Hezhan's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Sending Hezhan Home With Love

Posted on Fri, 02/05/2010 - 00:00 by Jonathan Miles

"When I came here I missed my friends back home. Now that I am leaving I will be missing you." These words from Hezhan set the tone for our goodbye this weekend, starting with a farewell party last night (pictured above) at which every one of us felt the love which has grown between us. The sadness of parting on Friday morning was relieved by the knowledge that Hezhan is invited back one year from now for the complete surgical repair of his heart defect.

God's grace has brought Hezhan so far already; we look forward to the next chapters in his story. Thank you for praying and caring.

Such Hope For The Future

Posted on Mon, 02/01/2010 - 00:00 by Michelle_Bradburn
When the doctor finished the echo, his face was filled with bright surprise and he told me Hezhan's heart was looking very good. He even said he couldn't believe how good his heart was looking! Last week they were uncertain and even dubious as to whether surgury would ever be possible, but after two doctors studied his heart today they decided he will come back in one year for surgery. Hezhan and his mother are disappointed that he couldn't have surgery as soon as they wished, but are thankful that the doctors have such hope for his future, and encouraged as well by our faithful translator Ilan.

Although this is good news, I'm sure it will still be hard to wait so long for such a serious surgery, so pray God will truly bless them this coming year. Pray that as they look back over the past few months they would see how God's hand has been guiding them lovingly all this time. Pray that they would see his grace and goodness in all the brokenness and weeping, and that through these times of waiting and fearing they will see clearly that God has always been there with them. I pray that not only would God strengthen Hezhan's heart for a successful surgery, but even more that with each new day he would find strength and hope in the deep, deep love of the Messiah.

"Even youth shall faint and be weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not be faint."
-Isaiah 40:31

Peace Takes the Place of Tears

Posted on Tue, 01/26/2010 - 00:00 by Michelle_Bradburn
Hezhan at first tried to explain, as tears began to fill his eyes, that he still couldn't walk so far without getting tired, and couldn't see how going home with no surgury was the answer. But as the doctors talked with him through our Kurdish translator, Hezhan gradually began to accept it and a deep peace filled his eyes. Even after this news he was eager to get a picture with each of the doctors, and though I knew there was dissapointment deep inside I saw in his attitute a striking contentment and optimism that was so beautiful as he smiled beside these doctors who have done so much for him.

Pray that God would continue to heal Hezhan's heart, filling him with such strength and life that neither he nor the doctors could imagine! And that no matter what happens he would always know hope. Pray that in these last days with us, and as they head home, that he and his mother would understand the unfathomable love of God, so much stronger than their doubts and fears.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." -Joshua 1:9

Fear Turns to Fun at Hospital

Posted on Thu, 01/14/2010 - 00:00 by Michelle_Bradburn
We had quite a wait at the hospital before we were able to go home, but with hearts light from hopeful news, Hezhan and his mom enjoyed a new game I taught them today: pick-up sticks! Hezhan really enjoys a challenge, and it was really great to simply be able to have fun and laugh together.

On the car ride home we had a Kurdish worship CD playing, and Hezhan skipped to number five which he said was his favorite. It's a song which speaks of the awesomeness of God- awesome in his love, in his faithfulness, and in his healing. As we drove the sun was setting brilliantly beside us, and I prayed that those words would be true for Hezhan! That he would come to know the love, faithfulness and healing of God in ways we can't even imagine. Praise God for the goodness and mercy He's shown today, and let's keep praying that Hezhan's heart would continue to grow stronger and healthier with each new morning!

A Friend for Hezhan

Posted on Mon, 01/04/2010 - 06:46 by Donna_West
Hezhan's echo today revealed a great improvement in his oxygen levels, but his large and poorly-functioning heart uses a lot of the oxygenated blood just for itself. Dr. Alona started Hezhan on a new medication and chose to admit him overnight to watch how his body would react to it. The hope and prayer is that in the next three to four weeks the steps being taken now will prepare his body for a successful surgery to correct the way his heart functions. Please keep Hezhan in your prayers. This heart problem was found at birth and the heart has had 21 years to get in a habit of functioning improperly. Hezhan needs the intervention of the "Great Physician" for a positive outcome.

This heart condition has caused him to live a very isolated life with few friends because he could not keep up with the activities of most children his age.

Now as a young man he has an opportunity to experience a life of freedom to have friends and a normal life. May God grant him the privilege so many of us take for granted.

A Rewarding New Year's Eve

Posted on Thu, 12/31/2009 - 00:00 by Mary_Dailey
It was quite a busy New Year's Eve. Busy but rewarding! We had five children at the Wolfson Medical Center for heart treatment and three came back with us tonight to Jerusalem. Hezhan was ready to return with a very good report following his catheterization. His oxygen had been 73% of normal and was up to 91%, and he told us he was feeling so much better. We explained to him and his mother that since the oxygen was getting to his heart it could heal it enough so that he may not have to have any surgery. He and his mother are in much better spirits, and joined us tonight for a big New Year's Eve party with worship and games. 

Continue to pray that if this is the way God intends to heal his heart that there will be no complications or hinderances to stop it.

Hezhan's Big Day

Posted on Wed, 12/30/2009 - 00:00 by Mary_Dailey

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Hezhan had a catheterization of his heart today. We went down with him before 8:00 a.m. and while they were preparing him for the process they marked his feet with X's. I'm not sure what it was for but I do know that everything they do is for a purpose!

Hezhan's mother was very anxious from the beginning. She hadn't eaten anything from yesterday evening.

We waited in the hallway during the catheterization because she wanted to be close by, and it took around four hours. She was crying a good bit.

After Hezhan's catheterization, Dr.Tamir and Dr. Seggi came out and talked to his mother. Dr. Seggi is good about translating. Dr. Tamir told me that the catheterization went well, that he was able to open the vein a little so that there would be a good flow of oxygen to his heart. He explained that he could only open it a little because there had to be a right amount of oxygen and not too much. This would help him breath easier and give him more energy and perhaps even do some healing to his heart. He said they could not risk doing an operation now because of the way his heart beats, that they would have to use the heart and lung machine and might not be able to take him off of it. I asked him if Hezhan's heart would heal enough to make it possible for an operation later. He told me he couldn't say, that only God knows that.

Our Kurdish friend and translator Ilan and Egyptian believer Gigi came in right after it was over and Hezhan returned to his room, and I believe that God sent them as comforters for Hezhan's mother. Please hold her and Hezhan up in prayer. She doesn't understand why they can't do surgery but who knows? God's thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are His ways higher than our ways.

Hezhan Holding On To Hope

Posted on Mon, 12/07/2009 - 00:00 by Michelle_Bradburn

What a blessing these past few weeks have been for Hezhan! He and the other families were greatly refreshed by a visit from Dirk and Manuel and family, with whom they'd stayed while passing through Jordan. Together they visited the beach, the Biblical Zoo, and even an Arabic worship service on Sunday morning. Hezhan and his mother have such a sweet spirit, and they are very grateful and hopeful for the opportunity to have heart surgery.

Despite Hezhan's wonderful time in Israel he received some shocking news yesterday. After coming in for his second echo, the Doctors have decided that surgery, at this point, is not possible for him due to the delicate and complex state of his heart. However, he is scheduled to have a second catheterization which God willing could strengthen his heart and make it possible for him to have a surgery at a later time.

Despite the hope offered in the catheterization, the slight possibility that his heart will be inoperable was devastating to them, and as they wept together in the hospital room you could see such a strong love between this mother and son. Her heart was just as broken as his to see him so disappointed.

After talking through translators and explaining the situationg more clearly, they understand that just because they cant do surgery now doesnt mean it will not happen later. The catheterization can bring an improvement to his heart, but the waiting and the uncertainty is still a great weight on them. Please pray that God will lift their eyes to him these next few days.


Cath Shows Only One Surgery Needed

Posted on Thu, 11/12/2009 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel
We were pleased to find out that Hezhan could return to Jerusalem this afternoon after his successful catheterization yesterday. He was having some pain at the site of the artery where the catheter enters the thigh, but otherwise was doing very well. Because of the pain, and how easily he becomes fatigued, Hezhan was using a wheelchair to manuever the hospital hallways before we left to come home. However the doctors said that he could walk and bathe and do everything normally while he waits for his surgery, which is scheduled for sometime between two and four weeks from now. It is not necessary for Hezhan to take any medication right now, which is news for which we're thankful.

Hezhan's mother shared with me as we left the hospital that she is both excited and fearful about her son's upcoming surgery. She is still very happy that even though Dr. Tamir's first echo exam in Amman seemed to indicate that Hezhan would need two surgeries, the catheterization yesterday showed that he only needs one. Both she and Hezhan have asked me if they understand correctly that there will be only one surgery, seeking to process the information which must still seem to good to be true. But God loves to help us in this way, and we're thanking Him for such wonderful lovingkindness. Hezhan and his mom were delighted to learn that Kouzheer was also released today after his surgery, so after we picked them up from Schneider Children's Hospital they chatted happily all the way to Jerusalem. We all had a great meal together this evening before Hezhan and his mother went to bed early for a good night's rest.

Let's keep praying for Hezhan and his mother as they wait for the day they've hoped for. Hezhan's mother has waited twenty years for help for her son, having found out about his heart problem when he was only one month old. Dr. Alona said she cannot believe he survived all this time when she did his echo last week. How wonderful that a door of hope has been opened here for Hezhan, and we can see his hope strengthen as he walks through the process of healing which has been set before him.

Hezhan's Big Heart

Posted on Wed, 11/11/2009 - 00:00 by Donna_West

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We received a call from Wolfson Medical Center informing us they had a cancellation in the heart catheterization lab, allowing Hezhan to have his catheterization today sooner than we expected. God is so good to us! He knows the anticipation this mother and son have been through, and the years they have waited and prayed for an answer to this life-threatening condition. Today's catheterization is a necessary step toward Hezhan's surgery, which is expected next week.

When we arrived at Wolfson, Hezhan was already fasting and looking hungrily at the breakfast trays being delivered to other patients. However, food would not be part of his day until much later. As I watched them wheel a crib out of the room Hezhan would be sharing with an infant, I was once again overwhelmed by the goodness of God. These doctors have hearts large enough to make an exception for this young man: they are willing to allow him a place in their childrens ward to fix a birth defect this family has lived with for 20 years. A big heart, in this context, makes room to fix a young mans heart so enlarged (and ineffective) that it actually has caused his sternum to protrude far enough that you can see the shape of his heart through his skin. Its hard to determine how much more frightening facing these procedures would be at Hezhan's age, knowing what to expect and signing your own consent forms, than for the baby in the next bed. But, Hezhan was determined to be brave!

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The waiting can wear on a mothers emotions while she too struggles to be brave for her son. We decided to entertain Hezhan with a hand held bowling game for a while. I noticed the clubbed nails on Hezhans fingers and his toes.

This is a common deformity due to years of reduced oxygen in his blood stream. I can only imagine how different his life will be when God completes the good work He has started in this young mans life.

There are some hard days ahead, and your prayers are vitally important to Hezhan and his mother. We appreciate you standing with us in prayer for them as we walk, wait, and sit with them in the coming weeks.