Kosar 's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

Kosar's Homegoing a Celebration of Healing

Posted on Thu, 06/23/2011 - 00:00 by Natalie Wisely

Kosar's last night in Israel was a time of celebration. The small party we threw for him was full of laughing, singing, and dancing. Kosar got right into the mix, playing the little tambourine we had given him as a gift. As I looked around at the happy faces, I couldn't help but reflect on Psalm 126:2-3.
"Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, 'The LORD has done great things for them.' The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy." 
The Lord has certainly done great things for Kosar and his mother. During their time here, I have seen Kosar's mother's heart soften, and she has learned to love and be more patient and understanding. Little Kosar, afraid and shy at the start, has opened up and become a joyful, active boy. Any tension and nervousness they previously felt about Kosar's heart is gone. Now they are able to laugh and celebrate knowing that his heart his whole.
We will continue to keep this little boy in our prayers and ask that the Lord will continue to do great things in his life. Below is a picture from Kosar's final moments in Israel, at the Beth Shean border crossing into Jordan, from where he and his mother will fly home to Kurdistan.

Doctors Pronounce Kosar's Heart To Be Healthy

Posted on Thu, 06/16/2011 - 21:36 by Jeff Sheehan

Good news to report: Today, on the 16th of June, Kosar was taken back to the hospital for his first post-operative follow-up visit. The electrocardiogram and the medical examination were satisfactory. So Kosar was discharged from the hospital, with another follow-up appointment in six weeks in his hometown in northern Iraq. The arrangements for transport will be made as soon as possible.
We remember with gladness how his story went: This little chap Kosar along with his mother came to Israel with great hopes from Northern Iraq to correct his cardiac anomaly, AV Canal. He was, according to his echocardiogram in Iraq, a good surgical candidate. The surgery was performed on the 5th of June at Sheba Hospital in a suburb of Tel Aviv. It was a successful outcome, and the surgeon was very happy with the result. Post-operatively there were no complications. After his discharge from the hospital, Kosar

Kosar Comes Home to Us in Jerusalem

Posted on Fri, 06/10/2011 - 00:00 by Kristina Kayser

One of my favorite parts about serving at Shevet is when I have the privilege of being the bearer of good news. I can compare it to celebrating Christmas year round! Mothers who have long borne the weight of a child's illness relish words of hope like opening up surprise packages. This afternoon I had the pleasure of telling Kosar and his mother that Suhail (Shevet member) and I were taking them home to Jerusalem. Kosar's mother threw her arms up in the air thanking God with shouts of praise. She then planted several big kisses on my cheek and kissed Suhail's hands unabashedly. Pure joy flowed from her very being. Meanwhile, Kosar sat calmly on his bed, unflustered by the commotion. His mother's constant presence these last five days at Sheba have been enough to make his toddler heart feel secure. Kosar's mother, on the other hand, expressed how much she disliked the unfamiliar languages and surroundings of the hospital. She couldn't wait to be back with the Shevet community. Support, however, was not lacking at Sheba as mother and son bid other families farewell. Parents in hospitals form a community of their own through a common bond of empathy for each other's child, and it's beautiful to see.

Kosar's current medical report reads that his heart is functioning well after his intermediate atrioventricular canal repair. However, there is still a small ventricular septal defect (VSD- opening/leak between the lower chambers). At next week's post-op echocardiogram (echo), doctors will determine if this VSD will resolve on it's own or if further intervention is needed. Kosar's mother is taking everything in stride, simply thankful that her son is in good hands. As for Kosar, who continues to live up to his nickname, "little man," there was no better way for him to celebrate going home than to take a nice long nap. May Kosar continue to experience the gentle love of a heavenly Father who heals and "gives His beloved sleep." (Psalm 127:2)

Kosar's Final Day in the Hospital

Posted on Thu, 06/09/2011 - 22:30 by Cara Stiles

Today Kozar was very calm. Almost an eerie calm. He seems to be afraid to move too much. He is still somewhat himself, though. He will NOT let his mother put him down. When she even starts to put him down he cried.

This was a relief to see because his calmness wasn't very normal. Kozar is usually a very rambunctious child.

He of course looked completely adorable in his little p.j.'s! We brought him a choo choo train and some gummies. He did NOT like the gummies, but very much enjoyed the trains. That was a sweet sight. I love that kid's smile! 

Um Kozar is MUCH better. She is smiling a lot more and very happy that her little boy is doing well. She wanted to go on a walk around the hospital so we did. Joshua, Jeffery, myself, Um Kozar, Um Payman, and Kozar set off on an adventure. We could not for the life of us find the market in the hospital! It was the funniest thing, but we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. Even Joshua got in on the action! 
Kozar is recovering very quickly! We got a call today saying he was free to come home. Of course this was right after we had returned from Sheba, so we will be bringing him home tomorrow! Praise God!

Kosar’s Mother Beaming Relief

Posted on Tue, 06/07/2011 - 14:28 by Jean Sheehan

Kosar's mother greeted us with the usual big hug and kisses.  Her countenance since Kosar's surgery has changed from fear and concern to beaming relief, although she only offers stoic expressions to the camera. She was eager to take us to his bedside. His speedy recovery is cause for praise and thanksgiving to the Lord. In less than twenty-four hours since surgery, the chest tubes were removed, he was transferred into secondary ICU care, and his oxygen levels are normal. 
He stirred and slowly opened his eyes and showed some signs of discomfort, but this is being managed just fine. His mother has kept vigil by his side throughout this time, getting very little rest herself. However, her major concern is that her precious son is not being fed! She asked when she could she give him real food; so typical of a mother's care. We continue to hold these two dear ones in our thoughts and prayers and ask that you will too.

Kosar's Heart Surgery Restorative

Posted on Sun, 06/05/2011 - 21:30 by Kristina Kayser

Kosar, as usual, looked like a little man this morning. His hair was parted and combed neatly to the side, his pajama shirt cuffed and tucked snugly inside matching pants. He certainly looked dressed for the occasion, impressing us with his smiles and good spirits. 
In contrast to the grave reality of open heart surgery just hours away, Kosar's room became an avenue for one of childhood's greatest gifts: imagination. With toy space gun in hand, Kosar took aim as Cara (Shevet volunteer) and I leaped behind curtains and dodged under beds. We were no match for this sharp shooter. 
On the outside, Kosar appears to be a healthy toddler, but underneath the skin beats a broken heart. Today's operation would entail the correction of a rare congenital defect known as Atrioventricular (AV) canal. An AV canal is characterized by openings in both the atrial and ventricular septum (walls), creating a cross flow of oxygen-rich and deoxygenated blood. Moreover, instead of the upper and lower chambers being divided by two valves (mitral and tricuspid), the four cardiac chambers converge upon one central valve, creating an insufficient pumping action. All in all, it's an uncommon condition that calls for a complicated repair. 
The doctor informed Kosar's mother that, although surgery would be challenging, it should be completed within four hours. Processing this information created an expression of deep concern on her face. Kosar seemed to pick up on this fear, his face a mirror image of hers, as she held him close. 
When medical staff and Shevet members escorted mother and son to the operating room (OR), Kosar's tears stopped abruptly under the affects of anesthesia. When Kosar's mother emerged from the OR, a vigil marked by intercession began. This woman embodied the Apostle Paul's instruction to "pray without ceasing." "My God, my God! God is great!" flowed from her lips, sometimes in desperation, other times with inspired faith. Initially, she refused to eat, but after spotting a can of Cara's BBQ Pringles, her prayers continued as she munched away. 
Truly, God answered this mother's cry as the doctor approached us with the long-awaited report. Kosar's heart was fully repaired, complete with two new valves. As if it was too good to be true, his mother asked me repeatedly, "Amaleeah towow? Kosar basha?" ("Is the surgery finished? Is Kosar good?" in Kurdish). Smiles, rather than tears, now graced her countenance as I assured her and praised God for His goodness. Standing by Kosar's side in the Intensive Care Unit, she couldn't take her eyes off of him, attentive to each breath and movement. 
A medley of machinery and medications are working to regulate Kosar's heart rhythm, respirations, and pain level during this critical recovery stage. Once again, my thoughts are drawn to the beauty of life restored, and I wonder just who Kosar, our "little man," will grow up to be. With a new heart and a mother's faithful prayers, I trust that God will not cease to work miracles in his life.

Kosar Weepy On Surgery Eve

Posted on Sun, 06/05/2011 - 00:10 by ryan

Kosar from Iraq was admitted Saturday evening to Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv, in preparation for an 8am Sunday morning open heart surgery. Kosar turns three years old next month, but the admissions process this evening reminded one of that notorious childhood stage called the

A Few Days Of Rest Before Surgery

Posted on Wed, 05/25/2011 - 01:00 by Donna_West

Kosar and his mother waited patiently for us to arrive at Sheba Medical Center following a long surgery taking place at Wolfson Hospital across town. After the exchange of many joyful embraces and words, we were back on the road to Jerusalem. Kosar was released to return to the Shevet House until Saturday evening, when he will return to the hospital for a Sunday morning heart surgery. Until then, Kosar's mother will have the emotional support of staff she knows and Kurdish women who speak and understand her language. The picture shows Kosar soon after leaving the hospital, in the few minutes that he was awake during the car ride. We look forward to a good result from his surgery.

Sheep At Sheba

Posted on Tue, 05/24/2011 - 01:00 by Kristina Kayser
I am learning that humans never grow out of the need for genuine love and guidance. How fitting that Scripture would so often compare us with sheep and describe God as our faithful Shepherd. Both Kosar and his mother seemed like frightened little lambs this morning when I walked into their room at Sheba Medical Center.

Their big brown eyes welled up with tears, and Kosar's mother hugged me so tight I thought something dreadful had happened. It soon became apparent that they were simply feeling sad and all alone in an unfamiliar "pasture."

Playing with bubbles and "Akar" the puppet were enough to soothe Kosar's spirit, while hugs and words of encouragement helped to console his mother.

Shortly after, two nurses arrived to escort three-year-old Kosar into the theater for his cardiac catheterization. I managed to explain to his mother in Kurdish that this procedure would help the doctors get a better picture of her son's heart before surgery. Essentially, doctors at Sheba wanted to confirm Kosar's condition of Atrioventricular Canal (AV Canal) and determine whether or not surgery would be therapeutic. An AV Canal occurs when the walls which divide the heart's four chambers are not fully developed in utero. The severity of this condition varies depending on how much cardiac tissue is missing, and for Kosar, a catheterization was necessary for proper diagnosis.

The nurses directed us to a play area just outside the cath lab where Kosar played happily with Jeff (my fellow nurse and Shevet co-worker) until anesthesia was given through the port in his hand. His mother watched nervously as the medicine took effect and medical staff prepared him for the procedure. Once again, like a timid lamb, she turned to me for affirmation every few seconds until Kosar was fully sedated.

An unexpected peace began to weave itself through the next two hours as we waited side by side, sometimes in silence, sometimes in heart-felt prayer and colloquy. She seemed thirsty for truth that offered consolation and clung to every hopeful word.

When the doctor emerged to announce that the catheterization went beautifully and that surgery would be the next step, Kosar's mother threw up her hands in celebration, shouting "Spas bo Xua" (Thanks to God)! Kosar's transition out of anesthesia was a bit rocky: arms thrashing, legs kicking, and high-pitched screaming. It took his mother, Jeff, and myself to keep him from climbing out of bed and pulling off the various tubing and monitors attached to his body. As Jeff and I calmly guided Kosar's mother through this process, I prayed for peace once more, and it came. All that this disconcerted toddler wanted was to be held in the arms he knew so well. Sleep overcame him again, and his body eased into blissful rest, his mother breathing a sigh of relief.

Kosar will likely return home to the fold in Jerusalem tomorrow and await further instructions from Sheba. For now, I trust that the Lord "will gather [these] lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young." Isaiah 40:11b

Kosar Measured Up For Heart Surgery

Posted on Mon, 05/23/2011 - 01:00 by Jeff Sheehan

Jeff writes:
Young Kosar was called up to Sheba hospital this morning, and booked for an angiogram tomorrow, May 24th. This procedure is the gold standard for the investigation of coronary artery disease. Three year old Kosar & his mum were taken early this morning from Jerusalem to the Tel Aviv hospital. The admission & pre-angio arrangements were facilitated with the help of Jeng, our helpful Kurdish translator. This ensured that vital signs and patient family history were obtained, and that the mother was fully informed of everything taking place. Information does help to allay fears and foster trust. Our pictures show a beaming Kosar at the hospital, and the nurse taking basic observations.

The mother was teary at times, as only a mother could be. Especially when a cannula had to be inserted in his small left hand, Kosar did his share of yelling, as only a child could. Once this was over, calm seemed to settle. We left Kosar and his mum, who reminded us over and over again to come and see them on the morrow. And that we will surely do.

Donna writes:
A day at the hospital is always a day of waiting, even at its best. It just depends if you are at the "front" of the process or at the end. Today we were at the front and we were first to be served as the day shift workers arrived.

Kosar and his mother left Shevet Achim with us about 6 AM and were already feeling hunger pains upon our arrival. Sometimes you just need some comfort food, something that reminds you of home, warms your tummy like a fuzzy blanket and satisfies your hunger at the same time. This was such a morning for Kosar and his mother. I offered an orange, and the hospital staff brought bread, chocolate pudding, cucumbers, etc. Everything was met with a turned up nose. The translator told us the mother wanted to go to the store, but that was an impossible feat with all things considered. The pouting that ensued was frustrating for both sides. We couldn't explain and they couldn't understand. It was time to take a walk. I needed to show Jeff, a new volunteer from Australia, where the store was anyway, and hoped we could find something to satisfy. When Jeff and I returned with rice and beans, pita and juice- it was joy overflowing!!!!

I never cease to be amazed at how much the small things say 'love' to these families, and how love seems to open the heart to communicate the things in which language creates a barrier. The procedure being done tomorrow will determine what can or cannot be done surgically for Kosar. Please also remember Kosar's mother as you pray. We ask you, Father, to prepare Kosar's mother for whatever the days ahead will mean for her son so that she will be strong and a comfort for him. It's very difficult to calm the fear in another when walking in it ourselves.