Masa's Heart Surgery


Renewed Hope

Posted on Sun, 07/27/2014 - 23:21 by

Upon arrival at Wolfson Hosptial, Masa and her mother were very aware of the admission routine. Today was their second time being admitted for heart surgery with the hopes of no cancellations this time around. Masa was very familiar with the procedures as she sat up in her bed, always knowing what came next. The nurses took blood and her vitals while receiving comfort from mom and volunteers.

Masa is a tough little girl, and although young, has developed much perseverance through her trials at Wolfson. Tomorrow morning awaits the invasive surgery of adjusting the pulmonary band around her heart to continue supporting her heart and lungs. Masa is all smiles and games in the evening time with Hospital peers and Shevet staff while waiting for her surgery in the early morning. The Shevet community is praying for the Lord's hand to guide her surgery, and hopes for a full and complete recovery.

Daily Struggle

Posted on Thu, 07/24/2014 - 20:34 by Sophie

It was another early morning today when we went to the hospital for Masa's surgery. When we got there, the nurse told us  that our precious girl's surgery was cancaled again. Masa's mother was very upset; it was very obvious she was struggling with the situation. She wanted to go home without surgery, and at the end she accepted to stay here for one more week. Please keep praying that Masa's surgery will be as soon as possible. Let us stand together with them!

A Special Day

Posted on Wed, 07/23/2014 - 21:18 by Sophie

Today was a very special day! Early this morning, Ruth and l went to the hospital for Masa's surgery. On the way to the hospital, we read some Bible verses, which became our daily bread. We put everything in God's charge. Whatever happened, we would continue trusting Him. When we got to the hospital, Masa was still sleeping peacefully.

After one hour waiting, Masa was taken for a CT scan. She was so adorable! 

After the CT, we had to wait again. While we waited, Masa and l were painting together. After a while, we went to the playroom and enjoyed some special time together.

Around 11 AM, we heard the news from the nurse : "Masa's surgery was canceled."  When Masa's mother heard, she looked so calm. l was shocked. Thanks to GOD for His grace upon us! We had lunch together, and then Masa was attracted by a mechanical ride.

See how happy she was!

Masa's surgery was postponed until early tomorrow morning. Please just keep praying for our adorable girl, Masa!

Masa Admitted

Posted on Tue, 07/22/2014 - 23:11 by Jesse Tilman

Yousef and I got to admit Masa today for surgery tomorrow. There have been many schedule changes before, but we hope that tomorrowwill be the day. All available Shevet Achim staff gathered in the courtyard and took hands to give them an encouraging send off and to ask Hashem’s (God’s) favor over them. The drive was eventful as I missed a turn and we drove on a road with a checkpoint and were stopped for an hour before being sent back to go around to the normal highway. Our passengers showed a lot of patience!

Coming into Wolfson hospital was like seeing an old friend. Masa paused for a few pictures at the nurses’ station, exhibiting her fun personality as they began preliminary checks. The tests and blood-drawing are hardly easy, but with a child’s heart she was soon back to playing around after the nurse showed them to their room for the evening. May Masa’s Creator remember her especially in the next few days!

A Hard Decision

Posted on Tue, 07/08/2014 - 20:13 by Leanne Rogerson

Masa went to the hospital today so her mom could talk with the doctors, hear the options for further treatment, and have a chance to ask questions if she needed to.

For Masa to go ahead with the operation there is considerable risk and a real chance of her not surviving; to not have the operation would almost certainly mean Masa would not live beyond her teenage years. After today’s discussion, it looks like the Doctors are confident to go ahead with the operation to place a band around her pulmonary artery to reduce the flow, but this will not occur for another two weeks. Mom is happy and would like the operation to occur as soon as possible.

Seeking Guidance

Posted on Thu, 07/03/2014 - 22:16 by Ruth Zellweger

After several days, in which the cardiologists and surgeons had time to study more literature, they met again today to discuss Masa's case. Dr. Alona told us later that they are willing to tighten the band that has become loose around Masa's pulmonary artery, which would prevent her heart from being overloaded with increased blood-flow.  However, this surgery would not actually repair Masa's heart defect and also bears a high mortality risk. Because it is a very hard decision to make, Masa's mother has been invited to the hospital for the following week to speak personally with the doctors. We are seeking God's wisdom and guidance for all the people involved in making the decision. We pray especially that the peace of God will surround Masa and her mother in the days to come. We commit them into the hands of our loving Heavenly Father, who created this beautiful little girl and who knows exactly what is best for her. Thank you for interceding with us.

Asking God for the Miraculous

Posted on Thu, 06/26/2014 - 23:39 by Kirsten Perow

What do you do when there's nothing left to do? As believers, we give the painful circumstance to God, ask that He redeem it, and trust Him in His goodness and sovereignty. We would ask that you join with us to lift Masa up to the Lord in prayer. Masa’s doctors met today, discussed her situation, and have decided that, because Masa’s pulmonary artery pressure is too high, even while on the medication to lower it, she most likely is not operable at this time. One of the doctors suggested that the band around her pulmonary artery be tightened, but the risk of her not making it through the surgery is so high that the other doctors are strongly encouraging against it. Another suggestion of her doctors is to do the hardest thing: to wait. They are talking about the possibility of Masa going home, waiting for 2 years or so while on the medication to lower the hypertension, and then returning to determine if she is any more operable. Without surgery, Masa’s doctors are unsure how long she will live but estimate that she will live into her late teens. Next week will determine the doctors’ final decision regarding Masa’s condition.

It is heartbreaking to think of sweet, sassy Masa being any less lively than she is. As she and I were walking from the children’s ward today, hand in hand, she waved and said goodbye to every single person we saw on the way out. Masa’s tender affections for others are so far-reaching even a random man who was painting a wall in the hospital smiled at her and said, “Goodbye Masa!” This evening, she is back at Shevet and is being her usual lovey-dovey self by doling out kisses and pieces of candy.

During our worship meeting this morning, Sophie, one of our staff, shared that the Lord had given her encouragement through the Bible story of the paralytic being lowered through the ceiling of the home where Jesus was. Because the area where Jesus sat was too crowed, lowering the paralytic through the ceiling was the only way to meet Jesus and be healed. The Lord prompted Sophie to think of the people who went through the exertion of carrying the paralytic (for who knows how far) and then lowering him through the ceiling to get to Jesus. These people really had to believe that Jesus could heal the paralytic and were willing to go to great lengths to get him healed. The take-way of it all was that we should not give up. Even if it requires lowering someone through a ceiling—we shouldn't give up because God is the one who holds our very life-breath. We are asking God for the miraculous—we are praying for Masa’s heart to be healed completely or, at the very least, that He would allow her heart to be able to be healed via a surgery. Thank you for not giving up and trusting God to do miracles with us.

A Long Awaited Catheterization

Posted on Wed, 06/25/2014 - 21:44 by Ruth Zellweger

After several weeks of waiting, Masa finally had her catheterization today. When we arrived at the hospital, we found our beautiful little girl asleep in the waiting room of the catheterization laboratory. Her mother stood close by. Only just before it was time to start the procedure, Masa woke up. She didn't seem afraid, even though many different doctors and medical staff surrounded her. Her mother signed the consent forms for the procedure and for the anesthesia; Masa received some medication to put her back to sleep; and soon after, she was wheeled into the catheterization laboratory.

During the two-hour-long waiting time, Masa's mother and I sat for a while before we went for a little walk and had a cup of tea in the warm sun. Before Masa was able to return to the children's ward, she had to be observed for one hour by the medical staff in the laboratory, and during that time, we were also able to talk to the doctors. The catheterization today was a diagnostic one to determine if the pressure in Masa's pulmonary artery has gone down over the past weeks with the help of a special medication and oxygen supplementation during the nights. Unless the pressure had gone down significantly, Masa probably would not be operable. The doctors informed us that the pressure had gone down indeed, but very likely, not enough to close all the holes in Masa's heart. There might be a possibility to close one large hole or to put a band around the pulmonary artery to reduce the high pressure in the lungs. However, this would not correct the heart defect. It would only improve the abnormal heart function and relieve the symptoms.

There is a good chance that during tomorrow's weekly meeting between the cardiologists and the heart surgeons, Masa's case will be discussed. Afterward, we will know more clearly how the doctors want to proceed. Your prayer is much appreciated, as we know that God, who created Masa and knows her very well, also knows what is best for this precious little girl now. May everyone who is part of making decisions be filled with God's wisdom. 

Back on the ward, Masa was allowed to have some water and to eat soon after that. She also got entertained by the hospital clown, which she enjoyed very much. We expect to pick up Masa tomorrow to bring her home with us to our house in Jerusalem.

Masa Admitted

Posted on Tue, 06/24/2014 - 21:46 by Philip Rasmussen

Today Masa was invited to Wolfson to get admitted for her scheduled catheterization tomorrow. Masa and her mother had a longer ride to the hospital than usual, as we first had to go to the Gaza border for a child who was invited for a follow up echo examination.

We had a great time in the van, and I think they kind of enjoyed the opportunity to see some more of the country. The Masa’s grandmother is actually Palestinian, so it made good sense for them to get close to the Gaza strip and spend time with a Gaza family on the ride to Wolfson. Masa was taken into the nurses’ station right away for different assessments such as blood pressure, saturation level and temperature check. Later the much-feared blood test could not be avoided. The usually very brave Masa starts panicking when she sees the needle and has people around her trying to hold her still. It’s also very unfortunate that the medical staff often have problems finding a good blood source, and it took a good half hour today before she had her blood drawn and an IV-line placed. In the end they had a special light illuminating her veins through the skin as the picture below shows.

After having calmed down in the designated room, Masa was ready to go get some lunch. Masa, Masa’s mother, the Gaza family, Lina and I went to have lunch. Masa was quickly back to her old self, asking tons of questions about the food we ate and the way we were eating it. She was also proud of how much food she was eating (Masa has a worrisomely low appetite). Her boasts must have been bigger than her stomach, because most of her meal consisted of crust.

Masa is one of two children who are scheduled for a cath. procedure tomorrow. We all hope and pray that Masa will have her cath. tomorrow so we can get some clarity in her case. The mother is using up the last bit of patience, as they now have been in the country for more than one and a half month waiting to hear if Masa is operable. The long time is due to the doctor’s recommendation of having Masa sleeping with oxygen to improve the cath. results. The cath. should be able to provide the doctors with the necessary information to decide if Masa is a candidate to receive surgery or not. Please join us in intercession for the best possible outcome.

The Present Moment

Posted on Wed, 06/11/2014 - 21:41 by Liliane Gasser

This morning, Philip and I made our way to Tel Aviv to visit Masa, Dyako, and Rozheen. We found Masa asleep and her mother quietly waiting for news about her daughter's scheduled catheterization. Fortunately, Philip knows Arabic, so we could have a nice talk about how the mother felt and how Masa's night went in the hospital. We were also able to see Dyako’s mother, and it was so good to all be together for a while. Encouraging words shared among each other help during these difficult moments in the hospital.

 Sadly everything went differently than planned today for Masa. She could not eat anything all morning and had to wait quite long until the sentence was given: the catheterization would not take place. It had to be postponed because an earlier catheterization had taken longer than expected.

 To Masa's ears, with her joyful nature, it was wonderful to know that she could go back to Shevet Achim. But for her mother, it was a real disappointment.

 It is definitely amazing to see how children can take the present moment as it comes. While we waited for Philip to get the car to bring us back to Jerusalem, this precious Masa played in the children area in such a natural way that even now I can feel her joy and her happiness about not having the IV line in her arm anymore.