Mawa 's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Mawa Flies Home

Posted on Wed, 09/10/2008 - 01:00 by Donna_Petrel
It was my pleasure to meet Mawa and Shana and their mothers on Tuesday evening when they returned to Jordan on their way home to Iraq. The mothers were filled with thanksgiving for all that has been done for their daughters, thanking all of us over and over. They asked me to tell everyone who was part of helping this become possible, "Thank you very much!" I told them that many, many people have been praying for them, and all of us are very joyful too, and thankful to God for all He has done so far.

Their flight was supposed to leave early Wednesday morning, but the airlines notified us of its cancellation and rescheduling for today. The mothers decided to take a shopping trip yesterday to help pass the time. Again we were notified that it was delayed until mid-afternoon today, but these mothers were able to remain patient and did not become fretful. We were able to send them on their way this afternoon with no problems - apart from one brief episode of little Shana's tears because she "needed to see her Baba right now!"

Shana has very complicated heart problems and will require further treatment in about two years, yet her mother had an unmistakeable confidence that things will be addressed when that time comes. Shana is quite a lively little girl who clearly enjoyed being on her way home. She does not have a big appetite so far, but we are all hoping that getting back home will bring an end to that problem.

Mawa was happy about everything the entire time she was with us. She was particularly proud of her new shades she got for the trip home. Her gentle mother is expecting a baby in a few months, so this family will have several reasons to give special thanks, and celebrate this year.

We sent them on their way with prayer, entrusting them to God's loving care, and looking forward to seeing Shana again for her future treatment.

An Adventure as Mawa Leaves Israel

Posted on Tue, 09/09/2008 - 07:48 by Jim_and_Grace

Today we prayed with Mawa and Shana and their mothers at our Jerusalem center (above) and then set out for the Jordanian border, as they left Israel and began the long journey home to Iraq.

The trip from Jerusalem is about two hours. It was going very smooth up until the first security check point in the Jordan Valley. We were asked how we (who are from America and have never met these Iraqi people before) were connected with them. We said we worked with a ministry that brought them to Israel to give them heart surgery, but the security staff were still very dubious.

They had us remove all the luggage and every bag from the car to be x-rayed multiple times. They also had us walk through a metal detector and go through some of the bags with them. At one point, we looked back at the car and saw every door open, including the hood, and a search dog sniffing his way around the car. Although it seems like an intense situation, we couldn't help but laugh through the whole thing, and we knew in the end we would be fine and would have a story out of it. After about 25 minutes of questioning and searching, they allowed us to go on our way to the Jordanian border.

The rest of the trip went very well, and we sped right through the rest of the security points. This was a great experience and we were blessed to help.

Mawa Released To Go Home

Posted on Sun, 09/07/2008 - 01:00 by Alex_Pettett

Three weeks after dropping off Mawa at the Schneider Childrens Medical Center in Israel I returned to find the curious half-smile still on her face even after enduring what was called a miraculous surgery. After a final echocardiogram she was released today to go home to Iraq with a clean bill of health and a bright future.

Mawas sent home armed with a small drugstore of medicine, including Viagra, which was first developed for use with heart patients before the pharmaceutical people stumbled on its more profitable use. We are told that after three months of this costly regime she will not need further medical intervention or drug therapy.

When hospital staff realized that their precious patient was leaving to travel back east, they took turns lining up to take a last picture with them, some wiping a tear away from their eyes. Dr. Birk, the chief cardiologist, is shown above with Mawa and her mother. And Dr. Moore took time to give kisses that were not just a formality but a sign of true affection.

All the hospital staff praised the kind, laidback attitude the mothers had through this very difficult process. Despite the language barrier, attitudes of mutual appreciation were pervasive. You could tell that the hearts of the Israelis were changed by being part of little Mawas healing.

Even in leaving some of the last words of the doctors were of the luck of her successful surgery. When Mawas case was first considered the doctors were skeptical that there could be a positive outcome. Mawas journey is just another example of what it means to lay the practical aside and trust that the Lord can bring healing through the most difficult circumstances.

Mawa Saved by "Miracle" Operation

Posted on Mon, 08/25/2008 - 01:00 by James_Peterhoff

I don't think I have ever witnessed doctors work as quickly and diligently as the new hospital that Shevet Achim partners with, the Schneider Children's Medical Center in Petah Tikva. My coworker Elena and I last visited the hospital on Thursday to find Mawa being prepped for her catheterization, and when we arrived on Monday her surgery was already completed! I couldn't believe that after a weekend this happened! (I often forget that Fridays and Saturdays are the weekends in Israel, not Sundays).

"Mawa is very lucky and very fortunate to be alive." Those were the exact words of the head nurse that was watching over Mawa. We knew that Mawa had a very large VSD (hole) in her heart that could have possibly been inoperable. In most cases for a child her age, there would be a buildup of blood in the lungs, creating a pressure that could not be fixed. Mawa is not like most cases as the blood never built up in her lungs meaning she was operable! The doctors actually
said they were shocked by this and Elena and I could only define it as a miracle.

The surgeons did inform us that they are optimistic about Mawa making a full recovery. Her mom seemed very optimistic as well and was much more at peace than the last time we saw her. As optimistic as the doctors are, we still request that you continue to pray for the recovery of Mawa and that her condition only continues to improve.

Mawa's First Echo Reveals Her Condition is Very Complex

Posted on Thu, 08/21/2008 - 07:48 by James_Peterhoff

Unfortunately for Mawa and her mother, they were abruptly awoken early in the morning so they could head to the hospital for Mawas initial tests. The drive there was a small adventure as two cars had to be driven because three separate girls were heading to two different hospitals. Because one of the cars blew a tire, the trip to the hospital took longer than anticipated.

Mawa and Shana went to a hospital that Shevet Achim has recently begun working with. Everything seemed to go well at the hospital as both were admitted virtually immediately.

After an initial echocardiogram, we learned that Mawa has a large ventricular septal defect. This means that there is no wall between the lower chambers (ventricles) of the heart. This causes her to have a very low
oxygen level, which can be seen by her blue skin and lips.

Throughout the whole day, Mawa seemed to have an ease of life about her. Both her and her mother were so happy knowing that help was being offered to them. Mawa is scheduled to undergo a catheterization in the next few days in order for the doctors to have a better understanding of her problems.

The doctors admit that Mawas case is extremely difficult. They will need further evaluation in order to know exactly how to treat Mawa. Please lift this whole situation up in prayer.

Mawa Reaches Israel in Quest for New Life

Posted on Tue, 08/19/2008 - 01:00 by James_Peterhoff

We got the news that today we would have the opportunity to welcome three new Iraqis to the Shevet Achim family. Originally, we were asked to drive and pick them up at
10 AM, but the pick up time was continually pushed back. Finally, we left Shevet at 5 PM with the goal of bringing these new Iraqis into Israel.

Logistics are always fun! Upon arrival of the Jordan/Israel border, Keleigh, Elena and I waited for Shana, Alaa and Mawa to come into Israel. After sitting for a few minutes, one of the members of the security staff asked if Keleigh could assist in the process as most of the Iraqis could speak only Kurdish. The irony is that Keleigh doesnt speak Kurdish, though this did provide an opportunity to see how the Iraqis were acting in anticipation of their arrival to Israel.

The youngest, Shana, stayed by her mom who seemed to be a natural leader. Shanas mom does speak some Arabic and thus, became the main communicator for the women. She also seems to be the least shy of the women as she immediately spoke with Elena and me. Her daughter remained by her side looking adorable. At one point during the security screening the officer on duty asked the mothers why they came to Israel since Israel and Iraq are not friendly. To this questions Shanas mother responded (in Arabic), we have come to Israel because we want help for our children.

While the mothers were at passport control, the children played with the baggage carts. Mawa had a great time placing the luggage on the cart and then taking it off. Alaa played along side her with her own cart.

After some final moments of waiting, these three families entered into Israel wide-eyed and anxious. Overall everyone was both fun-loving and easy-going. They didnt seem to be nervous about their trip and looked comfortable upon their arrival into Israel.

It took approximately an hour and a half to return to Shevet from the border. We made it back by 10 PM and set up the beds and rooms for the night. It is pretty amazing to think that right now, Shevet Achim is housing nine children with one parent for every child.

We ask that you please pray for these three new children. Tomorrow morning they will go to the hospital for their first echocardiogram and blood work. Also, pray for the mothers as they are in yet another new land with another new language. Thank you all for your support!