Sonya's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

The Eve of Her Surgery

Posted on Tue, 01/03/2017 - 00:35 by Ruth Zellweger

Our precious Sonya was admitted this morning for her surgery tomorrow. It was so sweet to see the different patient-families and medical staff welcoming both Sonya and her mother. They have found their way into many hearts. One of the nurses on duty made sure that she called in a doctor who is very skilled in getting in an IV-cannula, as they knew from previous times how hard it has been on Sonya and her mother. Everyone seems to be in great anticipation of Sonya's big day. It is such a blessing that our volunteers, families and other patient-families can be such a tight-knit community, sharing in the joys, hopes and tears of the others. 

Please pray with us that Sonya's surgery day will turn out beautifully - a day to remember. 

We'll Wait a Little Longer

Posted on Wed, 12/28/2016 - 21:32 by Camila Buitrago

Early in the morning, Ruth and Alexa went to the hospital waiting for Sonya's surgery. However, the doctors made the decision to perform it in the afternoon.

Waiting for a positive response, we went in the afternoon. When we arrived at the hospital, Sonya and her mom were waiting for us. Then, we were all waiting for the moment when they called Sonya for her surgery. Sonya was in fasting all day as is customary, which was why she was restless. After almost an hour of waiting, they announced to us the cancellation of the surgery. They also informed us that the surgery would not be done tomorrow either. Because of this, we returned home with Sonya and her mom.

At first, Sonya's mom was a little annoyed, however she quickly understood the situation and we started to pack again to return home. Afterward, Sonya took her feeding bottle.

During our time in the hospital, Sonya received more gifts for Hanukkah. This is a time to light the candles that illuminate our lives. During these eight days we must remember all the good that God has given us and we must also keep in mind that it is a season of remembering beautiful miracles.

We thank you for your prayers so that Sonya's surgery can be done soon, and that her mother can have patience while they wait.

Happy Hanukkah!

Posted on Tue, 12/27/2016 - 22:57 by Eva Markewitz
Today, our beloved Sonya was admitted to the hospital for surgery tomorrow. All assessments went smoothly - just the blood test took a little time because it was hard for the doctors to find any arteries.
Sonya's mum was emotionally upset and even cried a little bit, seeing her little daughter wailing on the hospital bed. Added to that, she had a headache, which didn't make it easier. Finally, she wanted to leave the room for a few minutes until the blood test was over. 

But then, we met the clown, who made Sonya laugh and even got some presents for her. And because of the Hanukkah season, there were many people sharing candies and toys or singing cheerful songs. There was a constant coming and going of people wishing us "Happy Hanukkah!" So in the end, everything turned good.
Please join us in praying for little Sonya and her surgery tomorrow. God is in control, we trust her into his mighty hands! 

Back Home

Posted on Sun, 12/18/2016 - 20:44 by Ruth Zellweger

Precious Sonya is back with our Jaffa community. After her cath last week and being monitored at the hospital because of a viral respiratory infection she was allowed to return to our home. Both mother and daughter had to wait for a while until we had a vehicle available to pick them up. When Sue and I entered the children's ward, we could tell that Sonya's mother was not feeling well.

Yaser's mother stood by her and comforted her, while Sonya was lying on the hospital bed, chatting happily in her baby talk. After we got from the nurse on duty her medications, we headed home. 

Sonya and her mother received a warm welcome from our community and the other families, and soon Sonya's mother started to already feel better. Please pray with us for a complete recovery for Sonya before her upcoming surgery, which is potentially scheduled the week after Christmas. We also pray for protection and wellbeing for her mother. May she experience God's comfort and peace in a special way in these coming days.

Hope for Sonya

Posted on Thu, 12/15/2016 - 23:23 by Ruth Zellweger

After a rough night with high fever and low oxygen saturation due to a viral infection, precious Sonya was doing better today. And this affected also her mother's wellbeing. When I met them in the ward, Sonya's was her old funny self. She understands that it is currently better for Sonya to stay admitted at the hospital until Sonya is feeling better. 

I was not able to spend much time with mother and daughter today, but whenever I saw them, it was so nice. Within a short period of time we built a relationship that is quite strong and doesn't need many words. A hug here, a kiss there, a few words of affirmation - not a big deal, but it means a lot, for both sides. 

Later in the day I learned that Sonya was scheduled for her open heart surgery in two weeks. I was so happy when Dr. Alona told me that the cath results from yesterday revealed that Sonya is operable after all. This is such a huge praise report. There is hope for Sonya - thank God!

An Emotional Cath Day

Posted on Wed, 12/14/2016 - 21:23 by Eva Markewitz
Today was Sonya's catheterization. We expected the procedure to take place after lunch as usual, but when we arrived at the hospital, the medical staff had already finished. Sonya's mother was relieved to see us because it was hard for her to see her little daughter connected to so many cables not really knowing what was going on.
The cath results showed that there is high pressure in Sonya's lungs, so the doctors will meet to talk about what the next steps for surgery are going to be. Probably, they will give her some medications to lower the pressure in her lungs and than do the surgery. So far, it isn't decided yet.

After Sonya was carried into the children's ward, the doctors checked on her blood fluid. There seemed to be a problem in her right foot, so she received some blood thinning medications, which worked out well. It was obvious that Sonya was not feeling very well - she wailed almost the whole time, tossing alnd turning sleeplessly in her bed. It was a very emotional time for Sonya's mum seeing her baby suffering and not to be able to do anything to help her. But by the end of the day, everything turned better. Sonya calmed down and her mum even started smiling again. Yaser's mum also came to visit her. It was very nice to see how they interacted and encouraged each other.
Even though it was a tough day, everything was good in the end. Please join us in praying for Sonya and her mum! Please pray for strength for them to face the coming days and weeks and for wisdom for the doctors.

Sonya's Admission

Posted on Wed, 12/14/2016 - 06:06 by Alejandra Becerra
The families are enjoying our new home that is very near to Wolfson hospital, and today the admission process started differently than our previous protocols in Jerusalem. We went to the hospital in the morning for Sonya's admission, and her mom was a bit nervous, so Camila and I decided to change the baby's clothes and get her ready for the assessments. We made Sonya's bed and played with the other kids that were in the room. 
When the nurse came, she looked at the Sonya's medical record, took her weight, blood pressure, and temperature. She had a little fever at 38.1° Celsius. 
For the x ray, the mother asked me to take charge of the baby because she is probably pregnant. Everything went well except for the blood test, because Sonya has very thin veins. The nurse struggled trying to find the vein in both left and right arm. It was basically impossible to do the blood test. Sonya cried so much, that her mother left the room because she couldn't bear seeing her daughter suffer so much. The nurses finally decided to wait and retry in the afternoon. While we waited, we decided to get some lunch and we made sure the mom ate something. 
We will continue praying for her temperature to be stable and for success as the doctors continue with the whole process.

On The Road to Recovery

Posted on Sun, 12/04/2016 - 17:46 by Ruth Zellweger

Little Sonya and her mother had quite a rough start in Israel. After one day of rest in our home in Jerusalem, they went for the first tests at Wolfson hospital and were hospitalized right away. Initially, we were told that is was just for another blood test on Friday morning, but it turned out that Sonya is actually quite sick. Not only does she have tonsillitis, but also pneumonia, and is being treated with antibiotics. 

The doctors are confident that Sonya can continue her recovery at our home and so she was discharged this morning, to the relief of her mother. She has not been feeling well and was looking forward to more privacy and also being able to cook her own food at our house, which she did as soon as she made sure that Sonya was resting on her bed. 

Before we left the hospital, Sean and I visited a few other families currently staying there, which meant that Sonya and her mother had to wait for a while. They were entertained by one of the hospital clowns, and especially Sonya's mother enjoyed her company. She took many pictures. 

Sonya's treatment for her heart will be postponed until she is feeling better. Please pray with us for the healing not only of her infections but also of her heart. We ask in faith that even with the delay she would still be operable and could return to Kurdistan with a complete healed heart. And we pray that the heart of Sonya's mother would be touched in a special way. She appears very vulnerable and we pray that we can reach out to her with God's love.  

First Assessments

Posted on Thu, 12/01/2016 - 21:58 by Ruth Zellweger

Sweet Sonya underwent her first assessments today at Wolfson hospital. On the way to the hospital she was not feeling so well and her mother noticed that she had a fever.  After our arrival the nurses started with assessing her vital signs and confirmed a fever. Sonya received some medication and soon felt better. 

It turned out to be quite a long day for all of us at the hospital. Before the echocardiogram Sonya received some sedation so that she would not cry during the echo. It took her a while to fall asleep, but finally the doctors could start.

They confirmed the diagnosis her cardiologist in Kurdistan had already made: A whole between the two ventricles of her heart plus pulmonary hypertension (high pressure in the pulmonary arteries). There is a possibility that the pressure in her arteries are too high, which means that Sonya would not be operable. In order to get the exact measurements, Sonya will have to undergo a catheterization of her heart, which could take place this next week. Sonya's loving mother took the news with strength and grace; she had heard this before from the doctor in Kurdistan. However, she does not give up hope that Sonya can be operable after all and our Shevet community will be coming alongside her with prayer and emotional support. 

Just before we were going to leave the hospital in the late afternoon, we found out that Sonya would be admitted for the night for another blood test in the morning. She and her mother will spend the night at Wolfson and might rejoin our community as soon as Friday afternoon. 

Welcome to Israel, Sonya

Posted on Wed, 11/30/2016 - 17:05 by Alexa Bigl

Agnes and I had the distinct honor to welcome three new families last night! One of these families was Sonya and her mom. Sonya suffers from a defect called a VSD (ventricular septal defect). Please read about this defect by clicking the embedded link under 'diagnosis' under Sonya's picture on this page. Sonya also has other aspects of her heart defect which we will learn more about after tomorrow's initial assessments at Wolfson Medical Center. 

Sonya's mom was very tired when they arrived to Ben Gurion, but she patiently waited for the other two families to be ready to go to the car. As we were walking, it was obvious the fatigue of the long travels was wearing on her.

As soon as we got to the car, she sat down in the middle of the parking lot as we loaded the bags, Sonya, and the other families into the car. The whole trip home, Sonya and her mom slept peacefully. When we arrived to Shevet's Jerusalem base, Sonya's mom helped us unload the car. Agnes was about to drive away to park the car, but we asked one more time if we had everything. Sonya's mom quickly spoke up- Sonya was still asleep in the car! We quickly got her out and into her mother's arms. After showing the new families the bathroom and wifi password, Sonya and her mom were ready for a real sleep in their new bed.

Today, Sonya and her mom have been continuing to catch up on rest and getting to know the Shevet community. Little Sonya enjoyed reading books and singing songs with our community's librarian friend, Carol. And we enjoyed both mother and daughter's company at our large community lunch today. Thank you for beginning this journey of Sonya's Israel adventures with us. We pray God's plan is one of beautiful healing, joyful times, and meaningful relationship for Sonya's time with Shevet Achim.