Shadyar 's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Goodbye 'Til Next Time

Posted on Tue, 05/12/2009 - 01:00 by Donna_Petrel

Shadyar and his mother had a happy departure from Israel and an overnight stay in Amman before we all flew to Iraq together several Saturdays ago. Our border crossing was smooth entering Jordan, and we arrived in Amman in time to go for a short shopping trip near the apartment so that Um ("mother of") Shadyar could look a final time for a few more items to take her other children. We had to leave early for the airport the next morning, and Shadyar was very excited about riding on an airplane again.

He spent our waiting time in the terminal watching the planes nearby, and was thrilled when we boarded. Then try as he might to stay awake, our departure was delayed, and he quickly fell asleep once we were onboard and slept through the take-off and most of the flight!

Um Shadyar took several videos on the plane and of the scenery to show her husband so that when the time comes for Shadyar to return for his second surgery, his dad will have some idea what to expect.

She said coming with Shadyar and seeing him through his surgery was too difficult for her, and that Abu ("father of") Shadyar would come back next time. It was an enjoyable flight to our first stop, at which point I departed the plane and she and Shadyar continued to their city. We bade each other farewell with Shadyar blowing kisses from his seat, ready for his final journey home.

Keep praying for the life of this sweet little boy and his family as they wait for the time he needs to come back for his next surgery. May God give them peace to help them along. We trust that God will continue to work in their lives for His good purpose to come about.

Excited To Fly Home To Iraq

Posted on Mon, 04/13/2009 - 01:00 by Donna_Petrel

Today was Shadyar's first follow-up echocardiogram since his dismissal from the hospital one week ago, and it turned out to be his last echo necessary in Israel! Um ("mother of") Shadyar was elated to find out from the doctors that she and Shadyar are free to leave for home after the encouraging results from both the echocardiogram and a blood oxygen saturation test.

Shadyar's oxygen was in the low 80-percent range during the test, and the doctor said this is exactly as it should be. He will not require any medication besides aspirin for the duration of time until his body indicates it's time for the second surgery. Once again Um Shadyar asked for a timeframe for this surgery, but only when the doctor monitoring Shadyar's blood oxygen level and his hemoglobin count in Iraq notes a significant change will they know God's timing for Shadyar's return to Israel for his other surgery. Currently Shadyar is a happy, active little boy who is very excited about getting on an airplane to fly home to his family in the coming days. In fact it was a toy airplane which was a partial diversion through the last part of his exam today: the dreaded removal of the remaining chest sutures.

After we said goodbye to Schneider Hospital we stopped by Wolfson Medical Center to pay a visit to Akram and his mom. Although Shadyar could not go into the ICU to see Akram, he was contented to see Um Akram, whom he seems to relate to like his aunt. The visit gave these two mothers a chance to say goodbye to each other since Akram will remain in the hospital until after Shadyar's departure.

While Justin and I took turns visiting Akram, as well as Dima and Mohammad who are also in the ICU, Shadyar was playing nearby, especially enjoying time with his buddy Justin. We took a lunch break together, and decided to end our day in the Tel Aviv area with a quick stop at the Mediterranean so our guests could see the beautiful seashore here before they leave for home.

We are thanking God for Shadyar's successful surgery and amazing ability to resume normal playfulness since then. We've all enjoyed his delightful personality and his perceptiveness as he and his mother have spent time with us here at the house. Please pray for God's perfect plan for the healing of Shadyar's heart as he returns to the care of his doctor in Iraq. Pray for peace for his mother as she watches her son grow up, for apart from God's supernatural healing, Shadyar will face another surgery in a few more years.

Leaving the Hospital

Posted on Mon, 04/06/2009 - 07:52 by Donna_Petrel

A happy Shadyar and his mother were waiting for us in the hall when we arrived at Schneider Hospital late this afternoon. We'd been longer than expected at Wolfson with the admission of Akram, and I think she was worried that maybe we'd forgotten her! Shadyar was glad to see us, recognizing us as old friends from before his surgery. We were able to get a picture with Shadyar's heart surgeon Gabi Amir (at right) while we waited to have translation for the dismissal report, as clearly little Shadyar has made his place in the hearts of those on the ward during his brief stay there. A highlight of his day was seeing the airplane on display on the grounds of the hospital as we left - he remembered it from the day he arrived for admission!

The only medication Shadyar will need is aspirin. Much to his mother's anxiety, there is no way to be sure when Shadyar's second surgery will be needed. It will depend on his unique healing time and growth and development, and the doctor in Iraq who monitors his heart will know when to be in contact with us again. This could be two years or ten years according to the consultation today; or perhaps God will heal Shadyar and he will not need another visit at all. Let us pray for His touch on Shadyar's life to bring such healing.

For now, Shadyar and his mother are delighted to come back with us here in Jerusalem, and we're glad to have them. He will return for his next echo in a week's time, and we'll be monitoring him here along the way. Pray with us for his recovery to continue speedily, and his mother to find true peace over Shadyar's future.

Remarkably Quick Recovery

Posted on Wed, 04/01/2009 - 01:00 by Donna_Petrel

We arrived at the hospital today to find Shadyar and his mother both sleeping peacefully in the ICU. The nurse on duty explained to us that Um ("mother of") Shadyar had not slept last night and the nurse insisted that she rest this afternoon. The first thing I noticed was that Shadyar had already been extubated, and the nurse said they'd been able to remove him from the ventilator last night. As you can see from the picture, he is doing extremely well, with no oxygen needed today. His blood oxygenation was hovering around 80% during our visit.

After taking care of some other business at the hospital we returned to the ICU to find Um Shadyar looking at the box of Kurdish food we'd brought from the house for them. We checked to be sure Shadyar had doctor's permission to eat solid food, and when they said it was ok, Um Shadyar went to the family kitchen while Shadyar sat sleepily in his bed. I was not expecting Shadyar to be able to eat very much, but he really had an appetite and thoroughly enjoyed the meal sent by the other mothers!

In fact I decided to ask the doctor if he was allowed to eat a lot or a little, and he responded that he should eat only a little - Shadyar had already surpassed that! He seemed satisfied enough though that he didn't mind when Um Shadyar closed the box till next time.

We had a delightful visit. It is a joy to see the relief of Um Shadyar now as she was so very fearful before. As she shared with us this afternoon when we asked how she was feeling, "When Shadyar is good, I am good, and when Shadyar is not good, I am not good." At this time, she is radiant with joy over Shadyar's state of health.

Tomorrow it is expected that the tubes draining the fluids from Shadyar's chest will be removed, and he will be moved to the children's ward to continue recovering. Pray that his remarkably quick recovery continues and he can be released to come back to the house with us very soon.

Surgery Day

Posted on Tue, 03/31/2009 - 01:00 by Donna_Petrel

Our coworker Kirsten and I arrived early this morning to find Shadyar's mother standing in the doorway of his hospital room waiting for us as Shadyar slept. Her face was full of fear and she was clutching her stomach due to nerves. Despite several invitations to sit in the chair beside Shadyar's bed, Um (mother of) Shadyar was so anxious she just stood near the bed, alternately praying and crying. Eventually she sat next to her son on the bed, and after a few minutes I asked her if I could pray for both of them. As soon as I began to pray I knew in my heart that God wanted them both to know how much He loves them, for not only is this knowledge life-changing, but this perfect love allows a trust which casts out our fears. It was only a few minutes later that a nurse came in and asked Um Shadyar to bathe her son in preparation for the surgery, and after the bath, we waited for a little while yet until it was his turn to go. Even this short wait was difficult for Shadyar because he was hungry but not allowed to eat or drink, which made his mother more anxious, but all in all he remained pretty calm snuggled in his mother's arms.

Once it was time to go we were allowed to walk with Um Shadyar as she carried her son to the pre-op room downstairs. The doctors decided to bring the sedative into this waiting area and carry Shadyar out after he fell asleep in his mother's arms. However, just before he fell asleep one of the doctors reached for the pacifier hanging around Shadyar's neck, and he began to wail. At this his mother became very alarmed, and even though Shadyar fell right to sleep, and even though everyone around her was telling her all was ok as they carried Shadyar to surgery, she was overwhelmed with the events and swooned onto her chair and then the floor. The staff responded excellently and helped bring her to, then allowed her to rest quietly on a gurney there with the curtains pulled and Kirsten and I by her side. They checked on her constantly as she settled herself by reading her Quran, while Kirsten and I prayed for her silently as we all sat together.

After a short while I encouraged her to go back upstairs to wait. As we waited she received many calls from family in Iraq, and then other parents with children in the ward began to pass by to check on how Shadyar was doing. Um Shadyar didn't want to talk much except on the phone, and after about an hour she said she wanted to go get some sleep. This was one of the best things she could do, and after a few minutes, she fell sound asleep. I was hoping she could get a good nap, but her phone continued to ring as concerned family members called. After each call she would pray herself back to sleep, up until the time came when Bruska arrived for her follow-up echocardiogram today. Um Shadyar didn't want to be left alone in the room, and instead accompanied me to meet them and walk together to the echo department.

Then Kirsten called with the surprising and wonderful news that doctors had come to say Shadyar's surgery was over, and he was doing well, praise to God!

Kirsten escorted an elated Um Shadyar to the ICU to see her son, and hear that he'd had an excellent surgery. When I joined them a little later it was evident that Shadyar was doing well from looking at his joyful mother.

Upon entering the ICU I too was delighted to see Shadyar with his newly oxygenated skin-coloring looking very pink with an oxygen level of 86%. His mother was beaming as she received more phone calls and shared the good news with her husband and family members, and gave her heartfelt thanks to the medical staff.

Shadyar is expected to be extubated tomorrow and hopefully will be returned to his room in the ward. We look forward to seeing him and his mother again to check on his progress as God's work of healing the body continues. Please join us in thanking God for how quickly Shadyar's surgery was completed and how well he has responded. This surgery is the first of two which he is expected to need for a total repair of his heart problems; the second is expected after a year or two, depending on his body's needs.

Shadyar Admitted Today for Surgery

Posted on Sun, 03/29/2009 - 01:00 by Justin_Strong

We brought Shadyar (above right, with Bruska) back to Schneider Childrens Hospital near Tel Aviv today to be admitted for surgery, following a long weekend with us in Jerusalem. Shadyar was admitted right away, and was given the same bed he had this past week during his tests. Shadyar is very active for his condition, climbing up on a ledge to get a better look at the fish in a tank outside his hospital room, and following me around the childrens ward hallways when he was brave enough to leave his mother, all despite a very blue complexion.

Donna and I waited in the childrens ward a few hours after Shadyar was admitted tending to other patients but Shadyar didnt want to be left out so he and his mother hung around with the rest of us. Shadyar and I drew a picture together to pass some time (I only helped a little).

Shadyar was taking notice of the many planes flying about Israel, especially on the rides to the hospital as we drive right past Israels largest airport, we included one in our drawing, and when we left he very excitedly received a toy plane from Donna.

Admitted To Hospital After Initial Exams

Posted on Tue, 03/24/2009 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel

Shadyar and his mother, along with Delbak and her mother, arrived late last night from Jordan after a long day on the road. This morning we took care of changing money to Israeli shekels, buying phone cards, and making sure that family members in Iraq and those here at the house knew how to contact one another, and then we left for the hospital.

Even with the excellent explanation from Um ("mother of") Rasan here at the house of what to expect, and encouragement not to be afraid, Um Shadyar was tearful before we left. As we gathered for a brief prayer time before driving away, the tears began to pour as fear took over in anticipation of seeing her precious son heading for the hospital and imminent surgery. It is helpful at times like these if we can remind the parents that this is an event for which we can thank God. It is also important to be available as a friend, to allow these tears to flow as a vent to release pent up emotion - normal parental emotion - and allow the comfort of the Lord to fill the need of the moment. We also played some beautiful music to help minister to our guests as we drove, and shortly Shadyar was sleeping and his mother was calm.

We were thankful that Bruska and her mother were still there to help introduce the new arrivals to the hospital and the routine before Bruska's dismissal today. The mothers greeted one another and talked intently about each other's situation --- there was no denying what a miraculous change had occurred for Bruska since they last saw each other in Jordan about 10 days ago. Along with the evidence before her eyes, she met a number of Palestinian mothers whose children are also recuperating from surgeries at Schneider. They had befriended Um Bruska and her daughter, and immediately welcomed Um Shadyar and her son to their "community" there in the ward. This lessened her anxiety and made the fact that Bruska was leaving today more bearable for Um Shadyar.

We waited for shift change and availability of translation as the moms visited.

Finally all was in order for Shadyar's procedures to begin. First there was a consultation with the doctor on the ward, then Shadyar went for an echocardiogram. I was surprised to find him watching TV during his echo when I entered the room a few minutes later than the others - this kept him contented for most of the echo.

After heading back to the room for a few minutes, it was time for Shadyar's chest x-ray, but he was beginning to tire of such things, and cried through most of it. Thankfully dinner was waiting in the room when we returned, and we knew that Shadyar would settle into his pajamas and be ready for bed soon after. We left him and his mother in good hands.

The report from today's admission is that after the doctors confer about the echo and x-ray results, and review records Um Shadyar brought from Iraq, they will decide on a surgery date. It is expected it will be next week, but Shadyar will remain admitted until then. Will you please pray for Um Shadyar to remain settled during this waiting time? Kirsten and I share the opinion that Shadyar is an active little boy who will find simply waiting in a hospital a tough assignment! But given his cyanotic condition, we're all thankful that he will be there under the watchful care of the medical staff. We will trust God's perfect timing for the surgery for Shadyar in the coming days.

Shadyar's Adventure

Posted on Mon, 03/23/2009 - 00:00 by Jonathan Miles

We learned that three-year-old Shadyar is a special little boy after traveling with him 13 hours today from Jordan to Israel. He was curious, bold, and naughty in turn, and knowing how to wrap the Iraqi mothers around his finger with his plaintive little voice. We'll have some fun times with him around!

And his heart condition appears serious, as his lips, mouth, and feet all appeared markedly blue throughout the day. But he seemed happy even at the end of the day, and with good appetite for the delicious meal waiting for him at Prophets Street in Jerusalem.

Well, he wasn't too sure about the cucumbers...