Elaf 's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Surgery Scheduled For Sunday

Posted on Fri, 12/12/2008 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel

Early this evening Dr. Alona called me with some wonderful news for all the mothers in our house - their surgeries are scheduled! When the doctor began telling me that the first child was scheduled for Sunday morning, I thought she would say it was Wahaj, since he'd just been dismissed a few days ago. Instead, she said to bring Elaf when the Sabbath ends tomorrow evening, for her Sunday morning surgery.

I had the joy of sharing the news with the mothers, and when I told them I'd heard from the doctor, they each began asking if they were the ones who were going in. Wahaj's mother was thinking like me, expecting him to be the first one, so everyone was a little surprised when I shared the actual schedule. Elaf's mother was very happy, and then it began to sink in that in 23 hours we'd leave for the hospital, and just 12 hours later Elaf would be in surgery.

Sometimes it is hard to remember that Elaf has a heart problem; she is often crawling across the room and investigating things, and never knows a stranger when people are around to hold her. But she can suddenly have a cyanotic attack which is quite severe, and then all of us realize the fragile state she lives in. Please keep this young mother and her adorable daughter in your prayers. Elaf's mother has already lost a baby to heart problems, and you can almost "see the wheels turning" in her thoughts as she considers the reality before her. May she come to understand that the God of all hope is caring for her and her daughter, and be steadied during these coming days.

Cyanotic Attacks Will Continue Until Surgery

Posted on Sun, 12/07/2008 - 00:00 by Mary_Dailey

Wolfson Medical Center called us early Friday morning wanting us to pick Elaf up from the hospital, because Dr. Tamir was going to be in Egypt and there would be no surgeries on Monday. Justina and I traveled to the hospital in a shared taxi. We arrived there around 12:30 p.m. Justina decided that she should stay at the hospital with Wahaj and his mother since she needed encouragement.

Elaf, her mother and I started our journey back. Our trip back was a pleasant and peaceful one. Elaf took to me right away and was so good. She was very quiet and fell asleep before we got back. Donna was there to meet us when we got to the top of the hill. God is so good. I was worried at first but He calmed all my fears and gave us a peaceful journey.

Yesterday Elaf had a bad day. She was not feeling well, she was having a hard time breathing and was sleeping a lot. I noticed her hands and places around her face were blue. Donna called the hospital. They suggested that we bring her in. When we took her in, they told us there was nothing they could do, that she would continue to have these attacks off and on until she had her surgery. Please pray that the surgery will not be put off for too long.

Jesus says to bring the little children to Him. Pray for her healing. Thank you so much for your prayers and please don't stop praying.

Admitted To Hospital For Imminent Surgery

Posted on Thu, 12/04/2008 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel

We were all thankful this morning as we left for the hospital to find that Elaf was not as blue or as breathless as she was last night when she crossed into Israel. In fact, at the hospital she was very happy to be carried about checking out the different sights and sounds around her as we waited for a camera crew which our partner organization invited to do a story on the arrival of Elaf and Wahaj and the offer of surgery from doctors in Israel. Once the cameras arrived the children's echocardiogram examinations began almost immediately.

Because Elaf was so delightful when Dr. Tamir was ready to begin her echocardiogram, it was hoped that she would not need the mild sedative given to infants and toddlers to calm them. But this one and a half year old has already learned that doctors and nurses usually mean something unpleasant is about to happen, and therefore she began to cry. As she cried her oxygen level dropped, and she began to have a cyanotic spell. Dr. Tamir began checking her blood oxygenation rate and found it was in the low to mid 40 % range--a very low number! He told me then that she would definitely be admitted today and have surgery soon.

After the echo Dr. Tamir explained his findings to Elaf's mother through a translator, while drawing diagrams and using a model of a child-sized human heart.

Elaf's main problem is the small size of the pulmonary artery, which means that there is not enough oxygen in her blood and going through her body. It is hoped that her heart can be repaired with only one surgery, but this may not be possible. The doctors' team will meet to discuss the case and decide the best treatment and timing for Elaf's open heart surgery. Please pray for Elaf's healing. Ask God for her body's strength to be sustained until the date of this operation is set. Remember her mother while they wait together. Elaf's mom has gone through two very exhausting days and still does not know exactly when her daughter will have the surgery. We hope it will be in the next few days, but know that God's timing is perfect.

Elaf Reaches Israel

Posted on Wed, 12/03/2008 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel

After a grueling day of travel, Elaf and Wahaj and their mothers entered Israel this evening. We waited until about mid-morning to hear the good news that their visa process was completed at the embassy in Amman so they could indeed travel today. By the time the paperwork was done and the official visas printed, it was late afternoon. Thankfully we got the call from Dirk that he had the visas in hand and they were leaving for the border at almost 4 pm. We were on our way too with Tarza, Lawk and Rezhin who were leaving Israel to go home after their successful surgeries. We hoped to coordinate the departure of three healthy patients with the arrival of the two very ill babies. This came about around 8 pm tonight.

From the border we made the nearly two hour drive back to Jerusalem with two tired children and their even wearier mothers. Elaf was struggling to breathe as her mother handed her to me when they exited customs in the border terminal. She slept most of the way to Jerusalem and fell asleep again when her mom laid her down in our house. There was a happy reunion here for these two mothers with Havan's mother; they had all become friends in Amman at the echocardiogram screening last month. Elaf's and Havan's mothers were especially glad to see each other as they are from the same city in the far north of Iraq.

Early in the morning we'll leave for the hospital for Elaf's initial examination in preparation for her heart surgery. Please pray for this precious little one and her mother. Elaf is better than she was before her hospitalization of several days last week, but still very blue and in need of treatment. Thanks be to God for this opportunity to have help now.