Today coworker Bria and I went with Mariya and her mother to Sheba Hospital to have a dietary check-up. The drive to the hospital was very fun, even though we got in bad traffic; Mariya giggled a lot.
Before we had our appointment, we needed to wait a little bit so Mariya could practice her walking which was really fun.
The appointment was very good, the doctors are satisfied with her condition and the doctor said that it is great that Mariya can play with the food and is really interested in it too. She is also still gaining weight which is also a good sign. The doctors told us that the next step for Mariya will be to continue playing with her food as she’s been doing since her last appointment. The only change is that she will still get five bottles a day but in the bottle in the morning, she will get a little bit less milk. Instead of 220 ml, she will get 180 ml. The goal of this is that she gets a little bit hungry so she might put some food in her mouth while playing.
We have our next check-up in one month, and we pray that Mariya’s condition will continue getting better. After that, we went to the stores and went shopping .
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.
Written by Bria and Ivan
When I visited Mariya at Sheba Hospital today, her mother told me with a smile: ‘sonde challas,’ which means that her sonde will be taken out. Mariya started drinking her milk normally again, so that’s good. She will still need an allergy test, which the doctors don’t want to do in-patient, but for out-patient it is hard to schedule. Please pray for an open door for this test. The same is true for a kidney test.
But as for Mariya, she is very happy in the hospital. She is playing and moving around all day.
The appointment is scheduled for Sunday; please pray for wisdom for the doctors as they make a decision for Mariya’s treatment.
Our little Kurdish friend Mariya was getting discharged from Sheba Hospital today. Her kidney problems aren’t solved yet, but before she can receive further treatment, her specialist wants her to have a kidney scan and a couple of other check-ups so he can make a better decision regarding continuing her treatment or if she even needs kidney surgery.
That means that Mariya will have a lot of appointments in the next months including in the neurology department, nephrology department and some other special tests as she is also having problems with the recent milk she received. Maybe she has allergies that we don’t know of.
While we’re waiting for the appointments, Mariya continues with antibiotic treatment. She and her mother are both so glad to be back in our Ashdod community home and we are happy to have them back.
Yesterday, Mariya started running a high fever, crying all the time, and seemed to be having pain while urinating. Her mom is very familiar with these symptoms by now, as Mariya has frequent UTIs at home in Kurdistan. After giving her some medication to help get her through the night, we went to the ER at Sheba Hospital early this morning. There, after some blood and urine tests and a round of IV antibiotics, the doctors decided to admit Mariya to the Pediatric Ward for antibiotic treatment and further evaluation. They suspect a UTI but are waiting on the rest of the test results to know for sure.
When Mariya was here for heart surgery a couple years ago, we often jokingly called Sheba Hospital “habib Mariya”– Mariya’s love– because she was always so happy there. As we took the elevator up to the ward today, her mom smiled and sighed and said in Arabic, “She loves the hospital, she just wanted to come back. She’s spent so much time here that it’s pretty much her home.”
Mariya is frequently hospitalized like this for UTIs, and we’re so thankful that she stayed healthy long enough to make the trip from Kurdistan a couple days ago. It also seems that she’ll be able to see the nephrologist and begin treatment a little sooner now that she is hospitalized. Please pray for her infection to be resolved quickly, and for wisdom for the doctors as they make a plan of treatment.
Early this morning, coworker Doro and I were able to escort some very special friends of mine from Kurdistan to Israel! It was a sleepless night for all of us, but two-year-old Mariya was the happiest little passenger on the plane.
Mariya and her mother were among the first people I got to know when I arrived at Shevet in 2021. At the time, Mariya was just eight months old and about to undergo open-heart surgery to correct her coarctation of the aorta. I barely spoke a word of either Kurdish or Arabic, but her mom patiently helped me learn both, all the while learning words and phrases in English herself, so we could communicate. Mariya spent four months in Israel, most of that time in the Pediatric Ward at Sheba Hospital, before going home to her dad and big sister with a healed heart.
Now, over a year and a half later, Mariya’s heart is still well, but a cyst on her left kidney is inhibiting kidney function and causing recurrent infections. After a year of visiting nearly every pediatric hospital in Kurdistan trying to find treatment, Mariya’s parents asked if we could help her get back to Sheba, where she may need to undergo a nephrectomy surgery. It took several more months of coordination with the hospital and the Interior Ministry, but Mariya and her mother’s visas arrived just in time for them to fly back to Israel with us this week.
We’re so excited to have these two back in Israel with us. It’s hard to believe how big Mariya is now! She’s still the sweetest girl– though it takes a bit of time for her to warm up to a new person, once she’s decided to be friends, she’s all smiles and giggles. Please pray for Mariya and her mom as they’re getting settled in and beginning another round of treatment.
Thanks be to God for his healing work in Mariya’s life.
As we hugged goodbye just before the security line, we told each other over and over, “You’re my sister now.”
It’s been a beautiful blessing to have these few months with this sweet girl and her mother, and I’m forever grateful for God’s goodness in bringing us together.
Yesterday, after four months in Israel, beautiful Mariya was cleared to return to Kurdistan. Her ENT doctor said there is no problem with the physiology of her throat, so the noisy breathing her mom has been worried about should improve as Mariya grows.
Later, Mariya’s urologist explained that Mariya has a cyst on her left kidney, but it is not impairing the function of the kidney at all so it is safe for her to go home without intervention. Mariya will have one final consultation with a nephrologist on Wednesday and, Lord willing, will fly home Wednesday night.
As we left the pediatric ward, several doctors and nurses waved and blew kisses to Mariya and her mom as they passed by. Her mom told me Mariya is friends with all the doctors and nurses on the floor. It’s beautiful to see their love for this little girl, as well as her mother’s heartfelt gratitude for them after such a long and challenging time in the hospital.
Mariya is continuing her time in Sheba hospital. She is seeing a specialist for eating difficulties every week; the doctors did try to remove the feeding tube, but after twenty four hours, she was dehydrated because she could not drink enough milk, so they had to put in he NG tube once again.
She is also particularly susceptible to viruses in the hospital, so please be praying for her, and that soon she would be able to be released from the hospital, although it is a blessing that she can do many of the specialist appointments as an inpatient that otherwise would have been scheduled months into the future.
Today is special because it’s Mariya’s birthday. Twice today, many doctors discussed this little girl’s case. Yesterday, she had a fluoroscopy procedure and today we had an appointment in the Eating Disorder Clinic, where coworker Moshe helped us a lot with translation.
Because of these results, and also based on Mariya’s weight gain improvement, her willingness to eat and drink milk via mouth, the doctors are very optimistic. They even plan to remove the tube very soon.
Also the doctors want Mariya to eat food via mouth and will watch how her body reacts to this. It’s clear that there is no surgery needed, but she has to stay in the hospital for at least one week. Mariya’s mother hopes that she can come to our community home in Jaffa again as soon as possible.
So let’s pray for a little more patience, although it’s been needed for a long time. Mariya and her mother still need our prayers, but let’s thank God for the improvements in Mariya, evident from today’s appointments.
Mariya still has the feeding tube and is unable to eat otherwise. Mariya’s doctor was able to schedule a nephrology appointment for Mariya tomorrow (there wasn’t an opening till February initially). Then on Thursday she will be having a urology appointment. Hopefully next Tuesday, she will have an appointment at the Eating Disorder Clinic. Then hopefully next Tuesday, she will have an appointment at the Eating Disorder Clinic.
Please pray for wisdom for the doctors going forward and for complete healing for sweet Mariya.
When I visited little Mariya at Sheba hospital, she was crying the whole time and her mother confirmed that this is her normal status currently. Mariya also doesn’t sleep very well either. It breaks my heart to hear this and I really hope that it gets better. We talked about the other discharges and really hope that Mariah will be one of them soon.
When I talked to the doctor, it didn’t seem that it would be soon. Although her heart is okay, Mariya receives her milk through a tube and because of an infection, she is taking antibiotics.
Please pray for patience for her mother and healing for sweet Mariya.
Since beginning to run a fever almost a week ago, Mariya has not been her usual cheerful self. Yesterday, when I stopped by Sheba hospital briefly to say hello, I learned that Mariya was having stomach problems and had not been able to have milk for a couple of days. Her eyes and cheeks looked a bit sunken, and her mom told me Mariya was unhappy all the time because she didn’t feel well.
You can imagine, then, what a welcome surprise it was this afternoon, when I found Mariya wide awake and happily drinking milk. Even better, her mom was feeding her through a bottle, and the NG tube she’s had for months is gone! The doctor said she is much better today, and they are working to help her relearn how to eat without the tube.
Mariya’s mom was absolutely elated by her sweet girl’s recovery and so excited to show me how Mariya can drink from a bottle now. She told me over and over that Mariya is good now, so she is good too and everything is okay. Praise God for Mariya’s recovery, and please pray she will adjust well to eating without her NG tube.
Today, I found our normally cheerful, giggly Mariya very solemn and subdued. She has just started running a fever, and while the doctors are waiting on blood test results, they’ve started her on antibiotics immediately in case of infection. This is disappointing news for her mother, who has been so pleased with Mariya’s smooth recovery so far.
I always look forward to visiting Mariya and her mother and I try to stop by at least for a couple of minutes every time I’m at Sheba hospital. She has been moved to a different floor and I was happy to see that her new room is right next door to a couple of other Shevet babies. I’m grateful that her mother will have good company while she waits for Mariya’s test results.
Please pray that whatever is causing the fever will be minor and easily treatable, and for Mariya’s mother, who is quite worried about her baby girl.
Rachel and I visited Mariya and her mother today. It was very nice to see her, because we already got to know each other in the guesthouse in Jaffa.
She was very cute today. We were able to talk to her mother, although our Kurdish is not the best yet. She told us that Mariya is doing very well, but crying a lot. The doctors explained that they are giving her the medicine that is needed, and Mariya is getting better and better. They will extubate her soon. This is great news and we thank our Lord. Please pray that the positive developments for little Mariya continue and that she will get more used to being in the hospital.
Praise be to God for a successful surgery for Mariya today! As of last night, the doctors were unsure as to whether they would perform the surgery today. But coworker Rachel and I arrived at Sheba hospital first thing this morning to find that Mariya had gone into surgery just minutes earlier.
Waiting with a mother during her child’s surgery is a unique experience in how anxious, yet beautiful a time it can be. Today was no exception. During the four hours Mariya was in surgery, I sat with her mother while she cried, giggled over pictures of Mariya, called friends and family back home for support, and again and again, lifted her face and whispered prayers for her baby girl.
Neither one of us could stop smiling when the doctor came out to say the surgery was over and successful. She turned and gave me the biggest hug, repeating, “alhamdulillah!” (praise be to God) over and over. When she saw I was starting to cry, she burst out laughing and kept saying, “No, no, it’s okay now!”
She was overjoyed to see Mariya after surgery, but it was a bit startling for her as well. The doctors had not yet removed the chest tube or breathing tube, and I can only imagine how jarring it must be for her to see her lively, happy baby girl lying still and connected to all those machines. When I stopped by again later, though, she was settling into the room in the ICU and full of exuberant joy over her sweet girl.
Thanks be to God for Mariya’s successful surgery and his immeasurable love for this precious little girl!
Mariya had quite a long day at Sheba hospital today. This morning, she had an appointment with a doctor in the gastroenterology clinic in the hope that we could find out why she’s still struggling to keep milk down.
Thankfully, the doctor’s report was encouraging. Mariya is gaining weight at a good pace and there doesn’t seem to be an underlying health condition behind her current situation. Instead, he suspects that her body just needs to “relearn” how to process food after being fed through an NG tube for the last seven months. He advised a consultation with a dietician and seemed confident that Mariya’s condition will improve.
As we finished the appointment in the gastro clinic, coworker Alena called me with the news that Mariya would be admitted to Sheba today and possibly have her surgery tomorrow. Mariya’s mother and I took her up to the cardiology department for an ECG and corona test, and after a long afternoon of waiting, Mariya was admitted to the hospital this evening. If there is a room open in the ICU tomorrow, Mariya will be taken into surgery tomorrow morning. Please pray that this is possible.
I really enjoyed spending the day with Mariya and her mother, who has such a sweet and beautiful heart. She’s always eager to teach me new words in Kurdish and Arabic, and we had some good laughs over our struggle to communicate via Google Translate.
Lastly, thank God for an exceptionally kind and helpful medical team today. From the very friendly gastroenterologist to the nurse who took the time to discuss a favorite singer with Mariya’s mother, the Sheba staff was warm and welcoming.
The doctors checked Mariya’s saturation, blood pressure, a blood test, an x-ray and an ultrasound. The doctor couldn’t find anything significant to this problem, so after a few hours they released her to go back to Jaffa.
Sweet Mariya was all smiles today for her release from the hospital. After a series of test and examinations at Sheba, she and her mother were welcomed into our home in Jaffa this evening. Her mother was so excited to leave the hospital with her little girl, and waited very patiently through a series of delays in the afternoon.