Dalya's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

An Emotional Day

Posted on Tue, 12/17/2013 - 21:09 by Eilin Midtbo
Today we left the house to have Dalya admitted for surgery. She was excited and a little nervous, but after a long time waiting, she was ready to move on. The drive to Tel Aviv was without any delays, but when we arrived, we were told to wait, as it might not be possible to admit her into surgery after all. We waited in the children's play area where Dalya happily passed the time drawing and playing. She was quite cheerful and patient throughout the delay. The time went by, and we kept asking if she was to be admitted soon. All we were told was to wait a little longer.
Then we got the news that Dalya would not be admitted today after all. This was really hard for Dalya, as she had prepared herself for surgery to happen. She could not hold back her tears. Her aunt tried to comfort her, but the tears just kept coming. During the drive she was able to talk with her father on the phone, but she was still very sad. It was not until we were almost back at the house that she finally calmed down.
As of this time we do not know her new surgery date. Please pray for Dalya to find peace and comfort in this time of waiting. Please also pray for God's guidance for the right time for her surgery.

Lovely Dalya

Posted on Mon, 11/25/2013 - 22:14 by Kristina Kayser

What would it be like to feel perfectly healthy as a child, then suddenly discover on the cusp of adolescence that your heart has a serious defect? Beautiful Dalya knows this scenario all too well. For the first eleven years of her life, she was blissfully unaware of her cardiac condition. Things changed when she began to notice that her lips and fingers would turn dusky blue and that she become short of breath after exercise. A long search to find answers to her medical issues resulted in her diagnosis of Epstein's Anomaly and the beginning of her grand adventure to Israel.

I was immediately struck by Dalya's warm and outgoing spirit when I first met her last night. And the same disarming smile was on her face when I greeted her this morning. She was dressed and clearly ready for her first day of treatment at Wolfson Medical Center. Dalya and her great aunt, who traveled as her guardian, calmly took in the scenery as Jerusalem faded in the distance.

Nearby skyscrapers and balmy weather greeted us as our team approached Tel Aviv. I tried to prepare Dalya for the battery of tests and assessments that awaited her, and she remained cool as a cucumber. In fact, rather than letting the hospital environment intimidate her, she turned it into a photo shoot.

Despite being only twelve years old, Dalya handled herself with such maturity that the nurse couldn't even distinguish her as a patient. Once vital signs were taken and an electric reading of her heart's activity was completed, it was time for the most unpleasant part--the blood test. Quiet tears rolled down Dalya's cheeks as the doctor collected a small, but painful sample. My mother, who accompanied us to the hospital and was once a heart surgery patient herself, was the perfect person to provide comfort and empathy to Dalya at this time.

Another antidote for her bruised spirits was soon discovered as our group headed towards the echo department. Unbeknownst to me, Dalya had never ridden in an elevator before! With a girlish squeal, she held my arm tightly and braced herself for a brief ascent to the second floor. It was beautiful to share her joy in something that has long been commonplace to me.

Dr. Alona welcomed us into her office and began a thorough 3-D examination of Dalya's heart. During the assessment, she confirmed the diagnosis of Epstein's anomaly, a rare condition in which the heart's anatomy is misconfigured in several ways. One valve, namely the tricuspid, is not in the correct position, and the right atria (upper chamber) is grossly enlarged. These problems result in her heart working much harder than it needs to, eventually leading to failure if not surgically corrected. The good news is that Dalya's defect was caught in time, and she is a prime candidate for a full repair. Dalya's aunt seemed quite relieved and thankful for this news, as did our lovely patient.

No doubt Dalya was tired and ready to return home by the end of the day. Her face lit up, and she gave me a hug when I announced that all the tests were finished for now. It has only been one day since I met this fine young lady and already she feels like a sister to me. May the Lord continue to pour out His grace on her life and bring her to full restoration.

"I Made It Papa!"

Posted on Sun, 11/24/2013 - 22:52 by Jonathan Miles

It was a sweet, vivacious young woman who stepped off the plane from Kurdistan this weekend. Perhaps you can catch a bit of Dalya's personality from the joyful expression on her face as she excitedly called her father back in Iraq. We're grateful to come alongside Dalya and her family at such a crucial time in her life. First exams in the hospital in Israel are set for tomorrow morning!

Healing to Come for Dalya

Posted on Thu, 10/17/2013 - 13:48 by Kelsey Cannon

Dalya from northern Iraq has lived with her congenital heart defects, Ebstein’s anomaly and an atrial septal defect (ASD), for twelve years. In patients with Ebstein’s anomaly, the valve separating the atria and ventricle on the right side of the heart is malformed or doesn’t work properly. As a result, blood can leak back through the right ventricle to the atria, making the heart’s tasks harder or less efficient. An ASD denotes the presence of a hole between the two upper chambers, or atria, of the heart, allowing oxygenated and oxygen-deficient blood to mix. This also makes the heart work harder to accomplish its goals.

Some patients with Ebstein’s anomaly don’t undergo a surgical correction of their heart if the symptoms aren’t severe enough to limit everyday life. But for those that do need treatment, like Dalya, the heart is at risk of failing due to weakness or enlargement. We hope to have Dalya with us in Israel by the end of the month to begin medical treatment.