Shinyar's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Shinyar Leaves Israel

Posted on Sun, 03/23/2008 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel

I was amazed to have the opportunity to see Juliana and Arya again when I returned from America last Wednesday night. Exchanging hugs and seeing the joy on the mothers' faces and the health of the children after their surgeries was a delight! I had escorted Rebar and his shy mom to Jerusalem the night before I left Israel so we didn't have a chance to get to know each other, but we could rejoice together nonetheless over what had happened in the time I'd been away.

I had not seen Shinyar since the screening in October apart from checking the blogs, so it was a thrill to see her spunky personality too as the children all played together in their final stay in Jerusalem before they left for home. 

I would have loved to go with them to the border, but because we had so many able to return at once, along with all their luggage, we bade each other farewell here at the house after praying for each one in the courtyard.

It is my prayer that their visit here will have changed every heart in a way that will cause them to know the depth of God's love for them, and everything He has done to prove it.

I give Him thanks for letting me make friends with these mothers and children in His divine plan.


Posted on Thu, 02/28/2008 - 00:00 by Hank_Dannecker

This morning my daughter AbbyRose accompanied Shinyar to Wolfson Medical Center for her follow up echocardiogram. Abby was curious as to what an echo was and was allowed to watch as Dr. Alona administered the test. The news has not changed for Shinyar, she continues to have excess fluid in and around the heart. The pericardium surrounding the heart is there to protect it, but too much fluid can push in on the heart and damage it, something the doctors feel can be avoided with a little more time and care. They have started her on a medication called prednisone in hopes that it will aid in the reduction of this excess fluid. She is once again scheduled for a follow up echo on Sunday morning to monitor the progress.

Today's Echo Not Yet Her Last

Posted on Wed, 02/27/2008 - 00:00 by Hank_Dannecker

Today this little Kurdish girl who is so full of life made a trip from the Shevet house, where she's been staying in Jerusalem, down to Wolfson hospital for a post-surgical echocardiogram to see how her heart is doing. As mom is anxious to get back to Kurdistan, the news that Shinyar's echo will not be her last is not what she or anybody else expected.

Dr. Katz informed us that Shinyar has some fluid that should not be where it is. He also stated that it is not at all unusual or uncommon for this to happen after the type of heart surgery that she had undergone. Another echo is scheduled for Thursday to monitor the situation. If the fluid does not clear up on its own the doctors will try to solve the problem with some medication.

On another note take a close look at Shinyar's face as she stands at the water's edge of the Mediterranean Sea for the first time--probably the first time she's ever seen any ocean.

She is a girl who chooses to live her best life now. Please keep her in your prayers and let's trust God together for her complete recovery before she heads back to Kurdistan.

Out of Hospital--Just 5 Days After Surgery

Posted on Sun, 02/10/2008 - 00:00 by Brenda_Giangregorio

Five days after her surgery, Shinyar is well enough to leave the hospital and joins Mustafa, Arya, and Juliana at the children's house in Azur. Because of a planned visit, there was a call placed to the hospital earlier in the day that alerted us to the fact that this little girl was packing her bags and was on her way to see her friends. Blessed by this news we headed for their destination.

For several months now, women from a local church have volunteered to come along on visits to the families both at Wolfson Hospital and at the house where the families reside while waiting for their turn at surgery. Today was a special day for all. New toys donated to the church from an organization in the United States were taken by taxi to the moms and kids, along with new shoes and lots of hugs.

We are very happy to have taken part in making these Iraqi families' lives a little brighter. You can see the delight in their faces.

We thank everyone who has had their heart touched for this work, and responded by giving freely of their abundance.

Smiling and Showing Her Incision

Posted on Wed, 02/06/2008 - 00:00 by Michele_Dannecker

My family traveled to Wolfson Medical Center today in expectation of seeing Shinyar awake following the 24 hours of medically-induced sleep from her open-heart surgery yesterday. My husband Hank was the first to enter the ICU and returned a few minutes later, reporting that she was awake and was able to speak briefly with her father on the phone; but she had just gotten quite sick, most likely from the anesthesia. So we decided to allow the staff time to clean Shinyar up and went to the children's ward, visiting Mustafa who was recovering from his heart cath. Mustafa's mom agreed to leave while I sat with him, so she could go to the ICU where staff there needed her assistance in translation between the charge nurse and Shinyar's mom. It seems that Mom wants to help all she can, and has been emptying Shinyar's urinal. It was imperative that she understood that the nurses needed it to measure the quantity of waste and make sure Shinyar's body is working as it should. Pray that Shinyar's mom takes some time for herself. The nurses have been trying to encourage her that in order to help Shinyar become healthy, she herself must be rested and strong.

Returning to the ICU and being buzzed in the entrance, I looked across to where Shinyar was laying and walking towards her, was rewarded with a big smile!

After an exchange of kisses, her mom led me to Shinyar's bed and gently pulled back the covers for me to see the incision. As a mother, I cannot fathom what these mothers, grandmothers, and fathers go through in watching their child undergo such invasive, yet very much needed surgeries.

Though the three of us could not communicate with words, I stood by her bed, softly touching her hair and cheek, praying for a complete and quick healing for this beautiful little girl.

Fighting to Open Her Eyes After Surgery

Posted on Tue, 02/05/2008 - 00:00 by Hank_Dannecker

This morning Shinyar underwent open heart surgery while Mom waited to hear the outcome. The good news came about 1:00 pm that everything went very well and that her daughter was doing just fine. Mom was in the ICU when Shinyar returned from the recovery room and the sight was more than she could bear. She left the room and started to cry as one of the other Kurdish mothers came to her side and began to speak in her native tongue, I watched a calm come over her as they talked. I slipped back into the ICU to ask Dr. Houry if Shinyar was indeed ok, and he confirmed everything went very well. 

As I stood and prayed for Shinyar she opened her eyes and a tending nurse upped the sleep medication in her IV. 

She told me that they wanted her to sleep a good twenty-four hours, but because she is such a strong little girl that she was fighting the sleep medication. She seemed to be in a lot of discomfort whenever she would fight to open her eyes. Also when ever Mom was near she tried very hard to stay awake.

Please pray for a good night sleep for both Shinyar and her mother.

Brenda Giangregorio was also at the hospital today and adds this report: 
The procedure to correct her heart defect went so well, the medical staff will remove her intubation tubes first thing tomorrow morning as the hospital anticipates a speedy recovery. 
Shinyar's zeal for life itself came to the surface as she opened her eyes for the first time, looked at her adoring mother and then turned her head towards me and gave us a great big smile. What a precious moment for her mom, as she wiped away her tears, expressing her gratitude and relief to everyone within listening distance. 

Making the Trip Together

Posted on Mon, 02/04/2008 - 00:00 by Hank_Dannecker

Shinyar's day has come to go to Wolfson Medical Center, because her operation is scheduled for tomorrow. Shinyar and my daughter AbbyRose have become friends, so the two girls decided to make this trip together.

Upon arrival at the hospital the two girls preceded us and jumped up on the bed together.

With a few small matters out of the way (temperature, weight, height, and blood pressure), Shinyar was ready for the hospital clothes and an IV.

As Abby and I were leaving her room, for the first time since Shinyar's arrival this high-voltage little Kurdish girl did not seem like she was loving it. I can only imagine what is going through her mind as she knows her surgery is very near.

Please keep Shinyar and her mom in your prayers.

Brenda Giangregorio spent the night before with Shinyar and her mother in Jerusalem and adds this report:

Spending the night before her surgery at the Shevet House in Jerusalem, we laughed and played word games well into the evening. It became apparent that this little girl has an obvious gift from God, a unique ability to cross language barriers with an Einstein-like intellect. I told Um Shinyar I look forward to the coming days when this little 8 yr old can give me a crash course in her Kurdish/English repertoire. Momma says, Boukara (tomorrow). We hugged the hugs of a mother, one to another and parted for the evening as we found a bed for Mom for the night and said good-bye.

Speaking Her Language

Posted on Mon, 01/28/2008 - 00:00 by Michele_Dannecker

Following a trip to Wolfson Medical Center today for a tuberculosis test, Shinyar and her mother spent some time with our family learning what Play Dough was all about. It looked like mom enjoyed it as much as Shinyar!

Because we do not speak Kurdish, we could not communicate too well, but the language of love and hospitality can speak volumes. 

A small group of ladies from a church in Maryland have shown their love by quilting blankets for the children. Each quilt is different in style, but each one has a small red heart quilted on it. It didn't take long for Shinyar to choose her blanket - a pink one with ballerinas.

Our time together too quickly drew to a close, and we drove them back to the Shevet house to rest after a long day.

Shinyar Arrives in Israel

Posted on Tue, 01/22/2008 - 00:00 by Alex_Pettett

When I first encountered Shinyar's mother, she began filming the Jordan terminal with her camcorder. The sights, sounds, and security issues of new countries are always a fascination to visiting families. I warned her that filming at border crossings was illegal and she quickly put the camera away. 

Shinyar's reaction to everything was a smile. When we arrived on the Israel side and were met by the serious faces of Israel's security team, Shinyar beamed at them as she rode the luggage trolley right up to the baggage x-ray machine. The metal detector proved to be a problem for Shinyar's mother. She could not remove some gold bracelets that she obviously had been wearing for some years. So she was checked from head to toe another way. 

When we were finally free of the Israeli border we began to make our way up to Jerusalem. It was there that Shinyar's mother timidly asked me if it was legal to film anywhere in Israel. With a chuckle I said, "Of course." 

Please begin to pray for Shinyar's family as they explore their new world and new opportunity for the life of Shinyar. 

Dirk, our staff member in Jordan, writes the following about the time he and his family hosted Shinyar: 

Shinyar is a lovely little girl, full of life, friendliness and laughter. We really enjoyed having her and her mom here with us for three weeks. She can write well in her Kurdish language and loves to do creative things. She is really girly and loves to wear pink. Her birthday was on the 18th of January, and we had a small party for her with cake and presents. 

Her mother showed us videos from a family wedding at home, with Kurdish dancing and music, which was very interesting. 

The extra waiting time here in Jordan was especially assigned by God and was a blessing to all of us.