Hevi 's Heart Surgery


Decision Made and Hevi Returns Home!

Posted on Sun, 10/26/2008 - 06:46 by Dirk_Kleinloh

Last Friday, after Hevis family decided against the long and risky surgical procedure, she and her mother set out for their return journey to Iraq via Jordan. They stayed with us for two days. Following four months of waiting, both of them were longing to see their family back home.

Hevis mother has four other children; the youngest is only seven years old. Hevi and her mother were very disappointed that the surgery would have been so difficult. However, when we saw them they were no longer grieving. We know that this has been a very difficult decision for them, but now they have accepted the situation as it is.

It was a long travel day for them last Friday. By the time they reached our house it was evening. Lawk (an Iraqi child waiting for an Israeli visa) and her young mother were very happy to have Kurdish-speaking people around.

The two mothers spent all Saturday talking. We hardly saw them all day. In the evening we had another opportunity to pray for Hevi and to call out to the Lord for a miracle in her life. Hevi and her mother joyfully accepted this and responded with a loud "amen."

Since we have known Hevi and her mother for such a long period of time, we were very disappointed that a surgery for her wasnt possible. We really had hoped that Hevi would be able to live a more energetic and new life. We can tell that she has learned to live with the boundaries of her weak body.

We will always remember Hevis smile. We pray that we will see her again by the Lords grace. Hevi is really looking forward to meeting up again with Shanaw and Kale, the two girls from the same town in Iraq who had successful surgeries. This group of girls was able to share many joyful and sometimes long hours together in Jerusalem.

This morning, shortly after 5 AM, we drove in heavy fog to the airport with Hevi and her mother. We said goodbye as they began the last leg of their journey back to Iraq.

A Difficult Decision

Posted on Wed, 10/22/2008 - 00:00 by Keleigh_Glisson

It has been an emotional few months for Hevis mother, and that emotion has only escalated in the last few weeks. The doctors have determined that Hevi is operable, yet Hevis mother is aware of how dangerous this surgery could be. Yesterday evening she came to Donna and said that she wants to go home. She doesnt want Hevi to have the surgery. Jonathan called Dr. Tamir and arranged for Hevis mother to meet with him today to discuss the various details of Hevis case.

Today as we waited for Dr. Tamir outside his office, Hevis mother sat with a look of deep concern. Dr. Tamir brought out a simplified drawing of the heart and attempted to explain to Hevis mother the nature of her condition. Kales mother sat beside her and held her hand as she translated from Arabic to Kurdish.

From what I understood, Hevi's problem is somewhat similar to that of Ali, although various elements cause her situation to be more complex. If they were to do her surgery, it would be in two parts and they wouldnt know exactly how they would proceed with the surgery until her chest was open. For the first surgery there would be two potential plans that could be carried out depending on what the doctors found once they were able to get a close look at her heart. If Hevi has the surgery it will be a very long and difficult recovery and there is a chance she wont survive. If she doesnt have the surgery, her body may not be able to handle pregnancy, she will be restricted from most physical activity and, because of the nature of her condition, her blood could clot causing her to have a stroke. After hearing Dr. Tamirs explanation, Hevis mom quickly realized that she was dealing with option A, which was really bad or option B, which was also really bad. She broke down in tears and called her husband.

Dr. Tamir took the next 20 minutes to explain the situation to Hevis father over the phone. In the end Hevis father said that his wife must make the decision.

As we left the office Hevis mother told Dr. Tamir that she didnt want Hevi to have the surgery. Dr. Tamir said that she had until Sunday to make her decision. Dr. Tamir also told her that he had consulted with experts all over the world and most of them said that they recommended going ahead with the surgery. However, the medical staff at the hospital remains divided.

Hevis mother has a very difficult decision to make, although I believe she has already made it. Please pray that God will give her a peace no matter what decision she makes. And that if Hevi and her mother do return home without the surgery, that God would enable Hevi to live a fulfilled life despite her disability.

The Answer She's Been Waiting For

Posted on Wed, 10/15/2008 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel

We just found out that Hevi CAN have surgery! We do not know the date, but it will be after the Succot holidays which end next week. We will await Dr. Tamir's call for when they want to bring Hevi. The surgery may be in two parts, but cannot be determined until the doctors have begun the procedure. I had the joy of getting to tell them the news, and there is a joyous mood at the house now - praise God!

Creative Hevi Continues Waiting

Posted on Wed, 10/08/2008 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel


The past two weeks have been excruciatingly long for Hevi and her mother as they've waited for doctors to decide about her operability. Dr. Tamir was hoping to have an answer for them by last week, but instead, the Wolfson staff has decided to consult with other experts in their specialty before going forward. They want the best for Hevi and are not sure if surgery would be better in the long run as it may not be able to improve her heart as would be expected. Dr. Tamir hopes to have enough counsel from his colleagues to make the decision by Sunday (a regular work day here after the Jewish sabbath on Saturday).

Both Hevi and her mother have had some up and down days while waiting. Hevi's mom especially struggled when the other children were all at the hospital and only Hevi was left here waiting. Hevi seems to handle it better than her mom, although at 12 years of age she understands the significance and seriousness of the situation. She has spent the time sitting in the office with different ones of us, chatting with us at each opportunity, including helping with a mini Kurdish-to-English dictionary. We've played lots of games, and done some creative craft projects. She has been helping her mom in the kitchen preparing parts of the meals too. Her personality is coming through--just how bright and creative she is has been easy to see during this time.

Please join us in praying for Hevi and her mother. In the past day or so, it seems her mother understands that we're at the 'no news is good news' stage for now. Pray that she will know God's loving comfort in these days. We all have our best hope set on what God can do in Hevi's heart to make it new in every way as we trust in Him.


Waiting In Jerusalem For Cath Results

Posted on Fri, 09/26/2008 - 01:00 by Donna_Petrel

Hevi was released to return to the Shevet house in Jerusalem after a successful catheterization. Praise God, the doctors were able to find the vessel they had not been able to see with echocardiogram alone. However, because Dr. Sasson, the surgeon, is on a surgery mission out of town, the doctors cannot confer about the results of the catheterization to determine Hevi's operability. Please pray that she can indeed have the life-saving surgery she needs.

Recovering from Cath; Waiting for Results

Posted on Thu, 09/25/2008 - 01:00 by Donna_Petrel


Mary, Linda and I arrived at the hospital today just before Hevi had her catheterization. She was in a good mood, and we had a visit of about one-half hour in the pre-op room just outside the catheterization lab. Her mother was brave but nervous as we waited Hevi's turn, and when Hevi went into the catheterization lab, her mother couldn't hold back the tears for a few minutes. We sat with her and waited together for about two hours, and then Hevi was taken back to her room. After a little problem with nausea, she continued sleeping as we visited with Ali and his father. Later when we left, she was still resting in her room.

The nurse told me that Dr. Tamir will speak with Hevi's mother in the morning about the findings of the catheterization. Please pray for her tonight as she agonizes over what that report might hold....the tension on her face was visible as we said goodbye. May God surround her with His comfort tonight.

Tomorrow's Cath To Show Operability

Posted on Wed, 09/24/2008 - 01:00 by Donna_Petrel

Please pray for Hevi. She was admitted to Wolfson Medical Center today for the catheterization in the morning which will reveal whether she is operable.

Hevi Practices Beadwork

Posted on Thu, 09/18/2008 - 01:00 by Donna_Petrel

On Monday evening we had a "birthday party" for the fun of it, for all the girls here at the house. A special friend made a cake for them, and they were very excited and looking forward to sharing it with everyone who could gather to enjoy it. After the evening iftar meal to break the Ramadan fast, the celebration began. It was a lot of fun for four little girls waiting to have their turn for heart surgeries, and all of us who were celebrating with them.

Some visitors from the US who came on Tuesday to learn more about Shevet Achim also brought several suitcases filled with supplies for the families. Among them were personal items for everyone, and toys, games and crafts for the children. This afternoon I looked through the collection and found what seemed the perfect way for getting the creative juices of these little ladies flowing.

What I didn't expect was the enthusiasm of the parents to get in on the opportunity by helping with the project.

There were many lovely pieces of jewelry created today here in the Shevet
courtyard. Everyone loved this craft activity, and says "THANK YOU!"

We thank God for the generosity of friends who've shared gifts like these with us from time to time, and the joy these gifts bring to our guests while they're here with us. Enjoy the "Shevet collection"! :-)

Hevi Continues to Wait for Word on Her Operability

Posted on Wed, 09/10/2008 - 07:46 by Keleigh_Glisson

A month ago we were informed that the surgeon was going on a two week vacation causing all surgeries to be postponed. We were told that all of the children staying at the Shevet house would be on the surgery schedule for the first two weeks of September. The first week of September has come and gone without any surgeries taking place. It was especially difficult for these families to see Shana and Mawa come to Israel a few weeks after them and then leave yesterday healthy. It has been nearly two months since the children made their journey to Israel. The hospital has completed all the necessary tests that are required before surgery. Now they must wait.

In the meantime the children have found many activities to pass the time. The Shevet office is decorated with their artwork, they had a water fight on the roof, and most recently we took a trip to the zoo. I think this group of kids enjoyed the zoo more than any other group. For most of them it was their first time seeing anything like this. As soon as we saw the first exhibit, the penguins, a few of the parents were on their phones calling their family in Iraq telling them where they were at and then passing the phone on to the children so that they could relay their excitement. We had a great time.

Most of the children dread the actual operation, but they have waited so long that even they are getting restless. They miss their families back home so much that they want to get it over with. Please pray that the doctors will be able to fit them into their schedule and pray for patience as they continue to wait.

Restult of Catheterization Uncertain

Posted on Thu, 08/14/2008 - 07:46 by Keleigh_Glisson

Hevi underwent a catheterization last Wednesday and the results remain uncertain. Hevi has one hole in her heart and an obstruction of the left pulmonary valve. Both of these problems the doctors have confirmed can be fixed, however, she is also missing a left pulmonary artery. Currently two of the doctors are on vacation. The doctor on duty informed me that once they return they will need to discuss whether or not it is possible to correct this. If they are unable to correct this Hevi will be limited in the activities she is able to do for the rest of her life. Hevi and her mother were understandably very upset when they heard the news. Unfortunately, they will not have a final answer for another two weeks.

In the meantime, Hevi has been enjoying playing with Kale and Shanaw at the Shevet house in Jerusalem. She is quiet and timid compared with the other girls, but she has a soft spirit about her.

Click to send an e-mail message to Hevi and her mother.