Laween's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Laween Extubated, Resting, and Healing

Posted on Tue, 11/15/2011 - 22:31 by Donna_West

Laween's mother was anxious for me to see her daughter this morning, but when we arrived she had just gone back to sleep and Laween

Laween and Her Mother Weather Surgery Day

Posted on Mon, 11/14/2011 - 23:05 by Donna_West

Laween was scheduled for an afternoon surgery today. The morning was a relaxed atmosphere of quiet games and good company. Laween was sociable and smiling, despite the hunger and thirst of fasting.

About 1 PM we went to ICU to prepare Laween to be taken down to the operating room. When we entered the sterile room, panic swept over Laween

Laween Admitted for Heart Surgery

Posted on Sun, 11/13/2011 - 23:13 by Kristina Kayser

Christmas is descending upon the Holy Land a little earlier than usual this year. To begin with, this morning's worship at Shevet ushered in the season with the song "Oh Come, Oh Come Immanuel," reminding us all of the powerful truth that God is with us! The theme continued with less spiritual tones, but nonetheless nostalgic, when Laween walked out dressed from head to toe in red and white. Our little "candy cane" was unexpectedly called in by Wolfson Hospital today for preliminary testing and the potential for her operation tomorrow!

Typically, families may wait one month or more before their surgery date. With Laween and her mother arriving a mere four days ago, this is exceptionally brisk. For every child and parent that comes to Shevet, God's mercy abounds. Whether their wait is long or short, His timing is perfect and tailored to their specific physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

Laween's mother was both relieved and anxious when it came time to begin her daughter's examination. An echocardiogram was the first order, and Laween endured it gracefully. Her calm attitude allowed Dr. Tamir to adequately view her heart and confirm a diagnosis of Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD). Looking at Laween, you wouldn't guess that she has a hole in her heart. She is active, and vibrant, and full of life! Up until now, this cardiac defect has not altered her growth or health extensively. With time, however, her heart and body would suffer. Surgery will help provide the gift of a fully-functioning heart for years to come.

As I become more acquainted with this lovely mother and daughter, I simply am enjoying their interaction with one another. Laween's mother is the epitome of affection and tenderness. Every test required for her daughter, including an EKG, chest X-ray, and blood work, was tempered by her gentle soothing. This last test produced a flood of tears from Laween, who has a strong aversion for syringes, as pictured in the photo. Silent tears rolled down her mother's cheeks as she bravely kept Laween still for the doctor.

When all was said and done, pain was forgotten and a quiet hospital room provided a much needed refuge for the pair. Tomorrow, at 2pm, Laween will be escorted to the operating theater for a VSD repair. While this brings relief to her mother, it also weighs heavy on her heart. More tears flowed over husband and family being far away, and I saw a woman trying hard to carry a burden too great to bear. This is where Immanuel, God with us, invades our human struggle with divine hope. He is with us, in our deepest pain, in our deepest joy. In Kurdish tradition, my farewell to her was the phrase "Xua legull to" (God is with you).



Full of Personality, Laween Arrives in Israel

Posted on Fri, 11/11/2011 - 14:14 by Stephanie Ventura

Today, little Laween arrived with her mother from the Kurdish region of Iraq. Two other children arrived as well, and I found her chasing one of the smaller children around the security area of the Israeli/Jordan border. She was full of personality and walked around with a bouncy step and a colorful ball. Her mother glanced at me with a hesitant look as I walked toward them. I greeted them by calling out their names and immediately I was welcomed with huge smiles. We had not known each other one second and yet their welcoming faces made it seem as though we were long time friends.  

We passed through the border with no problem and had a mini feast in the car on the Israeli side with a lunchbox packed full of snacks. Laween appreciated this greatly and sampled each snack to make sure it satisfied the taste-test.

Once we arrived in Jerusalem, Laween was quick to make herself at home and explore Shevet Achim. I think this is a great start to an exciting time for her and her mother. She will have her first echo on Monday in Tel Aviv and we hope to have more information on the details of her heart condition then. Please keep her in prayer as you remember God

Laween Crossing the Jordan into Israel

Posted on Wed, 11/09/2011 - 22:56 by jonathan

Just turned five years old, Laween and her mother flew into Jordan today from northern Iraq. Tomorrow we'll bring them across the Jordan River and to the Shevet Achim center in Jerusalem, where they'll await their first appointment at hospital in Israel. We'll update this page after their first hospital visit.