Mohammed's Heart Surgery

Central Iraq

Little Brother Goes Home Healed

Posted on Wed, 08/10/2011 - 00:00 by Kristina Kayser

With a healthy heart (and a new haircut), Mohammed began his journey home today. It has been remarkable to watch the transformation of this eleven-year-old boy during his stay in Israel. He came quiet, timid, and unsure of his surroundings. He left, however, full of personality, cheerful, and with an air of confidence! (Apparent in this recent hammock photo with Shevet friends pictured below).

Throughout his stay, Mohammed's father provided a calm stability that aided his overall healing. Despite many delays, father and son remained patient through it all. On Monday evening, a special farewell party was given to express our love for them and our thankfulness for God's perfect healing. Several people shared how Mohammed had become a little brother to our community and how much we would miss his smile and presence.



Pictured below is Mohammed at the party holding his favorite farewell gift. His final medical report states that his previous diagnosis of Tetralogy of Fallot was completely resolved through surgery. All post-operative fluid buildup was also corrected with medication. The only difficult part of recovery for Mohammed will be following one particular doctor's order: no sports activity for two more months. Riding bikes and playing soccer happen to be his most favorite things to do. Praise God in just a short while, he will be able to ride and play to his heart's content!

Before leaving the Shevet house this morning, Mohammed went missing. Soon, we discovered he was trying to avoid a "gauntlet of kisses" from all the mothers and volunteers gathered in the courtyard.  Finally, he emerged and graciously, if not reluctantly, accepted each one on his way out. En route to Israel's border, Mohammed's father voiced his gratitude and sentiments to this effect:  "Leaving Iraq was difficult for me, and I struggled in my heart to go. Now, I have the same feeling in my heart about leaving Shevet. You have become family to us." This to me is the essence of Shevet Achim; every cultural, religious, and linguistic barrier is broken in response to love. And as genuine love is received, true healing and reconciliation are found. "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" Psalm 133:1


A Team Effort for Mohammed Nears its Goal

Posted on Thu, 08/04/2011 - 00:00 by Jeff Sheehan

Eleven-year-old Mohammed arrived in Jerusalem from northern Iraq on the 30th of May with his father for open heart surgery--the repair of a Tetralogy of Fallot. The surgery took place at the Wolfson Hospital on the 28th of June. He has been given the approval of his cardiologist to return home after his final echocardiogram. This will probably be on Sunday the 7th of August. Having been away from their family for over two months now, the news was gladly received by father and son.

The last echo cardiogram, showed no pericardial effusion. Physically, his exercise tolerance has improved with regular walking and short jogs. His observations are stable, his sternotomy wound has healed well. His respiratory function is good. He is neurologically normal & his hematology screen on discharge is within normal limits. Mohammed is going home with a clean bill of health.

Looking after Mohammed has been a team effort . A variety of skills have helped inform, support, and equip him and his father--including their experiences from their initial arrival, to the build up and difficult period of surgery, the post-operative recovery, and the recuperation at Shevet. Mohammed's father has been exemplary in his role as a father to his eldest boy.

There has also been a steady and regular demonstration of grace to both of them. The father does ask questions and he listens when we've shared our experience of God's love. We leave them both in our Father's loving care.

Home is Getting Closer

Posted on Thu, 07/28/2011 - 00:00 by Jean Sheehan

This morning as we left with Mohamed and his father for another echo, it was a foregone conclusion that it would not be their last trip to Wolfson hospital.  If only it could be. But, the rate of healing with this boy

Mohammed's Heart Continues to Strengthen

Posted on Thu, 07/21/2011 - 23:43 by Kristina Kayser

Mohammed's journey in Israel continues with good news from all fronts. At home, he brings joy to our community every day with his disarming smile and thoughtfulness. Just yesterday, I watched as he volunteered to help Natalie (fellow Sheveteer) wash windows. He promptly takes his medicine without argument and has now begun to increase his daily exercise. 
Jeff, my nurse colleague, takes Mohammed on jaunts around the neighborhood to strengthen his cardiovascular system. These walks, along with the steroid, Prednisone, have also been serving to dispose of extra fluid around his heart (pericardial effusion). Pericardial effusion was causing his heart rate and well as his recovery rate to slow down.
Today's echo, however, showed that the fluid has completely receded, leaving an unrestricted heart that was beating at the proper rate. Doctor Tamir, happy with Mohammed's progress, decided to begin weaning him off of Prednisone and reevalute him next Thursday. He also added that perhaps Mohammed would be ready to return to Iraq in two weeks time. 
While the medical prognosis confirmed Mohammed's progress, his father seemed a bit disappointed that their departure would not be sooner. As a husband and father of six, he is anxious to return home with his eldest son. Mohammed didn't seem dejected in the slightest. In fact, his face beamed with joy! I praise God for this. For his father, whatever spirits were dampened at the hospital became quickly revived with a detour to the Mediterranean Sea. 
Mohammed stayed close to shore, content to walk through the water in his clothes. His father, on the other hand, decided today's heat called for a full swim! He came back soaking wet and smiling from ear to ear. This father and son have a close-knit relationship that has only been further strengthened in this journey, filled with twists and turns, triumphs and disappointments. Ultimately, Mohammed's joyful, trusting nature and his father's strong, yet gentle leadership will bring them closer still. What an extraordinary story these two men will share for years to come!    

Mohammed’s Run for a Healthy Heart

Posted on Thu, 07/14/2011 - 18:21 by Alyse Flack

Mohammed went today for a follow-up echo. The doctors gave his heart a good look and told us that there was much less fluid surrounding his heart than last time. His heartbeat was a little slow, but exercise will help quicken it back up to its regular rhythm. To illustrate this point, Dr. Alona grabbed Mohammed

Mohammed Returns to Jerusalem

Posted on Sun, 07/03/2011 - 18:10 by Donna_West

As Alyse and I entered the fish room at Wolfson Hospital just before lunch today, Mohammed's father saw us and greeted us with a big smile. Mohammed was quietly resting on his bed, dressed and patiently waiting to depart back for Jerusalem. I had the impression Mohammed's father thought he was being released to return to Iraq, but such is not the case just yet. The father, who had a duffle bag full of snacks as he entered the hospital with his son, was still sharing sweet and savory morsels as we left. As we celebrate tonight the children who will be returning to Iraq this week, we will also be celebrating Mohammed's return to our household in Jerusalem as he continues to be monitored for a while longer as he recovers. Thank you, Lord, for your awesome healing and your love toward your children.

Mohammed Leaves ICU

Posted on Thu, 06/30/2011 - 23:33 by Jeff Sheehan

This morning on transfer from the ICU to the ward all drains were out of Mohammed

From Tears of Sadness to Tears of Joy

Posted on Wed, 06/29/2011 - 21:50 by Jean Sheehan

Mohamed is old enough to understand what was about to take place in his body. As the family at Shevet gathered around the courtyard to pray for him on Monday, try as he could to hold back his emotions, the tears trickled down his face. His father Abu's countenance was downcast, knowing his young son was about to face the greatest challenge of his young life. They left the house surrounded by smiles and waves as they drove away. 

On the day of the surgery, Abu wept uncontrollably as his precious son was wheeled to surgery. Those who waited with him during the hours that followed are testimony to this father's deep love and devotion for his son. Most men try to hide their feelings but not this man. He is a gentle, tender-hearted man, the father of seven children, with Mohamed as his eldest son. Separated from his wife (who remained in Iraq, to care for their seven-month old son, and five daughters) would have also taken its toll. But.that was yesterday.
This morning Abu was waiting at the entrance doors of the hospital for our arrival. He was smiling from ear to ear and couldn't wait to take us into the ICU. We were allowed in one at a time. While I waited for my turn to see Mohamed, a picture on the wall outside the door of the ICU caught my attention. It was Dr Ami Cohen, a cardiac surgeon pictured with a child after surgery. His words of wisdom went straight to my heart and caused me to lift my thoughts in thankfulness to our God for raising up dedicated men, and gifting them with healing hands.
As I entered the ICU and my eyes swept across the room, the words of a well-known song came to me. "Jesus loves the little children, All the Children of the world.....