Rayan's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Beautiful Things in Store

Posted on Mon, 01/06/2014 - 22:06 by Kristina Kayser
In Proverbs 25:25, it is written, "As cold water to a weary soul, so is good news from a far country." This proverb certainly rang true for Rayan's parents in Kurdish Iraq when they learned that hope for their daughter's life could be realized through surgery in Israel. This hope has continued to carry Rayan and her mother since their arrival in Jerusalem two weeks ago. With several other families waiting for their child's surgery, our home has had an increasing air of expectation. And each new day brings with it the desire of hope fulfilled.
Rayan's dramatic cyanotic state (oxygen deprivation) coupled with the fact that her mother is in her sixth month of pregnancy has added to the present drama of an uncertain surgery schedule. You can imagine, then, how joyful it was to receive word from the hospital this morning that Rayan was once again invited for surgery. Her mother was beaming all day. Moreover, throughout the admission process, I caught her just gazing at her daughter, delighting in her antics and beauty. The pure love of a parent for their child is something wonderful to behold. I saw in Rayan's mother a glimpse of the way our Heavenly Father sees us, with eyes full of unreserved love.
Rayan was an outstanding patient today as well. She followed every instruction without complaint, winning the nurses over with her compliant spirit and earning a special chocolate. After vital signs were taken and two IV sticks were completed, Rayan was none the worse for wear. Her mother and I praised God together for what tomorrow holds: Dr. Sasson is planning on performing the first of a two-step surgery called a BT shunt. This procedure will improve her oxygenation and strengthen her heart for a full repair in the future.
I trust that the Lord has beautiful things in store for Rayan. May He be glorified in another heart that receives life and healing from His hands.

Rayan Home From the Hospital

Posted on Mon, 12/30/2013 - 22:01 by Kristina Kayser

It was only yesterday we bid Rayan farewell to be admitted for surgery at Wolfson Hospital in balmy Tel Aviv. Her mother, who is in her sixth month of pregnancy, was overjoyed and relieved help for her daughter was right around the corner. As we discovered today, however, that corner will take a little longer to "get around" than we first expected. 

When I arrived at the hospital today, I found Rayan and her mother sitting contentedly in their room.

For a woman who has never been far from home, she looked especially calm. Everything seemed to be in order for surgery tomorrow morning. Rayan's blue lips and skin were a stark reminder of her urgent need for treatment. Then an unexpected piece of news arrived. Dr. Alona informed us all heart surgeries this week are cancelled due to an infection control issue in the ICU. Rayan's mother looked up at me expectantly, asking me to translate what the doctor had just said. I proceeded to gently explain her daughter's surgery would not be tomorrow but the following week. I anticipated tears, questions, and fear, but instead I found peace and acceptance in this mother's eyes. Praise God for His grace in this moment! 

Rayan returned to our home in Jerusalem this evening, along with two other Kurdish families. As we wait and pray for peace in the coming days, I believe God will be faithful to pour out His grace in both Rayan's and her mother's life. "For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace" (John 1:16).

In Preparation for Surgery

Posted on Sun, 12/29/2013 - 21:01 by Nick Boyum

Today Wolfson Hospital called Rayan into the children’s ward to await surgery! Despite a few tears when an IV was inserted and her blood was taken, her admission went smoothly. 

The most beautiful thing to behold was her mother’s constant care and love. Through every tear, scream, and smile, her mother never left her side. Whenever the tears came, a simple kiss on the forehead from her mother shut the floodgates almost immediately. 

In addition to her hospital admittance, Rayan had quite a surprise today. Her new friend Anes is in the bed right next to her in the ward! 

It will be a real blessing for both the children and their mothers to have friends nearby during this trying time. 

Please continue praying for Rayan, as there are many trials ahead of her. Our God assures us, however, that we can push forward with confidence! “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Rayan's First Assessment

Posted on Mon, 12/23/2013 - 20:44 by Ruth Zellweger

After several days of traveling to Israel, Rayan and her mother did not get much rest, as Rayan´s initial assessment at Wolfson Hospital was scheduled for today.

Around noon time we arrived at the hospital and were welcomed by the kind nurses at the ward. Rayan´s vital signs were taken and an EKG was written before it was time to have lunch.

Soon after, we were called into the nurse’s station for blood work. Rayan cried the whole time, which brought tears to her mother´s eyes.

Next came Rayan's echo.

It revealed Rayan´s arteries are currently too small for a complete repair of her heart. She will need a two-step surgery. During the first part Rayan will receive a BT-shunt, which will increase the blood flow to her lungs. Once her arteries are bigger, she can return to Israel for the second part of the heart repair. 

The final test for Rayan was a chest x-ray. Since Rayan’s mother is pregnant, Payveen´s mother kindly offered to take her place standing by Rayan's side. Rayan was carried into the room crying, but walked out a little heroine. 

At the end of the hospital day both Rayan and her mother were exhausted. The last few days have been overwhelming for them. Please pray that they will be able to rest and adjust while waiting for a surgery date.

Rayan Arrives in Israel

Posted on Sun, 12/22/2013 - 23:31 by Zack Miles

Rayan and her mother arrived in Jordan Saturday night. It was obvious they were confused and slightly afraid. Rayan’s mother picked at her food, her eyes downcast for most of dinner. Rayan was extremely blue and also ate little. 

Sunday morning we all set off for the border crossing. We squeezed into the van seats and slammed the doors shut. The first stretch of the trip was cramped, to say the least, as ten people were seated in the eight-person van.

As we drove through the Jordan Valley to the border crossing, Rayan was quiet and content.  She only cried a little, contenting herself by eating some snacks and looking out the windows. 

Once we got to the border, however, some trouble began. We had a very long wait on the Israeli side of the border, and the Israeli security forces were thorough in their examinations of the mothers. They put each mother through scans and questioning, causing the children to be left behind in the interim. The mothers complied, but as soon as Rayan’s mother left Rayan behind, Rayan began to scream and cry. Her intense screaming was dangerous for her, considering how blue she was. Fortunately, we were able to quickly bring her to her mother, and after the security forces were satisfied, both of the mothers returned to the van. 

Praise be to God, we arrived safely in Jerusalem this evening and settled Rayan and her mother into their new home here at Shevet. Please keep Rayan in your prayers, as she is scheduled to have her first hospital visit sometime this week. 

The Wait is Almost Over

Posted on Sun, 11/24/2013 - 22:39 by Kelsey Cannon

When we first met Rayan at a cardiology screening in northern Iraq last February, it was originally recommended that she have further cardiac testing done in her home country before deciding if it was best for her to travel to Israel for medical treatment. Nine months later, all of the required testing has been completed and the results have been sent over to the Wolfson Medical Center. Doctors there have recently agreed to accept Rayan as a patient and patch up a hole between the two lower ventricles of her heart, known as a ventricular septal defect (VSD), as well as correct her pulmonary atresia, which is a malformed pulmonary valve. We expect Rayan to join us here in Jerusalem within the coming weeks.