Zhya's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

Goodbye, Little Princess

Posted on Sun, 04/08/2018 - 19:03 by Sophia Vogt
Last Thursday we had to bring almost all of our families to the airport. One of them was little Zhya. 
The very big farewell party has been already on Wednesday night; it was so nice, but also so emotional. It was beautiful to see how the kids have changed in their time here.
Zhya, when she arrived, was very shy, very angry and let no one come close to her at all. As soon as someone just looked at her she would scream and kick after him. Now, after a couple of weeks and two surgeries she's a different child; still bossy, but so adorable. So happy. She was jumping up at down, dancing, running around, having fun with other children as with us and her favorite words that she learned here were: I love you. I love you, o-pia (Sophia). I love you, hamo (Mohammed). What a wonderful change!
We will also miss the Mom a lot. This loving, strong, kind woman, she has found many friends here. She has done a great job as the "peacemaker" in this house and community and will miss out as such. Nothing would make her angry and she was always there with a loving hug or word. Thank you, Daiki Zhya!
Saying goodbye to both of them at the airport was one of the hardest farewells during my time here. Both were also sad to say goodbye, but happy as well to go home again. Zhya was very excited, even though it was so early in the morning and she was still sleepy. I wish them all the best as they go back to their daily lives. Zhya still has her bandages on the hands and I'm excited to see a photo of her hands after surgery. May God bless them on their way!

Back in our Community

Posted on Sat, 03/31/2018 - 22:17 by Johanna Ebert

After one night at the hospital, Zhya was able to come back to our house. Now with two finger less. She will have a follow up with the doctor in 10 days, until then she has to keep the bandage on her hands. The follow up can also occur in Kurdistan, so we won’t see the result. At the moment Zhya has still pain and need pain medicine, but in few days it should be better. And when she’s playing with the other kids she often forget the pain.


Beautiful Hands

Posted on Thu, 03/29/2018 - 04:32 by Sophia Vogt
Today Zhya has had a second surgery, not for the heart, but for her hands! She has had six fingers on both hands, though the last one didn't really look like a finger. When we met them this morning at 7 o'clock, they were just woken up and Zhya's mom made them both ready for surgery quickly. Zhya looked so tired and sleepy!
Since the hand surgeries are done in another building than the heart care center (where she stayed) we had to drive a short way with an ambulance. Her Mom had to hold her in the blanket the whole time, cause she was almost thrown back in the car. It was so good to see how her Mom cared for Zhya all the time, so tenderly loving and very gently.
Once we were just in front of the surgery room, Zhya started to struggle a little bit and cried slightly, but stopped as soon as Mom picked her up. Just before she was driven into it, Zhya's mom took her hands and kissed them, especially the part that should be removed. She loves her babygirl just how she is.
Even though this surgery was not at all as dangerous as the heart surgery before, Zhya's mom still cried when she had to leave her alone. She also wanted to go back to the waiting room already after one hour, even though the doctor said it will need at least two or three hours. Such a loving mother!
However, the surgery went very well and Zhya has only bandages now. She had this kind of sad glance in her eyes. Understandable, since she just lost two fingers.
She will probably be able to come home tomorrow morning already! Let's thank our father for this good relationship between mother and child. It's not for granted, as we see in many cases. And let's pray that Zhya can grow up and become a beautiful girl with beautiful hands (which she already is) and in the certainty to be loved; by her family, and by her father in heaven who has created her perfectly.

Admitted for Hand Surgery

Posted on Wed, 03/28/2018 - 23:08 by Maxine Stuart

Little Zhya headed back to Sheba hospital today not for heart surgery, but hand surgery. She will have the procedure done tomorrow morning. She had an eventful day getting different checks, and doing all the necessary paperwork to be admitted. She settled into her new bed quickly and instantly fell asleep.

Final Echo!

Posted on Wed, 03/14/2018 - 19:29 by Noelle Chung

It has already been one month and a week since Zhya had her operation. Zhya has been doing well at our home. She is still shy and hesitant to hang out with strangers, but she smiles so lovely to someone she knows. She likes milk very much, and she has grown up a lot since she arrived. She even participated in our monthly outing to Jerusalem with our coworkers yesterday. Still mum is her favorite friend, and she does not want to leave her mum even for a while.

Today ’s echo results were great. Previously observed pericardial effusion (fluid accumulation around the heart) was not seen, and surgical outcome was very good. The doctor said he can discharge Zhya and she can go back to Kurdistan. Zhya’s mum was very happy to hear about it. However, Zhya is waiting for another surgery for her extra fingers.

Appointment with Hand Specialist

Posted on Sun, 03/11/2018 - 20:21 by Coby van Wijhe

This morning Rebecca and I went together with Zhya and her mother to the hospital. We had an appointment with the hand specialist. Zhya has a deformity in both hands.

While waiting she was playing and very happy. She is a sweet little girl.

The doctor is happy to do surgery on her hands. He has performed this operation before. They also did an X-ray of both hands. Zhya's mother has to decide if she wants this operation to be done in Israel or Kurdistan. If it will be done here, than she will have some delay in her leaving. Please pray that the right decision will be made Zhya enjoyed herself. 

Not the Final Echo

Posted on Wed, 03/07/2018 - 22:48 by Johanna Ebert

Zhya was one of the 4 children, who had her echo appointment today. The echo area was already full as she arrived, and we had to wait a long time. But Zhya was not sad about it, she loved to play with the train at the playground in front of the echo rooms. The good thing was, that there were at least two Kurdish mum‘s who could talk together. For me it was a pleasure to see how fast they get to be friends and how they encourage each other.

The echo looked better then the last time, but the doctor still could see some water around the heart. Hopefully the echo next week will be her last echo, but for this week we have the privilege to spend more time with Zhya and her wonderful mum. 

Echo Day

Posted on Fri, 02/23/2018 - 22:37 by Johanna Ebert

Zhya had her echo appointment with two other kids from us today in the afternoon. She was in very good mood, smiling and playing during the drive. As we entered the echo room she started short with crying but we could distracted her with videos and picture books. She is a very smart little girl and taught me some words in kurdish.

The doctor could see some fluid around her heart, she was not really concerned, but prescribed her a further medicine.  She also want to see Zhya back in one week. Hopefully the echo looks then better.


Posted on Tue, 02/13/2018 - 23:54 by Johanna Ebert

Last week, little Zhya was admitted to Sheba hospital, and today I received a phone call saying that Zhya was ready to be released! She looks so much better having gone through surgery and recovery. This is a big surgery to undergo for any person, let alone a young child, but she is healing beautifully. We praise the lord for the gift of this little girl and the wonderful staff of Sheba. Zhya's mother was eager to return to Jaffa, but so gracious and patient in the waiting. This mother and daughter are so special to us and to God most of all.  

Zhya's Surgery Day

Posted on Thu, 02/08/2018 - 22:37 by Co-authored

"How precious is your gracious love, God! The children of men take refuge in the shadow of your wings." Psalm 36:7

The fourth Kurdish child that came in the last group has now had her surgery! Zhya joins our group of 3 other children at Sheba Hospital.

She had a large hole repaired in the center of her heart as well as cleft valve repairs. A new wall was made in the left side of her heart where what is now two smaller chambers was one large one.  Surgeon Saraf said it was a full repair and Lord willing, there will be no need for a further operation.

The process at Sheba has been very quick and each of the children have been extubated the same day as their surgery. Zhya started waking up in fits and we had to restrain her hands from pulling out any of the tubes before they removed them.
Zhya's mom was crying a little bit during the send off to surgery and the long wait. She has a sweet gentle voice, just like her heart on her sleeve. She was glad to hear that the surgery was successful and that there would be no need for a second one.
We got to pray for Zhya and her family a few times throughout the day. They appreciated the care. One doctor came by who paused for a picture after he explained how the operation had gone. 
Written by: Noelle Chung and Jesse Tilman