Karina's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, Northern Iraq

Timely Intervention

Posted on Fri, 12/23/2016 - 00:01 by Ruth Zellweger

Karina will stay hospitalized. When I visited her early this morning, I found her with the oxygen mask still on her face. A little bit later I learned from the cardiologists that she had another major cyanotic spell yesterday. Her oxygen saturation is even with the supplementation of oxygen very low. And that is why the doctors decided to exedite her surgical treatment. Instead of this coming Monday, they scheduled her for Sunday, which is Christmas Day.  What a special day to undergo heart surgery!

We pray that Karina will be stable over the weekend and that God's peace is prevailing in her hospital room and her mother. He has brought Karina  to Israel just in time - and He makes all things beautiful in His perfect time.

Neurological Tests

Posted on Wed, 12/21/2016 - 23:56 by Ruth Zellweger

Karina underwent some neurological tests yesterday and today. Due to her heart condition with serious cyanosis (very low oxygen which can cause fainting), the doctors wanted to know if that had caused any neurological damage or developmental delay. 

After the neurologist assessed Karina yesterday, she and her mother returned home, but needed to come back to the hospital early this morning for a CT-scan of Karina's brain. The doctors treated Karina with care and took precaution because of the possiblity of another cyanotic spell as experienced last week. Finally, Karina underwent the CT-scan. We have not heard the official results yet, but so far it seems that Karina has no brain damage, praise God. Afterwards, Karina was monitored in the Secondary ICU. After a while the doctors told us that they want to keep Karina over night in order to adjust her medications. Her sweet mother took this news well. And so they settled for the afternoon and night in the Secondary ICU. 

Karina is scheduled for surgery this coming Monday. Her mother underwent a prenatal check up a few days ago, and to my relief the doctor estimated the due date for the baby almost a month later than we initially had thought. However, we still appreciate prayers that Karina's treatment will be smooth, and that her mother will not have any complications with her pregnancy. We are thankful that we can know both mother and daughter are in the hands of the Almighty God.

Under the Shadow of His Wings

Posted on Thu, 12/15/2016 - 22:36 by Ruth Zellweger

Precious Karina and her mother started their adventure early yesterday morning when they boarded the plane to Jordan and then later to Israel. They arrived together with Yaser and his mother at Ben Gurion airport, where Brenda and I picked them up.

The arrival hall was the empiest I have ever seen it, and both families were already out, patiently waiting for us. Karina was shy and started crying as soon as someone else than her mother came close to her.

At our new community base in Jaffa they were able to rest for the remainder of the day, which was welcomed and needed. We had heard prior to their arrival that Karina's mother is pregnant, but only through personal talking did we learn how far along she actually is - starting her eighth month! That was quite surprising, and in some way shocking news, however, we were reminded that God is in control and provides everything needed. 

Today we went to the hospital for the initial assessments. Karina was not comfortable and cried a lot during the taking of vital signs and the EKG. Then she was called in for the blood test. Even before the doctors started, her already low oxygen saturation began to drop drastically to eight percent. Karina experienced a cyanotic spell (caused by reduced blood flow to the lungs, which is a well known and dangerous complication for children with her specific heart defect). The medical team reacted calmly. Oxygen was administered and iv-meds prepared, while Dr. Alona quickly inserted the iv-cannula. And then Karina's mother was allowed to hold her daughter in her arms and Karina soon stabilized. Her mother cried silently, but remained strong for her daughter's sake. 

Soon after we went to the echo department, where Karina received sedation in order for the doctors to get a clear picture of her heart. Karina's pulmonary arteries are quite small, however, she still seems to be a good surgical candidate. And by the time we left the echo department, we already knew the potential date for her surgery, which will be in less than two weeks. God had shown us several times today how He cares for Karina. And while we do not know yet how her mother would be able to return to Kurdistan in time before the birth of her child, we trust our heavenly Father that He knows what He is doing and that He is in control. Karina, her mother, and her unborn sibling are all under the shadow of His wings.