Welcome to Israel

Shireen and her mum arrived in Israel with three other Kurdish families yesterday, and co-worker Julio and I were very glad to collect them and bring them to our Shevet home in Jaffa.

Shireen has been highlighted in a discussion prior to her arrival with the staff at Sheba hospital, as being the highest at risk for traveling to Israel. Her diagnosis is dextro-Transposition of the Great Arteries (d-TGA), with a small Atrial-Septal Defect (ASD). This means that her main arteries are switched, so her body is supplied with deoxygenated blood, if not for the hole between the chambers of her heart (the ASD), a defect which has in fact helped to save her life.

Shireen’s mother told us the difficult story. Shireen is her fourth child. Sadly, one of her children died when he was just two months old. A few hours after Shireen was born, with her hand on Shireen’s heart, she could feel that it was beating incredibly fast. She knew there must be a problem with her baby. She was assured by everyone that Shireen was healthy and that she could take her home. For the next month, Shireen’s mother found no peace about her daughter’s condition, believing that there was something wrong with her. Thankfully, a family friend saw Shireen’s little blue fingers and toes, and urged the family to take her to the hospital.

When hospitalized, her condition was realised. She received an emergency catheterisation which opened a small hole in her heart to allow more oxygen to be pumped around her body. Mum was very pleased with the outcome of the catheterisation, and says that Shireen is in a much better condition now than she was before, although even now her oxygen saturation struggles to maintain a level of 75%.

Shireen is two and a half years old now, and is very lovely. She is not yet able to sit up properly without being supported. She loves to try and reach out and hold toys placed in front of her, but finds it hard because her body is so weak, with more pronounced weakness on one side than the other. She is very blue in her fingers and toes, yet despite all these symptoms, she is a beautiful, treasured daughter.

Thank God that she remained in a relatively stable condition throughout the 16-hour journey to Israel, and she and mum have been able to rest over the weekend here, before Shireen’s first assessment at the hospital tomorrow.

Thank God for holding Shireen in His hand and for giving her dedicated mother the strength to fight for the life of her child. Please pray for Shireen’s health, and for a good outcome for her and her mum’s time here, that they will know they are loved by our great Father in heaven.