful news came: Sohaib did marvelously! The doctor only needed to say, “Ok” and immediately, his mother embraced Quinlan in relief. They were able to successfully close all of the holes between the two lower ventricles of his heart.
They will wait until tomorrow to extubate Sohaib to make sure he remains stable overnight. Please pray for continued healing in this young boy’s heart. We are overjoyed that Sohaib has made it this far when it seemed the door had nearly closed for him!
This afternoon, we got a phone call from Sheba hospital with big news for Sohaib; another child’s surgery was cancelled at the last moment so a space was open for him! His mom packed their bags quickly and just an hour later, they arrived at the hospital to be admitted to the ICU.
Sohaib normally stays pretty relaxed for his echoes, but not today. He was not happy about the process and made the doctors work extra hard to get good images. He cheered up quite a bit afterwards when coworker Quinlan blew bubbles for him in the x-ray waiting room.
Sohaib was admitted directly to the ICU, where he will await his heart surgery tomorrow morning.
Handsome little Sohaib was discharged from Sheba hospital today after a successful diagnostic cath yesterday. The doctors weren’t sure if surgery would be possible for him, but after the cath and a special 3D echo today, they have decided to operate next week. Please pray for Sohaib as he goes to a difficult surgery.
Today, Sohaib had his first diagnostic cath at Sheba Hospital, and the results are hopeful. The process took two hours and the surgeons were very optimistic about the procedure.
In the morning we found our charming boy sleeping. Sohaib was able to go into the surgery area in his mom’s arms, he felt secure when his mom said in Kurdish that with the help of God, everything would be okay. That image reminds me how relieving the promise of our Father is, that He knows the plans he has for each of us. His plan is to prosper and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future.
The doctors are so positive because now they are able to consider the possibility of Sohaib’s surgery in the future. We pray now for the doctors to find the best next step for this little guy.
Handsome little Sohaib had his first evaluation at Sheba hospital this morning, including an x-ray, blood test, ECG, and echo. He’s a pretty relaxed little guy– he was content to munch on a candy bar for most of the waiting time and even fell asleep during his echo.
Sohaib has a large hole between the ventricles of his heart and some of the arteries in his heart are consequently in the wrong place. In general, his heart is very unwell and the doctors are not sure if surgery is an option at this point.
Tomorrow, Sohaib will be admitted to Sheba hospital for a diagnostic cath, which is scheduled for Tuesday. Please pray for good results from this procedure and wisdom for his doctors.
Today Coworkers Bria, Joanne and I, picked up little Sohaib and his mother from Ben Gurion Airport. He is a nice little guy with Ventricular Septal Defect and pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the blood vessels that supply the lungs). His condition is pretty complicated and serious. As soon as possible he will have a catheterization at Sheba Hospital and after that, the doctors will decide if his heart is operative or not. Sohaib is a very cute little guy and mother is a very kind and nice person.
Please bless these two and pray for wisdom for the doctors.