Rozheen's Heart Surgery

Northern Iraq

An Evening with Queen Rozheen

Posted on Mon, 06/22/2015 - 01:14 by Ruth Zellweger

Rozheen and her mother returned to Kurdistan in August last year after two open heart surgeries in Israel. Rozheen had earned herself the title "Queen Rozheen" whilst with us in Israel, and Sophie and I were curious to know how Rozheen was doing now. We seized the opportunity that arose during our recent visit in her area of Kurdistan. Lizan and her family kindly took us to the small village outside the city. It was not easy to find, but eventually we were guided to the house. The whole family came outside to welcome us. Rozheen has grown quite a bit, and surrounded by her two older brothers and an uncle, she was not at all the shy little girl that she could be back in Israel.

Soon after our arrival Sophie pulled out the card game UNO and started to engage the children. It was sweet to watch how they included Rozheen, who did quite well, considering her age. They all had fun.



In the meantime, I asked Rozheen’s mother how Rozheen was doing healthwise. She showed me her last echo report and told me that Dr. Serdar, the cardiologist, is happy with the results.

Rozheen's grandmother shared with us the burden of having three sons fighting in the Pershmerga, the Kurdish Army. Two of them, including Rozheen's father, are in dangerous locations close to the terror miliz Islamic State. It is not easy for the mothers, wives and children of these men. Almost every family that we visited has at least one family member serving in the Pershmerga. Rozheen's father was expected for his leave of one week five days after our visit, so we were not able to meet him. Sophie was able to talk with him on the phone for a while and he and his wife asked if we could come back after his return. As much as we would have liked, we were unable to say ‘yes’, as our schedule was already quite full. But we wanted to use the remaining hours in their home in the best way possible.

Rozheen's mother and aunt prepared very lovingly a delicious dinner, and we all enjoyed it very much. As it was already quite late, we prepared to leave a little bit afterwards, but Rozheen's mother did not accept that. She prepared drinks and cookies and we stayed for about another hour. Still, the time came when we had to say goodbye. Again, the whole family came outside to bid us farewell. It was a lovely time and a joy to see Rozheen doing so well and being so loved by her family.



Rozheen's Journey to Healing

Posted on Sun, 08/24/2014 - 23:49 by Kirsten Perow

Rozheen’s journey has not been short, and it certainly has not been easy. She arrived in Israel decked out in pink, purple, frills and sporting a bedazzled binky, but what was most strikingly noticeable about her appearance was the adornment of dark blue skin tone, which is typical of children who have Tetralogy of Fallot. True to her heart defect’s nickname—“Blue Baby Syndrome”—Rozheen was constantly blue due to consistent cyanosis or a lack of oxygenated blood circulating her body. Tetralogy of Fallot is a complicated defect that consists of four faults in the heart and thus required not one, but two surgeries.

Rozheen’s first surgery happened quickly because her condition was dangerous; her oxygen saturation remaining around 50-70%, and they were not sure how long she would remain stable. The first surgery was an awesome success they repaired three of the four defects, leaving only the hole between her ventricles, otherwise known as a VSD, to be repaired!

Between healing from her first surgery and waiting for her second surgery, I learned so much about precious Queen Rozheen as well as her wonderful mother. Many of our staff members made the remark that God chose the perfect, patient mom for Rozheen because of how adorable and sweet Rozheen can be; she can also be a very difficult little girl. Before her surgeries, Rozheen was in a lot of discomfort because of the lack of oxygen, so she cried loudly and often. Coupled with the fact that she is also a toddler, with temper tantrums nonetheless, one could just imagine the trying moments that came with caring for such a little creature, but her mother seemed to never be without grace for her daughter. To add to Rozheen’s difficulties, between her two surgeries, she had several bouts of fluid accumulation around her heart and lungs, known as plural effusion. Because of the problematic excess fluid, Rozheen and her mother found themselves in the hospital way more often then either of them wanted, as well as enduring a very long wait between surgeries. Seeing Rozheen in such pain was heartbreaking, but seeing her mother’s tears of concern for her beloved daughter was almost more difficult to witness. Sometimes I have a difficult time comprehending the kindness, patience and unconditional love these parents lavish on their children; it honestly causes me to weep when I am reminded that our Father’s love is like this, but even more. He is the definition of kindness, patience and love. It is incomprehensible.

Finally, Rozheen’s long awaited second surgery arrived. I had the privilege of accompanying and supporting Rozheen’s mother on the day of the surgery. Throughout the day, Rozheen’s mother exhibited her characteristic quiet strength. After waiting six lengthy hours for Rozheen, the doctors wheeled her to the ICU and it was there that Rozheen’s mother allowed tears to streak her cheeks and allowed a deep sigh of relief to escape. We, as a community, prayed especially for Rozheen’s recovery from this surgery to be smoother than her last, without any fluid accumulation problems, and thanks be to God she healed at an unexpectedly speedy rate! God permitted me to witness the miracle of Rozheen's healing--going from a skinny blue toddler to a gorgerous, pink, and very independent little girl.

When Rozheen first arrived, she refused to be anywhere but the arms of her mother, and sobbed when people simply looked at her. After her second surgery, Rozheen was a completely different girl. She has discovered that she can use her legs to walk, her mind to explore her surroundings, and her mouth to smile at all the wonderful joys she is now able to enjoy.​

What a spectacular transformation God has completed in His beloved princess!

Crossing the Finish Line

Posted on Mon, 08/18/2014 - 23:38 by Kirsten Perow

What we expected to be a routine echo, one of the last check ups before Rozheen and her mother could go home to Kurdistan, turned into her final echo in Israel! Before Rozheen's mother knew the awesome news, she stood in the ward, tears escaping her eyes, preparing to call her husband to let him know that their union would still be a couple weeks away. The biggest smile spread across her face when the doctor told her, "Fly home – Rozheen has been healed."

The day also included a friendly bed inspection from the one and only Rozheen! She was absolutely precious as she went from bed to bed, peering under them and discovering their mechanisms. Kristina and I could not resist adding comical commentary to her inspection. Seeing Rozheen being so inquisitive and delighted in her findings reminded me not only of the miraculous transformation the Lord has done in her, but also of how God loves it when we take joy in His works. We humans can be really difficult and our curiosity can get us into trouble, but He LOVES US.

Time of Refreshment

Posted on Mon, 08/11/2014 - 19:48 by Marisa Schindler

Two weeks ago, Rozheen had her successful, lifesaving heart operation, and since then she has been recovering very well. Today was her follow-up echo, and especially her mum had the great expectation that this could be the second last check up. Although Rozheen looks very healthy and well recovered, Dr. Alona told us that she want to see our sweetheart at least two more times, which means they have to stay approximately three more weeks. Big tears of disappointment rolled down on the mother’s cheeks. With much love and kindness, Kristina encouraged and reminded her how blessed she is, that Rozheen is doing so well. After this disappointment, it was time to change the environment for a fun trip to the beach.

Rozheen and her mum had never seen the ocean before, which made this trip a truly unique experience. They enjoyed the refreshing water, the sand between their toes, and the warm sun on their skin.  A great smile on their faces spoke more than words; especially Rozheen loved the shells on the beach. After splashing around in the water with Masa and her Mum, we enjoyed a cool watermelon in the shade.

What refreshment! Rozheen could not get enough, and her cheeks looked like balloons! All in all we had a great afternoon on the beach and were blessed to see the great progress in Rozheen’s recovery. To our great joy, not only her heart is healing, but also her body gets stronger. When she becomes bored of sitting around, she utilizes every opportunity to walk, be it in the waiting room with a little chair as support, or with her mom on the beach.

God's Love for Us All

Posted on Thu, 08/07/2014 - 20:59 by Agnes Bruna

Rozheen’s cheeky grin waited for us when we came out to take her and her mother to the hospital for an echo. It is so lovely and an amazing answer to prayer to see her happy, healthy and making big efforts to start walking. The journey to the hospital was quick and quiet. Her mother is sweet and patient with her daughter and had her all dressed up for the trip.

On arrival we went straight to the echo ward. I had not been to the hospital for a while and was struck again by the love and interest expressed by the doctors and nurses. As soon as we arrived, somebody spotted her and quickly called someone else saying: “Rozheen is here, come and see how healthy she looks!”

Her echo result was good and the doctor was very pleased with her recovery. She will need a few more echos to make sure she is well, but then she can go home to Kurdistan. Another child whose heart has been healed by God’s love and through the skills of the doctors here!

A Royal Homecoming

Posted on Sun, 08/03/2014 - 23:11 by Kirsten Perow

Queen Rozheen (above left) is home from the hospital and is on the last leg of her journey here in Israel! Throughout Rozheen's stay with us at Shevet, we have come to learn many things about her. One thing being that she frequently acts as though she is royalty. Today was no different. Rozheen, decked out in a frilly purple and yellow dress, graced her many admires with one of her rare waves as she made her exit from the ward. She even held out her hand and allowed one of the doctors to give it a kiss. 

Lord willing, the next few weeks will prove the surgery to be a success, and solidify the good news of Rozheen’s new heart. We are praying for no post surgical complications, such as fluid build up/plural effusion, and for her full recovery to be effortless and joyful. We thank God for Rozheen’s speedy discharge from the hospital, and for the blessed time we are able to spend with the charming princess whose smile lights up rooms.

Increasingly Better

Posted on Thu, 07/31/2014 - 20:52 by

Rozheen showed much successful progress today at Wolfson. This morning, the volunteer staff at Shevet Achim visited her in the ICU, where the report we found was increasingly better! Shortly after checking in with Rozheen, the doctors in the ICU were ready to remove her chest tube. After her chest tube was removed, her vital signs had shown so much progress that she was able to be moved from the ICU straight to the children's ward, bypassing secondary ICU. Thank you, Lord! While Rozheen adapts to the new environment around her in the children's ward, her mom is beaming with joy!

She is so happy to see her little girl with a healthy beating heart and no more fluid in her lungs. Rozheen has come a long way in just two days, and we thank our Lord up above for His provision and mercy.

Beautiful in His Time

Posted on Wed, 07/30/2014 - 21:38 by Ruth Zellweger

Even though I spent several hours at the hospital today, I did not see Rozheen awake during that time. However, she has made huge progress during the last twenty-four hours. After the doctors had finished their morning rounds, they announced that Rozheen was ready to be extubated. Her mother was called into the ICU to comfort her daughter. Sarah and I joined her later and found Rozheen sleeping peacefully in her hospital bed.

Her mother sat beside her bed, watching her lovingly. While we were spending time together, the echo technician entered the ICU and confirmed that the surgery had been successful, and that everything looked really good. Her mother expressed her gratefulness towards the doctors and towards God. We agreed that He makes all things beautiful in His time. Give thanks with us for Rozheen´s smooth recovery!

Patience Tested

Posted on Tue, 07/29/2014 - 22:24 by Kirsten Perow

Today was the big day: Rozheen’s long awaited second surgery! As one may have read, Rozheen’s past few weeks have been very trying. She has had three bouts of fluid accumulation in her lungs and around her heart that have caused much discomfort, sopping tears, screeching cries, and one exhausted momma. Many weeks have passed with so much uncertainty surrounding Rozheen’s second surgery. The long wait has taken a toll on Rozheen, her mother, and her loving family who wait for her return in Kurdistan.

Kristina and I had the privilege of supporting Rozheen and her mother today, bright and early at 7:00am, just before they wheeled Rozheen off to the operating room. Rozheen is a very smart little girl when it comes to any trickery regarding medical experiences. Although she is only one and a half years old, you could tell she knew she was about to go through yet another obstacle. Her mother’s eyes welled with tears as she kissed her little girl goodbye. We waved off our favorite little skeptical princess and gave her up to be in the hands of doctors, or truly, the Ultimate Doctor.

Rozheen’s mother’s patience was tested once more as we endured the painstaking hours that followed. What these parents endure and how they endure completely amazes me. I watched Rozheen’s ever-patient mother wring her hands, pace the hallways, and dwell on nothing but the fate of her daughter, and as much as I wanted to shoulder some of the heavy boulder she was carrying, I found that although I could be present, wait with her, and pray, all I could really do was trust the Lord with His child’s life. Thankfully, Dawod, his mother, Masa’s mother, and Ahmad’s father were also at the hospital to drench Rozheen’s mom with love and support. It is really beautiful to watch how these families care for one another.

Finally, after six hours of waiting, we heard word that her precious little girl’s surgery went splendidly, and we met them at the elevators as they brought her up from the OR to the ICU. Flooded with relief and joy, we all enjoyed lunch together as we waited to visit Rozheen in the ICU. Even though her big, gorgeous eyes were taped closed, Rozheen looked adorable.

I’m excited to announce that even after such an intense surgery, Rozheen is doing excellent and nobly continues on the road of recovery.

Moving Forward Swiftly

Posted on Mon, 07/28/2014 - 21:31 by Sophie

After Ruth and I sent Masa to the operation room, we came back to Rozheen. The doctor told us that after her echo, they would take Rozheen to the ICU. There she would have a chest tube inserted, and she can probably have surgery soon if the ICU will have enough space for her afterward. Rozheen's mother was very happy when she heard this good news.

Then everything began happening so fast. Rozheen was brought to ICU and had a chest tube inserted. One hour later, she was already in the children's ward. Two hours after that, her chest tube was taken out.

After a long time waiting without food, Rozheen was exhausted. She was so hungry that she could not fall asleep. When she was allowed eat, she was satisfied by the bread of life--milk. The word of GOD reminded me today: "like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation." 1 Peter 2:2