Masa's Heart Surgery


Admitted for Catheterization

Posted on Tue, 06/10/2014 - 23:14 by Ruth Zellweger
Spending time at the hospital is usually a good opportunity to get to know the new families. Today, I spent several hours with Masa and her mother during Masa's admission at Wolfson Hospital. Because of Dyako's surgery, I was already at the hospital when Masa and her mother arrived. Together with Dyako's mother, we made our way to the ward and were soon joined by the mother of Rozheen. It was nice to watch the three mothers interact with each other. Social interactions among the mothers are so important, especially in a country and environment that is so different from what they are used to.
While the mothers spent time together, little Masa was walking around the hallways, exploring the different rooms. For the occasion of her admission she wore a beautiful white dress with big red circles. She looked adorable – like a little princess. However, she is a princess with her own mind, though not in a bad way. One cannot force her to pose for a picture. Either she is in the mood for it, or she is not. 
After her vital signs were taken and blood was drawn, she was free.  Little Masa and her mother joined the rest of our group in the waiting area of the ICU where, eventually, little Dyako was wheeled by. The rest of our time we spent in the play area of the children's ward. It was a special day for me in many ways, and one of the reasons was the time spent with Masa. Being around her makes you feel happy. She loves to make faces and share her sweets and snacks. I am looking forward to spending more time with her and her mother.
As of right now, it is not for sure that Masa will have her catheterization Wednesday morning. There is a chance that it could be postponed for two weeks, depending on the duration of another catheterization scheduled that same morning. We trust in God's perfect timing for little Masa and entrust her into His loving arms.

A Cheerful Heart

Posted on Thu, 05/15/2014 - 22:22 by Rahel Eschler

Today it was already time for Masa to go back to the hospital again after her initial assessments three days ago. Her mum made sure Masa was presentable, clothing her in a pink shirt and giving her a cute hairstyle which suited our Syrian princess perfectly. While waiting for our driver Philip in the front yard, we captured Masa’s expression with the camera.

 At Wolfson Hospital we headed right to the echo department to meet with Dr. Alona. While waiting for her, Masa and her mum underwent a rather unpleasant test to find out if they were ever in contact with tuberculosis bacteria. Masa tried to escape as soon as she saw the nurse preparing the needle. I held her tight on my lap as she protested against the procedure with all her strength.

The nurse did not hesitate, however, and injected the liquid under the skin on Masa’s forearm. The test can be read in two days by the reaction of Masa’s skin to the injection.

After Masa calmed down with a few toys to distract her, we met Dr. Alona, who detailed the further treatment needed concerning Masa’s heart defect. The biggest problem the doctors are dealing with right now is pulmonary hypertension, caused by the holes between the two large chambers of Masa's heart. Currently the pressure in her pulmonary artery is too high to perform surgery on her heart. Dr. Alona’s hope is to reduce the pressure by heart-supporting medicine and nightly oxygen therapy, which we were able to start yesterday. After one month she will evaluate Masa’s treatment with a catherization.

Please intercede with us for this method to be effective and for Masa’s heart to be considered operable. Masa’s mum also needs a lot of patient support as she goes through this trying period. Fortunately Masa is cooperative with her behavior towards the treatment, which makes things easier for everyone. And her bright spirit and cheerfulness make everything sweeter. Fittingly she wore a shirt with a heart on it today. I can only say Masa has already taken our hearts by storm.

Masa's Complicated Heart

Posted on Mon, 05/12/2014 - 20:58 by Philip Rasmussen

Today Masa and her mother finally experienced the reason they came to Israel in the first place—the treatment of Masa’s precious heart. Due to her rare heart defect, hospitals are taking one step at a time with her treatment, and today Wolfson invited Masa in for a non-binding echocardiogram.

Shortly after our arrival, the hospital staff started performing different tests as initial assessments. Masa had an EKG ultrasound test first, followed by an x-ray. Everything was done with ease and plenty of smiles. She was the center of attention, a talkative and outgoing girl making many friends at her first day at the hospital. Different staff members and patients would stop to speak with her as she stood peeping into the hospital hallways. We knew, however, it was only a matter of time before her idyllic picture of the hospital would crack: her blood test was coming.

There were, unfortunately, problems finding a good blood source, so the whole blood test took a good ten minutes. During the whole test, Masa was crying loudly and screaming over and over, “I don’t want the needle!” I was impressed by her mother, who stood over her, leaned her face towards her, and spoke to her in a soft voice, holding tightly to her body in order to keep her from moving.

After the blood test, we made our way to the echo department. With the new horror of doctors fresh in her mind, Masa started crying again in the echo room. But the doctors soon turned on the television and put on a cartoon which Masa knew from back home. This quickly made her as silent as Santa during summer. She liked the cartoon so much that she even asked if she could stay in the echo room when we had to leave.

Different cardiologists and echo technicians observed the echo results. Their appraisals revealed Masa is a unique girl with a unique heart. She has multiple VSDs (holes between her right and left ventricles), and the medical team wants to perform a catheterization. But in order to get the best possible results, Masa must start taking a special medication to enlarge her blood vessels. And on top of this new medication, she might have to sleep with oxygen during the night. She is scheduled to come to Wolfson again for a consultation on Thursday to see how she responds to the medication. If there is improvement, the doctors will proceed with the catheterization.

Though we still don’t know if Masa will be able to receive full treatment at this hospital, it was encouraging to see her taking steps in the right direction. You can pray with us that she will respond positively to the medication and that she and her mother will have patience in the midst of the unknown.

Masa From Syria Arrives Smoothly in Israel

Posted on Sun, 05/04/2014 - 21:22 by MadelynMiles

From the moment Masa and her mother walked into our house in Amman, Jordan, I was enamored with this four-year-old's sweet presence and adorable charms. Her mother is equally as lovely. Neither of them made hardly a peep during our five hour trip through the Jordan Valley and across the Israeli border. I, being seven months pregnant and not so fond of long trips, was extremely thankful not only for how pleasant and calm they were, but also for how easy and short of a border crossing we had. Granted, the Israeli guards were extremely surprised we had Syrians with us, but we kindly explained this was now the fourth Syrian child coming to Israel for medical treatment. We sailed through the rest of the border, taking no longer than we would have even without Syrians refugees! I was grateful. 

Equally worthy of thankfulness is that we currently have two Kurdish mothers speaking fluent Arabic on base at Shevet. This is not always true, and so I feel much happier welcoming Masa and her mother to their new home knowing they can communicate and bond with the other families receiving medical treatment. Thank the Lord for a smooth trip and happy arrival to Prophets Street!