Zina's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Please Pray for Zina

Posted on Fri, 05/27/2016 - 13:51 by Alexa Bigl

Baran's mom contacted us this morning to let us know Zina had some complications overnight. Her breathing slowed enough the doctors determined it best to reintubate her and let the ventilation machine breath for her, once again. Looking into the cause, the team at Wolfson found fluid collection around Zina's lungs. They inserted a new drain to get it out. We don't know for how long, but Zina will now sleep under medicated sedation during the recovery of this complication.

Please join us in praying it will be a short, full recovery. We are happy to report Zina is stable and her mom, while concerned, is remaining strong. Thanks to Baran's mom for being an incredible support during Zina's time here in Israel, especially last night during the height of this situation. God is certainly a powerful provider. We can feel great assurance knowing He will provide for Zina's every need too.

Almighty God

Posted on Thu, 05/26/2016 - 23:39 by Alejandra Becerra

Brenda, Suhail, and I went to Wolfson hospital this afternoon. There was a lot of traffic due to a fire in the forest, but we finally arrived and were able to visit Zina and Baran.

Although Zina was sleeping, we spent time with her mom talking about the Jerusalem Festival of Light and sharing photos of Shevet Achim. The nurse said that Zina is doing very well, and they have already stopped her adrenaline medication. When she wakes up she can eat. 

Zina enjoys it a lot when we sing songs; so, we sang a special one with Zina's mom (the one we sang yesterday). We were able to then spend time praying for her and it was so special to see people with different cultures and religions come together in unity for the same reason; this precious girl and her new heart.

A New Day Dawned

Posted on Wed, 05/25/2016 - 21:39 by Rebekah Yang

When the sun comes up - a new day is dawning. Four of us (Suhail, Christelle, Valentina and I) began our journey to Tel Aviv for our precious Zina’s heart surgery early this morning.

We arrived there early and after greeting both Mama Zina and Zina with kisses we then spent some time together. We tried to distract Zina's Mama from her anxious feelings. Valentina was playing with Zina and she was laughing a lot. She had a really fun time and enjoyed it so much.

Around 8 am the nurses asked Zina and her mother to change and get ready to go to the operation room. So together we embraced Zina and sang to both of them ”Hodu L'Adonai“ to bless our God, as well as blessing Zina and her Mama. Both Zina and Mama happily harmonized with us. After our song finished, an attendant came and whirled Zina off to the operating room for her heart surgery. 

When Mama Zina came out of the pre-op room she was full of tears and almost collapsed in the corridor. We took her to the children's ward and tried very hard to distract her, however it was all in vain. At one point she told me that she would like to be alone for a while to talk with her family back home in Kurdistan. Then she came back again to chat with Ahmed and Baran's mothers.

At lunchtime, we took the three mothers for a quick lunch in the cafeteria. Afterwards, I went with Mama Zina downstairs to check whether there were any updates regarding Zina. We didn’t wait very long; soon we heard that Zina's heart surgery had finished. As soon as Mama Zina got this news she knelt down and offered her praise to God. I was so glad that she knew to give thanks to God and that was so amazing to see. We pray for her, and for us all, to know Him more closely, as so often happens through difficulties and brokenness.

Later both Mama Zina and I went inside the ICU to check on Zina’s condition. Dr. Sasson told us that today’s operation was the first part of her treatment. It was a successful surgery - they corrected her coronary arteries and right ventricular outflow - and hopefully, later on, her pulmonary artery will be big enough to have the next stage of her heart repair. If her heart healing process is fast enough then they may plan the next step of repair while she is still in Israel, otherwise she may need to go back to Kurdistan for some time and return for her next surgery at another time.

After understanding this, Mama Zina was full of gratitude in her heart. She gave thanks to all of the mothers and to us for our support while she was in need of it. In the end Christelle, Valantina and I decided to sing another song of worship with thankful hearts to our Heavenly Father for His mighty power and protection over Zina.

Let us sing this song again to bless our living God, together:

Hineh ma tov uma-nayim

Shevet Achim gam ya-chad

Hineh ma tov uma-nayim

Shevet Achim gam ya-chad

Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!

Like a Family

Posted on Tue, 05/24/2016 - 20:51 by Juanita Florez Parra

After having a nice time at the morning meeting and a rainy drive, Josh, Yousef, Alexa and I arrived at Wolfson hospital so we could visit Baran and Ahmed (who are getting better - thank you God), and brough Zina in for her surgery which is scheduled for tomorrow.

From the moment we arrived at the hospital, Zina was scared because she recognized where we were and what the place was for. Every time the nurses examined her, she cried, especially when they took her blood samples. She fell asleep for a while, but then the nurses had the take her for an X-Ray to complete some more checks.

It was really nice seeing how happy she was when she saw Ahmed; they have a beautiful friendship. Ahmed and Zina played for a while. We also had a beautiful time with the mothers; sharing smiles and some Arabic and Kurdish words to give them some support. Zina's mother was a little bit afraid, but when she saw Ahmed, she felt relief. Zina, Ahmed and their mothers have been like a family since they first arrived together.

Trusting in God we know that everything will be in His hands tomorrow and He has everything under control.

A Difficult Day

Posted on Tue, 05/17/2016 - 21:08 by Alexa Bigl

Zina and her mom came with Brenda and I to Wolfson very early this morning. They were looking forward to supporting Ahmed's mother while Ahmed was in surgery. Unfortunately, due to an emergency situation at the hospital last night, (not pertaining to any of Shevet's kids) the surgery was delayed. This delay will also change the schedule for when Zina will receive her surgery. She is now on the schedule for the beginning of next week. 

The doctors took advantage of Zina's mom being at the hospital and took time to explain the surgical plan and have the consent forms signed. It was a difficult meeting for Zina's mom as she learned Zina will need multiple surgeries to correct her 4-part heart defect. 
The first surgery's outcome will be a huge factor determining if the doctors can repair Zina's heart. The blood vessels connecting her heart and lungs are very small. The hope is that after the first surgery, an increased blood flow through these vessels will lend to them growing. In fact, Zina's life depends on their widening and growth. God willing, once this critical step is achieved, the doctors can continue treatment by closing a hole between Zina's large, lower heart chambers. Subsequent surgeries will focus on working to continue to widen those blood vessels connecting the heart and lungs. 
While it was very hard for Zina's mom to hear her daughter's life depends on the successful growth of the blood vessels, we rest in a double measure of comfort. First, the doctors and surgeons at Wolfson are fantastic! They are wonderful at their jobs and have dealt with similar heart defects many times. However, more importantly is the comfort we have in knowing the healing of Zina's heart lies with God. He is her creator and her healer. We have had many opportunities to pray with Zina and her mother already today. Please join us in these prayers as we continue to lift up both mother and daughter! 
While Zina's mom was willing to go to Tel Aviv at 5:45 this morning to support Ahmed's mother, there was a change of tides. I was so amazed by the provision of God with human support networks. As soon as Zina's mom came back from meeting with the doctors, Ahmed's mother was immediately there for her friend. She was a wonderful listener and so sweet in her empathetic comfort. Our God is indeed a wonderful comforter. 

A Night at the Hospital

Posted on Mon, 05/09/2016 - 23:46 by Ruth Zellweger

Our Zina is an adventerous and courageous little girl and always on the move. She can hardly stand still. Last night, Zina's mother called and asked for help as she felt her daughter's condition was deteriorating. Her lips and fingers looked more blue than usual, and her breathing was fast and labored, with the oxygen saturation lower than usual. After talking to the doctor at the hospital we decided to bring her in to be checked. Alexa and went with Zina and her mother to the hospital. Before we left, we took a moment to pray for Zina and committed her into the hand of our heavenly Father, who is the best doctor anyway. Zina soon fell asleep in the car and when Alexa checked her after her while, her saturation was already better and her breathing evenly. What an answer to prayer! The doctor and the nurses on duty received us graciously and checked Zina's vital signs. Even though she was back to her normal, they gave her a bed to observe her over night. 

When I arrived this morning with our new arrival Alan, Zina and her mother were sitting on a bed in the hallway, ready to return home. However, they had to wait several more hours before we were able to leave the hospital. Back in Jerusalem, they received a warm welcome by Ahmed and his mother and our volunteers. Over the course of the past four weeks both mother and daughter have become dear and beloved members of our Shevet family. We are praising God that He is watching over this precious little girl and pray that in His perfect time she would have her heart surgery.

Sweet Little Zina

Posted on Thu, 04/14/2016 - 19:17 by Rebekah Yang

Soon after we waved goodbye to Dennis and Jean (the parents of a previous volunteer who have blessed us by visiting this week) at the airport, we headed to Wolfson hospital. We were going to pick up Zina and Ahmed so that they could return to Jerusalem with us.

Due to highway and traffic issues around the Holon area it took us almost an hour to travel from the airport and arrive, finally, at the hospital. When I saw our sweet little Zina, she was lying on her bed; peacefully sleeping.

Her mum was so eager to go back and had all of her belongings ready beside the bed, waiting for us.

Praise God that Zina’s catheterization went well and she could come back to us. Please continue to lift up Zina and her mother in your prayers. May the next step of her medical treatment come in God’s perfect timing. 

Another step toward healing

Posted on Wed, 04/13/2016 - 23:23 by Melissa Wiley

When we arrived at Wolfson Medical Center early this morning,  Zina appeared sleepy and somewhat discontent. Her mood perked up as we brought out sticker books and coloring crayons.

Her mother was very appreciative of the distractions and appeared to relax a little, too. It wasn't long before the nurse began to take vitals and prepare Zina for the catheterization procedure which brought another round of tears. She was quickly taken to the cath lab preparation area and was comforted by a staff who blew up a glove into a makeshift balloon.

It wasn't long before the nurse came to take her in for the procedure and the tears flowed once again. Of course,  this was difficult for her mother and a few tears were shed. While waiting, prayers were offered for God's protection on Zina, and after approximately an hour, she reemerged looking for her mother. She was easily comforted and enjoyed playing bubbles and eating chocolate! 

As we said our goodbyes, both mother and daughter were resting peacefully. Please continue to lift them up in prayer as they await a treatment plan for Zina.

Ending with Kisses

Posted on Tue, 04/12/2016 - 21:40 by Rebekah Yang

We were informed by Wolfson hospital to bring Zina to be admitted today for tomorrow’s catheterization.

As soon as we reached Wolfson hospital in Tel-Aviv, Zina seemed to know that she would have to go through all of the blood tests she had previously had done before. Tears began to drop from her eyes and she would not stop weeping.

The children wards' nurses tried to cheer her up by giving her a chocolate bar. However, it did not help, for this little girl has a fear of medical staff. They gave her a general physical assessment too.

After a quick lunch, the most heart-breaking time came for both Zina and her mother. The doctor and nurses began trying to find Zina’s veins for an IV insertion in order to get a blood sample for examination and to infuse medication for the catheterization tomorrow. Zina was getting more blue while she was wrestling with the medical team. Zina’s mum was so worried, at one point she wanted to stop the doctor. Praise God after a couple of minutes of searching and a quick insertion, they had finished.

After she had settled down in the children's ward, Olivier and I tried to get some pretty balloons for her. She then played with the balloons while wearing her beautiful smile.

Our hospital trip ended with lots of kisses and waving goodbye.

Please lift up Zina and her mum in your prayers, as this will be the first night they are going to spend in the hospital. Please also pray for tomorrow; our precious Zina’s catheterization day. Heavenly Father, guide every step and give wisdom to the medical team who are going to perform the catheterization.

From Cries to Smiles

Posted on Sun, 04/10/2016 - 21:14 by Christelle Fonjallaz
An early departure at 6am this morning; a prohibition of eating and drinking; a lot of new faces and places! It was a difficult way to start the day for a little girl of two years! There was a lot of crying at the beginning of our day, but it finished with laughs and smiles! 

We went to the hospital today with Zina and her mother for a CT scan. As soon as we arrived the doctors took charge. They took us to a room where a bed was already prepared. They dressed Zina in the hospital garments, and they prepared her for the CT scan. Then, we had to wait. 

As I said before, Zina was crying a lot. Her mother and I tried lots of different things to calm her down. Finally, she became interested in some coloured pencils and she stopped crying. 
The next step was to put in the IV-canula, so the doctors could send her to sleep during the CT scan. Indeed, Zina had to be calm during the CT, otherwise it would have been impossible to succeed in getting the necessary information from the scan. Zina was ready for the CT! She started to cry a lot again, and I think it was difficult for Zina's mother to see her daughter like this; therefore, she began to cry as well. 

We then carried Zina to the CT room where the doctors gave her the anaesthetic and she fell asleep. Everything went well, and they took her to the resting room. 
We are still waiting for the results of the CT scan because it has to be examined by the doctors alongside the other tests that Zina had last Thursday.

After she had been brought back to her bed, Zina slept for a while. When she woke up she seemed really happy! I played with her, and she had quite a lot of energy. It was great to see her like this after all the crying! 
It was a really great day, and I really enjoyed getting to know Zina and her lovely mother better!

We continue to pray for their time here with us and for the possible surgery of Zina. Thank you for your prayers. Glory to the Lord!