Duaa's Heart Surgery


Duaa Continuing To Improve

Posted on Sun, 03/15/2015 - 22:10 by Jesse Tilman

Our first peek at Duaa today was through the clear window into the ICU. She recognized us right away and smiled as Rebekah and I waved. However, we were with Hiba's mother at that time, so we went with her to Hiba's bedside for some quick translation, and then were told to leave by the staff. 

So it wasn't until awhile later that we were able to see Duaa when she was discharged to the regular children's ward. We saw her as she emerged from the ICU, with hospital workers pushing her out on the bed. She was crying now and pulling at her oxygen tube that was uncomfortably situated in her nose. We struggled with her all the way to the room to keep her from ripping out wires and tubes!

In the room a clown soon came and helped us get Duaa's mind off the pains of hospital life. She seemed to be in a state of constantly being on the edge of crying, where the slightest thing would set her off. After a good ten minutes with her attention on the clown, she was doing much better and her mother helped her drink and eat a little bit.

A doctor came by later and happily remarked on her recovery progress. He asked us to see if she would eat more or else he would start an IV nutrient line. She still has two chest/stomach drainage tubes because of her over-average amount of fluid build-up. With those still in place, the doctor is not worried right now about what or how much she drinks, so her mother gave her some juice as well.

Duaa's mother was doing well and happy to be out of ICU. She would half-laugh whenever Duaa started to cry at every small annoyance for sympathy, or for just no reason. We are glad to see this mother and daughter on track; we give thanks to God for His healing grace.

Duaa Extubated

Posted on Thu, 03/12/2015 - 20:57 by Lindsay Martin

Today, Ruth and I had the opportunity to visit Duaa who received her heart surgery yesterday. It was exciting news when she was successfully extubated this morning! She is doing well and experiencing the normal symptoms of thirst and pain after extubation. 

Duaa's mom is doing well and is full of joy! We are rejoicing with our Father for the work He has done on Duaa's heart! She is such an incredible and precious girl, so full of life.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).

Duaa's Surgery Day!

Posted on Wed, 03/11/2015 - 22:14 by Rebekah Yang

Duaa and her mother have been waiting for her surgery for over two months. The day finally came today, and they were filled with excitement and concern. The Fontan surgery went well today, which was the second part of a two-step repair that began in May 2013. Duaa is now stable in the ICU. Here is a video blog that will hopefully give you a unique look into her day. 

Our Precious Duaa Admitted

Posted on Tue, 03/10/2015 - 22:12 by Konrad Wiedmer

This morning we gathered in our front yard to pray for our sweet Duaa and her mother because she was being admitted for her surgery tomorrow morning! Both of them waited more than two months before this day finally arrived. The sun was shining as we left the Shevet base, and everyone was waving farewell with small tissues. Rebekah and I had the pleasure to accompany the two refugees from Syria to Wolfson Medical Center in Tel Aviv, and I was glad to be part of Duaa’s admission today.

After arrival, Duaa and her mother went to the playground, while Rebekah was checking if the nurses were ready for her several tests. We received the message that we need to wait, so I just played with Duaa in the playground. She was climbing every bar and showed a lot of joy and happiness during this time.

Her laughter seemed to be infectious, because there were some Israeli soldiers who smiled at her and even invited her to come over to draw something. They all sat together at a small table, and Duaa, as well as the soldiers, did not have any reservations against each other. This really touched me to see this. They were asking questions such as her name and when they had to leave. When we left, Duaa gave every one of them a kiss!

For me this was the perfect image how God builds bridges with his amazing love. And it was also a perfect image of what Shevet Achim is doing, bringing people together. In this case, three Israeli soldiers made a Syrian refugee child very happy by just interacting and laughing with her. My heart rejoiced at seeing this, and once again I understood what a privilege it is to be part of Shevet, and to be able to serve the families we host in Jerusalem.

After this, we ate together, and then Duaa was called to do tests in order to be admitted. In the beginning she was very calm and did everything the nurses asked her to do.

As it became clear to her that they need to take some blood, she was very afraid and cried and screamed a lot, so much that all our Shevet staff had to leave the nurses room. However, thank God, after a while the necessary tests were done and Duaa could go into a room in the ward.

However, one last X-ray test was required. While waiting, we had fun looking at different pictures on my phone, which included many selfies Duaa took by herself. Later on, she was drawing in her room again and, together with her mother; we played some games, which she enjoyed. She was really focused most of the time, and calm and beautiful.

Before we left, Rebekah and I prayed for Hiba and her mother who were with us at that time. We also prayed for Duaa her mother and all the other patients we have in the hospital right now.  

Everything that happens is by God’s grace, and this amazing grace is what we want to cling to for Duaa’s surgery tomorrow. Please join us in prayer for our precious Duaa. Acts 1:14 says: “They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.” We believe that prayer has power and we appreciate your prayers for the surgery tomorrow.

Play Play Play All Day

Posted on Tue, 01/27/2015 - 21:58 by Sarah Powell

Today, Duaa had a final checkup on her ear and received the good news that her ear infection is gone. She spent nearly twelve hours of waiting at the hospital because of events out of her control. Only about twenty minutes of that time were spent getting her checkup. The rest of it was spent running around, talking a lot, taking crazy pictures, trying on hats, eating ice cream, introducing her six-year-old Syrian self on camera, and singing silly songs. Here is a peek at what came from the day:  

Unexpected Hospital Visit

Posted on Wed, 01/14/2015 - 21:33 by Kristina Kayser

While waiting for heart surgery, Doaa has been stable and relatively healthy. Praise God! But late last night, she was quite distressed as a result of pain in her left ear. The problem had arisen and escalated quickly, coming to my attention around 10pm. 

After a fitful night's sleep, Doaa's pain had subsided, but it was apparent that a trip to the doctor's was necessary. I was so proud of my little friend for the courage she displayed today. Two different doctors examined her ear, which was not a welcome experience for Doaa. The second doctor was an ear specialist, and she and a co-worker had to remove much drainage to clean the ear and treat it properly. After several minutes of intense screaming from their small but very strong patient, the unpleasant task was finished. It was confirmed that Doaa has an infection in both her middle and external ear, requiring a week's worth of antibiotics and ear drops. These moments were not captured on camera, as it was all hands on deck to either comfort or assist during the examinations. 

Doaa was very happy to leave the hospital and was even happier to find two chocolate cakes and a bottle of lemonade waiting in the van for her as a special reward. "Thank you!" she exclaimed in all sincerity as we prepared for the drive home. When her mother asked her if she wanted to open the juice, Doaa replied that she wanted to wait and share it with the other children at home. How sweet is that? Praise God for the excellent care Doaa received today and for the Lord's faithfulness to heal and sustain her.  

Duaa Awaiting Surgery

Posted on Thu, 01/08/2015 - 21:04 by Ruth Zellweger

When Mariyln and I had left Wolfson Hospital yesterday, Duaa had been sleeping after her catheterization. Today, when we entered the children's ward she was awake, running up and down the hallways. As soon as she saw Marilyn, she ran towards her, recognizing her friend who had spent so many hours with her yesterday. We had to wait for the discharge papers of another boy, who returned to Gaza, but as soon as that was sorted out, we got into the van. However, just as we were ready to leave for Jerusalem, we received a phone call that Arena was discharged at Sheba Hospital. It was a longer afternoon than expected, but Duaa handled it amazingly well.

During yesterday's catheterization the cardiologists had gained all necessary information for the upcoming full repair of Duaa's heart! Most likely her surgery will not be until the beginning of next month because Dr. Sasson, the main surgeon, will be out of the country for most of the following weeks. Please pray with us for peace and patience for precious Duaa and her mother. 

Love Holds No Barriers

Posted on Wed, 01/07/2015 - 21:26 by Marilyn Isaacson

Ruth and I went to Wolfson Hospital to support Duaa and her mother for a catheterization of Duaa's heart. I felt some trepidation, as I do not speak Arabic, but knew the Lord was in control of the situation. In the children’s ward, I gave Duaa some coloring books and crayons. To my amazement, I just reached in my handbag for a pen and Duaa spotted a small roll of sellotape, which she took and started playing with. To much laughter, she was putting the sellotape around her mum's and myself's fingers. To think, sellotape could make such an impression on a child. Amazing! Unfortunately, Duaa was not allowed food or drink due to the upcoming procedure. So it was not always easy to try and find ways to entertain her. It was only by the Lord's grace that we did.

Duaa has a really exceptional smile. Whilst waiting for many hours, there was much laughter and tears. Duaa was whimpering a bit as she went into the room opposite the theater. She was taking in every detail of that room and regularly checking for her mum, who was sitting by her bed with many comforting words. The Israeli doctors explained, with great care, what the procedure was to Duaa's mum. Then we went into the theater with her for half a minute. Her mum was tightly holding her hand while she received the injection for her to go to sleep. This precious child was crying, but was reassured by the surgeons loving presence.

I took Duaa's mum for some lunch, but she only ate a little, and saved the rest for later. We then came back upstairs to wait. The waiting was very hard for Duaa's mum. I tried to offer her as much comfort as able, and I really felt her anxiety. How would I feel if my precious daughter was having a procedure like this? I really counted it a blessing beyond words to have been there, showing the Lord's love by hugs and cuddles. Love speaks all languages. After the procedure, we again waited while Duaa settled back in to the children’s ward. She was very stressed and whimpering. Her mum was lovingly assuring her the whole time, so eventually she went peacefully to sleep.

I have really seen firsthand, what Shevet Achim is all about today. Their mission, based on Psalm 133:1, is that Christians, Jews and Muslims come together to save the precious lives of these children, with loving compassion. What a traumatic day for a six-year old, but by God's mercy and grace she got through it, and she is now awaiting heart surgery. Praise the Lord for a really humbling and special day. All glory to Jehovah. Amen. 


Posted on Mon, 01/05/2015 - 21:30 by Sarah Powell

Duaa is girl full of vigor and verve. This is wonderful when she is in a good mood. She is intensely loving and joyful at those times. It is not so great, though, when she is in a bad mood. She is strong not only in spirit, but also physically, and she will try her best to make things go her way if she doesn't like how things are going down. So, as I prepared to go with her and her mother to the hospital today, I said a special prayer, asking for God's grace to be able to love this little girl well.

And – I suppose true to His character, but miraculously none the less – God answered that prayer. Duaa was not devoid of stubbornness by any means, but she did do amazingly better than any of us expected. She was admitted to the hospital today for a catheterization that will take place on Wednesday. It was decided that she would be admitted early because it's possible that snow will impede coming to the hospital later in the week. So with her admission came all of those little preliminary tests for blood pressure, heart rate, weight, and all the rest. The best part, of course, was inserting the IV line. And at that moment, most of all, is when I saw that God had answered that prayer for grace for all of us today. Duaa cried (just as I probably would if was having a needle pushed into my arm repeatedly), but she did not resist. And that was a huge blessing because when she does want to resist, she resists. So I was so grateful that God gave her the grace to be brave today.

As I spent time with Duaa throughout the day – spinning in circles, taking pictures, throwing balloons, tasting lollipops – I just had to marvel at how hungry she is for love.

The times when she becomes most demanding and most difficult to love are actually the times that she needs love the most. She only does those things because she wants attention; she wants love.

It reminded me of myself – and I think most of humanity. I know that I'm stubborn and difficult to love more often than I would like to admit, but over and over again, I see God's grace in loving me anyway. And I know that He loves Duaa so much too. My prayer is that she and her mother would come to see the love that He has for them and be changed by it because, let's be honest, His love is the only thing that can change any of us in the stubbornness of our hearts.

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Oh, give thanks to the God of gods! For His mercy endures forever. Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords! For His mercy endures forever: To Him who alone does great wonders, For His mercy endures forever...

Psalm 136:1-4

Duaa's Busy Day

Posted on Tue, 12/30/2014 - 22:46 by Anna Davied

A year and a half ago, sweet little Duaa began her journey towards healing her heart. Late last night, she and her momma arrived back in Jerusalem so that they could start the final steps in this process. Duaa and her mother are very special to the Shevet community for many reasons. The fact that they were the first Syrian family that Shevet cared for is certainly among them!

I did not know Duaa during her first trip to Jerusalem, but I have fallen deeply in love with her in the few hours since we met. She is a fun-loving, active, cheeky little ball of sass, who loves to be tossed around and figured out my smart phone's camera in about the length of time it took me to protest her finding it. However, my protest was in vain and I now have about 100 pictures of her feet and other abstract shots to show for it. But she sure looked sweet as she made Kyle pose for pictures, and she will have Shevet to thank if she ever becomes a professional photographer.

The day was a long one, but I lucked out and got to spend the whole day playing with Duaa, while Ruth and Kyle tended to other matters. She especially loved to be spun around and rocked up and down! Perhaps her adventurous spirit was the reason she was such a champion as she faced her initial tests. She was only uneasy when she could sense her mom was uncomfortable, but her warm smile returned very quickly as she realized the machines were not so scary after all. The only time Duaa ever actually cried was when she had to get her tuberculosis test, but those tears dried almost the instant she found the playhouse at the end of the hall. It is a good thing she liked the playhouse so much; she spent a long time playing in it while we waited for her turn to get her echo.

I think I was most impressed with Duaa during the echo. She was steady and stoic through the whole process, holding her mom's hand in a touching expression of unconditional love between mother and child. After the echo, the doctor said she would like to do a heart catheterization, which is scheduled for next week and will help determine the next steps for Duaa and her heart.

Today, Duaa proved she could endure as well as anybody. As we rode home to Jerusalem, Duaa's sweet little snores filled the van, signaling the end of a long and successful day. We praise God for this little girl and her big spirit and we pray for her heart's continued healing.