Dereen's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

Celebrating Dereen's Healed Heart

Posted on Mon, 07/31/2017 - 22:17 by Samara Noble

Dereen and her mother left our Shevet community last night. We had a party for them, where we ate food and sang worship songs - giving thanks to our Lord who brought them here to Israel and healed Dereen's heart. 

We also gave them several gifts as an expression of our love and appreciation for them.  One of these gifts was a Kurdish Bible. When Dereen's mother received this, she kissed it. 


This is a sign of respect and recognizing holiness. She expressed her gratitude and as we said our goodbyes she had tears in her eyes. We pray for safe travels and that as they head home that they will come to know our God and Savior.

Officially Discharged!

Posted on Thu, 07/27/2017 - 21:00 by Taylor Green

Today Dereen was taken to Sheba to have another echo. We got to the hospital early for her appointment and she did not have to wait long to be seen. She was very calm and smiley while she was examined. The hospital staff just loved her! The best news of all is that Dereen is officially discharged to be able to go home to Kurdistan! Her mother was extremely excited.

She was singing, clapping and playing music all the way home from the hospital. Dereen has been such a joy to stay with us at Shevet. She is such a fun baby who makes everyone smile. Praise the Lord for bringing healing to Dereen after such a rough start. We thank him for the time she has spent here and for paving the way for her to go home. Be praying that God will provide someone, hopefully another family at Shevet, to travel home with Dereen and her mom as she is not able to travel alone.

Getting Stronger

Posted on Thu, 07/06/2017 - 22:38 by Taylor Green
Dereen, along with two other Shevet kids, were brought in today for their post-op echocardiograms. She did not have to wait long for her appointment. The doctor said that everything was looking very good. This is such a delight to hear! Dereen was very smiley and happy all day. She was so patient as she had to wait around the hospital for awhile until the other children we came with finished their appointments. Dereen will have one last appointment in two weeks. If everything is still looking good then, she will be able to go home to Kurdistan. 
Please keep this sweet girl in your prayers. She is getting stronger with each day but still has a ways to go. Her mother has been a trooper through the whole experience so praise the Lord for that! 

Dereen Gets a Check-up

Posted on Mon, 07/03/2017 - 20:51 by Alexa Bigl

We headed to Sheba with Dereen and her mom today for an appointment with the neurologist. The consultation was to make sure everything with Dereen's neurological development was progressing in a normal fashion. Once we got in to see the doctor the examination went quickly.

The doctor recommended 'tummy-time' for Dereen, encouraging her mom to place her on her stomach for playing. He also encouraged Dereen to eat as much as she would like to help her catch up on her overall development. Dereen is quite small for her age and her head, while in proportion to her body, is also small.

Now that Dereen's heart has been repaired she should be able to use all her extra calories to grow big. We are hopeful and are praying she can soon be caught up in her development. The doctor was very positive overall. Dereen is doing well and while we want to see her make big strides in her growth, we are confident this will come with time. Thanks for praying with us for Dereen and her sweet mother. 

Such a Good God

Posted on Tue, 06/27/2017 - 22:11 by Taylor Green

I walked in today and sweet Dereen was having a video chat with her father. Her father seemed so happy to be talking to his family. Thinking back when I saw her after her surgery, I am blown away by her quick improvement! She was alert, active, and had no tubes anywhere. Her mother seemed in good spirits, especially when she received the cookies that the other moms from Shevet had made. A little while later, the nurse came in announcing that Dereen would be discharged very soon. She explained that Dereen will need to come back for a follow-up appointment next week. We pray this will be another big step towards her being able to return home to Kurdistan soon. Praise the Lord! It is so encouraging to see such a quick surgery and recovery for this little baby. The mom was so happy to be walking out of the hospital today and is now sweetly sleeping with Dereen in our Shevet home. 

How scary it was the night the ambulance had to be called because of Dereen's deteriorated condition. We had to trust that God would help her to survive and bring her to good health. The Lord has shown himself to be so sovereign over Dereen's life and has provided her with a complication-free surgery. We have such a good God. Be praying that she keep up this good health and she is able to go home after her follow-up appointment next week.

A Gift from the Lord

Posted on Tue, 06/27/2017 - 05:17 by Alexa Bigl

Precious Dereen was a sight to behold today. It was so amazing seeing her strong body recovering so well. Her creamy skin and cheerful personality were a reminder of the amazing work of protection and healing God has done and is doing. 

I loved holding little Dereen today, rocking her as she cooed away. She tries to lift her head up every time she is laid down on the bed, trying to see all the action outside. So I enjoyed having her sitting on my lap for a while. As Dereen is recovering she doesn't need as tight of a watch from the doctors and nurses so she was moved to another room in the ICU. This will also be quieter with more privacy for her mom. 
Today Dereen was having some trouble drinking her milk. She would seem hungry but then only take a sip and refuse anymore. Her mom seemed unconcerned saying she would drink more later. Thinking back to the evening when we had to call the ambulance and Dereen was emergently intubated and had urgent surgery the next morning, it's an amazing journey we are seeing this little girl take! Thank you for your faithful prayers for Dereen and her sweet, joyful mother. 

Big Improvement

Posted on Sun, 06/25/2017 - 21:19 by Rebekah Yang

This morning Helen and I went to Sheba Medical Center to visit our kids there. I had the opportunity to see Dereen around noontime. When I bought a big bag of food, candy, and clothes for Dereen's mum, she was very happy and welcomed me right away with her joyful kisses.

She told me that during the weekend, Dereen was extubated and breathing on her own with no problem at all. Later on I learned that she had an echo early this morning, with a good report!
Mum became more and more relaxed and cheerful as time went on. A few minutes later she told me that she would like to take a shower. So I spent time with Dereen while she enjoyed a nice shower.
Dereen's recovery process seems very good to me, judging by the way she was sucking her milk and how her four limbs were moving around. Because her condition has been improving so much, the primary nurse wants mum to learn how to hold Dereen from time to time - even help her to change position, too. At the moment Dereen still has a few IV lines, plus a nasal cannula giving her supplemental oxygen. 
Later on I left to check on our other kids for awhile, and when I came back to Dereen's room, both mum and daughter had fallen asleep peacefully. Please join me in offering our thanksgiving to our living Messiah as He continues to heal and work in both Dereen and her mum's lives, in Yeshua's name I pray, amen!

Another Day in ICU

Posted on Thu, 06/22/2017 - 05:29 by Joseph Carter

Dereen spent yet another day in the ICU after her emergency the other night. Today the doctors discovered fluid in her left lung so they gave her a chest tube to assist with that. They also gave him some other treatment to stimulate her heart rate.

Her mother is strong but very tired and appears to be very emotionally distraught. She is receiving support from the other parents in the hospital and from the Shevet staff. Please keep them in your prayers for healing, strength, and peace. 

He is Lord of All

Posted on Wed, 06/21/2017 - 02:58 by Alexa Bigl

Last night around 8pm Dereen's mom came over to the staff-side apartment at our Jaffa base because Dereen was quite blue. As we assessed how she was doing and saw her oxygen saturation level was very low we quickly worked to get her some supplemental oxygen. During this time when we got the oxygen connected and on her Dereen continued to deteriorate and her oxygen levels remained dangerously low. Due to hyperventilation, a limp body, and periods of decreased responsiveness, we called an ambulance. While waiting for the emergency service providers to arrive we talked with the cardiologist at Sheba who helped talk us through some other steps to help Dereen. Luckily, the paramedics were at the house very soon after we called. After a few minutes of assessment and getting some information about what was going on we loaded up onto the ambulance to begin the ride to Sheba hospital. During the ride Dereen needed additional help to remain breathing and staying awake. The ambulance team did a wonderful job and their calm confidence helped Dereen's mom to remain strong. Upon arrival to Sheba the pediatric ER was ready for our arrival and immediately began working on Dereen. They got her an IV, began giving her medications to increase her cardiac output, and sedated her to prepare for intubation. The blood test showed some concerning numbers telling us she needed to have the breathing tube inserted immediately. As one team of doctors worked on this, another team attended to the cardiac medications and performed an echo. 

Once intubated and sedated with many medications flowing through her system, Dereen stabilized. We then headed up to the PICU where the team of doctors took over getting her set up on their machines and IV pumps, etc. We stepped out into a waiting room for a while; able to visit between some of the busyness. Once she was fully set up and continued to be stable we set up mom's bed beside Dereen and made sure she was comfortable with all her immediate questions answered. The doctors hoped to keep her stable throughout the night and come up with a surgical plan and date the following morning. So, our Shevet team bid farewell to Dereen and mother to head back to the house for some sleep. 
At 3:30 in the morning the PICU called to say Dereen was unstable again and they were preparing her for emergency surgery. I quickly called her mom to translate and inform her what was going on as I headed to the car to get back to the hospital. About 15 minutes later the hospital called back to say Dereen had again stabilized, they could wait for surgery until the morning. This is a big praise because being able to wait would allow for the surgical and cardiac teams to meet and discuss the case and come up with a surgical plan in advance. Once I arrived to Sheba mom was doing well, happy to know Dereen was stable again. We were able to both sleep for a time before the nurses began prepping Dereen for surgery around 6:30. Once Dereen's mom woke up she was overcome with emotion and exhaustion and cried for a long time before it was finally time for Dereen to be wheeled down to the OR. 
The surgeon had said he expected the operation to only take about 3 or 4 hours and almost exactly 3 hours after the brought her in the anesthesiologist came out to let us know the surgery was finished and was successful. They just needed to close her chest and she would be out within the next 30-60 minutes. During the surgery they enlarged her pulmonary arteries with a patch, closed the hole between her right and left ventricles, and cut away some of the extra muscle around the right side of her heart. There is a fourth defect with Dereen's heart, a stenotic pulmonary valve, that will need surgical correction in the coming years. As she grows her cardiologist at home will determine when it is appropriate for her to receive the second surgery; this could be 3 years from now or even as long as 8 years before it's necessary. 
We were very excited and ready to see beautiful Dereen get wheeled out of the operating theater and we accompanied her back upstairs to her PICU room. Dereen's mom had been crying and praying all throughout the morning, struggling with handling all the emotions and fears. But she lit up and was a new person once she heard Dereen's surgery was successful and it was a beautiful sight to see how her face beamed when she saw Dereen as she came out from the OR. 
There were so many opportunities to see the Lord's providence during this whole trial. From Dereen's mom knowing to come over to our apartment when she was concerned to the ambulances quick arrival, from the amazing work of Sheba's medical team to the Lord re-stablizing Dereen in the middle of the night, God is truly Lord of all. It was also beautiful to see how Yano's mom was an amazing support for Dereen's mother. After 25 days in the hospital, a cath, and two surgeries, Yano's mom could understand and empathize better than anyone else. She immediately took Dereen's mom into her arms and patiently talked her through many fears and worries; it was a provision from the Lord. 
Please join us in lifting up prayers of thanksgiving to the heavenly Father. While there is a huge journey of healing ahead for Dereen and her mom will have need for strength beyond measure, let's take out time in our prayer lives and simply thank the Lord. He is good and He works all things according to His purpose. We are so thankful to Him for the beautiful testimony of His name He is laying out through Dereen's life. He is maker and healer and we praise His name! 

Welcome, Precious Dereen

Posted on Sun, 06/18/2017 - 22:04 by Rebekah Yang

Early this morning, Brenda, Alexa, and I went with two cars to the airport to pick up our three, newly arriving kids. 

After waiting a few hours, eventually I saw both Dereen and her mum come out of the airport customs door and were kind of wandering everywhere. I right away jumped up and went into the main arrival hall to greet her with my kisses and said "Biherbi" which means "Welcome" in Kurdish.
I noticed that Dereen's face and limbs look quite blue, so I began to check her vital signs on the floor of airport hall. Praise God her oxygen lever was ok between 81 to 85% (out of 100) and the other vital signs also seem fine at the moment.
Please pray for Dereen and her mum! Wednesday morning will be their first assessment day at Sheba hospital.