Kouzheer 's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Kouzheer is Already Heading Home

Posted on Wed, 11/18/2009 - 00:00 by Donna_West

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After Kouzheer's return from his echo, a big smile emerged on his Mother's face when she heard the doctor say, "He's great! He can return home now and have a healthy life. No contact sports for the first month. Then anything other healthy boys can do will be fine for Kouzheer!"

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Soon Kouzheer and his mother will be heading home to see their family. We are so thankful for the complete and miraculous healing God has given this young man. Please pray God will continue to work in their lives to complete the good work He has graciously started!

Kouzheer Leaves Hospital Three Days Post-Op

Posted on Thu, 11/12/2009 - 06:47 by Donna_Petrel

What great news we received today when we got a call from Schneider Children's Hospital saying that Kouzheer's echo showed he is already healthy enough to return to Jerusalem! It is absolutely amazing to see a child doing so well only three days after open-heart surgery, but you can see for yourself from the pictures that he looks almost good as new. The cardiologist Dr. Birk came by to see him off after the IV lines were removed and we were ready to go, and gave him a big hug!

Kouzheer is walking only slightly gingerly, and tired out quickly this evening, but otherwise was full of smiles and ready to get back to the house. He was dismissed with no medications, and will return next Wednesday for a follow-up echo to check on the progress of his healing.

When he found out that his friend Hezhan had been dismissed from Wolfson after his catheterization and was waiting in the van for us, he was anxious to see him. The two of them chatted happily all the way back to the house, and then we shared a nice dinner together before Kouzheer was ready for an early bedtime. Kouzheer's mother is overflowing with thanks and relief for the completion of her son's surgery and his excellent progress. We thank God for the beautiful way He has provided this opportunity for Kouzheer, and pray that his healing will continue to come form speedily. Please remember Kouzheer's mother too as she is not feeling well; we believe God wants to provide health for both of them while they're here with us.

Kouzheer's Surgery GoesVery Well

Posted on Tue, 11/10/2009 - 06:47 by Donna_Petrel

November 10, 2009
This morning Kouzheer and his mother were sitting together on the bed when I arrived at the hospital. He was scheduled to leave for surgery between 8:00 and 8:30 AM, so I arrived there with plenty of time to visit them. However it was 9:30 before we actually left to go downstairs to the operating room, and by then Kouzheer's mother was becoming anxious. Kouzheer was tired after all the games we played to pass the time, and fell asleep. He was abruptly woken up when the nurses came in, though he had no problem making his way to the surgical unit.

Only when it was time to actually walk into the pre-op waiting room did he become emotional, as did his mother. After a few minutes she returned alone, understandably sorrowful. We walked back upstairs together where she had time to vent her emotions, and then we spent the next hour and a half sitting outside the hospital grounds in the courtyard. At that point, Kouzheer's mother was very tired considering she didn't sleep much the night before, so she wanted to go inside to rest a bit. I left her alone for a while, and when I returned to her I found out that the cardiologist Dr. Birk had come to give her an update: "The surgery is going well. Don't be afraid!" As she told me this, she also explained that when she heard those words she could finally breathe again. From then on the rest of our waiting time was much easier on her. Almost exactly four hours after we last saw Kouzheer in the pre-op room one of the doctors came in to tell us that the surgery was finished and had gone very well, and Kouzheer was in the ICU on the floor below us. He explained that we could go down to see him after a half-hour. Then Kouzheer's mother began returning phone calls to her family which she had received throughout the morning, sharing the good news.

Once we went downstairs I believe Kouzheer's mother became a little distressed when she first saw him with the ventilation tube, chest drainage tube, and all the medication tubes attached to him. However, being reassured by the nurses and doctors attending Kouzheer that he was doing well, she began to take pictures so she could share the experience with her husband since he could not be here with them.

We sat with Kouzheer for over an hour, but the fatigue of the past couple of days caught up with Kouzheer's mother and she was ready to go back upstairs to rest. She has been experiencing some back pain and needs our prayers for healing as well. After sharing with the staff that she was not feeling well, and sitting with her a little longer as she received call after call from family members checking on Kouzheer, we made one more stop in the ICU before I left for the evening. We were told that Kouzheer would likely have the tubes removed from his body this evening, but by the time I left he was still on mechanical ventilation. Once this is removed Kouzheer will be able to move out of the ICU into a room in the ward. His mother was already asking when Kouzheer can return to school, as she knows this will be his first question when he is awake and talking again. Please pray that Kouzheer heals supernaturally fast, and indeed able to return to excelling at his schoolwork. Pray that his mother rests well tonight and will be healed from her back problem. The next few days will require a lot of stamina as she cares for her son during the difficult time of his recovery. Please join with us in thanking God for how well Kouzheer has come through his surgery!

Kouzheer to Surgery in theMorning

Posted on Sun, 11/08/2009 - 06:47 by Donna_Petrel

Today at mid-morning we got a call from Schneider to bring Kouzheer in for admission for surgery in the morning! While this is great news for Kouzheer's family, it is also quite emotional news for his mother. I notified her first by telephone since I was away from the house when I got the information, and when I arrived I went to find her and see how they were doing. She was finishing her packing when I first found her, and later when I saw her again she was sitting beside their bags looking rather numb. This caused me to remember that only three months ago they found out that Kouzheer needed heart surgery, so all in all this must seem to be happening very fast. I gave her a big hug and encouraged her not to be afraid. Since it was around noon by this time we wanted to have lunch before leaving, but Kouzheer's mom said she just couldn't eat right then. Kouzheer did join with the rest of the families and staff for a great lunch of Kurdish dhourma, and then we were ready to go. We took time to pray for both Kouzheer and his mother, thanking God for this opportunity for Kouzheer, and trusting Him for peace during the surgery, and total healing of Kouzheer's heart when it is finished. There were sweet goodbyes with big hugs from the other boys here at the house, and all the mothers and Ikram's dad as they sent them off with varying levels of understanding of how they felt, since several of the children have already had their surgeries. Both Kouzheer and his mother were a little nervous when we left Jerusalem, but seemed to relax on the way to the hospital as we made sure there was laughter among us.

When we arrived they met the staff on the pediatric cardiology ward as they began the routine admission tests for Kouzheer. He was quite brave during the blood test and placement of the IV port, even helping the doctor draw his blood before it was all over - who knows, maybe this bright boy will himself become a doctor one day. We accompanied Kouzheer to receive a chest x-ray, and left just as they were about to do another echocardiogram for tomorrow morning's surgery. This evening they've settled into their room and finished all the necessary paperwork. Early in the morning I will go back to the hospital to be with them as Kouzheer is taken to surgery and wait with his mother until he is done. Please pray for both of them during that especially emotional time, and for his family back home in Iraq as they wait with her by telephone.

Kouzheer Wastes No Time In Israel

Posted on Tue, 11/03/2009 - 06:47 by Jonathan Miles
We found much grace as we set out from Amman on a rainy morning to cross the Jordan River into Israel. Kouzheer and his mother came together with 20-year-old Hezhan who also needs heart surgery. Despite a small discrepancy in Hezhans visa papers, we were welcomed and assisted by authorities on both sides of the border.

Donna adds:
Monday late afternoon we welcomed Kouzheer and his mother to the Shevet household in Jerusalem. While we were welcoming the new families into our home, he was very shy, and listened curiously to everything that was said.

We found out this morning that Kouzheer could come immediately to Schneider Children's Hospital for his initial echo exam. While excited about the opportunity to be evaluated right away, the 'worry factor' also increased immediately for both Kouzheer and his mother. This is the case for each child who comes, but for this family who found out about Kouzher's heart problem only three months ago, the stress seemed intensified. Kouzheer's mother told me that she had not yet explained to him that he will probably have surgery while he is here since she wants to be certain. When the diagnosis was made, she hoped that only a catheterization would be needed, yet in Kouzheer's case open heart surgery is the only option. Doctors found that Kouzheer has a large atria sepal defect (hole between the atria of the heart) which is too large and not in a suitable location to be corrected by heart catheterization. This was explained to Kouzheer's mom, and she was told that after the surgery to close this hole, Kouzheer would have a normal full life ahead.

Still the shock of knowing that next week her son would have open heart surgery brought understandable concern, and Kouzheer's mother asked many questions about what to expect. When she honestly answered her son's ongoing questions, he could not contain his emotions any longer, and he leaned his head on the arm of the chair in the doctor's office and began to cry. The doctor assured both of them that the surgery was a simple one, and that afterwards Kouzheer would be able to do everything, and do so better than he can now because his heart will be normal. Kouzheer's biggest concern has been that he won't be able to go back to school because he loves school and excels there. The doctor encouraged us that it might take six weeks, but Kouzheer should be able to return to school better than ever. He will be able to play soccer without problems after his surgery . His mother seemed to need time to digest their new reality, and Kouzheer needed some lunch before he could get over the emotions he was feeling.

On the way back to Jerusalem I could hear them talking in the backseat about the surgery. Kouzheer was asking questions, but he was not arguing or crying like when he first heard the news. Once back at the house with the other boys in various stages of waiting and recovering he seemed fine. This evening we called on our friend Elan to give Kouzheer's mother a straightforward translation in Kurdish, and this time it was the mother who shed tears. I assured her that the surgery was a simple one, and afterwards Kouzheer would be in better health than he has ever been in his life. Elan told me after explaining this to her that she said she understands what we are saying, but she is his mother, and this is hard for her. Every parent reading this will be able to empathize; let us turn these feelings to prayers for her, for Kouzheer, and for her husband and seven-year-old twins who are waiting at home. Pray even now that they may begin to experience God's loving compassion, which can drive away fear and bring peace!