Gashbin did it! She finished the long time in Israel and is now finally going home.
Saying goodbye to our beloved girl was very hard. During the last three months Gashbin became a joyful part of our Shevet family. So letting her go didn’t happen without shedding a few tears. As Gashbin and her mum climbed into the car tears were running down their faces but seeing the others waving them goodbye made them smile.
When we arrived at the airport Gashbin‘s curiosity came through and she examined everything closely. Once again I was amazed by her interested and smart mind. The airport staff was very kind with Gashbin and her mum, who seemed scared of the flight since she had to do it on her own. But God cared for them, one member of the staff was assigned to guide them through the security and to their gate. The moment we had to part from Gashbin and her mum was very emotional and I felt their love and gratitude they had for us. A beautiful feeling and two beautiful persons I will keep in my heart.
Praise the Lord for this good take off and his help throughout the healing process.
Praise the Lord our beautiful Gashbin has finally finished her journey in Israel. The last obstacle she had to overcome: a blood test and an echo.
Gashbin entered the hospital joyfully since she knew it might be the last time. Our brave girl smiled and laughed with the other children. But her mood changed as we were waiting for her blood test. She tried to fight back her fear but the sight of the room and the medical things seemed to bring back memories of her surgery. One moment she was smiling and making jokes the next moment tears were running down her face. Seeing her like this made me very sad.
Still the good news came through. Praise the Lord Gashbin can go home!!! Our brave girl celebrated this success with all her heart. Joyful pictures were taken and everyone celebrated with her.
My prayer is that Gashbin will grow up to be the wonderful women that God created her to be, that the time she had to spent here won’t be shadowed by the hard time of the surgery.
As we left for Sheba Hospital early this morning Gashbin’s mother appeared quietly excited about the prospect of Gashbin being cleared to return to Kurdistan. It has been a long wait. Gashbin herself was vacillating between fear and playfulness.
While the three of us reclined on the sofas outside the echo rooms Gashbin’s mother was obviously praying. I quietly added my prayers to hers while Gashbin watched a video. It felt quite peaceful and there was a familiar comfortableness between us. That is until Gashbin was called for her ecg and then echo. The tears came streaming down her face and her cries were those of one who has been traumatised. The blood test later was a re-enactment of the previous behaviour. As a needlephobe myself, I sympathised.
We didn’t have to wait too long for the cardiologist to give his report on the echo. No discharge to Kurdistan today. Gashbin’s oxygen saturation today was satisfactory – above 80 – but she has a little congestion in her heart. She is to continue with the same medications and in one week have what is hopefully her discharge echo.
There were no dramas from Gashbin’s mother as her hopes of returning to Kurdistan this week faded but rather an understanding resignation that it is not far away. I was reminded of a passage from the book of Hebrews that the Shevet community has been studying, “Our great desire is that each one of you keep up his eagerness to the end, so that the things you hope for come true. We do not want you to become lazy, but to be like those who believe and are patient, and so receive what God has promised” (6:11-12).
Let us support Gashbin and her mother in prayer that they remain eagerly hopeful and patient, that their faith is strengthened and that Gashbin receives the healing that God so longs to complete in her.
“Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world…”
The words and melody from childhood Sunday school class move through my memory as we set out on a visit to a special hospital that is thousands of miles from my own home.
I am not going with my own little one, though I have sat and waited like the mama sitting across from me in the waiting area. She cradles her little girl, ignoring her own discomfort in the rigid hospital chairs, and she repeatedly attempts to make her child feel more at ease.
The child is sweet Gashbin, just 10 days out from heart surgery. They are awaiting a post-operative visit and blood work. Though the discomfort of healing is still very much a part of her reality, the angst of having her blood drawn again seems to be the overwhelming reason for her tears. My own memories and emotions bubble to the surface and threaten to spill over.
She is temporarily distracted by the thought of being able to relax in the special playground area once her blood work is done. Her mother and the Shevet team of Margaret, Colin and I cheer her on, taking advantage of the smile and the hope that temporarily illuminates her face.
We pray for hands that are carefully guided, and God answers with a resounding “Yes!” With barely a cry, brave Gashbin marches back out of the room and proudly displays her shiny, metallic, winner’s ribbon sticker that has been affixed to her shirt. Such bravery is to be greatly commended!
All smiles now, we visit that much-anticipated playground….and the music room….and the snack bar…..and the train where we order imaginary pizza and ice cream……and finally, the curious outdoor play area complete with an oversized sculpture of a nose that doubles as a sliding board. (She spied it from an upstairs window, and we made it a mission to find it!)
What an honor, privilege and inspiration it was to be part of their day.
Please continue to pray for this incredibly brave young lady who will go back within the next week for a follow-up echocardiogram—and for her courageous hospital warrior mama.
Gashbin greeted me with a big smile as I entered her room in the secondary ICU today. Georgia just said: “Guess who will be discharged today.” I can’t tell you how glad and thankful and happy I am that the long journey of waiting and suffering seems to be over. Finally.
I remember the first day they arrived to the hospital a few months ago very well. I had to leave them alone in this empty room on the sixth floor, both of them weeping on the bed with no pillows or blankets, no phone charger and no one who speaks their language, no one they could talk too. The nine year old Gashbin was laying on her mum’s lap, the pacifier in her mouth.
Although Gashbin does still look very weak and thin and says the wound is itching a lot, I am so thankful for this great transformation and the process of healing she went through. When I was sitting next to Gashbin on the couch this evening I just realized how happy I am to have her back home at Shevet. I missed her a lot.
I’m praying that she can fly back to Kurdistan soon, that she can just enjoy her last time here at Shevet and that she feels totally loved by us, but especially by her Heavenly Father.
Gashbin’s sweet mother is working tirelessly to provide the best care she can for her daughter, and doing her best to raise her spirits. According to the medical staff, Gashbin is doing much better now and we saw her today in the secondary ICU.
She had a good echo this morning and although she does currently have chest drains, the plan is to remove them today or tomorrow, all being well. So Gashbin’s mum is trying to encourage her that it could be only a few more days and then she can come home, and then, finally back to Kurdistan!
Praise God for healing Gashbin, it is a real joy to see her looking a better colour, and even managing half of a little smile.
It seems like a very short amount of time, but the transformation of Gashbin is so clear. Her once-blue lips, fingers and toes are now a beautiful colour pink and she is looking so much better.
In herself, she is feeling quite unwell, and in a fair amount of pain, as she is now sitting up, completely alert in bed. She has been given some breathing exercises to help clear her lungs, especially, she needs to cough, which is causing her pain.
Her mother continues to be a wonderful support for her, trying to encourage her to eat, although she is only accepting a tiny amount of chocolate cake at the moment.
Praise God for bringing her healing over this week, and for looking after her. Please keep praying for her healing.
A few days prior to Gashbin’s surgery, on the night of the حفلة, or the celebration we held for one of our children’s departures to Kurdistan, Gashbin danced the night away. Her presence illuminated the room. After a couple hours, Gashbin did not cease to dance even though she was the only one with enough energy to dance. Gashbin often wore purple clothing, which seemed to intensify her violet-tinged lips. She also often wore a playful smile. So the contrast in her appearance before and after the surgery was drastic.
Yesterday, after Gashbin was transferred from the operating room to her room in the cardiac intensive care unit, it was strange to not be greeted by Gashbin’s playful smile. The surgeons were able to complete her fenestrated Fontan surgery, which is the final surgical stage of her single ventricle palliation plan. However, she lost a great amount of blood during the surgery and thus her blood pressure decreased significantly, leaving her in a critical state. Upon her transfer, the medical team was supporting Gashbin through mechanical ventilation, plasma replacement, and blood pressure pharmacological support. Her mother diligently prayed for Gashbin’s life, as did many around the world. As Joela mentioned in the previous blog, the surgeon stated that the next 24 – 48 hours were critical in assessing how her body would recover from the surgery.
Today, it was wonderful to see Gashbin look at me with her beautiful brown eyes. Though she did not playfully smile, it was encouraging to see her improvement.
Her mother was comforted by the change of the color in her lips, which were no longer violet. Gashbin even engaged in slight conversation. The medical team was able to successfully extubate her, which means that her respiratory function improved. The nurses also discontinued one of her blood pressure support medications, which is another sign of improvement. Though she still in on pharmacological and oxygen support, please continue to pray for God to give her strength to heal.
Our prayer is to dance with Gashbin again, in response to a rejoicing and grateful heart.
As the Shabbat exited some good news entered the Shevet house: Gashbin’s surgery would be Sunday. As soon as we told Gashbin everyone was happy except her. She was very scared and starting crying. Colin and I drove her to the hospital and tried do keep her calm but even Baby Shark (her favorite videoclip) couldn’t put Gashbin’s mind at rest.
It was not easy for the doctors to do their tests on her however the mum was trying her best to comfort Gashbin. After a long time I was alone with her in the room and I started talking to her. She looked at me and tried to say something. The only thing I understood was the word pray. So I looked at her and asked if I can pray for her. I was so happy as she nodded. As I prayed she was very quiet and I felt so much peace in this moment. A peace only God could give.
Today there were a lot of people visiting Gashbin before she left for her surgery, and she wasn’t as scared as in the evening. There was time for a quick dance and long hugs.
Our coworker Julio, a fluent Kurdish speaker, was allowed to be in the operating room when Gashbin’s mother handed her daughter over to the Israeli doctors. Click here or on the audio bar below the picture to hear Julio’s description of the holiness of that moment:
Around twelve o‘clock her surgery started and after that many people were sitting in the waiting room to be with Gashbin’s mother, drink tea together and to give one another strength. In the morning meeting we sang the song “Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord,” and that is so true. As we were waiting I felt very surrounded by God. After five hours of surgery we got the good news that Gashbin’s surgery went well. The doctors are happy but are waiting to see how the next 24-48 hours will be.
So please keep on praying for Gashbin and her strong, loving mother. Our God will give them strength to get through the next days.
Gashbin had a better day today. I think the now familiar process of driving and then arriving at Sheba hospital is becoming easier. It also helps that Gashbin loves the drawing corner and the children’s area where she plays very happily. Gashbin’s Mother still need a lot of prayer as she is very distressed and frightened by the hospital procedures and what it means for Gashbin. The news however is positive with the surgeons still deciding what operation will be suitable but with a date on the near horizon. The doctors have not yet decided which operation Gashbin needs but they are confident that they will be able to help her which is great news. Please pray that Gashbin and her Mother will have confidence in Shevet and the Sheba hospital team and that they made the right decision coming to Israel for treatment.
I met mom and Gashbin in the waiting room. Gashbin was in for a catheterization. Her mother was worried and looked a little scared. She asked several times when they would be done. The doctors were done after a couple of hours, and mother hurried to her and hugged her.
The mother wanted to know how things had gone, and I explained everything the doctor said. Everything went well during the catheterization.
After a couple of hours we got calls from the doctors who told us that the mother was not feeling well. We went to their room and Gashbin’s mother told us that she had low blood sugar and had difficulty getting up. She got food and water and after a while she felt better. Gashbin was also worried about her mother, but her mother tried to be strong for her sake.
We really need to pray for Gashbin and her mom so they can have days with peace in the hospital and a lot of hope.
Gashbin was really nervous at the time of her first echocardiogram at the hospital today. She has a very sweet mother who takes care of her all the time. Maybe she is a little spoiled because of many years suffering from this heart disease.
The doctors found that they’ll need to do a diagnostic catheterization to study Gashbin’s heart further. It may be possible to help her by simply dilating the pulmonary artery or putting in a stent; otherwise she may need a major surgery.
I really prayed all the time today that Gashbin will be calm and relaxed. Every time we mentioned the word cath or surgery she began to cry more. I tried to make her happy, telling her stories or just asking questions about her school and friends back home in Kurdistan.
The mother was very supportive. Finally we were told they she was going to have the cath tomorrow so she will be admitted today later in the afternoon.
In the waiting time we took all the children to the music room and they had just a great time, Gashbin forgot about the cath and loved to paint with Diana (pictured above).
We really need your prayers for tomorrow’s cath so Gashbin is quiet and calm.
Sweet nine-year old Gashbin (at far right) arrived in Israel today seeking healing for her complicated single-ventricle heart. She’s had two previous surgeries, and doctors will be studying the anatomy of her heart to see how to increase the flow of oxygen to her body. This will relieve her fatigue and allow her to continue her studies.
Diana was on hand at the airport and adds:
We want to welcome sweet and fragile Gashbin. She and her Mom arrived very tired after they did not sleep all night. The waiting for them at the airport arrivals hall was long. Both new mothers were a little nervous but funny Julio spoke their own Kurdish language so they became more relaxed. We did the routine checkup at the airport, and thank God Gashbin’s vital signs and saturation were fine.