Learning about Shireen’s condition

Shireen had an appointment with the Neurologist today. It was quite a while to wait, but I really enjoyed being able to spend some time with Shireen and her mum, and to get to know them a bit better. It is easy to see that this is a mum who is completely devoted to her daughter. Shireen and her mum are both very friendly, Shireen was especially interested in the other children waiting for their appointments.

We talked about some of Shireen’s health difficulties; she likes to use her left hand very much, but holds her right very tightly, not really using it much at all. Her arms and legs are quite stiff, and she doesn’t support her body weight when she sits up. She is very friendly,  smiles a lot when you call to her, but she can’t speak yet, even though she is over 2 and a 1/2 years old.

Mum brought with her a brain scan which had been done in Kurdistan about a year ago, at which time she says that the doctors there told her that there’s no problem in her brain.

Today, the neurologist examined the images from the Kurdish scan, commenting on how he hasn’t seen this technology for a long time. Sadly he also was quick to state that although the images are not so clear, it is easy to see that there are significant areas of damage in her brain, which he suggested are in response to the first month of her life with extremely low oxygen levels, and the following years, also with low oxygen levels.

He explained that although the heart surgery will help Shireen and give her body more oxygen, and she can improve in her condition, the neurological damage is an additional diagnosis for Shireen. Her development is severely delayed, and the heart surgery would not fix this,  Shireen’s development would be similar to her brother and sister.

Shireen needs to have a new brain CT and EEG to get a full and up-dated assessment. It is possible also for the therapy team in the hospital to show Shireen’s mum some activities to do with her to help her development. It made me think of how much of a blessing it is to have access to all of this professional help here in Israel; what a contrast to what Shireen, and others like her, can access in Kurdistan.

Please pray for her! She is such a sweet-natured and friendly girl, dearly loved by her mother and even more so by God.