Halo's Heart Surgery


Back For His Second Surgery

Posted on Sun, 02/15/2009 - 06:44 by Donna_Petrel
Sunday, February 15, 2009

I've been looking forward to seeing Halo along with his dad since I found out they were coming back to Israel for his second surgery. He is a sweet and intelligent boy with a spunky personality and often has a little mischievous sparkle in his eye. When he and his father came through the doors at the border terminal and we greeted each other, he was a little shy. But it didn't take long for him to begin flashing his big grin as we rode back to Jerusalem with Alaa and Omed and their mothers.

Once back at the house Halo and his dad settled into the same room they'd shared when they were here before. Halo is not able to do alot of activity, so he could not join in when the other children found bicyles to ride in the courtyard. He stayed inside with his dad and investigated whether the television was working, checked out the new room arrangements, and played a little hide-n-seek with me.

Tomorrow morning all three of the children will go to Wolfson for their initial echoes and examinations here in Israel. Halo's father is concerned about how Halo is doing, and I couldn't help but note how blue he looks, and the clubbing of his fingers. Let us pray that the doctors will be able to set the date for Halo's second surgery very quickly so this dear little guy will soon be recovering and on his way back home again.

Justin adds:

Once we arrived in Jerusalem I was able to take Halo's father out for a walk outdoors after the long, exhausting journey he began from Jordan early this morning. He seemed comfortable and at ease, having been to Israel once before for Halo's previous surgery. We walked up and down the main thoroughfare past the shops pointing out things we liked to one another. We returned home shortly after to a wonderful meal prepared by Alaa's mother.


Saying Goodbye

Posted on Sat, 09/01/2007 - 01:00 by Donna_Petrel

Today Halo and his father are on their way to Amman, where early tomorrow morning they will catch their flight for Iraq. After saying goodbye to the Shevet Achim staff in Jerusalem yesterday, we made our way to the border, and said goodbye to Israel. After a good night's rest and plenty of good food mixed with times of laughter and conversation, we agreed to Halo's father's request that they go ahead to Amman on the bus from Dirk's. So just a few hours ago, we said our final goodbyes to Halo and his dad as we drove them to the bus.
Here is how the last day and a half have gone: The border crossing was very smooth for all of us; thank you for praying. We were even blessed to be able to walk straight out of the Israeli terminal and onto the waiting bus which crosses to Jordan rather than having to sit in the very hot bus stop until another bus came. This may sound small, but in the draining heat, (especially for Halo) it was a big blessing for us. After easily being approved at the Jordanian terminal, we did have to wait awhile outside as Dirk made his way to meet us. However when Halo was presented with a gift of some magnets (sent by interested friends in the US to share with the patients), his fun with them made the time pass quickly. On our way to Dirk's home however, we had a bit of trouble with the van as it overheated on our way through the mountains, so we didn't get to Dirk's until last night after a full day of travel. Needless to say we all were anxious for a good night's rest!
Today I had opportunity to share with them some cards made for Halo by children in a church in the US. These children have been praying for Halo since he was first listed on the website. The cards came to Jerusalem for Halo before he did, so when I returned from America, and found he had not yet received them, I was happy to be able to give them to him as a farewell gift. He was delighted to see the children who made the cards, and his father was touched as he read the Arabic translations of some prayers which came by email for Halo as well.
Before a big farewell lunch prepared for Halo and his dad, we gathered for a time of singing and prayer for them. We not only thanked God for all He has done so far, we also prayed for a miracle for Halo's heart in the future, and blessings on Halo's father's work, and the family. We are hopeful that Halo's mother will be completely healed of the cancer, and prayed for this as well. We are thankful and joyful in knowing that the answers to all of these prayers are found in Jesus and His loving sacrifice made for every person, including this little boy and his family. Therefore we can send them on with confidence, knowing His word shared with others accomplishes the purposes He sends it for, and He is with them every step of the way.

Our volunteer LC adds:

Yesterday, Halo and his father made their way home after spending one-and-a-half months in Israel. We set off for the Bet Shean crossing into Jordan as soon as we got Halos prescribed medicine from the pharmacy.

The border crossing went rather smoothly, with the usual security checks. We were early and had to wait for almost an hour on the Jordan side. Unfortunately, the weather was particularly hot and there was hardly any breeze.

Halo kept making tsk-tsk sounds and saying, Geermah! Geermah! (Kurdish for Hot! Hot!). After a while, Halo's father splashed Halos face with their bottle of drinking water to cool him down! Below, he's pictured drying off his ears.

Because of the long distance Dirk had driven all the way to pick us up at Bet Shean, the engine of the van was over-heated. We had to stop a couple of times to cool the vehicle and the air-conditioning was turned off. Halo was given a large bottle of iced-water (which Dirk had brought) to hold up to his face and neck, while Halo's father fanned him vigorously with a book!

Eventually we got to a gas station to attend to the over-heated engine while Halo took off to the toilet. I joked with Halo that both he and the van needed the harmum (toilet/shower) and ow (water). Halo squealed with laughter. A while later, Halo whispered in my ear, No good sierra (the van is no good) and signaled with his finger to his lips, woos meaning that I should not tell the others what he just said!

When we got to Dirks home, the entire Kleinloh troop came to welcome Halo, who by then was pretty tired and seemed listless!

Both Dirk and Manuela were amazed at how much weight Halo has put on since they last saw him before his operation, and at how much weight Halo's father has lost in the meantime!

This morning we had a short time of singing, and we gave thanks to GOD for Halos successful surgery and fine recovery. We also prayed for Halos sick mother in Iraq. Halo's father thanked all who have been involved in helping his son and said, alhumduulilla (thanks be to GOD).

Manuela cooked a wonderful lunch, with chicken done the German-style. Halo heartily tucked into this last meal we all had together before leaving for Amman where Halo's father wanted to do some last-minute shopping

Halo Is Going Home!

Posted on Thu, 08/30/2007 - 01:00 by Donna_Petrel
The long-awaited word of Halo's dismissal was just what his father had hoped to hear today after Dr. Tamir performed the final echo. None of us were very sure that he could be released to travel after the seriousness of the fluid around his heart last week, but the echo showed that there was no fluid today. Praise God! The relief to Halo's father was tangible, and through the rest of the day and this evening his whole disposition is changed. He is so very anxious to get home to his wife who is suffering from cancer.
Halo was more concerned about having lunch for the immediate reaction since his appetite has increased following his surgery. As Dr. Tamir noted, he seems to be making up for all the years he didn't feel like eating when he was sick. He will go home on some medications which will continue to thwart any possibility of further problems with fluid build up. The doctors and nurses were very careful to be sure all of us knew how much medication he needed and how to administer it before they leave for home.
There were some fond farewells between Halo's father and Maryam's father, who have been a wonderful support for one another throughout this process of waiting, surgery, recuperation and follow up.
Tomorrow morning LC, Halo, his father and I will leave from Jerusalem escorted by Simantov, and cross into Jordan where our Jordan coordinator, Dirk, will meet us on the other side and take us to his home for a few days. Sunday we will accompany Halo and his father to the airport where they will fly home for their wonderful family reunion.
Please pray for our border crossing tomorrow, and for a restful stay with Dirk's family as we await the flight on Sunday. Pray fervently for Halo's mother to be healed of the cancer, as we know we have a God who heals. Remember that the current diagnosis for Halo includes another surgery in about one year, so may we also pray in faith for the total healing of Halo's heart.

Dismissed to Jerusalem

Posted on Sun, 08/26/2007 - 01:00 by Donna_Petrel

After spending four days in the hospital due to increased fluid around his heart, Halo was dismissed back to Jerusalem this afternoon. We found him and his dad happily and anxiously waiting when we arrived, but took time to visit with Maryam before heading back. Halo is finishing some Prednisone which has been treating his fluid build-up, and is due to have his final echo on Thursday. God willing, he will be dismissed to go back to Iraq then.
By the time we arrived at the Shevet house, Halo was feeling rather sad, as he misses his mother... and was not readily consoled. However, he was also hungry, and a visit by the Berg children helped settle him while he enjoyed a little dinner.
Please pray with us that Halo will be released on Thursday and we can escort him home right afterwards.

His father is determinedly waiting it out, but rather impatient to get back to his wife and children... understandably so.

We know that God has all things related to this family under His care even when His timing is beyond us, and we trust Him as He does His work in their lives.

Fever Gone; Good Appetite

Posted on Thu, 08/23/2007 - 01:00 by Lee_Liang_Chian

When I met Halo this morning, he was having a hearty breakfast of fried chicken and chips brought by a well-wisher. I had my camera rolling when Halo was ever-ready to show what a good appetite he has! 

Halo's fever has gone. The doctor explained that the fever could be due to the inflammation of his heart as a result of the buildup of fluids around it. Yesterday's blood culture came back negative, but nothing can be confirmed as yet, as something may surface from the blood culture after a couple of days. Hopefully the results will remain negative, which would mean that Halo did not get an infection.

Halo will have another echocardiogram tomorrow to check on the presence of fluids around his heart. Do pray for the LORD's healing touch upon him, and for Halo's father, who is still believing that Halo should be discharged right after the echo.

When Halo woke up from his afternoon nap, he accepted my invitation to visit Maryam and walked with me to her ward with his father's blessings. Halo's dad did not come along as he wanted some time alone. Maryam was delighted to see Halo although she didn't talk much, as she was still feeling pain in her body.

We had some fun pointing to the various activities of elephants in the prints on the nurse's uniform. Halo particularly liked the elephant which was showering a bird. He laughed when I said, "F'eel harmam" (ie. elephant bathing).

Feverish Halo Re-Admitted to Hospital

Posted on Wed, 08/22/2007 - 01:00 by Lee_Liang_Chian

Shortly after 10.30am this morning, Halo's father told us that Halo was running a fever. Donna took his temperature, and it was 38 degrees Centigrade. Halo was very lethargic, and kept crying "Janagah, janagah!" (pain, pain) and indicated that his arms hurt. Later his father coaxed him to eat, but he threw up the food almost immediately. When I checked his temperature again, it had gone up to 38.6 degrees C.

We took Halo to Wolfson, and Dr Tamir was surprised to see him because his "echo" was not until tomorrow. But the symptoms called for an immediate echo and blood test. The echo determined that there has been a build up of more fluid around his heart, and Halo had to be re-admitted.

When Dr Tamir explained the situation to Halo's father, the father was extremely discouraged as he was mentally geared towards leaving for Iraq after the 'final' echo originally scheduled for tomorrow. He desperately wants to be home as soon as possible, as his wife is suffering from breast cancer. Please pray fervently for him to be ministered to by the Holy Spirit in supernatural ways so that even through this present crisis, he and his household will come to know the Master Healer who saves precious lives.

On a lighter note: After I took a photo of Halo in his "penguin pose" while he was waiting for his blood test, I got a slight smile from the boy when I showed him his photo. Then I started to video Halo and then panned the camera over to his sullen-looking father, whereupon I heard a chuckle and saw Halo trying to control his laughter! This little fellow does have an interesting sense of humour! 

Halo started to cry when he was anticipating the pain from the prick of the needle during the blood test. But when he saw his father covering his own nose with lots of paper towels to avoid the smell of blood, he broke out into laughter again.

He laughed even harder when I praised him, because I got my Kurdish words all mixed up! Now who was it who said, "Laughter is the best medicine"?

When we left the hospital, Halo was sleeping soundly while Halo's father was still very much distressed and preferred to be left alone. Please join us in prayer for this dear father and son as they walk through this difficult phase.

Fluid Around Halo's Heart

Posted on Sun, 08/19/2007 - 01:00 by Lee_Liang_Chian

Today Halo returned to Wolfson for his supposedly final echocardiogram. But when the procedure took longer than usual, and with Dr Tam having to get a second opinion from Dr Tamir, we became quite concerned.

We were then told that there is fluid around Halo's heart, and Dr Tamir was reluctant to release Halo to return home, much to Halo's father's disappointment. The Wolfson medical staff wants to make doubly sure that Halo's condition does not deteriorate, as a build-up of fluids around his heart can become life-threatening.

Halo is scheduled for another "echo" on Thursday to monitor his condition. Please join us in prayer for the LORD's healing upon Halo, and for Halo's father to keep his spirits up and make the most of this time while they are in Israel.

PS: Besides constantly teasing me with his favorite greeting "Seram janagah!" (head-ache!), Halo is also picking up many English words. He gives me the Kurdish words for the fruits and animals I point out to him in English. Indeed, both of us are making the most of his extended stay in Jerusalem!


Final Echocardiogram Tomorrow

Posted on Sat, 08/18/2007 - 01:00 by Lee_Liang_Chian

Halo and his father have been staying at the Shevet House on Prophets Street in Jerusalem since last Sunday when they came over from Tel Aviv. Halo is due for his echo-cardiogram tomorrow, and this will determine if he's fit to return home.

On Thursday, both Halo and his father returned to Wolfson Hospital with the Shevet volunteers to visit Maryam and Hadeel. There he met a couple of patients from Rwanda and played a "Matching-3-cards" game with them. 
Thursday evening, after Halo's return from his day trip, I found him voluntarily sweeping in the garden while his father looked on contentedly, delighted that his boy has the stamina to carry out such an activity! 
Earlier in the week, Halo wanted to push the cart when we shopped for groceries at the supermart. Indeed, this boy is growing stronger by the day, thanks be to GOD! 
In the meantime, Halo is picking up some English words but his greater amusement comes from teaching me Kurdish, and especially making fun of me by repeatedly greeting me with the first Kurdish word he heard me say:"Seram janagah", which means "headache". I had learnt this very expressive word from Um Zhino when we were coping with challenging situations over in Haifa!

And here's a picture of Halo waving on his way home from the shuk (open-air market) yesterday. 


Halo Discharged from Hospital

Posted on Sun, 08/12/2007 - 01:00 by Lee_Liang_Chian


Today, when I visited the Iraqi children at Wolfson in Tel Aviv (it's been over three weeks since I last met them, as I'm based in Haifa), Halo met me with a firm and strong Hi-5 'whack'. This little boy is getting stronger by the day since his successful surgery just two weeks ago. And his father says Halo has been eating very well too. Praise the LORD for Halo's speedy recovery and healthy growth!

Halo played a little paper-ball game with Maryam before leaving Wolfson Hospital and he was intent on getting his hands into a surgical glove when I asked him to pose for a photo with his playmate. 

Halo and his father are now at the Shevet house in Jerusalem, and will return to Wolfson in a week's time for a final echocardiogram to determine his fitness to return to Iraq.


Halo's Highway to Healing

Posted on Sun, 08/05/2007 - 01:00 by Zak_Verry
Halo continues to make a miraculously speedy recovery! Still grinning with the trademark Halo smile, he is in the children's ward and well clear of the ICU. Even the nurses are amazed at his recovery. Amidst the birthday celebrations today, I found Halo jealously hoarding a rather large piece of cake on his bed. We sat together happily, him chewing mouthfuls of cake and I regarding his pink lips and peachy skin which just days before had been a worrying shade of blue. Halo however was more interested in trying to take pictures of me than in letting me take a photo of him. Halo's father's mood is a complete reflection of his child's progress--as Halo recovers from his heart surgery, so the joy in Halo's father's heart is returning and bringing healing.