Hoz's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Amazing Trip

Posted on Tue, 06/23/2015 - 14:24 by Sophie

 Hoz was supposed to have surgery in order to fix his heart problems in Israel. Before the surgery, the doctors suggested to do a catheterization before making further decisions regarding surgery. However, after the catheterization, Hoz's heart problems had miraculously healed! The result was he did not need surgery, and he was discharged. The one thing we should do is give thanks to God for this precious life!

After they left, I missed them so much and I wished they could stay a little bit longer. Even during the short time I’ve known them, my heart was engaged with them immediately. You can imagine how excited I was  to see them! At that time, Hoz had just start walking and speaking, but now he is over three years old. He goes to school and has already learned so much. He can count in English from one-to-ten. He also sang some Kurdish songs for us.

After a short time of greeting each other, he led me to his playroom and showed me his cars. We spent some time playing together, and his one-year-old brother joined us! How good it is!

When we sat on the floor, Hoz started to tell me how his car was broken and needs fixing. Another car lost one wheel. Then he tried to tell me how he fell down a few times and pointed to a few places to show me. My heart was totally melted by this little man!

Now it is Ramadan and most Muslim believers are fasting, so we had dinner with them after sunset. Looking at Hoz, you could tell he was ready to eat!

We brought a wooden puzzle for Hoz, and you can see what they are doing. It was a little bit hard for him, but he still enjoyed picking the pieces up from the board. The Hoz’s brother is a very good helper. They made a good team!

Please keep praying for this sweet boy, that he will grow up healthily and that he and his whole family will be blessed by our Heavenly Father in this special time.

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened." Matthew 7:8

Lovable Hoz Returns Home

Posted on Sun, 08/11/2013 - 22:40 by Kristina Kayser
Most children who come to Israel for heart treatment stay for a span of several months. And yet, every so often, some are here and back again in a matter of weeks. For loveable Hoz and his mother, it was two and a half weeks, to be exact. And while their time with us was brief, it was more than enough to fall in love with them both.
Hoz, with his sparkling eyes and giggles, and his gentle-spirited mother were a delight to us all. Our last days with them in Israel were full of joy, heightened by the fact that Hoz was excused from open-heart surgery. His mother looked radiant every time we praised God for this blessing. And, perhaps, the fact that she is expecting another baby adds a natural glow to her face as well.
The day before Hoz and his mother began their journey home, Sophie and I had the honor of accompanying them to the Garden Tomb. It was warm afternoon with throngs of people crowding the market streets. Within the old stone walls of the garden, however, a peaceful refuge awaited us. We enjoyed the beauty together as Hoz dreamed away in the stroller. His mum was full of curiosity and wonder. She listened closely as I shared about the hope and new life provided through the death and resurrection of the Messiah. She couldn't wait to see the empty tomb for herself and take lots of pictures. I loved sharing in her joy and seeing the miracle of God's love through fresh eyes.
Later that evening, our community met upstairs for a big farewell party. With eleven different nations represented among the twenty-five gathered, the company and flavor of this celebration resembled a strikingly colorful mosaic. "Behold how good and how pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity." (Psalm 133:1) Through songs of praise and words of thanksgiving, we came together as one to praise the Lord for His grace towards Hoz. A time of presenting gifts followed, a pleasantry for any child. Hoz especially loved a hand-made quilt embroidered with teddy bears, and his mother enjoyed every second of a commemorative photo DVD. We all agreed that God had indeed blessed Hoz in an extraordinary way and prayed that his future would find continued favor and grace in God's eyes.
On the day of Hoz's departure, we sat together once more, this time for a special lunch celebrating the end of Ramadan. After feasting on Kurdish cuisine, it was finally time to say goodbye. As Hoz and his mother walked down the stairs to the courtyard, he practiced his new-found skill of waving, melting everyone's heart in the process. We prayed for God's presence to guide them safely home and duly showered them with kisses.
I miss the warmth of their smiles and the open and child-like curiosity they both possessed. Nevertheless, my heart rejoices in knowing they have returned so soon to their dear family and home with good news to share. May the love of God they experienced in this place impact their lives for years to come.

Hoz Says Goodbye to the Hospital and Hello to the Sea

Posted on Mon, 08/05/2013 - 21:20 by Kristina Kayser
Today was a particularly delightful day for our little friend, Hoz. Little did he know whilst slumbering peacefully en route to Wolfson Hospital, that wonderful gifts would soon come his way. We were still basking in the results of Hoz's successful cardiac catheterization last Wednesday. Doctors had determined that Hoz's constricted aorta did not require surgical intervention. Instead, a less invasive procedure called balloon angioplasty was all that was needed. A small catheter with a balloon at the tip was threaded into the aorta and inflated at the narrowest point. Conclusion: Hoz's heart is now in good shape without any operation!
We traveled to Wolfson today in order to conduct a final echo exam at Dr. Alona's invitation. Although the plastic probe and cold gel did not agree with Hoz, the confirmation of a sound heart certainly did. His mother, who had feared the worst, breathed a huge sigh of relief and couldn't stop smiling. After sharing hugs all around, we stopped for a moment in the hallway to offer a prayer of thanks for God's perfect healing and kindness towards Hoz.
And in the spirit of celebration, we decided that the next best thing to do was introduce Hoz to the great sea. Most children his age are either timid and reticent or openly terrified. This guy, however, was altogether elated. He squealed, clapped his hands, and stared wide-eyed at the sweeping landscape before him. When his mother set him down on the wet sand, his chubby legs instinctively toddled towards the lapping waves. The best part of the afternoon was simply observing his bliss. Hoz's mother, likewise, soaked up her son's joy as much as she did the warm sunshine.
A very sandy, yet happy mother and baby chatted all the way home to Jerusalem. God willing, the two of them will be on a plane bound for Kurdistan as soon as this Saturday. With only a few days remaining, we hope to enjoy every last minute with Hoz and his mother.
"Every good and every perfect gift comes from above, coming down from the Father of lights..." (James 1:17) 

Excited to be Out of the Hospital!

Posted on Thu, 08/01/2013 - 22:14 by Rahel Eschler
Today we went with joyful hearts to the hospital. We were all very excited about picking up little Hoz and his mum. After only three days of being at the hospital, the treatment of his heart disease was surprisingly accomplished. So as we entered the cardiac ward, we found Hoz walking unsteadily on his feet towards us with a big smile on his face.
The nurses were happy to see us because they were looking for Hoz. Somehow the mother thought they were all done, but we needed to bring him back first. The nurse wanted to take some blood – the last examination. But little Hoz wasn’t too happy to see the nurse again. He probably knew what was going to happen. Tears were running down his cheeks. There was no way to get him distracted.
Shortly afterward his laugh from the heart was back again. He was very excited about the bubbles we were blowing for him to catch. He was giggling at us while we were trying to hide and surprise him. Soon we could leave the hospital. The mother was so relieved and overwhelmed that she needed to cry. What a miracle to take them back to our house after this short time. We praise the Lord for his guidance and pray for God’s blessing over their lives and the future to come. We embrace them with our heart.      

Beautiful Love and Beautiful News

Posted on Wed, 07/31/2013 - 22:03 by Sarah Powell

Today, little Hoz had his catheterization. We did not know what time the cath would be, but assuming it would be in the afternoon, we did not arrive at the hospital until late morning. We walked in the doors to find Hoz being wheeled past us on his bed toward his room with his mother following close behind him. He had already had his cath early this morning. 
Hoz's mother was clearly very worried about her son. When Hoz awoke and began trying to get out of bed, crying, his mother had to hold him down. She gently tried to calm him and wipe away his tears even as tears filled her own eyes. The nurses ended up having to sedate Hoz in order to put in his IV because he would not calm down on his own. When he woke again a few minutes later, he was much calmer and gazed at all of us groggily through his half open eyes. 
At one point, Hoz raised his little left hand and realized that there were all sorts of devices attached to it. This seemed to scare him. Every time he caught sight of his hand again he would whimper a little bit or start to cry. Then we would all have to distract him again with balloons, musical Snoopy toys or funny faces. We were able to keep him calm with this method for quite a while, but once he was fully awake, he was no longer content to lay in his bed. As he attempted to get up over and over, crying desperately, his mother finally gave up trying to hold him down and crawled into the bed to cradle him. She must have sat in that bed gently cooing to him and rocking him back and forth for at least thirty minutes. Several times Hoz calmed down and began to fall asleep; however, his rest would  only last a few minutes before he woke again and immediately began to cry. 
However, when we returned from getting lunch, Hoz was wide awake and completely content, as well as still in his mother's lap. He was perfectly happy as long as he could remain there in her lap. He generously gave out smiles and even giggled for us a few times as we made faces and blew kisses at each other. His mother was also perfectly calm now and seemed to be sharing in her son's contentment. Her contentment turned to excitement, though, when we heard the results of Hoz's cath. During the cath, the doctors blew up a small balloon inside Hoz's pulmonary artery to widen the artery, and they think that may be all that he needs. He may not need any surgery at all if his echoes look good over the next few days. All of us were very surprised and very happy about this news, especially Hoz's mother. Her face was beaming as she expressed her fervent hope that that would truly be the case. 
As I watched Hoz's mother throughout the day and saw her devoted love for her son, I was reminded of our heavenly Father and his love for us. The tears that came to her eyes as she tried to comfort her crying son reminded me of our Father's love as he sees our wanderings and collects all of our tears in a bottle (Psalm 56:8). Her rejoicing over the good news about her son and her patience in calming him throughout the day reminded me of our Father who quiets us with His love and rejoices over us with gladness and singing (Zephaniah 3:17). Let's join our Father's rejoicing over the joy of this mother and son and pray with them that Hoz really would be able to bypass surgery all together. God is good!

Hoz is Admitted to the Hospital

Posted on Tue, 07/30/2013 - 22:10 by Susan Kent

Today Hoz was admitted to the hospital and is scheduled to have his catheterization procedure tomorrow. He was sleepy this morning on our drive to the hospital but still so sweet and cute wearing a new outfit his mother bought for him yesterday on a shopping trip in downtown Jerusalem.

We had a few hours to play together in the children's ward before Hoz needed to get some blood work done and an IV started in his hand. It was quite an ordeal keeping him still enough to find a vein. Unfortunately, he had to endure a few painful pokes before it was complete. As much as he cried, I think watching him get the IV hurt his poor mother more than it hurt Hoz. We were all relieved when she could finally scoop up, sooth and comfort him as only a loving mother can.  Soon Hoz was asleep in his mothers arms and slept soundly for a good hour. What a difference a nap makes!

Hoz woke up with smiles and energy to spare. He waved, danced, cooed and charmed us all!  Hoz and his mother will stay the night at the hospital with his catheterization to be performed tomorrow morning. Please pray that Hoz's procedure and subsequent recovery go smoothly.

Hoz's First Day at Wolfson

Posted on Tue, 07/23/2013 - 00:11 by Philip Rasmussen

There has not been much time to rest from the long trip our little brother Hoz took yesterday as he went this morning to Wolfson Medical Center for his initial assessments. I had the honor to escort him and his mother to the hospital which was a very silent smooth ride. The first half of the ride he had some milk in a bottle which he very slowly emptied while he carefully watched his new surroundings here in Israel. A moment later found him sleeping in his car seat with the bottle still in position.

We arrived and began the preliminary medical testing which entailed checking Hoz’s blood pressure, temperature, weight, blood tests etc. So far Hoz had behaved well and had been very quiet - so quiet that I even wondered if this boy could get a sound out through his mouth. But I would come to find out that it was very much the opposite! He was screaming like he was trying to escape a lion pouncing on him. In fact, it was just a nurse - a peaceful gentle person trying to help Hoz on his journey to a new heart. Everyone in the area was surprised at Hoz’s reaction. His mother started crying on behalf of her son while still doing her best to try and calm him down. Our co-worker Muna did a great job in comforting them through this time. His fussing caused a heavy delay, but Hoz came through and was ready for the next step: an echocardiogram. It was decided by the cardiologists that Hoz should be sedated before going in for his echo. Unfortunately, the medicine caused him to vomit, causing him to lose the medicine alongside other edible blessings. His mother, staff and doctors all tried different solutions to make him calm down, but it took another one and a half hour before he had tired himself enough to enable the doctor to complete the echo.

It was a long and tiring fight for both Hoz and his doctors, but at the end, the test yielded some interesting results. It seems that Hoz will go through a much simpler treatment than planned. The doctors expected that they were going to close an opening between the two lower ventricles of his heart. However, this opening is so small that they don’t need to surgically close it. However, there is still one problem that needs to be fixed in his heart. Hoz’s aorta is too narrow, and needs to be widened – but fortunately this is a much simpler operation. We are waiting to hear from the hospital about his surgery day.

Let us join Hoz’s mother in her joy and thanksgiving for the good news she received about her son’s heart today!

Curious Hoz Comes to Israel

Posted on Sun, 07/21/2013 - 23:22 by MadelynMiles

Hoz is a curious little boy who loves to explore and keeps his mother on her toes making sure he stays out of trouble. It's hard to think of him being a trouble-maker though, as his sweet smile and joyful laugh frequently accompany him on his adventurous explorations. He watched me with wide eyes this morning while I vacuumed the apartment before we left for Jerusalem. His wide eyes then turned to hearty laughter, and I was tickled by his fascination with the vacuum. His curiosities continued when we reached the border between Jordan and Israel, but his patient mother was always close behind. Despite extra security checks, her smile was never far away, either. I think this duo will be a joyful addition to the Shevet household. Hoz's mother was very happy to meet the other Kurdish mothers in the house, and I think it was helpful for her to hear about their experiences. Lord willing, this journey will continue to be filled with joy and hope, even though they have a hard road to travel. Please pray for Hoz and his mother, as they will be having their first trip to the hospital soon.

The Promise of Health

Posted on Thu, 07/04/2013 - 09:59 by Kelsey Cannon

Fatigue. Sweating. Rapid, heavy, and congested breathing. Disinterest in food. Poor weight gain. Before doing any research on the subject, I would have written off these symptoms as characteristic of any hormone flooded teenager experiencing their first crush. However, I now know that when these symptoms manifest themselves, as they often do for a narrow margin of the human population, there can be a more sinister sickness of the heart taking place. That sickness being a congenital heart defect known as a ventricular septal defect (VSD). Those born with a VSD, like one-year-old Hoz from northern Iraq, have an opening or openings between the two lower chambers (ventricles) of the heart. Some forms of VSDs close on their own as a person develops. But not the perimembranous VSD which Hoz’s heart has. If left untreated for long enough, a VSD can cause lung disease later on in life as well as congestive heart failure.

Lord willing, Hoz will be able to avoid these dangerous complications and live a normal and healthy life. He is scheduled to travel to Israel for corrective surgery sometime later this month.