Lawan's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

Bittersweet Farewell

Posted on Thu, 11/16/2017 - 23:47 by Jonathan Chappell

Lawan has finished his time with our family here at Shevet, but before he left, we all enjoyed a time of fellowship with family and friends.

There were beautiful decorations, great food, and songs of praise. We always give a time to share what is on our hearts with the families, and the mothers in turn can share with us, too. We spent time giving Lawan and his mother several gifts to honor them and express our love.

The intimacy and familial atmosphere is always touching. Farewell parties are bittersweet, because we are so happy for the successful surgeries and healed hearts, but also must say goodbye to these dear people.

When they are gone we miss having them with us. Please continue to pray for Lawan and his mother. May their travel back to Kurdistan be safe and smooth, and may their experience in Israel impact the rest of their lives. 

Lawan's Final Echo

Posted on Mon, 11/13/2017 - 19:37 by Elwira Kromer

Today Swain, Coert and I went with Lawan and his mum to Wolfson hospital for an echo check. We had to wait almost two hours. During this time we tried to play with Lawan and keep him entertained despite the waiting.

Finally it was his turn for an echo. His final echo!

He was a bit fussy and started to play with the ultrasound scanner. His mum was also excited and skyped with her family in Kurdistan. She was so happy to hear this was his last echo.

Before we left she asked me to take a picture together with the medical staff. She hopes to fly back to Kurdistan as soon as possible. Let us pray for a flight so they can soon be together with their family. We have also many reasons to thank God for Lawan's great improvement. May God bless him and his mum while they are here. 


Posted on Mon, 11/06/2017 - 23:04 by Elwira Kromer

Today Coby and I went with Lawan and his mother to the Wolfson hospital. 

There he got an ultrasound from the heart and the abdomen and also a blood test.  We hope the results will be fine. Lawan still had a few stiches from the operation, so the medical staff removed all but one on his belly, because it was too difficult to take it out without bleeding. 

Next Monday Lawan will have another echo to check his improvement. All in all he is doing pretty well. He seems to be happy, and he also has put on weight. His mother was very pleased with all of his progress. 

Back at the Shevet House

Posted on Thu, 11/02/2017 - 15:31 by Coby van Wijhe

This morning Ben and I went to Wolfson hospital to bring Lawan back to our Shevet house again. The catherization from yesterday went well.

His pulmonary arteries are narrow but they will leave it. No other operation is needed. Mother is very pleased and both are happy to be back again. Thanks to God!


Cath Day

Posted on Wed, 11/01/2017 - 22:35 by Co-authored

This morning we headed over to Wolfson around 7.30 with Lawan and his mom. There was a time of waiting at the children's ward as the team sorted if Lawan's cath would indeed happen today. When Doctor Tamir called yesterday we knew he was third on the list so it was questionable. But after some time, it was determined Lawan would receive his cath today. So, we headed in for the insertion of his IV.

Despite crying due to having to be stuck a couple times, along with being hungry from fasting, Lawan and his mom remained strong. We then got a bed next to Mohammed for the remainder of the morning until we headed up to the cath lab around 1pm. Once Lawan's mom had to be parted from her beloved son she shed some tears and did not want to leave the waiting room directly outside the cath lab. So, Coert sat with her for some time and they had the opportunity to share photos of their families with each other. After this, Lawan's mom agreed to come down to the ward to hang out with us at Mohammed's bedside. Around 3pm, Lawan was finished up and wheeled down to the children's ward.

After a bit, we had a chance to get updated by Doctor Tamir who said they did not do any intervention during the catheterization. It seems the issues are not as severe as they appeared on the echo. The problems do exist in a lesser degree, but there is little they can do to help with invasive interventions. So, Lawan will have a few more echos and we hope to see continued improvement of his valves and growth of his pulmonary arteries. Please pray for the Lord's hand to be upon Lawan, especially in these areas. We are looking forward to having mother and son rejoin our Jaffa community tomorrow!  

Written by: Alexa Bigl and Coert van der Veen

Lawan's Journey Continues

Posted on Tue, 10/31/2017 - 00:07 by Alexa Bigl
Sweet little Lawan and his mom headed to Wolfson for an echo today. After a very long echo under sedation, Dr. Tamir explained they are seeing some problems. As we knew previously, two of Lawan's valves are experiencing regurgitation. The echo also revealed Lawan is on the edge of his right heart failing. His pulmonary arteries are tiny and the pressure this is causing his right heart, in addition to the issues with his valves, is leading to the problems with the right side of his heart. So, the plan is for Lawan to undergo a cardiac catheterization. We are hopeful he will be on the schedule this coming week for the procedure. During the catheterization, the cardiology team will have a better look at the heart and be prepared to balloon dilate the pulmonary arteries. Please join us in praying the cath will be a successful intervention for the issues we are seeing. There is a chance Lawan will need another cardiac surgery if the cath cannot accomplish fixing the problems leading to the right heart failure. 
Lawan's mother took the news well, although she was sad to know her precious son is still experiencing complicated issues. We fully trust God's provision for strength and perseverance for Lawan's mom. We lift up Lawan to our Father in Heaven and pray for His healing to be upon Lawan, in the name of Yeshua! 
And for some good news, Lawan has no more fluid. He can slowly be weaned off his special diet and be back on his regular milk and baby foods! This is quite a quick recovery for a child who had chylothorax, the fluid accumulation due to the lymph system draining improperly, and we are excited for this accomplishment. 

Leaving the Hospital

Posted on Fri, 10/27/2017 - 00:31 by Swain Wilson

This afternoon, while grocery shopping, Alexa got the call Lawan was ready to leave the hospital!

He and his mom had been there nearly two months and were enthusiastic to leave.

Lawan’s eating has improved, he was very hungry when his mom woke him up to leave.

He was sent home with fat-free milk. Lawan and his mother were greeted joyously by the moms at Shevet. Today is a day of thanks for Lawan’s improving health and for he and his mothers happiness to be out of the hospital.

Out of ICU

Posted on Wed, 10/25/2017 - 21:59 by Alexa Bigl

Mr. Lawan was moved to the children's ward today! After such a long time in the ICU and secondary ICU, his mom was all smiles today as she hung out with her precious son in the ward. She excitedly asked me, "Alexa, this is a good thing we've been moved here, right?!" It's such an important step for mom's hope to remain strong. Lawan is continuing to recover and he is now weaned off the medications to strengthen his regurgitating valves. The doctors are continuing to closely monitor their progression and continued prayer is needed as two of the valves are still classified with moderate regurgitation. 

Lawan also had a good session of physio today. He cried during it, but his mom remained strong and was a good student for the therapist as she learned how to do the techniques to help Lawan's recovery. 
He also hasn't been eating well for a while now and he has a naso-gastric feeding tube which pumps milk into his stomach. Please join us in praying Lawan gets his full appetite back. We are so happy to report the big step today, but understand Lawan still has a lot of steps to take towards recovery and we are trusting the Lord will steer him through. 

Extubated and Stable

Posted on Mon, 10/16/2017 - 00:19 by Philippa Schaefer

** Update, October 17, 2017 **

This afternoon Philippa and I went to the ICU in Wolfson and saw Lawan and his mother. Mom was looking okay, and it probably help that she was phoning with her family in Kurdistan. Lawan was waking up slowly. They had to give him a drain this morning because of fluid in his abdomen. They also gave him more diuretic medication to lose more fluid. The doctor said it's still going slowly but he is stable. Please pray for Lawan that the medication will help him to lose the fluid and for his mother to have strength. It's a long waiting time for her.


Lawan is still in the ICU recovering from his surgery,  but he is extubated since this morning. He is stable and looks pretty awake.

Let's pray that he will be able to leave the ICU soon!

Surgery Cleared Lawan’s Infection

Posted on Sun, 10/15/2017 - 21:12 by Maxine Stuart

Little Lawan was in ICU, intubated, and surrounded by a cloud of blankets when I visited him today. He had another surgery yesterday to remove some infection in his sternum. His doctor said the surgery went well, and that they hope to extubate him tomorrow.

He is on antibiotics now to help with the infection, and is stable. Lawan’s mother is doing well. She manages to find joy wherever she can, and although we can’t communicate much with words, she was full of smiles and jokes as we went to get some lunch. She will come back to the house with us tonight to get some well-earned rest.