Roshna's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Written on Her Heart

Posted on Wed, 09/07/2016 - 21:56 by Alejandra Becerra

What a joy it is to have a new heart and a new family!

Monday night we had a special farewell party because two of our kids were discharged to return to Kurdistan. Roshna and Sharbel finally are going home and we invited some close friends from the Finnish School to join us in celebrating their healed hearts. The volunteers at the Finnish School have always been such great people with both our volunteers and the Kurdish families. It was 6:30 in the evening and everything was ready to share a meal for the last time.

Roshna was precious wearing a long and beautiful, blue dress that her father bought in Jerusalem. We gathered together for a delicious meal from Jasmin who cooked Thai food, some summer fruits, tea and a dessert from Sharbel's mother. Even our Arab neighbors joined us and brought a cake! After dinner the sound of the guitar and violin combined with our singing and rejoicing for the time God gave us with Roshna and her father. it was a privilege to have the opportunity to serve God through this girl, and we saw "how good and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity," (the origin of our name Shevet Achim in Psalm 133).

It is a tradition in our community to make a DVD with photos of the family's entire journey in Israel. It shows the medical process, but also the internal transformations that take place over the course of the months they live with us. So after some fellowship we saw the DVD made for Roshna’s memories, and we spent some time sharing the most relevant experiences and adventures we lived together as a big family. The party could not be better! We gave some presents to Roshna and her father as well - toys, clothes, make-up, a book and so much love.

For me, the farewell party is one of the most special events. It is the time you harvest all that you sow in the families - all the love, patience, prayers, kisses and hugs. It was two beautiful months in which we could have cultural interchange, too. I felt glad to try to teach Roshna's father some Spanish; just simple sentences and I have to say he is good at learning idioms and his pronunciation is almost like a native speaker. I was impressed. He also taught to me simple Kurdish sentences. I remember we talked about our religion, language, countries and challenges, politic movements, daily lifestyle and more. 

Roshna and her father returned to their home in Kurdistan last night,  and I thank God for this amazing experience with them. And I hope in the future to go to Kurdistan and see how big and healthy this precious girl is. All of us rejoice with Roshna for she has a new heart with our names written on it!

To the Olympics

Posted on Mon, 09/05/2016 - 21:34 by Camila Buitrago

Today we had a beautiful day. In the morning we traveled with Roshna and Sharbel to the hospital, waiting news about their beautiful hearts. During our trip, Roshna enjoyed watching the changing landscape and saw some cartoons on the way. 

When we got to the hospital, Roshna felt a bit of fear and even more when we arrived to the office of the doctor. Her fears quickly disappeared when she saw other children enter the waiting room. 

After waiting a while, as expected, we went into the echo with Roshna together. We were expectant because we do not know if this would be the last echo, or maybe we would have to wait a week more. 

When Roshna entered the office she cried for a long time, but her father talked with she all the time during the examination to help calm her. The doctor was very friendly during the test too, helping to calm Roshna.

After the examination, we knew the result would be the will of God. The doctor told us the heart of Rosha is very well now, the time has come she, along with her father, can return home. This filled us with a huge joy because we know only God could have allowed this time to come.

Roshna’s father asked some questions, but the conclusion was she is very well. Her beautiful heart is healed. 

For a month more she will have to take some medications and after that month, she will be able to go to kindergarten and run along with other children. Roshna, thank God, may have fun as a normal girl, and perhaps,as the doctor suggested, she can prepare to compete in the future Olympic games.

We walked by the hallways of the hospital toward the exit for a last time with a healthy heart and overwhelming joy.


Roshna's First Echo

Posted on Mon, 08/29/2016 - 19:03 by Rebekah Yang

Today our hospital team left early for two kids to have their post-surgery echoes. We thought we arrived early enough, however after the nurse had done a blood test for our other child, Sharbel,  we reached the echo room and were shocked at what we saw. The department was full and packed with kids from Save A Child's Heart, who also came to do their post-surgery echoes today. Therefore Roshna and her father began their long waiting which was a testing of their patience. Both Roshna and her father were very calm and peaceful to play by themselves. At one point, I suggested they go out for few minutes of "sight-seeing" in different area of the hospital even. 

After 12 noon had passed, we decided to go to the hospital cafeteria for a quick lunch. When we came back from lunch, thank God it was Roshna's turn for her echo. While Roshna was having her echo, she was so scared and crying a lot. Roshna's father was so patiently trying to explain to her and even described to her what was showing on the tv. I was amazed to see between father and daughter this sweet bond and relationship; praise God!

The echo doctor was very pleased with Roshna's echo result. He thinks her heart is doing fine after surgery but he still think Roshna may need at least one or two more echoes. How many echoes will depend on the result of next week's echo. Due to some special event that is going to be happening within two weeks time in Kurdistan, Roshna's father is really eager to be home in time. Please continue to lift Roshna and her father up in your prayers. May our God's healing hands bring full healing to Roshna's heart in His own perfect timing.

Welcome Back, Roshna!

Posted on Mon, 08/22/2016 - 22:28 by Brenda Hofer
Alexa and I started out early today for the hospital. I dropped off one other family with Alexa and then proceeded to park the van. I wasn't sure which department Alexa would be in, so I headed for the echo department anyway. When I arrived I was greeted by Roshna and her father. The dad said they had been waiting for about 30 to 40 minutes already.
After a while, Alexa and Sharbel showed up for his echo test as well. In the meantime, I tried to be secretive about photographing Roshna since she tends to shy away from the camera, but I was able to get a couple of candid photos. We waited a little bit longer for the exam, but finally the doctors saw the kiddos. I would have liked to be in the room with Roshna this morning, but the doctor asked me if I would give some information to the secretary in order for Roshna to be registered that morning for the tests. 
When I came back, they were nearly done with her.  Alexa said Roshna did not have any fluid around her heart and that the tests looked good. She also said that Roshna would have another echo as a follow-up this coming Monday. We were able to get all the necessary paperwork and medications worked out afterwards, so we had a fairly easy car-ride back to Jerusalem. I thank the Lord for His provision and protection in Roshna's life. I thank Him that she made it safely through her surgery and her first echo and made it back to Jerusalem. Please join me in prayer once again to uplift Roshna and her father for the Lord's mercy and grace in their lives.

A Short, but Sweet, Visit

Posted on Sun, 08/21/2016 - 17:43 by Rebekah Yang

This morning Brenda and I left to visit Roshna at Wolfson hospital.

When we arrived at Roshna's room, she was on her bed watching kid's programs on a mobile. At first, Roshna was surprised to see us. She seemed to not remember us, but after few minutes, she warmed up and began to play with us. Eventually, she gave us her beautiful smile; praise God.

Her father told me early this morning, the echo doctor performed a post-surgery echo. The doctors were very pleased with her result and mentioned tomorrow they may be able to discharge Roshna. We are looking forward to their return to Shevet's Jerusalem's base, and we are all rejoicing for this wonderful news
Later on, we went with Roshna for her first shopping trip at the hospital mall. She was a bit curious, but it was also scary to look around at everything. In the end, we got a pretty Elsa-balloon from the movie "Frozen" and a small box of grapes for her.

I was amazed at how God's healing hand has touched Roshna's heart. She has a new, beautiful heart from our mighty God. Thank you, Lord, for this short and sweet visit in order to remember your mercy and grace; hallelujah!

Roshna Extubated!

Posted on Mon, 08/15/2016 - 21:14 by Lorena Garzon

Today I had the chance to visit Roshna and her father. Thank God, after this weekend's complications, today she was extubated. Her dad seemed calm but tired at the same time.

We had fun watching cartoons and playing with our hands with Roshna. She still couldn't talk and didn't smile, but she still let us know she was happy and exited to see us there with her.

It was a blessing to see how Roshna's heart was doing much better after Saturday's intervention. Her dad was happy to see us supporting him and helping with anything he needed.

He told us Roshna wasn't eating that much, but on the other hand, during the time we were there, we can praise God she didn't seemed to have a fever or irregular heart rhythms.

We continue praying for Roshna as she gradually recovers and we hope soon she will be sent to the children's ward. But as always, we are also thankful to God for showing us His love and care with Roshna's father.

Back to the ICU

Posted on Sun, 08/14/2016 - 22:10 by Alexa Bigl

Very early on Saturday morning, Roshna's father contacted us. Roshna was having a very high heart rate and the doctors needed to intervene. They quickly transfered her back to the main ICU where Roshna was reintubated, a machine breathing for her again. 

While this can sound very scary, it's the best course of action in these situations. Putting Roshna on the breathing machine allowed the doctors to quickly stabilize Roshna and start to figure out what was causing her increased heart rate. They also hooked her up to an external pacer. Whenever her heart would go into an incorrect rhythm, the pacer would send a current to correct it. The pacer was used some throughout the day on Saturday, but Roshna started to have a good, normal heart rhythm for longer and longer stretches of time. 

Today, she is stable and in a correct heart rhythm. She is still intubated, but the doctors are happy to report she is doing much better. Please join us in lifting up Roshna in prayer. We pray her heart continues to heal; open heart surgery is a major shock to our cardiovascular system and every body responds differently. We lift our thanks to the Heavenly Father for guiding Roshna through this complication. We also lift up Roshna's father; may God comfort his worries and fears. 

Third Time's a Charm

Posted on Wed, 08/10/2016 - 16:15 by Brenda Hofer

After an early arrival to Wolfson, I was soon able to see Roshna's dad. He came to the children's ward to encouraged Arwin's papa; Arwin was receiving a catheterization today.


Later, we went to see if we could visit Roshna in the ICU. The doctor had us wait since they were performing an x-ray. After lunch I was able to visit Roshna finally. She was fast asleep, and I stayed with her for a little while as she was dreaming. It was sweet to see her bed right next to Sharbel's.

Roshna had a big day today because she was extubated (meaning the breathing tube was taken out, and she is breathing under her own power now)! Later on, she had her central line taken out and was moved to the secondary ICU.

So much good news surely makes us shout forth praises to God, the Healer. Let us lift up Roshna and her father to our Heavenly Father for continued recovery and strength.

Roshna's Surgery: Goodness Upon Goodness

Posted on Tue, 08/09/2016 - 22:10 by Eric Sanchez
Today our little Roshna and her father were finally rewarded for their patience during these past few weeks at Shevet. This was the day they had waited for, this was why they were here; though at times this goal might have been hard to remember through the trial of being away from the rest of their family. Today was the day of Roshna's corrective open-heart surgery at Wolfson Medical Center in Tel-Aviv. It seemed like this day sneaked up on all of us, and the daily routine of life for the father and daughter that they had seemed to grow comfortable in had suddenly come to an end. The two had actually been admitted for today's surgery last night, and our team met them at the hospital before Roshna's send off into the operating room.
Roshna's rock and security throughout all this time in Israel has been her father, and any time in which she does not sense his immediate presence, she enters into a time of inconsolable crying. Anticipating this, her father was able to get permission to accompany her all the way into the OR, until she was sedated, which turned out to make the whole process smoother and more manageable for everyone involved.
Roshna is a very smart girl, and it was clear she was aware that something different was about to occur. She was still giving her warm smiles we have been so blessed by more and more as her time at Shevet has progressed, but there seemed to be a line of seriousness she would not let herself cross. She would even start to cry when she thought a certain worker was there to take her away, even though they were working on a nearby task, but one unrelated to Roshna's case. It was as if she was ready to let loose on the biggest cry of her life, but was waiting for the moment to come. This anticipation growing in me was actually met with her father climbing on the bed with her, and the two of them rolling off into the unknown together, our staff no longer able to accompany them any further. Roshna's trust in her father was so moving, she did not know where they were going, or what was awaiting them, but if her daddy was with her, that was enough: the worry, future, uncertainty, gravity, and risk did not matter: only that he would be with her. I said a silent prayer for them, as well as blessing them with all that my heart seemed to be crying when that moment was upon us. May God be with you.
Her father appeared some minutes later with a hospital staff member; she was sedated, it had begun. After this, the three of us (Ruth, her father, and I) made our way to the waiting room, which is decorated on the walls with paintings of Winnie the Pooh characters against a backdrop of a calm natural setting. This time of waiting seemed actually to be not as noticeably stressful for her father as I guess I had imagined. It seemed comforting, all of us having grown close together, and as trusting friends. Sharbel's mother was also there, which was a huge relief and encouragement. She had seen God's hand and blessing in her own life, and she was so ready to pour out that peace which God had filled her with onto Roshna's father. She spoke blessings and encouragement about Roshna and it was comforting to me to see how God's comfort is poured out by its recipients onto others in their time of need. After a while, I went with Arwin and his father to accompany them for the tests he had to have done today as well. It was comforting to have us all in the hospital together - it seemed we were all there for one another, especially the parents, who can all sympathize and understand each other in ways most cannot.
After leaving Arwin and his father in the hands of the personnel at Wolfson, Roshna's father and Sharbel's mother met me in the hallway just outside where the tests for Arwin were taking place. We decided it was time to get lunch so we made our way to the cafeteria. On the way, Sharbel's mother was recounting to me the great things God had done for her concerning her son, which got me in the mood of just praying for more blessings and goodness to be poured out, this time on Roshna and her father. After returning to the colorful waiting room, we spent some time each doing individual things. Before long, however, I had noticed that the two parents where outside of the waiting room, and had moved to the seats in the hallway connected to the OR, so as to get first-hand knowledge of the surgery's completion. I went to join them, and also two other Shevet volunteers who had been attending the Gaza Clinic in another area of Wolfson. Suddenly, a bed appeared coming from the far end of the hallway; it was Roshna.
I will always remember the moment I say her tiny little body, living, but lying quietly and being whisked away swiftly into the Intensive Care Unit. We only got a glance, but we got to see her, and follow her bed all the way to the threshold of the ICU. It was at this time when her father fell silent under an avalanche of emotion, even though it seemed she had made it through, it was still such an emotionally taxing moment, truly the only thing that could be uttered was silence, and the only thing that could be done was process. Then Roshna's doctor came out and told us a little about the surgery, but my heart found relief  when he said the words "successfully repaired." Her father, after interpretation, shared the news with Roshna's mother back in Kurdistan. According to the doctor, Roshna had two big problems in her heart: Tetralogy of Fallot and AV-canal, which by God's grace were both repaired. She is currently stable in the ICU and the doctors hope to extubate her (take her off the ventilator) tomorrow morning.
Today was a day of seeing God's ability to pour out goodness upon goodness, showing us His sovereign blessing. Thank you, Lord, for Your goodness to Roshna and her father today, and on all of us. We are celebrating and thankful for good news about Roshna that followed the good news about Sharbel, and it is so sweet. We are continuing to pray for her as she begins recovery, please join us. And of course, please join us in thanking God for the good He has shown us today.

Preparatory Admission

Posted on Mon, 08/08/2016 - 22:16 by Mingyang Li
This morning the hospital team went to Wolfson with Roshna, since she will have her surgery tomorrow. She will stay in the hospital today and tonight.
Initially, she was crying all the time because she was so scared of all the strangers. Around 11:30, Roshna had her blood test, but her emotions were still a little unstable. 
In order to make Roshna smile, her father played some cartoon videos for her.  After 20 minutes, Roshna fell asleep with a smile.
I then started a conversation with Roshna's father. He said he was so thankful Roshna could get help through Shevet Achim. Gradually, I found he is such an exquisite father. Roshna is the apple in his eye, and he said so far Roshna's health is the most significant mission for him. I told him everything with Roshna will be okay. All the people from Shevet are praying for them. Because Roshna is in God's hands, he doesn't need to be worried. 
One picture came into my mind now. When we were saying goodbye to Roshna's family this afternoon, her father cried. Maybe that's happy tears because Roshna would get her surgery soon, or they were bitter tears because he was worried about Roshna's success rate. But I believe that the Lord is with him and Roshna every second. I ask you, please pray with us that the Lord will cure Roshna by His almighty hands and her surgery will be successful tomorrow!