Herdi's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

Good News for Herdi

Posted on Fri, 09/08/2017 - 16:55 by Lindsay Martin

This morning we had the joy of taking Herdi and his very excited brother to the hospital to be admitted for surgery on Sunday. As they have been waiting for over a month to hear word about when Herdi's surgery would be scheduled, this news came to happy listeners.

In preparation for the surgery, the hospital needed to take two more stool samples, yesterday and today, to ensure that Herdi is not infected with a virus that up until recently was present in the hospital, causing the surgical delays. All the tests came back negative for the virus and so the nurses prepared a bed for Herdi as he will stay at the hospital until his much-awaited surgery on Sunday.

Both Herdi and his brother showed much strength and patience as they waited 2 hours at the hospital for the results to come back about the virus. We shared chips and juice together and Herdi enjoyed watching some cartoons on his tablet.

In the last few weeks we have witnessed how well Herdi's brother takes care of him; constantly wanting the best for Herdi and giving him everything first before taking it for himself. I could see the same today as his brother doted on him, making sure he was keeping his hands clean, giving him water to drink, and even helping him with getting the stool sample for the nurses at the hospital. It is a beautiful bond that they share and so unique for two brothers.

Please pray for them to have peace as they spend these next two days in the hospital waiting. Please also pray for the doctors as they prepare for his surgery; that the Lord would guide their hands and watch over this precious boy that we have all come to love. God alone is sovereign over all.

Love is Patient and Kind

Posted on Thu, 08/31/2017 - 00:04 by Deborah Burke
This morning Maxine, Herdi, Herdi's brother, and I arrived at Wolfson Medical Centre at 9am for what we thought would be a genetic test for Herdi and a short visit at that.
In my multiple visits to Israel, and Wolfson, and in Maxine's relatively short experience, a short visit is not the norm.
The doctor was in a team meeting for 2 hours and even then was surprised that we were already there.  While we were waiting patiently in the garden, Herdi played "Spiderman" on the equipment and we all shared photos and stories of our regular lives.
These two brothers are a delight. They come from an impoverished family in a city that has been cruelly affected by ISIS and yet they are both gentlemen; polite and extremely grateful for anything done for them. Once we connected with the resident doctor he moved us relatively quickly upstairs to the endocrinologist. I say relatively quickly because we got lost on the way. Last year a similar thing happened to me and it was the lovely families I was escorting who were patient and kind. 
Once we were invited into the endocrinologist's office Herdi was gently examined by 3 doctors who explained to us that they were seeking to confirm the neurologist's diagnosis of Noonan's syndrome. This is like the male version of Turner's syndrome, a female chromosomal disorder. Noonan's syndrome is characterized by a number of signs that Herdi exhibits such as short stature for a 13 year-old, a congenital cardiac condition and some structural deformities in the chest and spine. It was indicated that it may be good for some further surgical treatment as well as the cardiac surgery but that would be decided by the pediatric cardiology team.
The endocrinologist then wanted 2 other doctors to see Herdi so we waited some more.
On finishing with the endocrinologist we were asked to take the file back to the ward and meet with the resident doctor before being "discharged". He wasn't in the ward so we waited an hour before he arrived only to tell us we could go.
All this waiting just for one examination could be very frustrating. Herdi took it all in his stride with the help of corn chips and apple juice and cake. Paul writes a bit about patience. "Love is Patient and Kind," (1Cor 13:4), and in his letter to the Ephesians (4:2) he reminds them (and us) to "...be always humble, gentle and patient. Show your love by being tolerant with one another".
My reflection for the day is that the love shown to our families through the treatment so willingly given by the Israeli medical team must be reflected back to them in our patience even if one relatively simple examination takes over 4 hours. This is because love is patient and kind. 

Herdi’s Second Echo

Posted on Fri, 08/18/2017 - 00:46 by Maxine Stuart

Herdi and his brother have been waiting patiently for more than 3 weeks for the next step in Herdi’s heart journey. Accompanied by his big brother and some of our team, Herdi headed off to the hospital this morning to have an echocardiogram. While we waited for the doctor to arrive, we spoke about Herdi’s hometown, and his brother shared the story of the conflict with Daesh (ISIS) in their region. After a bit of bantering in German, Kurdish, Arabic and English, the doctor arrived.

During his echo Herdi was an excellent patient. Very calm and obedient, but would occasionally glance at his big brother for reassurance. The two of them have a very close relationship and a tight bond. His brother was very diligent, intent to catch every detail the staff could give. The doctor stated that during surgery they will remove some muscle tissue and possibly a membrane that is obstructing blood flow. She ordered genetic and endocrinological tests to check for any effects Herdi’s condition may have on his development because he is very small for his age. After those tests are complete, and the surgeons are ready for him, Herdi will be able to have his surgery.

Happy Birthday, Herdi!

Posted on Thu, 08/03/2017 - 22:05 by Lindsay Martin

Today we had a wonderful reason to celebrate as our dear friend Herdi turns 13 years old tomorrow! It has been a joy spending time with him and his brother here at our home and they have already become a part of our family here.

We had some delicious cake, gave Herdi a small gift, and ended with some fun face-painting done by our volunteers.

We are so happy to celebrate the life of this young man and pray for God's hand to bring complete healing. We are so thankful for the time we have to get to know this beautiful family and pray for God's peace to surround them as they wait. Please also pray for Herdi and his family as they had an unexpected loss in the family this week and it is hard for them to be away during this time.

Meeting with the Cardiologist

Posted on Tue, 07/25/2017 - 21:47 by Jonathan Ries

Early in the morning we had a conversation with a cardiologist, who informed Herdi and his brother about the impending, complicated operation.

It was a good thing that we were able to arrange for a volunteer translator, who translated from Hebrew to Kurdish and back. Especially because the impending cardiac surgery will be more complicated than our usual cases. The doctor even said that a second operation might become necessary.

After the meeting we spent the rest of the morning with various specialists, such as the ophthalmologist and the neurologist. In the afternoon further investigations followed.

Tomorrow Herdi will not have to go to the hospital, but soon further tests will follow. He might spend the free day at the sea, because he has never seen this before his arrival here in Israel. Please keep him in your prayers, as well as the medical staff as they plan out his treatment. 

Welcome to Israel, Herdi!

Posted on Sun, 07/23/2017 - 23:32 by Jonathan Ries

This morning we picked up Herdi and his brother from Kurdistan at the airport. We are pleased that they have arrived safely and we hope that their lost luggage will also arrive quickly.

From the airport, we went straight to the hospital, where Herdi was first examined. Despite fear of needles, he did well with the blood sampling and also completed the other tests well. When the echo was made, Herdi fell asleep - maybe because the journey took a lot of his energy. After his initial assessments were complete, we took them back to our apartment  in the late afternoon. There, Herdi and his brother met the other families. According to the doctors, the next tests are scheduled for Tuesday, which gives them one day to acclimate in our community. They both will certainly need the day off to rest after traveling so far.