DMSA kidney scan

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.