Lanya's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

The Light of the World

Posted on Fri, 09/09/2016 - 11:40 by Sophie

We got to Lanya's house just before evening.  Since the last time our team met them in Kurdistan, already half a year had passed, and Lanya looks like a big girl.

We were sitting in the small garden with a little breeze, and were surprised by a power outage. The day was getting darker and darker, and the parents could not sit anymore, so they looked around trying to find the best solution. In the end they decided to eat outside in their courtyard with a lantern.

Lanya's mother must have worked all afternoon! She put three meals together, and you can imagine how much food she had to prepare. The food shows her great love!

The light shines in the darkness; we were blessed by that! May they be blessed by the true light as well!

"I am the light of the world, whoever follows me will never walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life," (John 8:12).

Shared Experiences

Posted on Tue, 02/16/2016 - 15:00 by Agnes Bruna

While visiting Anas’s family in Kurdistan, we were also blessed to meet Lanya’s family there. The parents came to visit with Lanya and her sister. They were very happy to see us and proudly told us of all the progress she has been making. We also observed a loving relationship between Lanya and her sister.

It was amazing to see how much Lanya has grown and how much more lively she is. When she left in November she was a floppy baby with a healed heart. Now she is a toddler who can sit up, look around, grab things, and even stand up!

We felt it was very good for Lanya’s parents to spend some time with Anas and his family too. Before they came, they were worried she would not be accepted because she has Down Syndrome. Now they could see that not just Lanya, but also other children with Down Syndrome are helped by the doctors in Israel.

We are looking forward to seeing more and more progress in Lanya in future visits. And we pray that these families will become good friends through their shared experiences. A true Shevet Achim experience – brothers and sisters dwelling together in unity.


A Wonderful Goodbye Party

Posted on Sun, 11/08/2015 - 22:07 by Noa

We had a wonderful goodbye party for Lanya, including chocolate cake (which I was particularly fond of), singing, memories, pictures, and an array of presents. Have a listen to the song "Our God is So Big" in English and Kurdish:

Lanya’s mother was ecstatic that she got the present that she wanted for Lanya! It was a toy that sings and makes noises and has several buttons that all produce a different song or sound. 

It is extremely bittersweet that Lanya has returned to Kurdistan, northern Iraq, as we will miss her and her mother greatly. Lanya came to Shevet Achim around the same time I did, so I have had the privilege of watching her get healed and seeing her relationship with her mother grow and flourish. It is touching to see how good Lanya’s mother was with her and everything she would do to make Lanya smile.

I’m so happy that we were able to send a baby back to Kurdistan healthier than she came.

So now, even though we love them greatly, we have sent them back to be reunited with their family with arms full of presents and hearts full of love. I can only hope that one day we see them again.

Going Home!

Posted on Mon, 11/02/2015 - 21:18 by Maureen Grimshaw
Lanya went for another post-operative Echo today and was given her final discharge.  The doctors are satisfied with her progress and although she will remain on some medication, she is expected to fully recover. 
Again, we praise and thank the Lord for His favour towards her and us as we witness these results with so many children like Lanya.  Tomorrow they will return home to their family in Kurdistan. 

Lanya's Echo

Posted on Mon, 10/26/2015 - 20:32 by Miriam Svensson

Lanya went back to the hospital for another echocardiogram today. She was calmer this time, maybe getting more used to being examined. 

Dr. Alona told us that Lanya's heart is looking good. There is only a very small amount of fluid left. This means she can stay on the same medication and come back for another echo in a week. And after that, she might only need one more control echo before she can go back home. Lanya's mother was very happy to receive these news.

Thank the Lord with us for the good news of Lanya's swift healing!

As a Mother Comforts Her Child

Posted on Thu, 10/22/2015 - 18:13 by Miriam Svensson

I met Lanya and her mother for the first time today, as Aad and I went with them to the hospital for an echocardiogram. Lanya cried a little when we put her in the car seat, but her mother comforted her, and the rest of the way, she was calm and made happy sounds. We waited a little while outside the echo room before we were let in, and I got the chance to take some pictures of this sweet little girl. 

Lanya did not enjoy being examined. She cried most of the time, even though her mother tried to cheer her up by singing and snapping her fingers.

But as soon as her mother picked her up, she was happy again. The technician told us that her heart looked good. There is still some fluid around the heart, but it's a very small amount. The technician talked to the doctor about the result and then told us there will be no change in the medication and that Lanya should come back for another echo on Monday.

Afterwards, we went back to the children's ward and had lunch in the playground together with Doaa and her mother. Lanya fell asleep while we sat there, totally content in her mothers arms.

I enjoyed watching the beautiful bond between mother and daughter. It made me think of the words  "As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you" (Isaiah 66:13). We can be totally at peace in the arms of our heavenly Father who always cares for us.

Join with us in praying for the continued healing of  sweet little Lanya.

Back on Prophets Street With a Smile

Posted on Sun, 10/18/2015 - 22:24 by Annie Magnusson

Today we were able to bring Lanya and her mother home with us after some week and a half in the hospital.

Last time I was there was on Lanya's surgery day, last Sunday, and the last thing I saw of her that day was her asleep in the ICU, with all those tubes connected to her. So I was very happy to see her in the children's ward looking all healthy and happy in her mother's loving arms. When I was holding Lanya today, it was the first time I saw her smile.

It is so beautiful to see her make progress in different ways. The surgery went well, but Lanya still has fluid around her heart, so she will have an echo tomorrow. 

Lanya's Progress

Posted on Tue, 10/13/2015 - 21:05 by Ruth Zellweger

Our sweet little Lanya is recovering really well. I met her and her mother this morning at Wolfson Hospital, just before the doctors in ICU took out her chest tube. Because Lanya's moother could not see her child in pain, she asked me to stay with Lanya while she waited outside. Lanya was crying a little bit because of the procedure, but she cried more soon afterwards because of hunger. This need was soon satisfied when she was back in her mother's arms.

Soon afterward, she was moved to the children's ward, where she is going to stay for the next days. We are very thankful for her smooth recovery.

What a Surprise Gift!

Posted on Mon, 10/12/2015 - 23:13 by Rebekah Yang

Today was a big day for both new kids, Stafro and Doaa, as they’re going to Wolfson hospital for their first physical assessment. We spent a lot of time going from one place to another for various examinations. At 5PM, we we’re finished and about to leave for Jerusalem. I just wanted to say “hello and goodbye” to Lanya and her mum in the ICU, so I went inside a few minutes for a short visit. When I went in, I saw Lanya was playing with her mum and out of my expectation, I saw that she had been extubated already. Praise God!! What a surprise gift from God. He answered our prayer from yesterday—thank you Lord for your healing hands that have touched Lanya’s body.

Right now she is still on oxygen through a nasal cannula but she started drinking milk with no complications so far. Once again, thank you all for your faithful prayers for our sweet Lanya. Please continue to lift her and  her mum in your prayers. May her mum’s spiritual eyes be opened through this wonderful healing process. In the name of Jesus I pray- AMEN!!

Lanya's Surgery Day

Posted on Sun, 10/11/2015 - 21:38 by Rebekah Yang

As we departed from Jerusalem at 6AM this morning for Lanya’s heart surgery, none of us expected that we would have heavy traffic on the road towards Tel Aviv. Right after Jesse found out the traffic situation, he soon changed routes to try to avoid heavy traffic. Unfortunately, we were still stuck at some points. By the time we reached Wolfson hospital, it was 7:45AM, and Lanya had already gone in for surgery fifteen minutes ago.

In my first glance, I saw Lanya’s mum crying and trying to organize her personal belongings at the same time. After greetings to each other, we went to the children's ward's outside playground for the whole process of waiting. Not too long later, Shadyan’s mum brought Shadyan and Baran’s mum to join us also for a chat.

While we were waiting, Baran’s mum prayed in Kurdish for Lanya’s mum, and we all got together to support and comfort her. I gave her a bit of a massage on her shoulders, and soon she relaxed and laid on the floor for a bit of rest.

At 11:30AM, Lanya finished her heart operation and was wheeled down to ICU for close observation and treatment there. She has a nasal-gastric tube, is intubated with an oxygen monitor machine on, and has a chest tube in her right side for draining fluid out.

After she was settled down inside ICU, the surgeon told us more information regarding Lanya’s current condition. The whole surgery went well, and the surgeons were able to fix the big hole in Lanya’s heart, making a complete repair of her heart. However, Lanya’s left ventricular valve was leaking even before her operation. So at the moment, we have to wait for a few days to see whether there is any possibility to do second surgery in order to fix this leakage or not. She also had quite a bit of blood loss due to this operation and had to be given a blood transfusion right after surgery.

Overall, though, she is doing alright, and her vital signs are stable. Please pray that her whole healing process goes well and that she would be able to be extubated in the next two or three days.

“LORD my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me.” Psalm 30:2