Deya's Heart Surgery


Deya's Final Echo

Posted on Wed, 10/14/2009 - 06:43 by Donna_Petrel

October 14, 2009
Today was a long-awaited day for Deya and her mother: Deya was happy and playful all afternoon as we waited for Dr. Tamir to see her. During the examination however, Deya fought tears of fear over a doctor she thought might decide another surgery was in store. This was not the case of course, and she received her release from Dr. Tamir to return to Iraq!

Once the echo was over, Deya was all smiles again. Dr. Tamir found in his echo that Deya still has some residual pulmonary hypertension which can be treated with medication, and said that even though she likely would not grow up to be a world-class athlete, she should still have a normal life. The contrast between her condition and her prognosis when she arrived, and her current condition, is stunning; she has gone from little to no chance of survival, to now having a normal life ahead of her, praise be to God!

Deya's mother was thrilled but still seemed a bit subdued, as if until she was on her way home she would not allow herself the full expression of her emotions. It will be my prayer that God will heal Deya's pulmonary hypertension problem, so that it is not an issue for her any longer. I look forward to Deya's mother expressing her full joy at the time to return home, which is now within just a few days. I can imagine the joy of her father and siblings when Deya returns to them, and then the joy in God's heart as He oversees this family reunion. We will celebrate Deya and her mother as they prepare to go, and ask that you pray for them and us as we spend the final moments of our four months together.

Dancing Deya

Posted on Tue, 10/13/2009 - 22:46 by Jonathan Miles
October 13, 2009

There is no better evidence of Deyas transformation than what we saw tonight when we joined the Iraqi families for dinner in the Jerusalem center. Deya lit up like the morning sky when she saw the room fill with an audience! She raced to put on a Kurdish DVD, and begin joyfully and energetically dancing around the room. It really would put a smile on any face to witness her exuberance. Try it out by clicking on the following link: Deya Dancing.

Tomorrow at 3:00pm Deya has a special appointment with Dr. Tamir at the hospital for her final echocardiogram. Deya and her mother are eagerly anticipating the word that they can go home to their family after four months in Israel. Please pray that she will be released and have a safe trip home!

Two Weeks 'til Home?

Posted on Thu, 10/01/2009 - 06:43 by Justin_Strong

October 1, 2009
Today we brought Deya in for another follow up echocardiogram, now two weeks following her open-heart surgery. Deya was nervous at the beginning of the echo and was whimpering as soon as she was laid down on the examination table. After a quick exam from cardiologist Dr. Tamir (pictured at right) and then a short echo by another member of the medical team, the word was that everything looked fine. If Deya continues to display no bad signs after two more echos she will be cleared to go home to Iraq within two weeks.


Deya Goes for an Echo

Posted on Thu, 09/24/2009 - 07:43 by Justin_Strong
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Today we brought Deya to the heart clinic at Wolfson Medical Center to undergo her first echocardiogram since being released from the hospital earlier this week. The clinic was very busy so Deya had to wait quite a while for her turn; so to pass the time she played with a new toy machine gun, and made friends with a couple other children waiting to be seen.

Deya is still very slow and hunches over to avoid pain in her chest, but she is still happy to play. Once it was Deyas turn she was very well behaved and did not seem nearly as scared of the doctors as she was before her surgery. After the echo the doctor said emphatically, it looks very good. Deya will remain on medication and is due back for another echo in one week.


Deya Comes Home!!!

Posted on Tue, 09/22/2009 - 07:43 by Donna_Petrel
September 22, 2009
This morning there was a call from the hospital with some surprising and wonderful news: Deya was being dismissed from the hospital to our home in Jerusalem!! I was looking forward to seeing her today when I accompanied Bilal and Mohammed Faraydoon to the hospital for their admission for tomorrow's surgeries. When we arrived we found Deya and her mother delighted with the good news. Deya showed me immediately that the IV which had been in her arm was already gone. Through the morning and afternoon Deya had final checkups to be sure everything was in order for her to go. It was important that Deya was mobile, but she was wobbly and afraid to walk. The doctor told her if she couldn't walk she couldn't leave, so she made her way down the hall and into the playroom. She is weak and wants to be able to go faster, but for now she will settle for getting around slowly. Later, when it was time to leave, she walked slowly out to the car holding our hands for a little extra support.

When we arrived in Jerusalem, all the children and parents came to greet Deya as her mother carried her up the steps. Noor was the most excited of all; Deya squealed and giggled the whole way as she was brought inside. He sat on the bed beside hers for a long time grinning and chatting with Deya; it was very precious to see how much he loves her! We had cake after our dinner together to celebrate a staff birthday and welcome Deya home, and she joined us for just a few minutes before asking to go lie down again. However, when she heard the Kurdish music playing, she still wanted to dance, and tried to wave her arms to the music with the energy she had left while lying on the sofa.

We are all praising and thanking God for Deya's successful surgery, and most thankful of all is her mother. She is a completely different person now that the worry and fear for Deya's life are replaced with relief and joy over her healthy heart. Let's continue praying for Deya's recovery to be without problems so that she may soon be on her way to her family in Iraq.

Deya is Doing Well

Posted on Mon, 09/21/2009 - 07:43 by Justin_Strong

September 21, 2009
We visited Deya at Wolfson Medical Center today. It's been five days now since her surgery, and is free of all the IV's and monitors. I gave Deya a heart shaped pillow, some Kurdish food, and letters from American children wishing her well. Deya and her mother were very surprised and blessed to receive all the gifts. Deya was still very sensitive to pain in her chest, but was still very eager to play at the same time. Even though she could hardly sit up, she danced in her bed to her mother's cell-phone ringtones. Deya and I spent some time coloring and playing with dolls; occasionally Deya would decide to throw all of her toys off the bed. Overall Deya and her mother are in very good spirits and the doctors say she is doing very well. Thank you for all your continued prayers for Deya!

"Very Good, Very Cute"

Posted on Fri, 09/18/2009 - 01:00 by Donna_Petrel

When I called the ICU to check on Deya this morning, the doctor gave this report: "She is extubated, doing very good, and is very cute!" Now that is a good diagnosis!

This afternoon several of us went down to check on her, and found her awake and very thirsty. She was glad to see us, and really wanted to come home, somehow thinking we could grant this request. We tried to explain that she would have to wait a few more days before this would be possible, but Deya didn't like our answer! She was very interested in how her little friend Noor is doing here at the house. She had been awake since about ten o'clock this morning and was becoming tired during our visit. It is important that she does not drink too much water at once, but because she was so thirsty she was beginning to cry to have something to drink, which was tiring her further.

I managed to get one smile for the camera when I told her her father would be able to see it on the internet. Just before we left she began to doze off a little, and the nurse gave her some sedative to help her sleep. Her mother is doing well, content to help keep Deya calm on what is probably the most difficult day of recuperation.

The staff reported that Deya is stable, and after a few days they will remove the drainage tube in her chest. We left her unhappy because she couldn't join us, but doing very well overall. It is a joy to see the reality of answered prayers in front of our eyes when we visit. I believe it will not take long for Deya to be back to her bouncy energetic self, this time without worry about her health as she exerts herself. Thanks be to God! Please continue to pray with us for her and her mother as her healing continues.


This Time, No Delay

Posted on Thu, 09/17/2009 - 07:43 by Donna_Petrel

This morning was "take 2" for Deya and her mother as they went downstairs again for Deya's heart surgery. We met them in the pre-operation waiting room just after they arrived, and they were much more relaxed than a few days ago. Deya was somewhat subdued but eager to play once Justin and I walked in. Deya's mother was calm most of the time, but when a doctor or nurse came in the room she looked fearful that they were bringing news that the surgery would be postponed again. Yet just after eight o'clock operating room staff came in and asked Deya's mother to carry her and follow them to the operating theater. Deya began to cry then, and continued until they walked out of sight; her mother was strong and ably delivered Deya to the doctors for the long-awaited heart repair. A few minutes later Deya's mom returned, this time shedding tears herself, and thus began the final period of waiting for Deya's surgery.

Much of our time was spent sitting in the courtyard or the waiting room, but we did take a stroll or two to the attached shopping center for a change of scenery. The day was filled with calls from family in Iraq checking on Deya, and expressing solidarity in the vigil even though they were far apart in miles. In the early afternoon Hamza, who had come in for a check-up, came looking for Deya's mother. He knelt before her for a conversation in Kurdish which both made her laugh and was clearly an encouragement that Deya would be ok.

Almost exactly five hours later we got word from Dr. Alona that the surgery was finishing and had gone very well, and that the echo following surgery also looked very good. Deya's mom began calling Iraq to share the good news with family there, her voice now filled with hope, and eventually, with laughter. After one more hour Deya was brought upstairs to the ICU, and after tears of joy we waited about half an hour before her mother was allowed to go in. She quietly surveyed Deya and all the lines and medications helping her begin her recovery, and we talked about why they were there, what they helped with, and what to expect.

The nurse shared that she was stable, and after a few pictures, Deya's mother was ready to go out for more phone calls with family. We're grateful to God for His hand on every part of Deya's surgery, and ask that you join us in thanking Him for His excellent timing even though the wait was long. Let's now pray for her recovery to be miraculous, and her mother's hope to become reality - her daughter going home with a new chance at life.

Deya Admitted Once More for Surgery

Posted on Wed, 09/16/2009 - 07:43 by Mary_Dailey
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
We took Deya up to Wolfson Medical Center today to be admitted again for surgery, which is planned for tomorrow. This was a lot different than it was last week. Thanks for your prayers, we could feel the peace all around us. In the car we were singing and Deya was joining right in with us. When we got to the hospital it was right when they were serving lunch and they brought Deya a plate. She seemed very cheerful and with Donna's encouragement ate most of her lunch.

Her mother brought a small Etch-a-Sketch and some crayons and pad and Donna brought her some stickers, so she had much to do to keep her occupied. When they came to put the I.V. in she got upset and cried, but not for long.

It was surprising how quickly she settled down. They are going to do her surgery tomorrow so be praying for her and Deya mother that they will continue to have that peace than surpasses all understanding. We prayed with them before we left. Let's pray that the Lord will guide the doctor's hands and give them that same peace that we saw in Deya and her mother today.

Deya's Surgery Unexpectedly Postponed

Posted on Mon, 09/14/2009 - 07:43 by Donna_Petrel

This morning began with the usual high emotion of a surgery day, but ended much differently than expected. Deya was scheduled for the first surgery of the day, and went downstairs to the pre-op waiting room around 7:30 AM. Because of her tears the medical staff suggested Deya be carried down by her mother rather than riding in her bed which was only a little calming.

Deya's mother was herself nearly in tears but did a good job of managing her own emotions and supporting Deya. As we waited Deya was at first very quiet except for some nervous sniffles. The medical staff was comforting as they came in and out to check her chart and make further preparations, suggesting that she get out of bed and play with the toys in the room. Initially we brought the toys to Deya, but eventually she did relax and decide to get out of bed and play. This was quite a good way to pass the time, and today we spent three hours playing!!

I began to suspect there was something different going on after about an hour because we were waiting an unusually long time ... I could hear the staff calling to check on when Deya would go back, and then they continued to let us wait. Finally they came to us and said Deya would not have her surgery today because of a big problem. My first thought was that either something had happened to one of the doctors or one of the machines. But in fact what was happening was that there was an emergency surgery already in progress to save the life of a little boy who'd had surgery yesterday, and had a "crash". Dr. Sasson hoped to be able to intervene for the emergency case quickly and then take Deya, but it was not possible to do both surgeries today. While Deya's mother and I stood in shock for a moment, Deya began to realize she was not going into surgery and became very happy.                                                                   

We were taken back upstairs where Deya was allowed to eat something, and then after just a short wait were told we should return to Jerusalem for now. This means Deya's surgery is not scheduled for tomorrow, and until the doctors re-work their schedule for Deya's turn she can wait with us at the house again. Deya was delighted and her mother deflated. It's hard to imagine a more grueling thing to have to repeat than what they went through this morning, but the reality is that very soon we'll be returning to the hospital and repeating this process. After the initial shock of the postponement I was thankfully remembering that this turn of events was not a surprise to God. He has the perfect timing for Deya's surgery, and we have the opportunity to keep praying for her and her family while they wait. Please join us in covering them in prayer for peace and rest until we hear from the hospital again.