“Book a private jet for her and the other Kurdish children that are ready to return back to Kurdistan!” That’s what one of the very friendly doctors at Sheba Medical Center said today.
We were at Sheba because Shireen needed to come back to the hospital today for another Echo to see if she is still recovering well. Our little “Shirousch” (what we call her with love) was not very calm during the Echo and was crying. But her friendly mother was right by her side and managed to calm her down at least a little bit.
The Echo showed that Shireen is recovering ever so well that she can return to Kurdistan. Sadly, there isn’t passage as yet due to the current situation in Israel which has closed down its airports for another two weeks. Hence, the Doctor recommended to book a private jet, being funny of course.
Shireen needs another follow-up appointment in two weeks, but she could have done it back in Kurdistan as well. Looks like she has to do it here. For us, this means we still have time together with Shireen and her mom and some of the other Kurdish families also waiting to return.
While this is a bonus for us, we also want them to be reunited with their families just as soon as possible. So please pray for them.
Cute little Shireen had an appointment today in Sheba Hospital in the morning. She needed a Cardiological diagnostic after her successful heart surgery.
Our beautiful girl had not just an Echo, but also an ECG and a dental check-up as well. Praise the Lord for such good care! All the diagnostics were successful! And Shireen doesn’t have to be seen anymore from the doctors!
Doctors have a physiotherapy exercise for Shireen. They are teaching Shireen’s mother so that the physiotherapy can continue in the home after they have left.
What a blessing for this sweet girl and her lovely mother that all is improved and they can finally return home! Thank you so much for all your prayers and for following this story. We hope you are also blessed by it, as we are.
Thank God that our lovely Shireen and her friendly mother were getting discharged from Sheba Medical Center today. Yesterday, she was having an Echo and thankfully the reading was good. But the doctors still wanted to keep her in the hospital for one night more to make sure that there won’t be any problems potentially coming later.
So they kept her in the hospital, but today, she and her mother were allowed to leave the hospital and go to our house in Jaffa. It is a blessing from God that everything is going so well and quick with this lovely girl, and also that there is no need for any medications after everything is completed.
She and her mother were happy to be discharged from the hospital today and were especially happy for the delicious Kurdish food that awaited them back at the house in Jaffa. It was cooked by two of the mothers (co-worker Carina helped) that are living and staying with us at the moment.
Shireen needs to come back for an Echo in one week to check if she is still doing well. Meanwhile, they will have a good time in Jaffa with some of the other Kurdish families that are with us at the moment.
Thank God that everything is going so well so far with this lovely girl, and thank you for your prayers. Let us continue to pray for Shireen and her mother that the good run continues.
Shireen has recovered from her heart surgery so well that she has now been moved into the Pediatric Cardiac ‘Intermediate’ Intensive Care Unit of Sheba Medical Center. Her heart is looking very well, and the nurses were all pleased to tell me about it, as it was a big surgery, and was unusual to be doing such an operation on a girl who is two and a half, rather than shortly after birth.
Thank God; He has brought her here in His own perfect timing. Shireen’s mother, although tired, looks like a big weight has been lifted now that Shireen is looking beautiful with a post-surgical oxygen saturation of 99%.
Shireen has had a fever and was vomiting today and yesterday. When I saw them today, the blood and urine test results were not back yet, but Shireen was receiving IV fluids and started taking antibiotics. Please continue to pray for Shireen, that this would clear soon and that she would be feeling well.
After our little precious Shireen had her successful surgery last Thursday, she was moved to the Pediatric Intensive Cardiac Care Unit (ICU) at Sheba Medical Care. She is still there, but when I visited the little girl and her lovely mother today, thank God she was already extubated and sitting peacefully, resting on her mother’s lap. Her mother looked tired as well, but she was happy to have a visit anyway.
Shireen’s physical condition is very good. Her oxygen level, whilst sleeping, is 98% which is great. Thank the Lord.
Thanks to all of you who are holding this precious girl in your hearts and in your prayers. She is in God’s hands, and He cares for her precious life. Hopefully, she will continue to recover well.
Our lovely Shireen had her surgery today. Co-worker Alena and I met Shireen‘s mother at the waiting area. She was crying. We tried to support her in this difficult time. We spoke with each other a little bit. After some time, she calmed down. There was even a social-worker who brought tea to us. The mother was so pleased about the drink because she had not had breakfast in the morning.
After almost five hours, a doctor came to the waiting area and told us they would close the surgery in 20 minutes.
Thank you all for your prayers. Shireen’s mother and we had so much joy. Our sweet Shireen stays intubated until tomorrow. Doctors will decide if lovely Shireen can be extubated. Please keep pray for her physical recovery .
It was a surprise for co-worker Carina and I to find our beautiful Shireen and her lovely mother moved to the fourth floor when we went to Sheba Medical Center today. We planned to visit some of our other little Shevet children in hospital, when suddenly her mother came out of their room nearby us, and told us that one of us should come with her to visit where Shireen was now. Carina and Shireen’s mother went up to the ICU to collect their bags and brought them down to the fourth floor into their new room.
During the time that I waited for them to return, I spent a lovely time with beautiful Shireen and played with her with some dolls that one of the nurses had given to her. We enjoyed our time together. She loves it when you play together with her and her dolls. She gave me her beautiful smile.
Glory to God that she was moved from the ICU to the fourth floor just one day after her teeth extractions. Apart from having to eat her food with a spoon because otherwise it will hurt her tooth, she’s doing very well. The whole time that co-worker Carina and I visited her, she was without any oxygen and her values where stable PTL.
Beautiful Shireen had many of her teeth extracted today, due to the risk of infection the subsequent danger of endocarditis (infection of her heart). The doctor recommended this to be done before her heart surgery because of her susceptibility to this condition.
The procedure took about three hours and after this she was taken to the ICU to be monitored. Her mother was initially shocked to hear that her daughter, who came to Israel for heart surgery, needed to have a tooth extraction as well and that these two things were connected. However, now that this is done, she is anticipating Shireen’s imminent heart surgery and taking wonderful care of her daughter as they wait.
Please pray for peace for both Shireen and her mum, and that we could be ministers of Christ’s love to her each day we visit them.
Shireen‘s mother got tired of the hospital. It has been a long time waiting for Shireen’s surgery, and yesterday she found out that Shireen must first have some major dental work done, removing many of the teeth that are at a risk of becoming infected.
Today, during our Shevet community morning meeting, we prayed for peace in Shireen’s mother, for her state of mind and heart and for Shireen. When we met Shireen’s mother in the hospital, she needed a conversation. We decided to go for a walk outside in the sunshine, leaving the hospital room. It was a wonderful day for that! We spent time together, we listened and talked to each other. It seemed to be good for this mother.
The general condition from Shireen is unchanged. She still needs oxygen. The surgery is postponed. Please pray for her and her mom.
Dear Shireen was surrounded by about ten medical students when I arrived in her room today. Of course she is a very clinically interesting case to study, as she is living with her heart condition, without an operation, for much longer than any children who might have access to the health care that the children in Israel have. The doctor drew the students’ attention to her clubbed fingers, and her laboured breathing, signs of her low oxygen levels and heart failure. Shireen was, thankfully, very happy to be examined by everyone today. She is receiving oxygen with the nasal cannula, and even with this, her oxygen levels struggled to reach even 75%, sometimes dropping down to around 55%. The nurses came to help relieve the situation, and I felt very grateful for the excellent and diligent care that she can receive here.
Shireen’s mum also seemed to have settled into the hospital gently. She is able to understand and use some Arabic, and this is helpful for her to be more independent, and hopefully more confident in the hospital. Shireen enjoyed a video chat with her family today, which was so lovely to watch, as I know they are missing each other. Shireen is going to stay in the hospital until her oxygen levels have stabilised, and she feels better.
If you could believe it, this beautiful smiley girl has been unwell with a high temperature for the last few days. Due to her heart condition, Shireen’s body is quite weak compared to others of her age, and so it can be more dangerous for her to have any illness, and it has affected her (already low) oxygen levels.
Shireen and her mum had a long day today in the hospital, as her symptoms also meant that they both needed to have a test for coronavirus.
The doctors decided that it’s best to keep Shireen in the hospital overnight, to see how she develops and recovers; she is on oxygen.
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.
Shireen enjoyed her car ride to Sheba hospital today, happily looking out of the window at the traffic. She was dressed beautifully for this important first appointment at the hospital, which she attended with the family of another Kurdish child Ahmad, as well.
The big test came when it was time to face strangers in a strange land for her first echo exam. As you’ll hear in the video below her mum and our coworker Julio pleaded with her not to cry!
But Shireen was happy to watch a video on YouTube, and have some milk which kept her calm during her echo. The doctor confirmed the diagnosis given in Kurdistan, and suggested her heart defect is a big problem, likely needing to be fixed in two steps.
First the doctors will meet together to discuss her case, and make a surgery plan. She will also need to see the neurologist to have an assessment of her development.
Thank you for keeping little Shireen in your prayers.
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.
Shireen is a 2 1/2 year old child from Kurdistan, northern Iraq diagnosed with transposition of the great arteries.
Shireen's local leaders are our coworkers Nathan and Colin, on the occasion of their marriage January 16, 2021. "Colin met Shireen and her lovely family in Kurdistan. Shireen’s heart defect is very serious and there are also neurological issues due to the long-term lack of oxygen. Whatever the outcome, we want to communicate that Shireen is precious, loved, and worthy of every effort to save her life."
As of right now, Shireen still needs $5800 toward surgery and related expenses.