Rebin's Heart Surgery

from northern Iraq

A Future as Bright as his Eyes

Posted on Tue, 11/01/2011 - 22:30 by Ryan Gregg

Rebin, who arrived in Israel nearly two months ago with a pacifier in his mouth and shy eyes darting away from any human contact, is now on his way home to his family in northern Iraq. This morning he and his mother crossed to the east side of the Jordan River, and tomorrow afternoon they will fly from Amman to Kurdistan.

The aperture between the lower chambers of his heart has been fixed by Israeli doctors. Follow-up appointments show the heart is healing well. And daily encounters with he and his mother show that their other heart

Rebin Reaches for Recovery

Posted on Mon, 10/24/2011 - 21:31 by Kristina Kayser

Good news was the order of the day at Wolfson Hospital this afternoon. For Rebin, a precocious three-year-old, today's echo results were his ticket home! Nevertheless, ten minutes of lying still for Dr. Alona to examine him was almost more than he could bear. Within seconds of entering the exam room, Rebin let out a wail and proceeded to cry for the duration of the echo. His mother worked hard to comfort him, but nothing would soothe his sore spirits. Meanwhile, three doctors huddled around the computer, reviewing the workings of his heart three weeks post-op. The gortex-sealed breach is holding fast, with no evidence of a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) remaining. Rebin's heart will now be able to keep up with his active lifestyle. This boy loves to run, jump, name it! He will need full cardiac function for the many adventures awaiting him, and doctors agree that nothing is holding him back now.

Rebin's tears were dried as Dr. Alona announced his medical discharge. Praise God! At this stage of recovery, mother and son need only wait for final preparations to be made, including medical documents, visas, and a prescription. It won't be long before the two will be on a plane bound for Kurdistan! As I watch this exuberant fellow heal so swiftly, I can't help but note that he has been spared by God's grace and given a zeal for life. As he grows and matures (even while sleeping:), may he recognize the gift which has been given him. "The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life." Job 33:4


"The Echo Showed a Beautiful Surgery"

Posted on Mon, 10/17/2011 - 22:40 by Donna_West

Rebin left Jerusalem early this morning for his echo appointment in Tel Aviv, maybe well before he was ready to start the day. He fell asleep right before the echo and his mother tried to delicately lift his shirt so as to not wake him. The echo showed a beautiful surgery and no fluid gathering around his heart. As Dr.Alona listened to his heart she told us we should plan on two more echoes before Rebin is released, but it is possible he may only need one.

After a stitch was removed, Rebin was ready for lunch before heading back to Jerusalem.

Homecoming for Rebin

Posted on Mon, 10/10/2011 - 00:00 by Donna_West

Rebin and his mother  were walking the halls waiting and watching for us to arrive to bring them back to Jerusalem today. 

There were many tasks to be completed before we were free to leave:  blood pressure, oxygen levels, ports removed, another echo, ECG's, medicine to take and medicine to go (home with the patient). It is all so tiresome for a mother and child already weary from more procedures that they haven't enjoyed participating in. But finally when it was all said and done, they were very happy to be on their way back to familiar faces and places. Thank you Lord for all you have done for Rebin.  Please help him to continue to heal, to grow strong and courageous as the days go on and have a life of joy with your presence.

A Healing Process for Mother and Son

Posted on Thu, 10/06/2011 - 00:00 by Tracy Honafius

I saw Rebin today, recovering from his surgery yesterday. He was still hooked up to a number of machines--including oxygen, various catheters and monitor cords in ICU. Rebin

A Hard Day's Surgery

Posted on Wed, 10/05/2011 - 00:00 by Stephanie Ventura

It was a new morning and when I joined Rebin and his mother at the hospital, I noticed a

Rebin Admitted for Heart Surgery

Posted on Tue, 10/04/2011 - 21:09 by Co-authored
(This blog co-authored by Tracy Honafius and Donna West)
Mid-morning today the phone call came for Rebin to be admitted for surgery. He was all smiles, giggles and laughter as he made his way to the car, climbed in and made it six minutes down the road before he had fallen fast asleep. His mother rode silently in the back seat, her thoughts equally as silent yet keeping her company. 
Once at the hospital, Rebin grew a bit hesitant, unsure what our motive was in bringing him to this place again. While waiting to be seen, he was invited to a small gathering of staff and visitors in the courtyard, where a party was being held to celebrate the donations of children

A Tale of Two Surgeries

Posted on Tue, 09/27/2011 - 00:00 by Donna_West

Three Shevet team members arrived at Wolfson Hospital by 7:30 AM this morning to be a presence of faith, hope and love for the mothers of Lamo and Rebin during their children's surgeries today. The Hebrew phrase "kol  b'seder" refers to all things being in order. By 8:45 AM it was evident things were distinctly OUT of order!  The usual order of a child being taken to surgery would have been for the child and mother to have been escorted to the surgical floor (in the basement) by 8 AM at the latest.


The children were awake and each one was struggling with the hunger of fasting, the IV drip attached to their body and the anticipation of the unknown.  Now, they were also wondering why this was day was not progressing as they had been told. So let's go back to what they were told, beginning with the change of plans yesterday.
When we were surprised with the sudden opportunity for one of them to have an operation yesterday and then it changed, we assured all the mothers in the house that even though we did not know what changed, we could trust the doctors were making a decision based on the best interest of the child. We explained that most of the time it is best for the children to come the day before to have all the blood tests done and make sure their body was not fighting any bacteria or virus that would complicate their recovery.  Assuring them their child's best interest was the basis for rethinking the plan built a foundation of trust for the next decision that was made.  Then a couple hours later, the call came for them both of them to come in to have surgery the next day (which would have been today).

Who could have known the only pediatric heart surgeon would have spent the entire night (until 4  AM this morning) struggling to save the life of another child? As a result, neither Lamo nor Rebin would be able to have surgery today. This medical team was once again, willing to put the well-being of these two Iraqi children ahead of everything else; only willing to give their best, when their best is not compromised with fatigue. 
It is always difficult for us at the Shevet house to offer comfort to the mothers when their emotions are scattered all over the place--one minute you're preparing for your child to undergo major heart surgery, and the next it's been cancelled. But I want to recognize the truth in this difficult reality: that our doctors sacrifice so much of their time and energy for these kids. Today we choose to be the voice of faith, hope and love to the doctors and nurses at Wolfson Hospital.  We choose to say thank you for how you care for us and these children. We choose to tell you we see the sacrifice you make and KNOW what you do is about YOUR heart for us--not about your pocketbook. And we choose to continue to ask God's favor on you in your home, your family, your land, and your own health.  Thank You!


The video below shows Rebin's mother rocking him and cooing to help him cope with his hunger. When the surgery was still scheduled to proceed, Rebin was require to fast--a concept which is often difficult for them to understand and accept.




God Had A Better Plan

Posted on Mon, 09/26/2011 - 21:29 by Donna_West
This morning began with an early call from the hospital saying, "Don

Up and Climbing

Posted on Thu, 09/22/2011 - 00:00 by Jeff Sheehan

Rebin came to us two weeks ago and had since developed a high fever. He was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with Pneumonia & Otitis Media (ear infection). The doctors treated him with antibiotics and kept him in the hospital for three days--praise the Lord, this was enough to bring him to recovery. Yesterday he was taken for a check up and given a clean bill of health for the fever, chest sounds and ear ache! The doctors were all very kind to Rebin and his mother, and even posed with them for a picture. They have said that today is his last day for oral antibiotics.

So it can be said that Rebin is up and climbing, since that appears to be his favourite activity. All around the upstairs living area, he climbs on the window sills, the furniture--everything! He just loves it, like a little meymoon (Kurdish for monkey). As he continues to get healthier in his overall well being, he gets closer to his surgery date. It is up to the doctors to decide when that is, so for now we await a call for his surgery. We ask for your prayers of thanksgiving to God for his current recovery from illness, continued prayers for more healing, and for the peace of God which these families need during their anxious waiting period before surgery.