Roza's Heart Surgery

from northern Iraq

Roza's Rebound

Posted on Sun, 11/02/2014 - 10:42 by Kristina Kayser

For those of you who know Roza's story, you remember how she came to Israel three years ago with a very weak heart and dismal prognosis. But seeing her now, you would never guess that this little girl was even born with a major heart defect; in fact, she is the picture of health now! I saw her twenty months ago on a previous visit and was shocked at how strong and active she had become. So when Ruth, Jonathan, Sophie, and I visited her family a few weeks ago, we all were witnesses to her amazing progress!

Four-year-old Roza definitely keeps her family on their toes with her non-stop energy and strong will. She is a very bright and confident little girl, and though she has not begun school yet, she loves to show off her sisters' school books to visitors such as ourselves. The only time she sat down during our visit was for a few brief moments to eat. Then, it was off to more fun and running around as fast as she could!

Roza's parents are so thankful for their daughter's health, and they truly have an open place in their hearts for the Shevet community.

Visiting this family each of the three times I have been to Kurdistan has taught me the beauty and the value of nurturing the relationships God has entrusted to us. 

Praise God for His perfect and complete work of healing in Roza's heart! We pray that she will grow to know the personal love of Messiah and the priceless worth of her life in God's eyes. Truly, "He has done all things well." (Mark 7:37b)

Roza on the Move

Posted on Mon, 02/25/2013 - 00:26 by Kristina Kayser

As our car wound its way through the streets of Sulaymaniah towards Roza's house, a flood of memories came rushing back. It was the summer of 2011 when I first met this beautiful baby and her mother. Roza was just a whisp of a thing, petite and underweight for her age. I remember holding her against my chest and thinking how fragile she felt. At six months of age, she was a mere five kilos and struggling to survive with a VSD and congestive heart failure. Roza's heart surgery at Sheba Medical Center was a success, and within two months of arriving in Israel, she was back in the comfort of home and family in Kurdistan. Fast forward four months, and I was visiting Roza in January 2012 during my first trip to Kurdistan. At this point, her rosy cheeks were plump and she was just learning to walk. I had been amazed at this impressive transformation. And I can say the same was true today when I walked through the front gate and saw a very solid-looking toddler perched on the steps. 

I almost did a double take as my mind registered the fact that this was indeed Roza. She had the same bright eyes and the same curly brown locks, but this time, there was nothing fragile about her. Following her into the house, I observed just how healthy Roza's heart is now. She virtually never stopped running from one room to the next, jumping off of couches, and ambushing both me and Kelsey from behind for the subsequent five hours (click the arrow below for video).

She loves to play and doesn't like to sleep, according to her mother-- a description that immediately reminds me of the Energizer Bunny. Along with having an enthusiasm for life, Roza is already quite an articulate two-year-old. I believe she's constantly learning from her two older sisters, Dia and Ro'iya.

Looking at Roza, I see evidence of Messiah's healing in a way that causes hope to spring up. He alone is able to "bind up the broken and strengthen the sick." Ezekiel 34:16. We praised God this evening for Roza's heart and the gift that's been given her. It is a joy to watch her story unfold chapter by chapter, year by year. While I can only imagine what she will be like the next time I see her, I trust that her life will do nothing less than to bring God glory!

A Heart of Gold

Posted on Mon, 02/06/2012 - 00:17 by Stephanie Ventura

Baby Roza and her mother were a family that joined hearts with us in Jerusalem and continued to join us via phone after their departure. We made the journey to their home in northern Iraq to show them our love and care: as the Apostle John wrote, "Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and in truth."  

We brought as a gift a chest filled with chocolate hearts, in which the single gold colored heart represents the new heart and new life given by way of the miracle that each child experienced in Israel. 

We were surprised by Roza's growth, since the last time we saw her (see below) she was so much smaller both in height and weight. Immediately we began praising God for her restored health and thanked Him for her progress.
Her family welcomed us with a Kurdish feast of all of their favorite foods, particularly dolma (grape leaves stuffed with chicken and rice), the larger green dish in the photo. 
Our last goodbyes with Roza and her family were tearful and heartfelt. We departed from each other knowing that it would not be our last visit together, but just the beginning of our continued friendship.


Prayers Answered As Roza Returns Home

Posted on Mon, 09/26/2011 - 00:32 by Stephanie Ventura

With this being the final blog for baby Roza, those of us with Shevet Achim in Jerusalem would like to thank everyone who have prayed for baby Roza, her mother and their family. Rest assured, our prayers have been answered.

Over the course of their last week with Shevet, Roza

Jewish and Muslim Connections

Posted on Tue, 09/13/2011 - 00:00 by madelyn

Sometimes a routine trip can turn into something extraordinary. Donna Jo and I left very early in the morning for Roza

A Small Setback, but a Healthy Heart

Posted on Sun, 09/04/2011 - 00:00 by Jeff Sheehan

Roza has had a small setback in her recovery. She had corrective heart surgery for the closure of a Patent Foramen Ovale & a Ventricular Septal Defect on the 15th of August this year. She returned to Prophets Street on the 24th of August and her first echocardiogram was on the 29th of the same month. She was given a clean bill of health by her cardiologist and was to be homeward bound in the next few days.

However, three days ago her mother mentioned that she was not her usual self--crying intermittently, not sleeping well, and slightly restless. Examining her, I found she had no fever, no runny nose, normal heart rate & oxygen saturation. For two days these symptoms persisted, despite medication to ease any discomfort she may have been having. So it was on the third day that we made the decision to take her back to Sheba hospital to find out what was the problem--and also to allay her mother's feelings and ours. The doctor's investigation revealed that she had a viral infection.

As far as her heart was concerned, she was fine. In fact, the doctor shared with us that she is now a heart healthy, and that having the odd infection was a part of life. She had probably caught it from one of the other children in the dormitory.

Roza's stay with us will be extended by a week  until we feel she is safe to go home. In the mean time, she will have some inhalation three times a day to help clear up the virus. Our prayer is that by the end of the week, Roza will be better and her happy, smiling self again. We also pray that she will go home to her family in Iraq soon, healthy and well. 

Imaging Techniques Reveal Roza's Healed Heart

Posted on Tue, 08/30/2011 - 00:56 by Jeff Sheehan
Electrocardiography and echocardiography are two leaders in the field of diagnostic cardiology. The former is able to provide on the spot data from the electrical signals that are picked up from the heart, aiding in the final diagnosis. The latter gives a more in depth picture of heart function, and is able confirm the efficacy of treatment. This morning Roza had her first post-surgery follow-up appointment, and both of these important diagnostics were performed. 
The results were most pleasing: Her heart rate and rhythm was normal and regular, signs of a heart in good order. The surgical correction of the Ventricular Septal defect had normalized heart circulation greatly. This being the case, the medical team made the decision that she was now able to go home to northern Iraq. All medication was ceased, except for some vitamin supplement to treat her mild anemia. Her surgical wounds have also healed well. 
The news, naturally enough, pleased her mother greatly. I'm sure there was a mixture of relief and joy, emotions that only a mother can feel, after having been through quite an ordeal. It's in moments like this that we give our Father grateful thanks and praise for answered prayer.

Roza Leaves Hospital After Surgery

Posted on Tue, 08/23/2011 - 00:00 by Donna_West

Today was the day that Roza's doctors determined she was finally well enough to leave the hospital and come to the Prophets Street center for the first time. The call from the hospital came through mid-afternoon, and Roza and her mother had been waiting quite a while for Suhail and me to arrive after we worked our way through the traffic on the way to Sheba Hospital. We found Roza dressed with silver sparkles on her shirt and a little white belt with a Mickey Mouse shaped buckle studded with pink and clear "bling" attached to denim bottoms.  All of this fashion sense was eclipsed by her beautiful smile and bright eyes.

Her debut at the Shevet House was met with a large gathering of staff, mothers, children and friends coming together to celebrate birthdays and homecomings. 

Welcome to Shevet Achim, Roza, where hearts are made one and our father gives us much to celebrate.  Thank you Lord!

Health and Happiness Before Hospital Discharge

Posted on Mon, 08/22/2011 - 00:00 by Kristina Kayser

It is not difficult to fall in love with baby Roza. In fact, it's effortless. After a few days absence, I was missing her bright eyes and mop of curls. Today's visit to Sheba Hospital was therefore a treat. 

Uncertain of her current status, Brian (fellow Shevet member) and I came prepared with a car seat in case she was ready to be discharged. I found Roza's mother in good spirits despite the last few days proving difficult. Apparently, Roza had spiked a fever last Thursday and had remained in ICU (intensive care unit) until yesterday afternoon. The root cause was a bacterial infection picked up in the hospital. I could sense the relief on her mother's face at the fever having subsided and Roza settled contentedly in her own room.

Roza and I enjoyed a pleasant conversation, in which she communicated with smiles and coos. Meanwhile, a nurse came in and reported that Roza would have an echocardiogram tomorrow. This ultrasound exam will determine whether Roza's heart is healing properly post-operatively. If the results are affirming, we will celebrate her homecoming very soon. Thank God! I continue to learn that His timing is always perfect, and He is the master cardiologist. Roza's incision is healing well--truly a badge of courage for this little one. I know few people this amiable soon after surgery! Just before leaving, Roza shared one of her secrets to bouncing back so quickly. In the following video, you'll be sure to enjoy a sample of Roza's latest work-out routines. Please continue to pray with us for this beautiful baby's healing and recovery!