Binyamin's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

Still needs $4500
Help Binyamin

Beloved Binyamin has Returned Home

Posted on Sun, 04/08/2018 - 00:16 by Jesse Tilman

It was so sad to say goodbye to Binyamin. He really is a special kid, I will miss him a lot. His dad as well was very endearing; a simple hearted man, kind every moment - not pushy for his own way.

Binyamin would look up with his playful eyes and boyish-grin, and who could not be affected by it? When they visited Jerusalem it was grand to see their joy! Binyamin got to ride a camel, a donkey, and us piggy-back though he soon wanted down. His dad was deeply affected by visiting the religious sites and gave thanks to God. 
Binyamin's case was definitely a unique one. Not only did he not come for open heart surgery like most of our kids, but he also was mainly a research case as the doctor had to study him personally to get a handle on the complex workings of his heart. Long QT Syndrome has this irregular aspect to it. He had his pacemaker replaced and then they began finding the right balance of drugs to keep his heart at peace. 
All the while, his dad was dealing with the memories of his previous son who died from a similar condition and keeping faith for a healing this time. He would hold Binyamin tight and keep him close. The love between them was evident. 
Special drugs were considered, neck injections, and more. The Israeli doctor looking over his case extensively poured himself into the work and consulted with other specialists around the world. Binyamin's care was an aggregate of expertise. Still the times of his heart failing and needing pacemaker adjustment would come unexpectedly, and we would scramble to look after him.  
After a while his father seemed to be losing hope that his son could be permanently stabilized. He was facing pressure to return home to provide for his other children and couldn't spend much more time on just one. We worked with him as best we could, looking to get Binyamin sufficiently settled for a future, before letting them go. Thank God we did reach that place of healthy heart rhythms through a specific drug and were able to send them off soon. 
They enjoyed the big party we had with 5 other families also leaving. It was a great time of rejoicing. Binyamin sang and danced even, pointing his fingers in the air!
Now that he's home, we have heard that he's had some more trouble with his heart rhythms and has received some shocks from his pacemaker. They will go to see their doctor and consider. Hopefully it's just from excitement from traveling and he will get to normal soon.
Having the opportunity to get to know families like Binyamin's is amazing. There are deep souls in creation and occasionally you come across one. Working with kids with heart conditions, I feel that we find more of those that have been sifted by the suffering they've been through. They know what it means to give of oneself for others. Binyamin's dad was happy to spend and be spent.

Last Time at Sheba

Posted on Thu, 03/29/2018 - 04:38 by Johanna Ebert

It was a very exiting day for Binyamin and his dad. We knew the appointment might be the last one for him and Binyamin’s dad really wanted and needed to go back to Kurdistan.

We waited very nervously for the results from the pacemaker check. Fervently praying that the medicine worked well. And yes, the face from the nurse who did the test, brightened. No shocks or arrhythmias since they started the new medicine. Even the doctor didn’t expect such a good result.

As I told the good news Binyamin’s dad, he hardly could believe it. I think I answered his question if that was the last appointment 20 or more times. Now we just have to wait for the medicine to be delivered to the pharmacy here. And then they can return home.

We are very thankful for the effort from the doctor here in Israel, he affirmed that this was one of the most special cases he has treated in his life. And he did a lot - writing emails to doctors all over the world and spending much personal time for research.

If the medicine works well in the future, Binyamin won’t need a surgery and can live probably a normal life. Let’s pray for this amazing and lovely boy that God will bless him and give him a strong heart.


Home Again!

Posted on Sun, 03/25/2018 - 22:06 by Coby van Wijhe

This morning we met Binyamin and his dad walking in the ward. Last Thursday night Binyamin had many shocks from his pacemaker. He started on new medication and seems to be doing better now. They took some blood for a genetic test which Sheba hospital will finance themselves. They want to know more about his severe heart problem.

Binyamin was able to go back to our Shevet house this afternoon. He will continue on the new medication and onThursday, will have a pacemaker check up. Binyamin and Dad are very pleased to be back in our Shevet house. We pray that these medicines will be a great help to his heart.


The Lord is Near

Posted on Thu, 03/22/2018 - 22:49 by Coby van Wijhe

"The Lord is near to those who are discouraged; he saves those who have lost all hope." Psalm 34:18

This verse came to me as a prayer when Binyamin and his father visited the doctor this morning. He had his weekly pacemaker check-up. Last week he had again some shocks from his pacemaker. The shocks were less severe but still no comfort to the doctor. He decided to admit Binyamin for three days and to try one other medicine in combination with the medicines he already use. Because of the risk he wants to monitor Binyamin for three days, although Binyamin's father was very disappointed and was not happy about this. He understood that this is the last option there is. After careful feedback from doctors all around the world, he has decided not to do the injection procedure in his vein in the neck. It's too risky for a child of Binyamin's age. Binyamin's father struggles because he needs to go back to Kurdistan. His family is in financial need as long as he is here. It's hard to see that we have reached our limit and that his heart is still not well. But we believe our Lord is without limits and so please continue to pray with us for a miracle for this sweet and precious boy.

"But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,’ declares the LORD." Jeremiah 30:17 

Another Check-Up

Posted on Thu, 03/15/2018 - 02:30 by Coby van Wijhe
Today Binyamin had his pacemaker check-up. So Rebecca and I went to Sheba this morning together with Binyamin and his dad. Binyamin was happy and gave us a big smile. When we arrived in the hospital we could see the doctor straight away. That doesn't happen often so it was a good start to the day. The doctor is very dedicated to Binyamin and really makes a lot of effort to help him. The pacemaker check-up showed one shock over the last four days. Although it's far less then before, the doctor still wants to go ahead with the procedure of the injections in his vein in the neck. It was planned to begin today, but now now it's being postponed.
The doctor has sent different emails to other doctors worldwide for input in this case. Although the procedure is not unknown it's not often done for this problem and not on a young child. The doctor is therefore hesitant and wants to check with other doctors who have more expertise. We also had some problems with getting the new medication but after many telephone calls the doctor found a pharmacist who could help us. For the coming two weeks Binyamin will stay in the Jaffa house. There will be another check-up in two weeks time and the doctor will stay in touch with us. 
We are very thankful for such a good care and pray that the right decision will be made for Binyamin. 

Released Back to the House!

Posted on Mon, 03/12/2018 - 02:48 by Nate Geer

Binyamin got released to go back to our Shevet house today! Binyamin was very excited to see us and his dad was constantly asking when we would get to leave the hospital. Binyamin is very spunky and full of life, he always comes running up for a high five when he sees us. 

After a long day waiting at the hospital and fixing the ceiling, he was very tired and slept the whole drive back to the Shevet house. It took nearly the whole day to get Binyamin released from the hospital because of some specialty medications that he was on. That was OK though, it meant lots of time for selfies! 

This precious family desperately needs your prayers. The father is a mechanic in Kurdistan and Binyamin may need some of these very expensive cardiac medications for the rest of his life,  even if the operation is successful. But we serve a God who is so much greater, so please pray with us for complete healing in his young body.

Happy Chappy

Posted on Sun, 03/11/2018 - 20:38 by Coby van Wijhe

This morning I visited Benjamin and his dad. He was staying in the south wing. I met him while he was playing with Dad. He welcomed me with a big smile. It's so good to see him this way again. There was a talk about leaving the hospital today but they changed their mind. I spoke with Dr Shai. He mentioned that last Sunday Benjamin had four shocks from his pacemaker. They have decided to do the injection in his neck vein this coming Thursday. Benjamin will therefore stay in the hospital so they can keep an eye on him.

His father is a bit worried about this treatment but also knows that this is the only thing that's left to help him. Please pray that the injections will be helpful for his heart.

Going Strong!

Posted on Tue, 03/06/2018 - 16:59 by Maxine Stuart
Little Binyamin has been on my heart quite a bit lately. His situation is not good, and options slim. My Bible study group, other friends, and our Shevet team have been praying for him in earnest last night and this morning. Today we arrived to find a bright, happy and energetic Binyamin! He started trialling his new medication yesterday, and so far it is going well! He has not had to receive a shock from his internal defribulator for 2 days now. This is GREAT news! On the day he was rushed in to hospital, he had received more than 6 shocks in one day, and multiple shocks per day leading up to that.
He has been a bit bored in hospital, so today we gave him some Lego bricks, colouring books, and some clothes, as we have noticed he has been in the same set for a few days now. He is from a working class family, and it was good to be able to help them in a small way. Esther sat with Binyamin and his Dad for a while and reported that he enjoyed the Lego, and was happy and active the whole time. 
Praise God for this good news, and let's keep the prayers coming!

Doing Better

Posted on Mon, 03/05/2018 - 21:43 by Guest Blogger
I am a short-term volunteer from Denmark, and I'm lucky to be with Shevet Achim this week. Today Alex (also a Dane), Coby and I went to the hospital to visit four kids and their parents. We met Binyamin, and this strong little guy is getting better. Meeting Binyamin made me think a lot. It was hard to see how weak he was but even harder to see how sad and helpless his dad felt. God reminded me of a song I often sang when I was a child:  "He's got the whole world in His hands." As I saw Binyamin sitting in his wheelchair, I found some peace in this picture of God holding him in his big hands.
Binyamin started yesterday on a new medication. The doctor will first see if this medicine will be of any benefit before they will proceed for the ganglionectomy. Please pray that the medication will help his heart.
Written by Danish volunteer Sofie Poulsen

Admitted Again

Posted on Fri, 03/02/2018 - 22:13 by Coby van Wijhe
Dear Binyamin is back in the hospital. Yesterday when we arrived back in Jaffa after our visit to the hospital, Binyamin had several shocks from his pacemaker. I phoned his cardiologist and explained the situation. Binyamin had to be admitted to the ICU straight away. So together with Andrew we went to Sheba hospital. Soon as we arrived the doctor also came to check him. During his checks, he had two more shocks from his pacemaker. The doctor gave him medication to sedate him a bit so he could sleep and rest. The reason behind these shocks are still unknown. The doctor was phoning with other specialist about his bad situation.
Hopefully in the coming days a procedure of treatment will be put forward. Please join us in praying that it will be successful. It was just so sad to see this little boy in such pain and despair. Also his father's sorrow is hard to see. When I left the hospital, Binyamin was in peace and asleep. We really need a miracle. Please pray with us that God will heal the heart of this little boy.