Dyako's Heart Surgery

Northern Iraq

Admitted for Surgery

Posted on Mon, 06/09/2014 - 21:15 by Ruth Zellweger
It was not easy for Dyako's mother when her son's surgery was postponed this past week. She had some low moments over the weekend, yet overall she was blessing and encouraging our other families who are waiting for surgeries as well. Yesterday was a day of joy for her when she found out that Dyako's surgery will be on Tuesday, and she started preparing for the hospital stay.
We gathered in our courtyard this morning to pray for Dyako, his mother, and the medical staff at Wolfson Hospital. Dyako's mother had a hard time keeping back her tears. It was obvious that she loves her son dearly and that she would do anything for him to be well. Our trip to Tel Aviv was a quiet one. Dyako fell asleep, and his mother also rested for awhile. At the hospital, they were settled into a room, and Dyako's I.V. line was inserted in preparation for tomorrow's surgery.
We left Dyako and his mother in the good hands of the nurses and doctors at Wolfson, and more importantly, in the good hands of our Heavenly Father. Thank you for interceding with us for this precious child and his mother.

Little in the Eyes of God

Posted on Thu, 06/05/2014 - 23:29 by Liliane Gasser

Very early this morning, Ruth and I were prepared to accompany Dyako and his mum for his surgery. However, things did not go according to plan. The big moment was postponed to another day yet to be determined. It was naturally a great deception for the mum, but the time we spent together was so full of love and gentleness. She talked about her family in Iraq, about her five-year-old son Daniel, and showed me photos of him on her phone, which I was very pleased to see.

As we sat for some lunch, little Dyako slept soundly, givng us time exchange a lot of thoughts. She was calm and full of hope for the upcoming operation of her sweet, little boy.

For me, meeting with people who are in pain for their sick children makes me little in the eyes of God, but I know He is the big doctor and he provides for each day new.

It was a wonderful experience, and I thank God for the opportunities He has given me here at Shevet Achim.

Dyako Ready For Second Surgery

Posted on Wed, 06/04/2014 - 22:28 by Kristina Kayser

Our precious Dyako is now ready to undergo what we hope will be his final surgery! It has been a roller coaster ride of emotions and health concerns since his first operation, with Dyako's weight gain (or lack thereof) being the primary challenge. Praise the Lord, his diet and weight have seen progress recently. The best evidence, according to his mother, can be found in the new plumpness of his cheeks. 

Now two months after a BT shunt was created as part one of a two-part surgery, his heart has grown sufficiently in both size and strength for Dr. Sasson to finalize the repair. The cardiology team initially thought his heart's growth would take a minimum of three months, but it seems as though God accelerated Dyako's healing process. 

Due to the Shavuot holiday beginning Tuesday evening, Dyako was admitted to Wolfson Hospital on Tuesday afternoon for his scheduled surgery on Thursday. Both he and his mother rested on their way to the hospital. They received a warm reception from Dawod and his mother, who are both situated in the same room. It was evident they were happy for each other's company. Dyako was in a good mood and played happily on his bed before having an afternoon snack.  

This precious baby is set to have surgery early tomorrow morning. We have all grown to love him and his mother more and more and are so thankful to have them with us for this time. Dyako's mum is quite anxious about tomorrow, so I ask you would pray with us for all to go well in the operating room and for peace for this mother's heart. The Lord has been so faithful to Dyako, and I trust Him for His beautiful work of healing to be completed!

Joyfully Progressing

Posted on Mon, 05/26/2014 - 22:05 by Jesse Tilman

Dyako’s purple smile is amazingly endearing, and his toothless gums are often seen as he opens his mouth wide. He brought cheer as he delighted in exploring the world around him with his big grin during his weekly check-up at Wolfson Hospital today. He is scheduled for another surgery on June 1st, so we traveled to Wolfson hoping to see that his health and weight have continued to improve prior to surgery.

Upon reaching the echo department, we sat down to wait our turn. Many other children were present from Tanzani, Israel, and Gaza. One by one, everyone entered the rooms for their exams. Soon enough it was our turn, and Dyako’s mom and I began preparing him for the doctors. Usually Dyako screams so intensely during his echoes that it makes one wonder whether or not his small body is actually making the sound. But today he quietly played with toys his mother dangled in front of him and watched cartoons overhead.

After about ten minutes, however, when the hospital staff commented on this change in his normal response to the examinations, he immediately began to moan and cry. Soon he was releasing a full-blown howl complete with back-arching and arm-waving. Somehow the doctor completed her exam, though, and we soon had Dyako calmed down again with his shirt back on.

The exam results show Dyako is doing well. He has gained a little weight (twenty grams) and is seeing improvement in his heart post-surgery. His heart’s left ventricle has enlarged from 74 millimeters two weeks ago to 94 millimeters last week to 103 millimeters today. His mom was happy to hear this and rejoiced alongside the doctors.

After the echo, we spent some time with Dawod’s mother as she waited for his surgery to finish. The mothers comforted each other as they shared about the day. Having company who can relate goes a long way towards bringing calm and trust. Faith for the day solidified as we sat together and found encouragement. We went outside for a bit and sat and ate in the sunshine. Dyako strong-armed a piece of bread and gummed it till it caved into pieces.

Thank God for His love shining through each day. Each day we can choose to live in the full life that God gives!

Another Echo For Dyako

Posted on Mon, 05/19/2014 - 19:46 by Rahel Eschler

Today Dyako and his mum undertook their weekly journey to Wolfson Hospital to get Dyako’s heart and weight checked. After a long and successful shopping trip to the bazar yesterday, we were all proudly wearing our new clothes.

At the echo department, one of the doctors was already waiting for us, as Dyako was the last heart patient to be screened today. Dyako was a rollercoaster of emotions during his echo.

He loudly manifested his disagreements with the doctor’s actions throughout the echo whenever the doctor needed to hear his heartbeat, but stopped his protesting and listened carefully whenever no heartbeat was audible. Towards the end, however, when his strength was fading, he finally calmed down and turned his interest towards the children’s movie flickering over a nearby screen.

After the echo, Dr. Tamir popped his head inside the door and told us the echo yielded good results concerning Dyako’s healing process. There’s now only one echo left for Dyako before his second surgery in two weeks.

With the echo finished and his mum starting to unpack us some self-made Kurdish sandwiches, Dyako started to brighten up again. The last thing we had to accomplish before heading back to Shevet was another weighing of Dyako, which is definitely not one of his favorite things to do. This quick but not enjoyable assessment brought a short storm of indignation sweeping over Dyako.

Then we received the news that Dyako had lost one hundred grams of weight, something his mother was afraid of. The fact is that little babies with heart defects use up all their energy just breathing, so there are no more calories left over for growing big and fat. With a small adjustment in Dyako’s diet, we hope he will start growing again.

As we waited to be picked up by our driver, we enjoyed the nice summer temperature in Tel Aviv. Together we had some tea, as Kurdish people love to do. Dyako wanted to be part of our small tea party, so he fought for it until his mother gave in and let him have some sips of tea.

Such times are wonderful as we build up friendships, share with each other about our lives, and simply laugh together about silly things. Pray with me for the smallest of our fellows at the Shevet base to grow stronger and for him and his mum to experience the Lord’s peace and love for them each day. 

Joyous News!

Posted on Mon, 05/12/2014 - 22:13 by Rahel Eschler

Dyako’s mother went back to Wolfson Hospital today with ambivalent feelings. She doesn’t like hospitals in general, especially not when her small son is in need of one. But she also knows Dyako is in the best hands there for the treatment of his congenital heart defect.

Dyako has been enjoying life at the Shevet base. Now and then he’s fussy and keeps his mum up at night. He’s also been bothered by a mild cold over the last few days. His biggest problem, however, has been his small appetite. During his last hospital visit, Dyako was given one more chance to gain weight before it became necessary to hospitalize him. So his mother put all she could into increasing Dayko’s weight.

Today Philip and I accompanied our little friend for his weight check at the clinic.

His mum hoped her fears would be in vain and she could bring her son back home again. Once we arrived at the children’s ward, Dyako and his mum chatted with old friends. She told us half-seriously with a big smile on her face how she would be famous here because of Dyako’s crying. It’s beautiful to witness how much love she has to share with others, despite her own absorbing task of caring for Dyako’s needs.

As Dyako’s weighing time came near, she did her best to satisfy Dyako’s hunger and make him as heavy as possible. While he was being undressed for the important weight check, Dyako demonstrated his disapproval of the procedure with his loudest crying possible.

But his behavior didn’t change anything, and the exam took place. We discovered Dyako had gained a few hundred grams, which made everyone happy.

We didn’t have a lot of time to celebrate this good result, however, as we had to meet Dr. Alona for an extended echo. An experienced pediatrician, she gave Dyako some sleeping medicine to make the examination as pleasant as possible for all of us. As he dozed off peacefully, all the needed information about his heart's condition was easily collected. He started to wake up slowly from his dreams towards the end of his examination.

The results of the echo were satisfying, but Dyako is expected back at the hospital for another follow-up in one week. And as soon as the surgeon gets back from his vacation, Dyako should have his second and final heart surgery scheduled (hopefully within two weeks’ time). Till then his weight will hopefully continue to climb.

On the way back home, Dyako and his mum were both exhausted from a long hospital day and fell asleep after a few minutes. Dyako’s mum was considerably relieved by the good results of all the examinations. Pray with us for this precious family as they journey step by step closer to Dyako’s second surgery.             

Good News For Dyako

Posted on Thu, 05/08/2014 - 23:01 by Philip Rasmussen

Today Dyako went for his first follow-up echo since he came back to Jerusalem after three weeks’ worth of hospitalization leading up to and following his first surgery. With him and his mother were Dawod and his mother, also there for a follow-up echo.

We arrived at Wolfson Medical Center, and Dyako was called relatively quickly into the echo room. He would easily start crying, but singing seemed to calm him down. Volunteers stood around him today, ready to sing for him and cheer him up in order to help the echo technician get the best possible pictures.

Before hearing the outcome of the echo, Dyako’s mother was visibly worried she would receive bad news. Her worst-case scenario would be to be told to come back for Dyako’s second surgery in one year’s time, as was the case with two Kurdish girls (Sara and Rozhgar) who were recently in Israel a second time for further treatment.

A few minutes after Dyako’s echo was done, the cardiologist came and told us the echo looks good and Dyako will hopefully have his second surgery by the end of this month. This was very good news for the mother’s ears, and she was rejoicing and spontaneously asking us to pray. What a fantastic outcome!

There are, however, some obstacles ahead. Upon hearing Dyako has been eating hardly anything, the medical staff weighed him and found he has lost weight. They are giving Dyako one more chance to show some appetite before they intervene and hospitalize him. Thus he is scheduled to come by the hospital on Monday in order for the staff to see if any progress has been made. This is an urgent prayer request—he seems unwilling to start eating.

But though Dyako doesn’t eat, he keeps up a good mood, and was sharing smiles and cuteness in the echo department. He also sent a clear signal to the international community that he is running for the presidential office in Egypt in order to revive the old empire of the Pharaoh.

Full of Life

Posted on Fri, 05/02/2014 - 00:09 by Rahel Eschler

We have all been longing to see Dyako and his lovely mom back on our base, as they haven’t even spent twenty-four hours at Shevet since they arrived in Israel. Although they had to spend almost a whole month at the hospital, both of them have grown close to our hearts during this time. In fact, Dyako’s mom was hoping to be discharged today in order to attend tonight’s large farewell party for the two girls Sara and Rozhgar. So I was the lucky one today to head out to Tel Aviv with Sara, who took the chance to be my assistant and to see Wolfson Hospital one last time.

At the hospital, we found Dyako outside in the playground, enjoying the sun. His mom had a big smile on her face when she saw us turning around the corner. This is Dyako’s favorite spot. He seemed to soak in the warm sun rays, the green of the trees, and the beautiful songs of the birds. Sara and Dawod (who we also picked up from the hospital) tried to outdo each other with their improvisations to make Dyako smile.

This made the waiting time for the reports even shorter.

Over the last two days, Dyako has made quite good progress with his general health condition. After seeing him fuzzy for so many days, it was a joy to see him happy in his interactions with his caring mom. I’m so proud of how she coped with the different difficulties over the last month at the hospital with her son. She surely loves him deeply.

The ward doctor confirmed Dyako has been sleeping and eating better over the last few days, and there is no need for any further neurological examinations. But Dyako still has to improve, as he lost some weight during the past few weeks.

During Dyako’s last echo, the doctors determined his left ventricle is growing even faster and larger than they had hoped for. Because of this unexpectedly-fast adaption of his heart to its new condition, the cardiologists plan to do his second surgery one month from now instead of waiting for another three months to do the full repair.

So we turned our backs on Wolfson Hospital and showed up soon back at our base, where Dyako and his mom received a joyful welcome. It’s amazing to look back and see their journey up till this day. After a hard start with severe post-operation complications, Dyako’s recovery has sped by. As we look at his path, we can only praise our Lord and Healer, thanking him for sparing Dyako’s life and bringing our youngest child back home even stronger than before. We’re looking forward to getting to know them better. May God bless their time under our roof.     

In the Children's Ward

Posted on Thu, 04/24/2014 - 20:58 by Violet McCombe

Kristina and I traveled to Wolfson Hospital today to visit Dyako and his mother. We were pleased to find him moved from the secondary ICU to the children’s ward, but he was not feeding well. The staff were trying to tempt him to eat, giving his mother some yogurt to feed him and enticing him with his feeding bottle, but none of their efforts were successful. He was crying a lot, and it was difficult to settle him.

The doctor mentioned during our visit that Dyako had a small fever. There is a plan to do some neurological tests in the coming week to ensure everything is well. His mother was obviously concerned for him, but she was handling the situation in her usual, calm way.

Before spending some time outside in the play area (where Dyako settled down for a bit), we had a short prayer session with them. This little fellow needs much prayer. Please lift him up before our Father, along with praying for the hospital staff to have wisdom and guidance as they continue to treat him.

Progress For Dyako

Posted on Tue, 04/22/2014 - 22:17 by Ruth Zellweger

Exactly two weeks after his open heart surgery, Dyako has been moved to Secondary ICU. I happened to enter the ICU to visit him and his mother right when the nurse was getting ready to move him. The face of his mother was beaming with delight.

These past weeks have not been easy for her, but she has faithfully stayed close to her son’s bed the entire time. She helped the nurse push the bed to the Secondary ICU.

At lunchtime she went to eat in the cafeteria while I stayed with Dyako. He whimpered once in a while, but eventually fell asleep. It was such a peaceful scene. 

We left the hospital after our visit with thankful hearts, rejoicing over Dyako’s current healing along with his mother. Thank you very much for interceding with us.