Shana's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Shana to Surgery in the Morning

Posted on Mon, 05/27/2013 - 23:51 by Kelsey Cannon

Today, a small team of us traveled to Sheba Hospital to be with Shana and her mother as Shana underwent a cardiac MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). This noninvasive procedure takes advantage of the vibrational energy emitted when hydrogen atoms present in water molecules of heart tissue are exposed to bursts of magnetic energy. This vibrational energy is converted to an image which is useful as a tool when mapping out potential surgical approaches to treatment. Until today, it was uncertain to Shana

Shana Back at Sheba

Posted on Sat, 05/25/2013 - 21:49 by Awapuhi Dancil

Shana may undergo surgery tomorrow, so she and her mother departed for Sheba this evening. Before leaving she was all smiles and funny faces, showing no fear or worry. Her mother was a bit more somber, and naturally I could understand why. We circled up in our courtyard to pray and give our last encouragements. It was moving to see the other mothers circle around Shana

Vacation For Shana

Posted on Wed, 05/22/2013 - 22:19 by Ruth Zellweger

In the early afternoon we received - as expected - a phone call from Sheba. Shana was well enough after yesterdays catherization to return to Jerusalem. When Marilyn, Philip and I arrived at the the ward we found her dressed and ready to leave. Shana was laughing and giggling and enjoying our company. Before we left, her IV line was removed and the pedeatrician of the ward talked with us. He told us that tomorrow morning the cardiologists and cardiac surgeons will meet and discuss her case. At this point they do not want to discharge Shana, but send her on a "vacation" to Jersualem. In the computer system she is still admitted. Please continue to pray with us for the right decisions to be made by the doctors and Shana's family.

Shana's Catherization Day

Posted on Tue, 05/21/2013 - 22:33 by Ruth Zellweger

Muna and I headed for Sheba Hospital after our morning meeting. A nurse at the ward had informed us last night that Shana

Shana Admitted to Sheba

Posted on Mon, 05/20/2013 - 20:10 by Jesse Tilman

Less than 2 weeks into her stay in Israel, Shana has been admitted to Sheba hospital with a scheduled catheterization tomorrow. She strutted right into the hospital with volunteer Muna as I dropped them off, ready for the procedures to start. When I joined them again they were waiting on the fourth-floor children

Shana's First Visit to Sheba

Posted on Sun, 05/12/2013 - 22:23 by Kristina Kayser

Shana received her first surgery in Israel five years ago, but is unable to return to the same hospital for the completion of her heart repair. Thus, we have been seeking the best option for her follow-up treatment. Two different hospitals accepted Shana as a candidate, with the original invitation coming from Sheba Medical Center. An early phone call this morning set things in motion for Shana to be evaluated by Sheba's cardiology team in the afternoon. Both she and her mother prepared quickly, and emerged wearing beautiful dresses with equally beautiful dispositions.

While waiting for Shana's echo appointment, she found exceptional pleasure in the colorful play area. Her high spirits provided entertainment for her mother, Muna, and me as well. The exam itself went smoothly, with Shana trying hard to constrain her ticklish reflexes and giggles as the probe glided back and forth across her chest. It took steady hands and discerning eyes to obtain clear images of this girl's unique heart. Not only is her heart positioned to the right

A Fraction Part of a Magnificent Work

Posted on Thu, 05/09/2013 - 21:28 by Marilyn Isaacson

Today we went to Wolfson Hospital for Shana

Shana's Joyful Return to Israel

Posted on Wed, 05/08/2013 - 23:21 by Kristina Kayser

Shana's arrival in Israel today was an answer to many months of prayer on her behalf. This lovely eight-year-old girl was previously in this land five years ago for the first of a two-part surgery. Since then, her family has been anxiously waiting for the right time for Shana's heart to be fully repaired. The Fontan shunt operation, which Wolfson's cardiology team recommends, does not come without risk along with a lengthy recovery. Dr. Sasson and Dr. Tamir accepted Shana as a patient despite her receiving previous treatment at a different Israeli hospital. While Shana does not comprehend all of the factors involved, she remembers all too well the pain and struggle involved in heart surgery. Many fearful tears were shed in the last few days of waiting in Jordan. Nevertheless, Shana impressed me today with her contagious joy and courageous spirit.

Shana and her mother had already traveled close to eight hours across international borders before coming to Wolfson Hospital. Medical staff was ready to receive her and begin preliminary assessments straight away. Both she and her mother were relieved to know that needle pokes were not part of the agenda. In fact, Shana squealed with delight when I told her today would entail only a few simple and pain-free tests. While some children cry their way through an ECG (electrocardiogram), Shana giggled through hers. The electrodes made her ticklish, and the nurse had quite a good time with her cheerful patient.

Once vital signs and an X-ray were accomplished, we had some time to enjoy some fresh air in an outdoor playground. I soon discovered that Shana is also a very intelligent girl and loved playing the role of teacher. She taught me many new words in her Bahdini dialect and gave me an emphatic nod of approval every time I pronounced something correctly. I thought to myself, "I've only known this girl for a few short hours, but I love her already!"

By 7 p.m., everyone was more than ready to bid the hospital farewell and head to Jerusalem. Shana's joy continued all the way home as we laughed and played together in the back seat. The sparkling lights of the city were a welcome sight, and the whole Shevet community was outside the house to welcome us back. This evening, Shana and her mother are settling in and becoming reacquainted with this home they knew five years ago.

In closing, I want to thank God for His faithful love for this beautiful girl. Just yesterday, I had prayed that the Lord would make a way for Shana where there was no way. How beautifully He answered this prayer today in opening the door to Israel. Moreover, He is also answering my prayer for Shana's fears to be replaced with joy. As she continues day by day with us, I believe God is able to give her fullness of joy and a love that casts out all fear. Please pray for fresh strength and joy for Shana and her mother as they return to Wolfson in the morning to complete a blood test and echo exam of her heart.

A Beautiful Soul

Posted on Tue, 05/07/2013 - 22:24 by Jesse Tilman

Getting to spend the last few days with Shana in Amman, Jordan, we have walked through some valleys emotionally already and are starting to step upwards. She was a shy child initially and took the travel and transition with difficulty. The prospect of facing surgery again was a weight on her and her mother. She cried often and loudly in the evenings and would argue with her calm mother. After two days of this she slowly started smiling again and showing interest in the new surroundings. The scheduled weekend in Amman has stretched a few more days as we wait for her visa approval to Israel. As each day goes by she get more at home here, though we know that the move to Jerusalem is coming up. Yesterday we visited a sports park and played some basketball and baseball. She sat with her mother and Michelle Miles and as I dribbled the basketball I occasionally saw Michelle pantomining a basketball play to Shana. Mother and daughter enjoyed the sunshine and we returned to the house refreshed. 

Dinner in the evenings becomes a team effort as we each find a place to contribute, whether in preparation, distribution, or clean-up. Since Shana's mother speaks Arabic as well as her native Bahdini dialect of Kurdish, Jonathan and Michelle can communicate with her. Each meal we try different foods and see who likes what. The neighbors even gave us some "dolma," a middle eastern dish of rice and meat wrapped in grape leaves that the Kurds appreciate. The night we had pizza we agreed all around the table that it is a wonderful meal!
Plans for Shana's heart surgery are still in the making. Discussions are ongoing with the doctors as to exactly what type of surgery should be done to give her the maximum benefit with the least risk. Two options are currently being looked at. Connecting a shunt to increase the flow of blood to her lungs is less risky and would raise her oxygen content, or a more complex reworking of her circulation could be attempted called a Fontan surgery. This last option has historically been more risky though.
Shana's heart condition keeps her low-energy most of the time and out of sight. As the days go by we have gotten to know each other better though, sharing thoughts about Kurdistan and inviting each other to visit if we travel nearby in the future. She is a beautiful soul with a quiet grace few her age display, claimed through the trials she has come through.