Nyan's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

Farewell to a Kind and Loving Pair

Posted on Thu, 03/09/2017 - 21:33 by Joseph Carter

Nyan and her father flew home to Kurdistan on Tuesday. It was absolutely incredible to get to know the two of them. Nyan's father, whose English is amazing, was always extremely kind and gracious to the Shevet community. He was always patient when he received hard news. His attitude was that whatever was best for his daughter, he would do.

Nyan had a beautiful smile which she shared most freely while in the arms of her father. I had a number of opportunities to spend time with Nyan's father walking around Jerusalem and talking to him. I’m grateful for his friendship and his wisdom.

Before they left, we celebrated Nyan's restored life with a farewell party, lavishing them in our love through songs, food, gifts, and fellowship.

We pray this love will stay with them in Kurdistan, and radiate out to those in their community. 

It was sad for me to take them to the airport and say goodbye, but also joyful. There were no problems going through airport security and I was surprised to hear, only a few hours later, that they were already home with family. Praise the Lord who brought us this family and sent them away with a new healthy heart. We will miss the two of them!


A Heart-Pounding Finale

Posted on Mon, 03/06/2017 - 22:47 by Alexa Bigl

Nyan received her final echo today! She is cleared to return home to Kurdistan with her loving father.

We felt confident going into the echo that this would be her last, since the unplanned trip to Wolfson this past Friday had produced wonderful results on her previous echo. As the cardiologist's examination grew longer, we began to worry some. The head of the department came in and did more assessments, and began showing the other doctor some of the images the echo had captured. Soon, however, our worries dissolved as Dr. Tamir reassured us everything was OK and Nyan was still set to return home tomorrow.

She had a lot of work done on her pulmonary valve during her surgical repair, so follow-up appointments will be needed to keep an eye on the valve. Everything looks good now and we are hopeful it will remain so, but (like with every child here receiving cardiac surgery) the follow up assessments are very important.  

Nyan will remain on her medication for a month. At that point, she will follow up with her local cardiologist.
While we are so happy Nyan and her father can return home, we are very sad this part of our Shevet family is leaving. Smiling Nyan and her engaging father have blessed us in numerous ways. The Lord is so good! 
We'll have a goodbye blog posted in the coming days with reflection on our final hours with Nyan, so keep an eye out!

Emergent Admission

Posted on Fri, 03/03/2017 - 21:04 by Alexa Bigl

Our Jerusalem and Jaffa communities awoke this morning to the concerning news that Nyan had a fever. She was in Jerusalem, but needed to get to Wolfson here in Tel Aviv, so we collaborated to get her safely to the hospital. Her fever did reduce some with medication, but she still had a high temperature.

Around 9am we arrived to the hospital where Dr. Eve examined Nyan right away. There were no indications of the cause of the fever, so they drew blood and began working on a urine test. Then Dr. Alona came and did an echo. Praise the Lord, the fever is not caused by any issues with her heart, and there is no fluid build-up. 

Since her fever was so high, they have admitted Nyan to the hospital where she will spend the night. Once the blood and urine tests come back, we will know better what is going on and what treatment course, if any, will be taken.
We are so thankful to God for the early catch of her increased temperature, that we safely arrived at Wolfson today without problems, and that Nyan's heart is looking very good! We will be praying the results of the blood and urine tests will come soon, and that Nyan's recovery to a normal temperature is very quick. 
Sunday, March 5th-
Yesterday Nyan's father called me around noon because the nurses and doctors were ready to discharge Nyan. Although it's unusual for Wolfson to do discharges on the Shabbat, Nyan's father convinced them. Nyan's blood test had shown only an increase in white blood cells, indicating her body had fought off whatever bug had been trying to set up camp in her body. Praise the Lord her fever was quickly down and she was back to normal by Friday afternoon. After I got the call from Nyan's father, I met him outside of the hosptial with a stroller so we could walk back to our Jaffa home. The rest of the day and today Nyan has been happily smiling with no signs of fever. Tomorrow Nyan will return to Wolfson for an echo; we pray it will be her final one! The Lord is faithful and good; His healing hand reveals His glory once again here with Nyan. 

Getting Closer

Posted on Mon, 02/27/2017 - 22:51 by Ruth Zellweger

Nyan had her first follow up today since being released from the hospital last week. Quite some time passed, but eventually we heard from Dr. Alona that her heart looks good and there is no residual fluid visible.

Nyan, her father and I walked to the hospital after our morning meeting. The weather was pleasant and we had some good conservations on our way.

When we reached the echo department it became obvious that we were going to wait for quite some time today. And that is exactly what happened. Child after child went in the examination room before Nyan, while her father patiently waited. After the doctors had their lunch break, it was finally Nyan's turn to be carefully examined.

The results were good. She will probably stay with us for another ten days, as she is being weaned off her steroid medication.

We are thankful that little Nyan is doing so well. This evening, she and her father joined our Jerusalem community for the next week. We are looking forward to hearing about their adventures in Jerusalem. 

Nyan returns to Jaffa

Posted on Tue, 02/21/2017 - 19:56 by Ruth Zellweger

Exactly two weeks after her open heart surgery, little Nyan returned this afternoon to our Jaffa community. Already in the morning her joyful father had called to let us know that the doctors were going to discharge Nyan today from the hospital. I was happy that he had wanted to share this beautiful news right away, as we are one big family and at home at Shevet, away from our homes in different parts of the world.

It was several hours before all the necessary tests were finished and Nyan cleared to leave the hospital. Since all of our vehicles were out, she and her father had to wait a long time before being picked up. Eventually, her father decided he couldn't wait any longer and simply walked to our Jaffa home. This is one of the advantages of our new base so close to the hospital.

Nyan and her father were welcomed warmly by the fathers of Seraj and Zakariya. While Alexa and I tried to reconnect with Nyan, which turned out to be difficult as Nyan is very focused on her father, the men met on the balcony and shared their latest news. It was so nice to experience the joyful atmosphere. God has brought us all together for this season, and it is a privilege to be part of what He is doing in our community.

Nyan has a follow-up echo this coming Monday. By God's grace, Nyan overcame many obstacles and complications and is healing beautifully. We know that we cannot take this for granted, and are thankful for His love and kindness towards precious Nyan and her family.


Nyan Moved to the Ward

Posted on Mon, 02/20/2017 - 22:54 by Paul Gerstmann

Today I made my way to Wolfson to give Nyan's father an opportunity to shower and freshen up. Nyan had been moved from secondary ICU to the children's ward and was looking great.

Nyan apparently still has fluid around her heart; though her condition is steadily getting better. I really enjoyed the time I had to share with her and she seemed to take a liking to me. She definitely has a very healthy appetite, which is always a good sign.

There was also a noticeable difference with her breathing from just the other day, she did not seem to be struggling with her breathing at all, and she's getting her cry back. It looks like she's well on her way back home - all glory to God.


Nyan Has Been Moved

Posted on Tue, 02/14/2017 - 21:58 by Paul Gerstmann

Today Nyan was moved from the primary ICU to secondary ICU. This is a good sign and shows she is improving.

The nurses say she is doing much better and she is able to eat some hard food. Though she will probably stay longer than usual due to congestion in her lungs. But I could see she was really trying to smile and I think that's a good thing. Please keep Nyan in your prayers.

Normal Rhythm and Other Improvements

Posted on Mon, 02/13/2017 - 23:00 by Alexa Bigl

Nyan's medical team had many good reports today! Her heart is back in normal sinus rhythm, beating as it should after many days in a junctional tachycardia. The doctors were able to stop her anti-arrythmic IV medication, too. Around 11am, Nyan also had her chest tubes taken out. And then at 1:30 she was switched from her high flow oxygen to a regular nasal cannula. Today was the first time I had seen her awake since before her surgery. Her beautiful brown eyes were serious, but content as she lay in her big hospital bed. She doesn't have any smiles yet, but I can't wait until she is feeling well enough to begin playing, smiling, and laughing with us again!

The nurses also hope to take out her NG feeding tube tonight since Nyan has been drinking her milk very well today. Her father was encouraged by all the improvements today. He very much wants to hold his daughter, but was nervous with the wires and tubes she still has.
Please join us in praying the NG tube will come out tonight and the nurses and doctors can help Nyan's dad feel comfortable so he will hold his precious daughter. What is more healing than being in the loving arms of your father? We praise our Heavenly Father for the healing He is doing in Nyan and we continue to ask His hands be on her.  

Following Nyan’s Recovery

Posted on Sun, 02/12/2017 - 22:20 by Katrine Gregersen

Nyan was extubated in the morning. When we arrived to see her in the afternoon, she laid in her bed with her eyes opened. She looked around and noticed two people entering the room and coming towards her, but she didn't respond much because she was tired and her throat was sore from extubation. She is still recovering from the surgery, but she is a fighter and God watches her and follows her in every step of the journey.

Please, pray for Nyan and her health, because every prayer to God will help her and the family with courage and peace of mind.


Nyan's Chest is Closed

Posted on Fri, 02/10/2017 - 21:46 by Ruth Zellweger

Today marked an important day in Nyan's recovery as her chest was closed in the morning. When I entered the hospital just before noon I found Nyan's father waiting in front of the ICU. He told me that the procedure had just finished and that he would soon be able to see his daughter. I could tell how relieved he was and rejoiced with him about the progress in Nyan's recovery. 

About an hour later I went into the ICU and spent some time there with Nyan and father. I also had the chance to talk to one of the doctors. He told me that Nyan's heart is currently paced by an external pacemaker, and that it is not yet back to it's normal rhythm. However, often with time the arrhythmia dissolves. And that is what we are praying for, that precious Nyan would recover without any further complications and that her heart would be working hundred percent well. The doctors are hoping to extuabate Nyan within the next two days. 

Nyan's journey is a little bit more rocky than for other children, but God is watching over her. What a great comfort in times of uncertainty and distress.