Rozhya's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

What a Difference a Day Makes!

Posted on Wed, 07/24/2013 - 22:29 by Susan Kent
After a good night of rest with sustained positive oxygen levels, sweet Rozhya went into surgery at 8:00am. this morning. Even as they wheeled her into the operating room, the doctors were still unsure what procedure they would be performing. Because Rozhya's heart is so complex, they really needed to examine her heart in the OR to assess if it was strong enough to sustain a full heart repair now or if they would need to perform a palliative surgery first and a full repair in the future. Rozhya’s mother, while deeply concerned for her daughter’s health, also seemed at peace and comforted, knowing Rozhya was in good hands.
With four to five stress-filled hours of waiting ahead, Rozhya’s mother really wanted to get out of the waiting room. We first headed down to the hospital gift shops. To our utter amazement and delight, a full-grown text-book-perfect rooster greeted us on our walk through the hospital courtyard! The three of us admired him and laughed at what a crazy scene this was—and then we laughed because we were seemingly the only ones surprised or impressed by his presence!
After briefly browsing the gift shops, we hopped in the car for a quick trip to the beach. Who knew the hospital was five minutes from paradise? Well, Kristina did. The Mediterranean Sea was exquisite! Rozhya’s mother loved the view, the fresh air, and the warm water. We collectively praised God for His beauty seen in creation! If He can create and care for the sea, how much more a precious baby’s heart?
Rozhya was out of surgery by 12:15pm with good news (x2). First, we heard that the surgery went very well, and second, we learned that the doctors found Rozhya’s heart sufficiently developed to go ahead with the full repair! It is truly an ‘Extreme Makeover- Heart Edition’ on the inside and out. Just two days earlier she was blue-ish/purple struggling for oxygen. Now, only hours after heart surgery, she’s a healthy looking pink baby. It was beautiful to watch her mother's delight as she peeked beneath the blankets to see her daughter's pink fingers and toes. May the Lord be praised for the miracle we witnessed today!
Please continue to pray with us for Rozhya’s recovery and for continued comfort and peace for her mother.

Rozhya Set for Surgery Tomorrow

Posted on Tue, 07/23/2013 - 23:02 by Sonia D'Orso

Today we visited Rozhya and her mom in the ICU. Rozhya is intubated. Her vital signs are stable. It was an emotional moment for Rozhya's mom to see her daughter in this condition, and she was weeping. Rozhya is connected to a lot of monitors that keep her stable, but she is in good hands and her oxygen level is improved. Doctors have postponed her surgery until early tomorrow morning. Please pray for Rozhya, pray that the surgery will go well, and pray for comfort for her mom while she waits.

On the Edge: Rhozya Admitted for Surgery

Posted on Tue, 07/23/2013 - 00:43 by Kristina Kayser

If there's one thing I've learned while serving at Shevet, is that God is in the business of preserving life. Again and again, I have watched children come to Israel for heart surgery, who should not still be alive according to their medical diagnosis. Nevertheless, I believe in and continue to be an eye witness of God's divine ability to sustain.

For the last nine months, Rhozya has lived one day at a time with a severely malformed heart. Her skin's disconcerting shade of purple makes one wonder how she made it thus far. This was a popular question today during Rhozya's first day at Wolfson Hospital. What began as an initial visit with routine assessments, turned into something much more.

On room air, Rhozya's oxygen saturation registered at 66%. But as crying ensued with the introduction of IV needles and blood tests, an oxygen mask was soon applied as her saturation dropped. Soon after, Dr. Alona arrived to invite us to the echo department. No one on the cardiology team hid their shock at the miracle of Rhozya's existence once the echo exam began.

Her diagnosis of Tetralogy of Fallot is far more severe than the classic four symptoms that typically compose this condition. What baffled doctors the most was the nature of her right ventricle (lower cardiac chamber). Rather than being an spacious room surrounded by muscular walls, the walls had become so hypertrophied (thick with overuse), that the chamber was one solid mass of muscle. Efat, the echo technician, repeatedly likened it to a "steak." No one understood how any blood was able to circulate in or out. In addition to this conundrum, Rhozya's pulmonary artery is incredibly narrow, preventing proper blood flow between her heart and lungs.

While waiting for our next instructions, Efat turned to me and asked incredulously, "How is she still alive?!" "By the mercy of God," I responded with a sense of awe. Dr. Alona added that many of the children who come to Israel for surgery are literally living life "on the edge." What an amazing God we serve. The next minute, it was determined that Rhozya might have her surgery the very next day and needed to be admitted. Both she and her mother were whisked downstairs, whereupon her oxygen level began to decline steadily. The ICU staff then announced that Rohzya would need to be intubated and stabilized in preparation for tomorrow's surgery. Before her mother had a chance to say goodbye, we were asked to wait outside until further notice.

This sudden turn of events combined with not being able to stand at her daughter's side, came as a shock to Rhozya's mum. She found some comfort in my arms as the tears fell down her cheeks. It would be five hours before this strong and loving woman could be with her baby again. And while we waited, I was amazed by the composure and selfless love she demonstrated. She had every right to be concerned about her own needs; instead, Rhozya's mum helped the other Kurdish mothers carry their bags or prepare a bottle or comfort their child.

As the clock neared 7:30 pm, the ICU staff permitted us to come in and be with Rhozya. Her mother immediately began to cry and ask how her daughter was doing. It was clear that she was not prepared to see her daughter unconscious and attached to a ventilator, multiple IVs, and monitors. Dr. Houri, chief ICU internalist, relayed that Rhozya's oxygen had improved significantly and that she was in stable condition. Their main concern at this time is that her blood is having difficulty coagulating, a common condition in children with heart defects. We hope for improvement by tomorrow morning, permitting to her to undergo stage one of a two part cardiac repair.

Rhozya's mother was thankful to know that her precious baby is well taken care of but still full of fear for her daughter's life. As we prepared to return to Jerusalem this evening, she asked in a helpless tone, "What am I supposed to do?" Our eyes met as I said gently, "We hold on to hope." "Yes!" she replied, this time with light in her eyes.

I am beyond thankful tonight for the mercy of God extended to this baby girl day by day. Every beat of her heart is a gift from His hands, and the hope we cling to is found in Him alone. Please join us as we pray and trust Messiah for Rhozya's life and a healed heart.

Cool as a Cucumber

Posted on Sun, 07/21/2013 - 23:50 by Kelsey Cannon

For two hours on Saturday, our small welcoming committee at the Amman airport eagerly stretched our necks and scanned the crowds of travel worn mothers and children in an attempt to find the three Kurdish families we were to escort over the border into Israel. Just when I had started to think that something had gone wrong and that we had missed them somehow, I caught sight of a woman clutching a small child with a shockingly bluish tinge to her skin. We didn’t need any other telltale signs than this - we had spotted Rozhya.

Much to Rozhya’s mother’s distress, we had to stay the night in Amman. It seems that this mother was eager to see her child receive medical treatment as soon as possible. And one only needs to take a look at Rozhya to understand why - this child is clearly ill. But despite her darkly colored complexion betraying her oxygen deprived state, Rozhya did probably just as well as any other healthy child would have done on a seven hour road trip across the Jordan Valley in July. To use the old adage, Rozhya was “cool as a cucumber.” I was deeply impressed with how composed and contented she was the whole car ride. And her mother was much the same.

Both are now settled in for the night with the other Kurdish families in their new digs in Jerusalem. Rozhya starts her journey to a hew heart tomorrow with her initial assessments, set to take place at the Wolfson Medical Center. 

Born into Trial

Posted on Sun, 05/12/2013 - 23:04 by Awapuhi Dancil

Heroes are vennorated for overcoming great obstacles. We admire those who have faced giants and won, overcoming seeminlgy impossible odds. Rozhya is not yet a year old and already has a giant to face: an imperfect heart. She was born with the heart defect known as Tetralogy of Fallot - a complex heart issue that requires surgery to repair. We hope to welcome this young one soon so we may add our strength to her struggle; and watch as her victory for a whole and healed heart unfolds.