Dima's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

Still Waiting

Posted on Thu, 06/01/2017 - 17:10 by Simone Escalante

Our little Dima is still in the hospital, and today she had another echo. It showed that everything is going very well and the results of the surgery are good. But the reason that Dima is still in the hospital is her nutritional status, and the continued use of the nasal oxygen. It is likely that today or tomorrow Dima will start receiving concentrated nutrition through a feeding tube again.

What worried me on this visit was the physical condition of Dima's mother. She is extremely tired and today she seemed to be a little upset. Let us continue to pray for this precious family. May they have a complete victory soon!


Staying Positive

Posted on Tue, 05/23/2017 - 23:07 by Helen Byler

Simone and I went to the hospital this morning and were able to spend some time with Dima and her mother. She was awake and cheerful when we got there but her mom said she had been crying a lot and they hadn’t slept well. Her breathing is very raspy at times and she seems to be working very hard to breathe; her mom said it was like this all night. Dima’s mom seems to be doing well and is very cheerful and upbeat in spite of the stressful situation. She showed me pictures of her other daughter and her family back home. She is tired and isn’t sleeping well at the hospital with all the noise and interruptions but she is staying positive.

Later in the morning, Dima was transferred from the secondary ICU to the children’s ward, and is settled in a much brighter room. They were both resting peacefully when we left.

Transferred to Secondary ICU

Posted on Tue, 05/16/2017 - 18:06 by Rebekah Yang

This morning Camila and I went into the ICU to check on Dima's situation and found out she has been crying a lot. Mama Dima breast fed for awhile and then she began to calm down and rest.

 At 1pm this afternoon, we learned that Dima's condition is good enough to be transferred to Secondary ICU. So Camila accompanied both mum and daughter as they moved.
Later on I joined them, and saw Dima was very irritated and crying, so I tried holding her for a bit while her mum was having her lunch outside. A few minutes later, Dima's mum came back and took her from me. Poor little Dima seemed very hungry and was crying nonstop. Dima's mum again breast fed, and tried to comfort her beloved daughter.
At the moment Dima's general condition is improving day by day. However our sweet little Dima is still very uneasy and not settled down. Please lift up your hands to pray for our dear Dima. May Yeshua's healing power continue to work in her little body. May Dima's mum also have some rest to renew her strength. In Messiah's name I pray, amen!

Awake and Hungry

Posted on Sun, 05/14/2017 - 19:07 by Alexa Bigl

Dima had her big, sweet eyes open this morning when I popped into the ICU. I was so happy to see she had indeed been extubated over the weekend. Her beautiful eyelashes continue to draw admiring glances from the nurses, doctors, and all of Dima's new friends. She was crying soon after I came in and her mom told me she is hungry. I thought maybe she was not allowed to have milk because of her high-flow oxygen, but the nurse informed us she would have her chest drainage tube removed soon and that was why she was fasting. 

Thank God, later in the morning, after the tube was taken out, Dima was allowed to eat again. She still has an nasal feeding tube. And she is also drinking milk from her mother and formula from bottles. Whenever she is not eating, her little mouth makes movements telling us she is wanting to eat. Food, food, food. Dima is a hungry little girl! And praise the Lord for this. We are so excited to see great strides of improvement in Dima's weight. Now that all the calories are not being used to give her body energy to just breathe and pump blood, we are praying for Dima to gain chubby cheeks and grow rapidly. 
All of Dima's vital signs look good and she is recovering well from the surgical correction of her heart defect. Thank you for joining us in praying for Dima and her strong mother. Due to the demand of feeding Dima all the time, her mother is tired. Dima's recovery is allowing her mother to see there is an end in sight of her time in the hospital, now nearly four weeks, and we praise the Lord for this encouragement. May the Lord strengthen mother and daughter these coming days. 

Dima's Recovery

Posted on Thu, 05/11/2017 - 22:42 by Alexa Bigl

Dima remains intubated today after the surgical repair of her heart yesterday. Her echo this morning looked good and the repair is complete. There is very mild mitral valve regurgitation, but this is expected to clear up during her recovery. Her heart now has a beautiful, complete septum. 

The doctors are hopeful Dima will be extubated over the weekend. Her mom has been very strong. And despite the communication barrier, has done very well to stay updated on her daughter's status frm the doctors and nurses here at Wolfson. She is very excited to know Dima will be getting better and better, finally. She is looking forward to great weight gains and for her daughter to flourish. 
She happily sent her family pictures of the teams of doctors here, showing them who has been helping Dima these past weeks. Thank you for joining us in praying for Dima and her joyful mom! 

Successful Surgery

Posted on Thu, 05/11/2017 - 00:33 by Debbie Sturm

In the early morning Eva and I went to the hospital for Dima's surgery. When we arrived, Dima was still in her room, held closely by her mother. But we only had to wait a few minutes until we could leave for the pre-op room.

As we left, Dima's mother started to cry and the other mothers who were around shed tears as well. With their tears they showed that they could feel with Dima's mother. Dima was also crying because she was very hungry from fasting.

After entering the pre-op room, we still had to wait for a while until they finally wheeled Dima into the OR.

Her mother sobbed for a while but calmed down quickly as we walked back to the children's ward. We joined the other families for breakfast at the playground and enjoyed the really nice weather. Dima's mother was talking to her family back in Kurdistan and showed me many pictures of her home. She also took a nap since she had a bad headache. After five hours of waiting, the surgery was done. The doctors said that the surgery was successful!

They did a full heart repair and Dima is stable. Praise God! Of course, her mother could not wait to visit her beautiful daughter in the ICU. It was awesome to see her so joyful. Please keep tiny Dima in your prayers.

Waiting for God's Grace

Posted on Mon, 05/01/2017 - 20:19 by Simone Escalante

Today I had the opportunity to visit the families that are in the hospital and among them I was able to spend time with the small and fragile Dima. Dima's mother left her baby with me while she went to the house to take a shower.

It was precious to make her sleep and spend time watching her rest, but unfortunately this moment did not last long, because she woke up and soon vomited some of what she had nursed from her mother.

Little Dima is still receiving her enteric diet by a feeding pump and needs to continue gaining weight for the next steps of her treatment. Keep praying for them, because it's certainly not an easy time to be in the hospital for so many days.

May all the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of these families and children be filled by the grace of God. Amen!


Spending Time With Dima

Posted on Sun, 04/23/2017 - 21:04 by Simone Escalante

Today I spent time with Dima and her mother. Her mother had to go for her PPD test to be read, and I looked after Dima. Then her mother went to Jaffa to spend some time in the house there. I stayed at the hospital with her daughter. 

The nurse arrived in the room and started the feeding pump for Dima, and in that moment I held her because she was crying very much. It was about 30 minutes, and she cried so much and tried to pull out her feeding tube. She suffered very much and I knew it was good I held her closely. I tried to help her fall asleep. Thank God, she eventually fell asleep. 

After her mother returned from Jaffa, Dima had to wake up and start her inhalation treatment. During this time the little girl was very uncomfortable, but we proceeded to calm her with music from my cell phone and tried to distract her with whispers and facial expression. She finally managed to rest again. Dima and her mother were able to rest together, but soon the nurse arrived again to continue with the other treatments and again they woke up.

Dima was calm in her bed which enabled us to have a time together in which Dima's mother showed me beautiful photos of her brothers, sisters, and mother in Kurdistan. She was interested in knowing my story too, and by the grace of God we managed to establish a small but good communication. And now we have each other as friends - it is the beginning of a good friendship.

Delicate Dima

Posted on Thu, 04/20/2017 - 22:25 by Ruth Zellweger

After a night under observation at the hospital, little Dima had her echocardiogram today. Yfat and Dr. Alona carefully examined her little heart.

Afterwards, Dr. Alona said that Dima is a candidate for a succesful repair, but that it would be better if she could gain some weight first. For that reason, she decided that Dima would stay hospitalized and that she would receive a feeding tube that would provide more calories for Dima. 

Dima is such a sweet and beautiful little girl, but also very delicate. It is hard to believe that she is already seven months old when one sees how small she is. We pray that she will gain weight soon, and also pray that her mother will have patience and peace. These past months have been very challenging for her, as every passing day meant caring for her sick daughter, worrying for her life and well being.

We entrust mother and daughter into the hands of our heavenly Father.


Dima Arrives in Israel

Posted on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 20:11 by Ruth Zellweger

Early this morning, Dima and her mother boarded the plane in Kurdistan to start their journey towards a healed heart for Dima. They had waited for several weeks until everything was set up and prepared for Dima's travel and treatment at Wolfson hospital. Both of them were joined by Armanj and his grandmother, and Ayleen and her mother.

Even though they did not experience any problems at passport control, our Shevet welcome group had to wait for a while in the arrival hall, as the mothers were not able to find their luggage. After a phonecall and the kind help of an airport employee, they were finally out. 

Her mother told me that Dima was not doing well. We arranged with the hospital to bring in Dima right away so that she could be properly assessed. Even though Dima is already seven months, she only weighs four kilograms (about 9 lbs). Her little body is using all the calories that she is taking in to sustain its function. 

Dr. Alona and Dr. Dafy received Dima in the ward and told us that she would be admitted for observation. Then the nurses started with the different tests.

Little Dima handled it all quite well. Her mother was exhausted from the travel, but thankfully it didn't take too much time until she and Dima were told that they could rest in their room now. The echocardiogram will be performed Thursday morning. 

They settled in their room and by the time I left the hospital, they were going to rest. Dima and her mother are a beautiful mother-daughter duo, and I am looking forward to spending more time with them and seeing God's healing touch on Dima's little heart.