Alan's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

A Praiseworthy Day

Posted on Mon, 06/27/2016 - 23:18 by Ruth Zellweger

Baby Alan finally had his heart repair today and is recovering in the ICU at Wolfson hospital. Leading up to this day, his sweet young mother had shed many tears about the conditon of her beloved son. When we took them to the hospital yesterday afternoon, she expressed her fears and anxieties about the upcoming surgery. 

Earlier than usual on a surgery day, I headed towards the hospital this morning, as we had been told that Alan would be taken to surgery at 6:30am. Thankfully, we - the new Jaffa team - had just moved yesterday to our new home and are now located a lot closer to the hospital than before. I found mother and son in their room in the ward, getting ready for the big day. The mother lovingly cleaned her son's face, while silently weeping. We took some time and prayed together for the surgery, the surgeons and for peace of heart and mind for her. A few minutes later we were already in the pre-operational room.

Raya, the headnurse, played with Alan and when she saw the worried look on his mother's face, she asked what language she spoke. When she heard that her mother tongue is acutally Farsi, she left the room and soon appeared with another nurse who started talking to Alan's mother right away in Farsi. Alan's mothers' face lit up immediately. I was thanking God for providing exactly what was needed to comfort her. 

After Alan had been taken into surgery, we both went upstairs to wait in the ward with our other mothers. Alan's mother had some emotional breakdowns in between, but was encouraged when she heard that our Kurdish friend, Dr. Hiwa, who had only arrived late last evening, was in the operation room with Alan. 

At noon time, Alan was wheeled into the ICU, accompanied by smiling surgeons and the anaesthesiologist. And shortly after, we met Dr. Hiwa in the hallway who brought us the wonderful news that Alan had a full repair and that everything had gone well.

The mother was overjoyed and cried again - but this time out of joy and relief. 

We are praising God for the beautiful work that He has been doing in little Alan's life and for the love and grace He has shown Alan's mother. He provided everything that was needed - from the right people who could speak her heart language, to the wonderful support of the other mothers and our wonderful Sophie. Thank you for rejoicing with us. 

It is Time for Alan

Posted on Sun, 06/26/2016 - 20:36 by Rebekah Yang

Our sweet and precious Alan has been waiting for his heart surgery since the beginning of May. Every morning, when we went to check on Alan's condition, his anxious mum would always ask about the date for Alan's operation. 

Praise God! This afternoon, we finally received a phone call instructing us to take Alan to Wolfson hospital, in order to admit him for his open-heart surgery tomorrow.

When he arrived at Wolfson hospital the nurses carried out the essential assessments for Alan, and mentioned that his surgery will start at 6:30am, tomorrow morning. After I finished explaining this to Alan's mum, we headed back to Jerusalem.
Please lift both Alan and his mum in your prayers. May God's mighty power work through the surgeons and all of the medical staff tomorrow, in our Messiah's name. Amen.

Willing to Wait

Posted on Thu, 06/23/2016 - 22:13 by Basye Peek

It is hard to believe that little Alan has been with us here in Jerusalem for just under two months. In that time, we’ve watched him grow, change, and learn; his most recent trick is rolling himself over, much to the joy of his sweet mother. As he’s grown more comfortable here, he has begun crying less and laughing more, sharing his smile with the whole community. It has also been a trying time of waiting, as more children come and receive their surgeries before Alan - even those who have only been here a few days.

This season of waiting has certainly been trying for Alan’s mother and she has struggled to remain positive as her new friends and fellow mothers come and go, and more children receive and recover from surgery.  Remarkably, she has remained fairly positive, even gracious as week after week our nurses report that Alan’s surgery date has been moved back. She has been a huge help to Shevet as she has come to know the routines here and has been more than willing to explain and translate for new arriving mothers. While times of waiting can be difficult, it has been made so clear that there is joy to be found in these seasons of anticipation, and it has been such a pleasure to be able to care for and love Alan and his mother in their time of waiting. Lord willing, Alan’s surgery is set for next week and we pray for patience, joy, and a restful time of preparation!

Loving Alan

Posted on Sun, 05/22/2016 - 16:31 by Alexa Bigl

Alan came back home to Jerusalem today. His weekend stay at the hospital was uneventful but good. His mom reported he slept great while at Wolfson. His fever went down and hasn't come back since Friday! 

He happily ate, slept, and played while we visited him and our other families at the hospital. He loves to look around and watch people, enjoying the stimulus of singing, toys, and clapping. The doctors had time during his stay to go over the surgical plan with Alan's mom. It looks like he is on the potential schedule for early next week. Please join us in lifting our prayers to the heavenly Father. The doctors are unsure how Alan's small pulmonary valve will react to the surgery. Due to this unknown, the doctors also don't know if Alan will need future surgies to enlarge the small valve. We can rest assured that God knows, and that His perfect plan of healing will come to be.

When Alan arrived back at Shevet's Jerusalem base, his mom was so happy to have our volunteers pour their love out on Alan. We are happy to have mother and son back in our care for, at least, the remainder of the week!    

A Stay at Wolfson

Posted on Fri, 05/20/2016 - 20:57 by Alexa Bigl

Alan has been having trouble sleeping the last couple of nights, and he has been difficult to comfort these last days. Worried about a potential ear infection, we decided to bring him to Wolfson for a check-up today. The doctor at the children's ward became concerned when, apon examination, Alan's mouth started to bleed. She immediately sent us up to a specialized doctor, an ENT, for further evaluation. Praise God, there were no issues related to the bleeding - Alan is cutting his first tooth! After this doctor examined Alan's ears, we were given the all clear. His ears are in perfect condition! 

We then headed back to the children's ward where the nurses and doctor did some other basic tests to ensure Alan is doing well. When they took his temperature, it was quite high. We are praying this is also due to the errupting tooth. The doctor was also concerned Alan may be dehydrated. The blood and urine results had not come in so it was not definitive. However, due to this concern and his elevated temperature, they decided it best for Alan and his mom to spend the weekend with them in Tel Aviv. The doctors and nurses took such wonderful care of Alan, it was a great reminder (once again) of what a blessing all the medical staff at Wolfson are to us and our families. We rest assured this weekend Alan will be given the best and sweetest care! 

First Assessments

Posted on Mon, 05/09/2016 - 22:07 by Ruth Zellweger

Little Alan had his first assessments today at Wolfson hospital and did well. He cried through some of the procedures, through others he slept. His young mother was quite nervous, waiting anxiously to hear what the doctors had to say about surgery for her son. It was a good time that I was able to spend with both of them. Alan won the hearts of everyone he came in contact with. He is such a sweet little boy. 

One of the last examinations for today was an echocardiogram. For that Alan received some medication to sleep, in order for the doctors to get a thorough assessment of Alan's little heart. After some time Dr. Hanita informed us that Alan is a candidate for a complete repair. However, she could not tell us what approach the doctors would take, as Alan's case first has to be discussed with the other doctors and surgeons.

Before we had some lunch, Alan had a chest x-ray done, through which he also slept. Soon after we had the permission to return to Jerusalem. When we arrived, we had the good news that the suitcase, that had gone missing, had arrived just today. It was a long, but good day and we are thankful for how God provided everything we needed.

A Journey of Trust

Posted on Sun, 05/08/2016 - 21:39 by Ruth Zellweger

Baby Alan and his sweet young mother have enriched our community life at Shevet. We had heard about Alan's serious condition a few weeks ago, and tried to get his Israeli visa approved quickly. During our recent visit in Kurdistan, Sophie, Jonathan and I had the opportunity to get to know them a little bit. They had come one evening to our house, hoping that the visa would soon be ready. Alan is the first child and much loved by his parents. The father told us that his wife has been crying a lot out of fear for her precious son's life. 

And yesterday their journey started. It was quite a big task for the mother, as she had to transit in Jordan. But God proved Himself faithful and provided a wonderful besider -- a young Israeli woman who also traveled from Amman. She came alongside mother and son as their assistant and advocate during the five hour layover in Jordan and passport control in Israel. What an unexpected blessing!

Agnes and I had to wait for quite a while at the airport until they finally appeared in the arrival hall. However, that was due to the fact that the family's luggage had gone missing, and not because of problems at the passport control. By the time we arrived in Jerusalem, it was already midnight and the young mother was overtired. Today was a day of rest for her and getting to know the other families and our community. In the morning we will go to the hospital for Alan's initial assessments. We are thankful that he made it safely and are praying for healing for his little heart.