Belend's Heart Surgery


Fit to Ride

Posted on Fri, 10/29/2010 - 00:00 by ryan

This morning three of our families left with Jonathan for Amman, Jordan from where they will fly home to northern Iraq. They were anxious to return, but because we have grown so close during our time together, like family, there were many goodbyes and tears in the Shevet courtyard this morning. The weather seemed to agree with the mood of the moment, letting a bittersweet drizzle: sad for the separation, glad for the healing it signals.

Belend is a little boy with a lot of energy. Since his surgery he has calmed down some, but he seems like he'll always be very active. He has grown close to Shilan, from our Swedish film crew, and when she asked him if he was happy to go home all he answered was, "I've got a bicycle at home." The whole time hes been with us hes been running nonstop all over the place, so it makes sense that what this 3-year-old boy looks forward to most at home is his bike. While it is a simple action for a child to ride a bicycle, we are grateful to the Lord for the great mercy which this simple action represents: Belend is leaving Israel with a heart strong and fit to ride.

His mother was fearful when she arrived, but seems more at peace now. Please pray that the Lord will continue to make himself known to this family. Like the Parable of the Sower in the Bible, the seed has been planted and from here God will take care of the rest.

Click to send an e-mail message to Belend and his mother.

Going Home

Posted on Mon, 10/25/2010 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel

Today Belend and his mother got the news they were anxiously waiting to hear: Belend is ready to go home! This busy little boy played happily while we waited for his echo, slowing down only when he took shelter near his mother if medical personnel passed by, as if he didn't want to be too vulnerable to their reach. His mother on the other hand sat anxiously, answering a number of phone calls from her husband with no news throughout our long wait, until she was finally able to relay to him that they will be traveling home to him and Belend's baby brother in only a few days.

Although I just met this little boy and mom a few days ago upon returning to Jerusalem, it was a delight to enter into their joy and give God thanks for the beautiful and fast healing he's done in Belend's life. He is full of the joy of life, like most three-year-olds, and will now have the opportunity to live a healthy life which we pray will include God's joy in his heart.

By the time all was done and we were ready to leave the hospital, Belend was willing to put aside the fear which had been evident with every doctor-sighting of the day, and sit in Dr. Katz's lap for a parting photo. We will send them back to Iraq with love and prayers that every good seed which has been planted in their hearts through word and deed will bear a bountiful harvest for God's glory.

Click to send an e-mail message to Belend and his mother.

Belend Discharged, Still Spunky and Willful

Posted on Sun, 10/17/2010 - 06:43 by Donna_West

After picking up Harim at Wolfson Hospital, we went on to Sheba Hospital at Tel HaShomer to pick up Belend and his mother. The condition of these two boys was from one extreme to another, but both of their mothers were close to exhaustion.

Belend was discharged without any medication and every bit as energetic (and demanding) as ever. Just when you want to be upset with him, he giggles and smiles at you with this twinkle in his eye and starts chasing a kitten who was looking for food. He is scheduled for a follow-up echo next week. Please continue to ask the Lord for wisdom and guidance for Belend's mother to know how to channel that strong-will of his without breaking it. That is a challenge for many mothers, as this writer personally knows; I can appreciate the challenge and the blessing of such a child.

Tough and Happy Moments of Recovery

Posted on Thu, 10/14/2010 - 00:00 by Mary_Dailey
Suhail, David and I went to visit Belend and his mother to see how they were doing at Sheba Medical Center, because we would not be able to visit them for at least 3 or 4 days. When we walked into their room Belend was crying because the nurses were in the process of doing blood work and he did not like the needles. I really couldn't blame him, because I don't think anyone really likes them. He was wanting his mother to cover him all the way up with blankets so they couldnt use the needles on him. He wasn't nearly as energetic as he usually is. He wasn't even trying to get off his bed, which was surprising to me. His mother looked very tired.

I got to playing with him with a couple of his toys and he finally decided to quit crying and was even smiling and playing the game of throwing the toys on the floor for me to pick them up. Suhail and David (a new volunteer) were with me and when they came in from parking the car we stayed awhile and I got a picture of them with Belend. He really liked having his picture taken.

Please pray for him and his mother, that he will heal quickly and that the Lord will give his mother a special touch. Thank you for your prayers.

Belend's Surgery a Great Success

Posted on Mon, 10/11/2010 - 06:43 by Donna_West

Belend and his mother were delighted to see us when we arrived at the Sheba Medical Center this morning around 7:30 am. Belend showed us the IV port which had been inserted with the help of three nurses, two doctors and his mother holding him down. As he became excited about having familiar faces around him, Belend began to realize he was hungry and wanted a bottle of milk. From midnight the night before surgery, children are not allowed to eat or drink anything. By 8 AM, Belend was telling his mother he was going to go get it himself, if she wouldn't. About that time the anesthesiologist came in with "a little something to help Blend relax." As the clear fluid was inserted into the port we watched Belend relax, begin to smile and get so wobbly that the doctor had to help Belend sit up until his mother could pick him up--all in less than two minutes.

Belend's surgery was a great success, and the surgeon was able to completely repair the heart defect. Click the play arrow below to watch video highlights put together by our friends Nima and Shilan, who are Kurdish-speaking Swedes here to produce a documentary:

The player will show in this paragraph

After only an hour in the ICU room after surgery, the hospital staff came into the room and to remove Belend's breathing tube as they began to wake him.

Belend's mother became very frightened at first because we had not prepared her for this. It is very unusual for a child to be extubated that soon after surgery and it was a surprise to all of us. As we left, mother and child were peaceful and recovering well from the day's events.

Please continue to pray for this pair as the recovery continues. We thank God for his mercy to both of them.

Belend to the Hospital for Surgery

Posted on Sun, 10/10/2010 - 06:43 by Donna_West

Belend was up early this morning in anticipation of his check-in day at the hospital for his open-heart surgery tomorrow. After all the enthusiastic bouncing around for a couple hours before it was time to leave Jerusalem, the restraint of a seat belt just seemed like a good time to "re-charge" and that he did!

At the Sheba Medical Center we waited for about two hours for more paperwork to be completed. After a bit of lunch, Belend was on the go again. He took great pride in his new hospital ID bracelet.

Tomorrow we will awake before dawn to get ahead of the traffic and arrive to be by Belend's mother's side as she watches her son go into surgery. Please pray for this rambunctious three-year-old and his mother as the surgeons work to repair Belend's heart.

The recovery time may be more stressful for mother and son that the surgical time; there seems to be no way to make this fearless adventurer be careful of falling or stop climbing over anything in his path.

Thank you for your prayers.

The Energy of Three Healthy Children

Posted on Wed, 10/06/2010 - 00:00 by Donna_West

Our new coworker Gadi and I took Belend and his mother for their first visit to the Sheba Medical Center at Tel HaShomer this morning. Belend has the energy and speed of three healthy children put together. When he plays he sounds like three children also. When Gadi told me he has "many patience" I was greatly relieved! Belend played and had a wonderful time for more than an hour under Gadi's watchful eye. Click the play arrow below to have a look:

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When the paperwork details were taken care of and lunch was finished, it was time for all the stuff he had to be quiet and lay still for: echocardiogram, ECG, pulse, weight and measurements. Many children are very fearful of the unknown, but for Belend, I think his biggest problem was just staying quiet and not moving.

Belend has a VSD (hole) in his heart that the doctors plan to repair on Monday. He will be admitted to the hospital early on Sunday. Please pray for a speedy and uncomplicated recovery for Belend. His mother will need all the rest and strength she can get. Belend is pretty strong-willed and I am sure his mother will need God's favor to enforce the necessary restrictions for Belend while he is recovering.

Belend Takes the Stage in Israel

Posted on Sun, 09/19/2010 - 00:00 by Jonathan Miles

Belend reached Israel this evening, crossing at the Jordan River under the watchful gaze of King Abdullah.

He just turned three years old this week, and has all the energy a proud mother could hope for. For much of today's long drive Belend perched just over my shoulder in the car, singing and chanting happily. He has a rather striking appearance; as my own son Ben put it, "he looks like a child-sized version of some famous adult." I suggested the actor Kirk Cameron.

Belend's mother is just 20 years old and seemed at times quite anxious about where we were taking them. But a few strategically-timed phone calls to Kurdish translators helped calm her until we reached the Shevet Center in Jerusalem, where she was taken into the embrace of the other Kurdish mothers who are here with their children.

Tomorrow we will start to decide which hospital will be treating Belend, and we'll try to move things forward before the Feast of Tabernacles begins in just three days.