Cheya's Heart Surgery


Cheya Leaves Israel

Posted on Fri, 06/13/2008 - 01:00 by Amy_Denney

Last night around 10:30 p.m., tears of joy were shed as the mothers of Cheya, Aryan and Sarbast were informed that today they would be on their way home to Iraq. Prayer has gone before the throne of God for this to happen. There is thanks to the Lord for this prayer answered.

Before traveling today, we all gathered together to pray and give thanks to the Lord for all He's done, and to pray for traveling mercies on them. Alex and I then began the long-awaited journey to the border. As we traveled to the border, almost everyone in the van fell asleep, except for Alex of course. At the first checkpoint, they waved us through without a long wait, thank goodness! When we arrived at the border there seemed from the mothers to be nervousness as well as excitement. They were probably too excited to really express it.

Because Alex and I were close to missing our bus back to Israel, we had to say our goodbyes quickly.

I'm glad that they are able to go home to their families. Through the goodness and grace of God, Cheya, Aryan and Sarbast may now have a full, healthy life.

Released from Hospital, Standing Tall

Posted on Sun, 05/18/2008 - 01:00 by Andrew_Peck

Cheya was released to go to the Save A Child's Heart house today. He will need to return to the hospital next Monday, but he should be able to go home to Iraq in a couple of weeks. He is doing very well. He is already standing very straight, which is uncommon for someone who has just come through surgery and has so many stitches in his chest. His big brother figure is obviously missed by the other children at the Jerusalem home.

Already Out of ICU

Posted on Thu, 05/15/2008 - 01:00 by Keleigh_Glisson

Cheya's operation took place on Tuesday, so I was really surprised when I walked into the children's ward this morning and saw that Cheya was there--already out of ICU.

He is usually very outgoing and talkative, but today, as to be expected, things were different. He is recovering quickly; however, he is in a lot of pain and doesn't have an appetite. His mother is very happy that he is doing so well, but also a bit frustrated that there is nothing she can do to comfort him right now. Please pray that Cheya will continue in his quick recovery and be back to his old self again soon.

Cheya Comes Through Surgery Today

Posted on Tue, 05/13/2008 - 01:00 by Donna_Petrel

Cheya and mother had already gone into the pre-op waiting room this morning by the time I arrived, but with God's perfect timing I was allowed to enter and wait the next half-hour with them. I found them both waiting calmly for his turn to go, and even though Cheya was a little nervous, it was obvious by the look in his eyes and the smile on his face he was also feeling an excitement that he would begin a new life today. A Save A Child's Heart med student volunteer, who was going into the surgery with the medical team today, noted this too. It seems to me that the older children realize the extreme importance of this day in a way that gives them an inner satisfaction which outweighs their fears as they go into surgery. This shows on their faces, and it is amazing to see. It is rather like a holy moment when someone recognizes a gift from God and is embracing it, and I consider it a blessing to experience this moment from time to time.

After Cheya was taken to the surgical theater, his gentle mother cried a few tears. But like the older children themselves, I've seen that the parents of the older children are able to express a thanksgiving for the answer to their prayers for their child which outweighs their anxiety. So as we waited Cheya's mother was able to spend time with the other mothers and keep in touch with her family by telephone. Cheya's father called during the day to tell us all how thankful he was for everything which had been done for his son.

We had been told that Cheya's surgery would be a simple one, and in anticipation of a shorter surgery, we went down the hall to our "waiting corner" to watch for him to be wheeled upstairs after almost 4 hours. And we were not disappointed as about a half hour later Cheya was taken past us to the ICU.

We were told the surgery was very good; the hole had been closed. His mother cried some tears of joy and then thanked God as we walked down the hall with her. She understood that there would be a wait of up to another hour before she could to in to see Cheya, but she was not anxious and upset. Instead she was thankful, and gave her husband and family the news by phone while she waited. Her strength was beautiful to see. After several visits with Cheya in the ICU (pictured below) by late afternoon she allowed herself a nap.

We will see Cheya tomorrow as he begins to wake up. Pray for him with us during the next several days as his recovery gets under way. Please pray specifically that he has no problems with water around his heart or lungs.

A Little Nervous

Posted on Mon, 05/12/2008 - 01:00 by Donna_Petrel

Early this morning we got a surprising but wonderful call from the hospital asking us to bring Cheya to the hospital today, for his heart surgery tomorrow! After allowing Cheya and his mother a few hours to prepare and pack, Keleigh and I took them down to the hospital for admission and pre-op testing. It was obvious that Cheya was a little nervous, and that is certainly understandable for a 14-year-old about to undergo open-heart surgery. His mother, on the other hand, who has seemed a bit frightened over the prospect of his surgery, was happy today. She has been waiting for this opportunity for all of Cheya's life, and was expressing her gratitude to God throughout the day.

Cheya became a little light-headed after the blood sample was taken, and rested a while until he felt like walking around again. Then he was strolling around the hospital as well as trying to comfort and entertain little Sarbast, with whom he is sharing a room in the ward.

Please join us in praying for Cheya as he undergoes the surgery to save his life tomorrow. Pray for his mother as we wait through the hours until he comes to the ICU. Remember his family back home, as they too will be waiting for word of Cheya's condition. The doctors have said it is a simple surgery, and it is our hope and prayer that Cheya will be healed and able to return home with a new heart in just a few weeks.

Cheya Undergoes Preliminary Exams

Posted on Tue, 05/06/2008 - 01:00 by Keleigh_Glisson

The four new Iraqis (Cheya, Zhino, Aros and Shaima) are currently staying at the Shevet house in Jerusalem and are adjusting to their temporary life in Israel.

Last Thursday we went to the hospital for the first time. This visit included echocardiograms, blood work, and a PPD test for tuberculosis. On Sunday we returned to the hospital for the results of the PPD test and found out that Cheya's PPD test was positive. He will be given a vaccine in order to take care of this.

The doctors reported that he does have a hole in his heart, but that his condition is one of the easiest to correct. His surgery will take place some time in the near future, but in the meantime, Cheya is happily serving as the "big brother" to all of the other children. He also speaks a little English and is eager to show off his English skills whenever needed. He has a wonderful personality and is really fun to be around. Please begin to pray for the healing of this young man.

Short-term volunteer Andrew Peck adds:

Cheya is still staying at the Shevet house in Jerusalem. On Saturday, we went to the park, and he and I played with the other children. He is truly just like a big brother to the other Iraqi children. In the evenings he and Aros' mother teach me Kurdish. He is a very patient instructor and I enjoy learning from him. All of the children and their mothers staying here in Jerusalem would like me to write that they still need money for their operations, and they are grateful for all of the donations.

Cheya Arrives in Israel

Posted on Tue, 04/29/2008 - 01:00 by Donna_Petrel

After waiting in Amman for over seven weeks, the mothers of Cheya, Shaima, Aros and Zhino were overjoyed to be travelling at last to Israel. Of course the children too were excited about moving on to the next place in their journey to get well. We were all thankful for the cooler weather which had moved into Jordan a few days before so that the trip to the border was pleasant for us as we crowded into the van. Even so, the cooler weather didn't stop us from enjoying some ice cream while we waited to board the bus which would carry us over the Jordan River into Israel.

In spite of the excitement and along with it, there are the contemplations and stresses of what will be next, which are evident in the moods of the group. We use the time travelling to address this as questions are asked and we can discuss in more detail what is about to transpire, and when and where they will be as the process unfolds. At this point, I believe a new reality begins to develop for each family as they recognize that each child's specific heart condition determines the course of the lives of that child and parent for the extent of their stay with us for treatment. None of us or the doctors can foresee how each child will respond to the treatment they need; only God knows these things. We find this a source of comfort, and we encourage the families that we trust the work of the doctors, but we especially trust God in everything that happens to help their precious child. I believe each moment we spend with them reaching out in love helps them know the love and encouragement of God.

I always enjoy spending time with the children and parents, and find each group seems to have its own sort of personality. This is a close-knit group who have been able to pull together and encourage each other through the ups and downs they experienced while waiting.

The younger children look up to Cheya as the 'big brother', and he fills the role well. The mothers trust him with their children as he is gentle but playful, and able to offer correction to them as well as entertain them. I found out yesterday Cheya is learning English in school and has some vocabulary, but is very good in Arabic.

Zhino is very weak from her condition and is often found squatting to force air into her lungs so she can breathe. But she is a very spunky little girl, and I predict that she will be a boundless source of activity after her surgery.

Shaima is also very weak, and is more the pensive, quiet type. She is very smart and quick though when there is something to be figured out, and seems to have a growing English vocabulary as well.

Aros, as the baby of the group, gets lots of attention from everyone and thoroughly enjoys it. He is a happy and curious baby with a sweet disposition. And for little Aros, the trip yesterday was quite a way to celebrate his first birthday! Although he couldn't understand the significance of the event, he was receiving an open door to the surgery he needs on the very day he turned one year old. A party had been given in his honor the night before at the home of friends.

The children will go to the hospital in a couple of days for their first echocardiograms here which will determine the doctors' course of treatment. Let's join our prayers for God's work to be fulfilled in them and their mothers in every way.