Hawraz 's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Hawraz's Final Heart Echo In Israel

Posted on Mon, 05/30/2011 - 01:00 by Donna_West
Hawraz's echo was like a walk in the park this morning. The last report was such an excellent one about the condition of Hawraz's heart that confirmation of their release to return home was not a big surprise.

This week will be Hawraz's turn for a farewell party- a special time to celebrate her. Many of us will share what it has meant for her and her mother to have spent the last two months with us. For now we will continue to enjoy this little girl as we receive two more families this evening. We hope these new ones will see Hawrazs rescued life and that it will be encouragement to them in their own situation. We give all praise and honor to God.

Hawraz Rolls Through Her Penultimate Echo

Posted on Thu, 05/26/2011 - 01:00 by Kristina Kayser
Today's visit with Hawraz and her mother to Wolfson hospital brought us a step closer to her eventual discharge. In the picture above, she plays make-believe telephone at the hospital with Efrat, a friend of the Shevet community.

The post-operative echo Hawraz had today provided further proof that the repair to the hole between the bottom chambers of her heart is well established. The circulatory dynamics now function normally, with a normal pumping action and optimal blood flow to supply her little body. In view of the evidence, doctors cancelled the prescription for Captopril. It is a medication that helps the heart to improve forward blood flow, and now for Hawraz it is no longer needed. Prednisone a steroid reducing inflammation around the surgical repair was also reduced and will cease entirely in another three days. This drug must be tapered off slowly, to prevent a rebound of symptoms.

A further echo next week may well be Hawrazs last, meaning that God willing she will soon be discharged to return home to northern Iraq at the end of next week. Roll on.

Fluid Around Hawraz's Heart Retreating

Posted on Wed, 05/18/2011 - 01:00 by Jeff Sheehan

Our visit to the Wolfson hospital with Hawraz & her mother for a repeat echo was an important event. We had to wait a while before the appointment, and the picture above shows a little girl waiting for the doctor to show up. I wonder what goes on in a 6-year old girl's mind? I'm sure that she was hoping to have it over and done with and get the OK to go back home to Iraq, and be amongst her family and friends. The doctor did show up, and in no time the echo was in progress. This picture shows the procedure taking place.

An echocardiogram is a diagnostic tool that gives us a picture on how the heart is working as a pump. It also clarifies the success of a surgical procedure, and confirms whether a particular medication is effective. In Hawraz's case the echo today revealed that the fluid build-up around her heart has receded, which is a positive sign. Doctors adjusted her medications, ceasing some, altering others. The whole procedure took not more than ten minutes. The final decision was that our patient will need a further echo in a week's time, to ensure she is fit to go home. Disappointment was written all over mother and daughter's face, but explanation helped soften the blow, and an ice-cream made a world of difference.

Joyful Praise to Their Creator

Posted on Sun, 05/15/2011 - 14:34 by Donna_West

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Each morning and afternoon our coworkers invest in the lives of our precious children with crafts, games, trips to the park, and music. In the video above Hawraz and Fatima (after surgeries) and Chrakhan and Arina (before surgeries) joyfully join in praise to God for his love, faithfulness, freedom, and healing.

A Clown and A Beach Trip Help Overcome Disappointment

Posted on Wed, 05/11/2011 - 01:00 by Verena Leithner
Verena writes:
Today was Hawrazs second echo after her surgery. She and her mother went to the hospital with the hope that this would be the final echo and that they could go home in a few days.

Heute war Hawrazes zweites Echokardiogramm nach ihrer Operation. Sie und ihre Mutter fuhren mit der Hoffnung ins Krankenhaus, dass dieses das Letze fuer Hawraz sein wird und dass sie in wenigen Tagen nach Hause fahren koennen.

This time Hawraz walked very confidently, without any sign of fear, into the room where the echo takes place, accompanied by a clown. This clown made the echo into a really fun time for Hawraz and she laughed a lot. Unfortunately the result of the echo didnt meet the expectations from Hawraz and her mother: Hawraz has developed fluid around her heart (pericardial effusion) and she needs to stay in Israel until this fluid is gone. After the laughter during the echo, Hawraz was very disappointed that she wont go home this week. All the more I must admire the patience of Hawraz mother. I know that she misses her family so much, but when I told her that Hawraz will need another echo on Monday, she just answers Mushkilay nee-ya (No problem!) with a smile on her face.

Hawraz ging heute voller Selbstbewusstsein, ohne einem Anzeichen von Angst in den Raum, in dem das Echokardiogramm statt findet. Begleitet wurde sie von einem Clown. Dieser Clown machte das Echokardiogramm zu einer richtig lustigen Zeit fuer Hawraz und sie lachte sehr viel. Leider wurden aber die Erwartungen von ihr und ihrer Mutter nicht erfuellt. In Hawrazes Herz hat sich Fluessigkeit angesammelt (Perikarderguss). Das bedeutet, dass sie nun laenger in Israel bleiben muss, bis sich die Fluessigkeit zurueck gebildet hat. Nach all dem Lachen waehrend der Untersuchung war Hawraz nun ziemlich enttaeuscht darueber, dass sie diese Woche nicht nach Hause fahren wird. Umso mehr muss ich aber die Geduld ihrer Mutter bewundern. Sie vermisst ihre Familie in Kurdistan so sehr, aber als ich ihr mitteilte, dass Hawraz ein weiteres Echokardiogramm am Montag benoetigt anwortete sie Mushkilay nee-ya (Kein Problem!) mit einem Laecheln im Gesicht.

And Natalie adds from Tuesday:

Sometimes kids just need to be kids to play, to laugh, and to romp around outside. So to give the kids and their mothers a break from the stress and pressure of the hospital, we went to the beach in Tel Aviv for a few hours on Tuesday, which was Israeli Independence Day. When we first got down to the water, the children approached the sea timidly. Since they all come from a landlocked area, they had never seen so much water in one place before and the whole thing was a bit overwhelming! They clung tightly to our hands and slowly walked with us until the water was just past their ankles; however, they quickly became more and more comfortable and started happily splashing anyone who came within range. By the end of the water war, everyone was wet but very happy. Later, we enjoyed a picnic lunch, collected sea shells, made sand castles, and played around with a beach ball. It was wonderful to see everyone having such a good time!

Herself Again, Hawraz Returns to Jerusalem

Posted on Sun, 05/01/2011 - 01:00 by Donna_West
Stepping back into her own wardrobe, Hawraz left behind the hospital pajamas to return to the Shevet house in Jerusalem.

I was not familiar with the medication she was prescribed, and when I asked, the nurse informed me that it is to treat her tuberculin levels, which are high but not contagious. Doctors measure tuberculin levels to identify patients with tuberculosis. For her tuberculin levels, Hawraz will need to take medication for the next six months.

But she is a young lady willing to "press in" for the good things life has to offer, and this medication shouldnt dull her personality, which is bright, personable and energetic. We ask for the goodness of God to manifest itself in her healing and her life.

Pressing Through The Difficult Days

Posted on Thu, 04/28/2011 - 01:00 by Donna_West

We found Hawraz and her mother in intermediate ICU this morning. The second day after surgery is usually the most painful. Although she can now eat and drink and is no longer encumbered by the oxygen mask, she is still attached to the drainage tube.

Ryan writes...This drainage tube is an interesting implement: The body responds to a trauma such as open-heart surgery by deploying to that area a superabundance of blood and nutrients. In the operating room, after the surgeons repair the heart and before they close the wound, a simple plastic tube is placed next to the heart that in the days immediately after surgery will drain-off this excess post-surgical fluid which the body is creating. The tube exits the body via an incision below the ribcage, and at the moment Hawraz is suffering from this necessary but uncomfortable device.

Donna writing again... When the drainage tube is removed, 90% of the pain goes along with it. Some things just require more time than we want to give them. Every effort is being made to keep Hawraz entertained and comfortable even to the point of bringing a flat screen TV into her bedside. Father, may the healing continue in this beautiful child.

The Day After, Hawraz Showing Good Signs

Posted on Wed, 04/27/2011 - 01:00 by Donna_West
One day after heart surgery, Harwaz is extubated (the breathing tube removed from her lungs) and also wanting to be free of the oxygen mask. The doctors say her desire to eat and drink so soon is a very good sign, if a little ahead of the recommended time frame.

When Gadi and I arrived this morning to Wolfson Hospital, Hawraz and her mother seemed happy to see us. We were only allowed to stay with them a short time in the ICU, but as we checked-in throughout the day she seemed to be cooperating with the nursing staff beautifully. Thank you Lord!

"Spas bo Xua" ("Thanks to God")!

Posted on Tue, 04/26/2011 - 01:00 by Kristina Kayser

Truth be told, I have fallen in love with a little girl named Hawraz who refuses to let me leave the room without giving me at least three kisses and shouting Khosm-muy-way ("I love you" in Kurdish) at the top of her lungs. This same girl, who hasn't appeared sick since the day she arrived in Israel, underwent intensive cardiac surgery today.

I arrived at Wolfson Hospital early this morning to find Hawraz lying contentedly beside her mother, with a smile as warm as sunshine.

The doctors had scheduled her for the second surgery slot of the day to repair her Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD). The desired outcome for this operation was to repair the breach between the two lower chambers of her heart which has caused decreased oxygenation, creating potentially lethal long-term effects.

Despite her daunting debut in the operating theater just hours away, Hawraz had an air of confidence about her. Making crafts with fellow playmate Chrakhan and laughing at a silly clown's antics helped pass the time, especially when Hawraz's tummy started rumbling from her pre-surgery fast.

She also enjoyed a little personal beauty treatment as I braided her glossy black hair.

Just when patience was wearing thin and smiles began to fade, the transport gurney arrived to wheel her down to surgery. I had never experienced such a joyful ride to the operating room. Hawraz was so excited that she kept trying to sit up the whole way down the hall and a huge smile spread across her face once more. Reality or "stage fright" hit, however, when the time came for her mother to leave her side. Cries were softened as the anesthesiologist administered a medication that caused Hawraz to slip into slumber. Her mother's eyes were wet with tears yet maintained a humble strength as Donna P. (fellow Shevet volunteer) and I accompanied her to the waiting room. After three hours had come and gone fairly quickly, Donna spotted the surgeon, Dr. Sasson, walking down the hall. Anticipation mounted as we discovered that a quickly approaching gurney was carrying Hawraz towards the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Tears fell once more from Hawraz's mother with overwhelming gratitude as she repeated over and over again, "Spas bo Xua" ("Thanks to God")!

We all praise God that a complete repair was made to Hawraz's apparently large VSD without any complication. Her anesthesia-induced sleep will likely continue until tomorrow as she recovers in ICU under watchful observation. In the mean time, my heart longs for an encore of Hawraz's beautiful smile and goodnight kisses. "Love... bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13:7-8a

Hawraz Admitted For Heart Surgery

Posted on Mon, 04/25/2011 - 01:00 by ryan
Israels seven-day Passover celebration concluded with sunset this evening, and as the city of Jerusalem broke Sabbath stillness and leaven restrictions a white VW van departed Shevet Achim with little Hawraz in the back seat, aimed for Tel Aviv. Nearly a month after first setting foot in Israel, Hawraz is scheduled for 2pm heart surgery tomorrow afternoon at Wolfson Hospital.

In the courtyard prior to leaving, Hawraz was in smiley mien, passing herself off between sets of arms. Over the balcony and through the grate looked several sets of eyes, mothers and children from Kurdistan also in Israel for heart operation. Some looked with knowing encouragement, having already been through surgery; others looked with hope, anticipating theirs.

When Hawraz arrived at Shevet Achim a month ago, she thought she was here for throat surgery. Her parents thought it would trouble her too much if she knew of her heart condition. Sometime in the last week, however, her mother gently revealed why she is really in Israel. So tonight on the way to Tel Aviv, Bill our driver leaned his head towards the back and said in jest, So she knows its not for her tonsils, right? Hawraz was sleeping. She knew. But she didn't seem to be suffering from anxiety.

At the hospital, Hawraz was handed a pair of white pajamas. She eyed them suspiciously. A girl of seven already has a developed fashion sense, you know. She donned them tantrum-free, and waited in bed for the nurse.

Her blood pressure, pulse, and oxygenation were measured, and her medicine chart was confirmed with Shevets family care volunteer Donna. Hawraz allowed herself to be probed and tested calmly. Her mother then helped her shower, making her body clean for surgery.

If the schedule holds solid, Hawraz will be in the operating room tomorrow afternoon. Our prayers in the meanwhile are with her, her mother in the hospital, her family in Iraq, and the medical staff at Wolfson.