Shaima's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Catheterization Will Determine Operability

Posted on Wed, 05/07/2008 - 07:52 by Donna_Petrel

For her first echocardiogram in Israel, Shaima had several doctors attending her due to the difficulty of her heart repair case. She has a very large hole in her heart which the doctors will decide how to treat, if they determine surgery is possible after a catheterization is done in the next week or two. Needless to say, this is stressful news for her mother, even though the parents were told this when the echocardiogram was done at the screening in March. We can pray for the surgery to be possible as we await the catheterization.

Shaima herself seems to be "coming out of her shell" as she has begun to receive this help, and spend time with us in our center in Jerusalem. Even though she is a very sick little girl, she enjoys being with the other children in whatever action is going on. During the long day of initial exams last week, she handled all the testing without much distress and was quick to entertain Aros, or to encourage her friend Zhino when she had a harder time handling the needles and stress.

At the park last Saturday for the birthday party of our friend Abigail, it was hard to keep Shaima off the playground, as she went from one slide to another, then to the swingset, and back around again. It was great to see her enjoying herself so much!

Around the house too she is laughing a lot more, which is in itself helpful for healing, as Proverbs 17:22 tells us, "a merry heart does good like a medicine." We will keep as much laughter in the house as possible, but ask for you to call out to God for the healing this sweet little girl needs for the hole in her heart. Remember her mother too, as well as the family back home who is waiting for them to return after a successful surgery.

Shaima Arrives in Israel

Posted on Tue, 04/29/2008 - 01:00 by Donna_Petrel

After waiting in Amman for over seven weeks, the mothers of Shaima, Aros, Zhino and Cheya were overjoyed to be travelling at last to Israel. Of course the children too were excited about moving on to the next place in their journey to get well. We were all thankful for the cooler weather which had moved into Jordan a few days before so that the trip to the border was pleasant for us as we crowded into the van. Even so, the cooler weather didn't stop us from enjoying some ice cream while we waited to board the bus which would carry us over the Jordan River into Israel.

In spite of the excitement and along with it, there are the contemplations and stresses of what will be next, which are evident in the moods of the group. We use the time travelling to address this as questions are asked and we can discuss in more detail what is about to transpire, and when and where they will be as the process unfolds. At this point, I believe a new reality begins to develop for each family as they recognize that each child's specific heart condition determines the course of the lives of that child and parent for the extent of their stay with us for treatment. None of us or the doctors can foresee how each child will respond to the treatment they need; only God knows these things. We find this a source of comfort, and we encourage the families that we trust the work of the doctors, but we especially trust God in everything that happens to help their precious child. I believe each moment we spend with them reaching out in love helps them know the love and encouragement of God.

I always enjoy spending time with the children and parents, and find each group seems to have its own sort of personality. This is a close-knit group who have been able to pull together and encourage each other through the ups and downs they experienced while waiting. The younger children look up to Cheya as the 'big brother', and he fills the role well. The mothers trust him with their children as he is gentle but playful, and able to offer correction to them as well as entertain them. I found out yesterday Cheya is learning English in school and has some vocabulary, but is very good in Arabic.

Zhino is very weak from her condition and is often found squatting to force air into her lungs so she can breathe. But she is a very spunky little girl, and I predict that she will be a boundless source of activity after her surgery.

Shaima is also very weak, and is more the pensive, quiet type. She is very smart and quick, though, when there is something to be figured out, and seems to have a growing English vocabulary as well.

Aros, as the baby of the group, gets lots of attention from everyone and thoroughly enjoys it. He is a happy and curious baby with a sweet disposition. And for little Aros, the trip yesterday was quite a way to celebrate his first birthday! Although he couldn't understand the significance of the event, he was receiving an open door to the surgery he needs on the very day he turned one year old. A party had been given in his honor the night before at the home of friends.

The children will go to the hospital in a couple of days for their first echocardiograms here which will determine the doctors' course of treatment. Let's join our prayers for God's work to be fulfilled in them and their mothers in every way.