Yano's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

Prayer is Needed

Posted on Wed, 06/14/2017 - 21:34 by Cecilie Hoejlund Wibe

Today we went to Sheba hospital to visit Mama Yano and her beautiful 9 month-old daughter, Yano. 

When we got there, Yano was sleeping peacefully in the children's ward while her mum was texting with family and friends. You could see how her mum was enjoying her break, and even though Google translate was our only way to communicate with her, she seemed to enjoy our company - and hopefully the tea, biscuits and food we brought for her. The doctors told us that Yano still has her chest tube in place, but they hope to take it off by tomorrow.

After some time Yano woke up. She has the most beautiful eyes, but clearly she didn't feel well. Milk and mommy's hugs were the only things that could distract her from crying. 

Suddenly​ a doctor and a nurse came to check up on her, and they left us a frustrating message: Yano needs an eye surgery for glaucoma. Otherwise she will become blind, according to the doctor. That means they have to stay longer at the hospital, and since mum already is exhausted from being there with her daughter in pain, the message was hard on her. Before we left the hospital, we got to pray for her, and we will visit her again soon. 

We ask you to pray continually for the mum, that she will feel peace and hope in her hard circumstances. Pray for Yano, that her pain will decrease, that the eye surgery will be successful, and that she will recover quickly. God is good in all circumstances.

On Her Way to Recovery

Posted on Sun, 06/11/2017 - 21:02 by Rebekah Yang

This morning I had the privilege to come to Sheba hospital to visit our precious little girl, Yano, after her heart surgery last Thursday.

Right after I entered her room in the ICU, her mum was very happy and greeted me with her kisses to express her welcome. I saw Yano was already extubated, so I asked mum how was Yano's weekend went. She told me with a joyful spirit that the doctor said Yano had a successful operation and that she is doing well so far! Yano had been extubated and also they removed her central IV line on Friday. 
At the moment, Yano is feeding by a nasogastric tube every three hours. Because Yano's mum is still breastfeeding, I brought her outside and offered her some Shevet sandwiches I had made for her. I told her how important it is to have enough food and nutrition in her own body, so that she can offer more to Yano in her breast milk later. She seemed to understand my point - she accepted my offer and enjoyed the sandwiches right away.
Later on we came back to Yano's room to chat a bit, and then both Yano and her mum had a little rest. Around two pm, a team of doctors and nurses came in to inform us that they were going to attempt to remove Yano's chest tube. Yano's mum was scared that Yano will have a lot of pain and suffering; she couldn't bear watching her daughter cry. So Dr. Amir was very kind to explain to her that she would receive sedation medicine to put her sleep and wouldn't feel anything at all.
He also explained to her in Arabic that Yano's first stage of surgery was very successful. Yano just needs to have some time to recover and return back to Kurdistan first. Then she will probably come back after to Israel after one and half years for phase two of her medical treatment. All in God's perfect timing.
Thanks to Yeshua's healing power for working in Yano's little body. Please continue to join with me to pray for mum that she will have peace and strength daily as she cares for Yano in the hospital. 

Comfort in Times of Trouble

Posted on Thu, 06/08/2017 - 22:34 by Co-authored
After the surgery was delayed once, Yano finally got her procedure. 
When we arrived at noon at Sheba, we still had to wait for another 2h until the doctors came to take Yano. It was touching to see how mother and daughter were interacting - to distract her from being hungry, the mom was singing some songs to put her to sleep.
It was an emotional time for the mom to let Yano go with the surgeons into the OR waiting until the procedure was finished. We let the mom know that many people were praying for her and her little girl. Of course, mom was so appreciative. Mom talked on the phone with her family and friends and later in the afternoon, and we got some delicious ice cream. 
It was not as easy as we expected to find our through the hospital and back, but we made it. With some laughs and the ice cream in our hands. 
After about 3h we got the message from the surgeon telling us it was finished. He said they made the connection between the heart and the lung as the first step. They repaired the valve well but not perfectly only partially. A second surgery will be needed to finish it. So in essence, the first part is done and the valve is working though not at a 100%. The second surgery is needed for that. Yano's oxygen level is at 75% but it will be above 90% after that second surgery needed in around 2 years.
Mom anxiously waited for the Arabic translation, but once she had the full report she was relieved. I think she might have been a little in shock that the surgery was finally over and things turned out the way she was hoping for.  We had to wait another hour until we could actually enter the room to see Yano, but the mom was very patient. It was amazing to sit in the little waiting room meanwhile,  knowing that people were praying for Yano and mom and we were doing the same. Eva and I prayed for comfort upon Yano and mom's troubling day. It is so amazing that God would be so gracious to extend that comfort and grace. Psalms 46:1 states that "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Let is continue to lift up baby Yano and mom that they will rely on God's comfort and grace during Yano's recovery period.
Written by: Eva Markewitz and Brenda Hofer

Delayed Surgery

Posted on Wed, 06/07/2017 - 21:36 by Alexa Bigl

Little Miss Yano was scheduled to receive her big heart operation today. The doctors told us yesterday they hoped she would go to the operating theater around 12. After I arrived to Sheba, Yano and I got right down into playing.

Despite that she had not eaten since 4 am she was a happy camper. She was interactive and seemed to remember me, smiling often.

Her mom, while tired, animatedly talked with me about all types of things. Despite my poor Kurdish, she communicates well and we enjoyed chatting. We joked about the trend at the hospital that things always happened much later than what was communicated to us as planned. Yano's mom said she knows when they say one hour it will be three hours or if they say 12 o'clock the surgery won't be until 5pm. While she said it as she laughed, it was a true sentiment.

So, as 2.30 rolled around we weren't surprised Yano still hadn't been called in. However, our hopes surged at this point when we saw the first surgery was over. Unfortunately, this was short lived. Soon after, a nurse came over and told us Yano's surgery would not be today. Perhaps it will be tomorrow but it's unknown at this point. Yano's mom was disappointed but relieved to finally be able to feed her daughter. After eating, Yano and I played more while her mom took a shower and did some laundry. We praise the Lord for a beautiful day and ask for His perfect timing to reign concerning the time of Yano's surgery. 


Preparing for Surgery

Posted on Thu, 06/01/2017 - 17:20 by Rebekah Yang

Brenda and I arrived at Sheba hospital this morning to visit our precious little girl, Yano and her mum.

When we entered the main station of the ICU,  the nurse in charge told us she has been moved to the ward. When we came into their room, Yano's mum was very happy, greeting us with her hugs and kisses.
While Brenda spent time playing with little baby Yano,  I went to look for the surgeon, in order to get more information on Yano's upcoming heart surgery plan. After some time, someone from the medical team came to talk with me. According to their operation schedule, Yano's surgery will be scheduled either Monday or Tuesday. I asked whether there is a translator provided before on Sunday, to help Yano's mum understand everything that would happen. She says they're always Arabic speaking staff here, but if we can provide a Kurdish translator, that will be best. So we will do our best to arrange a native Kurdish speaker to help prepare Yano's mother. 
Please lift our sweet mum and little Yano in your prayers, as they're going to spend the weekend in Sheba hospital as they wait for the upcoming heart surgery. May our God bless both of them, and give them strength and peace. In Messiah's name I pray, amen!

Enjoying Cuddles with Mom

Posted on Wed, 05/31/2017 - 05:13 by Helen Jackson

Brenda drove us to Sheba hospital today where we went to the children's ward to see Yano. However, when we arrived she was not there. After inquiring from the nurses, we were told that she had been moved to the ICU as her oxygen levels had fallen. We found her and her mother and there we saw a tiny, little 10 month-old girl all wired up and fast asleep.

When she awoke she had smiles for her mother and was watching Brenda and myself while we took some photographs. Her mother gave her some toys and she was quite happy playing with them.

Later, her mother changed her diaper and breastfed her, which was very difficult with al these tubes getting in the way. Yano got a little frustrated at this point but with lots of cuddles from her mother she soon became the cheerful little girl we had seen before.

A little while later we returned to Shevet. Please keep Yano and her mother in your prayers as they continue their medical journey in Israel.


Yano's Cath Day

Posted on Mon, 05/29/2017 - 22:42 by Alexa Bigl

Today Helen and I headed back to Sheba Medical Center to be with Yano and her mom. Yano's cath was scheduled as the third for the day, so we knew we would have some time of waiting. We were happy to see, upon our arrival, that Yano was in a good mood. Despite having been fasting since 2am, she happily went between sleeping and playing for quite some time.

Just when Yano was starting to become unsettled, a tech came in to move Yano to another room. We we very happy with the timing and thought she would soon be going to the cath lab as it was close to noon at that point. But we would eventually learn Yano still had over two hours to wait before her turn would come up. As the hunger started to get to her, Yano became more and more upset with the waiting. And her mother also began to struggle. It was so hard for her to see her baby daughter distraught for such a long time period. But the Lord's grace is sufficient and His timing is perfect. Eventually, Yano's doctors came to collect her and brought her into the cath lab. 
We then had a peaceful time of waiting for the procedure. Yano's mother spent time on the phone catching up with friends and family before sitting down with us and looking at photos of all the kids we currently have here in Israel for heart surgeries. She wanted to hear all about their conditions, how long they had been here, what their mothers were like, etc. It was so sweet to see how she intently listened to the information about each family here. 
The medical team had told us it would be about 2 hours, and almost on the dot 2 hours after she was brought in, Yano was wheeled out. Her mother was so happy to see her beautiful daughter safely out of the procedure area. And we did not have to wait long for the cardiologist to come out and let us know the results. The cath looked good and the pressures were very good. Yano can have the hoped-for surgical procedure! 
Before we arrived to Sheba this morning, Yano had a head CT scan. And during our waiting she had an eye exam. The medical teams want to make sure everything is sound with Yano's neurological system. We hope to hear all good news. And if that's the case, Yano may be receiving surgery in the very near future. The doctors said it will most likely be the beginning of next week.
We can only lift up our praises to the Lord for all the beautiful workings of the day; He is a faithful God indeed!

Yano Made it to Israel

Posted on Sun, 05/28/2017 - 22:25 by Alexa Bigl
Baby Yano and her young mother made it to Israel this morning. We met them at Ben Gurion and were immediately taken by Yano's big eyes and her mother's beaming smile.
We were very soon on the road to Sheba hospital for Yano's initial exams and tests. After fighting through some traffic, we safely arrived at the medical center. We arrived to the outpatient clinic area and soon learned we would have a day full of waiting. There were still some administrative kinks to work out so we had to wait a very long time before Yano was called in for the assessments to begin.
This initial waiting period was peaceful and Yano's mother still had energy despite the travel. I was amazed to learn Yano's mother said she had not really slept for the past four days, anxious about the trip. But her adrenaline levels were still high and we happily chatted as we waited. We also got to see pictures of Yano with her lovely parents. As their only child, you could quickly see how they dote on her. And Yano makes this very easy; she is a sweet, chubby little baby who loves to interact. She happily squeaked away on her toy and baby-talked with her mom as she waited alongside us. 
When we were finally called in for the tests to begin, Yano was ok at first, lying still for the EKG.
After this, she became quite upset and we struggled with the other assessments, like blood pressure and weight, for a time. After a break to allow Yano to calm some, we headed in for the echo. Unfortunately, Yano was soon crying again. Her mother, overwhelmed with her daughters tears of protest, was soon also crying. The technician tried some different tactics to calm Yano, but in the end we had to take another break until Yano was asleep. The cardiologist then came in to finish the echo as Yano lay in her mother's arms. We were greatly encouraged by what the echo showed. While Yano's heart defect is severe, there is hope. Yano's left ventricle is severely undersized and they plan to join the left and right ventricles into one during the heart surgery. The good news came when we learned about the blood flow to Yano's lungs. Typically, the first step in a surgical repair for a hypoplastic (small) left ventricle is to put in a special shunt to allow blood flow from the aorta to the pulmonary arteries. Yano's little heart did not convert properly from fetal to infant blood flow and so she naturally already has this shunt. 
So, tomorrow Yano will have a catheterization performed to better see the blood flow of her heart and, very importantly, measure the blood pressure in her pulmonary system. If the pressures are ok they can jump right into the second stage of the heart repair due to the anatomical, pre-existing shunt. We are simultaneously praising the Lord for the good news about the anatomical situation while continuing to lift her up asking for His hand to be present in regards to the pulmonary blood pressure. 
We then had another period of waiting as the children's ward made room for Yano to join. Yano's mother was exhausted by this time and very much struggled with emotions and being overwhelmed. We were finally allowed to head over to the children's ward and got Yano and her mom set up in a nice, private room.
Yano was peacefully sleeping and her mom could finally lay down, close her eyes, and sleep some. Please join us in praying for a peaceful night for mother and daughter, may the Lord grant them a great measure of rest.

A Blessed Child

Posted on Wed, 05/24/2017 - 20:14 by Ruth Zellweger

Today, we had the opportunity to meet with Yano and her family at the office of our local Kurdish partner KSC (Kurdistan Save The Children).

Yano's Israeli visa was approved yesterday morning, and we hope that Yano and her mother can fly out early Sunday morning to begin Yano's treatment at Sheba Medical Center.

It was a pleasure for me to get to know Yano's family. They are so thankful for the opportunity for Yano to receive help in Israel, and they would do everything possible for their beloved daughter.

Yano can be called blessed to have such devoted and loving parents, and for being accepted at one of the best medical centers in the world.

The doctors at Sheba agreed to see Yano right away, as she is viewed as an "urgent child". We pray for wisdom for the doctors and that Yano will soon return to her family in Kurdistan with a healed heart.