Nyan's Heart Surgery

Northern Iraq

Nyan's Farewell: Making Something Beautiful

Posted on Fri, 03/09/2012 - 17:58 by Kristina Kayser

I find it ironic that rainbows are made out of sunlight and rain. Perhaps these contrasting components were meant to mirror our human existence. In this life, joy and sorrow are often interwoven, and only God can join the two to make something beautiful. This rainbow over east Jerusalem, which I saw last week, reminded me of these things.

One "rainbow" I experience time and again at Shevet is saying goodbye to Kurdish families I love. This morning, our community sent Nyan and her mother on their journey back to Kurdistan. The sunlight, for me, was the joy of knowing Nyan is healing well with a mended heart. The rain, so to speak, was parting with a woman and little girl I now consider sisters. 

Last week, we discovered that Nyan would not require a second operation at this time and could return home much sooner than expected. Her departure was not immediate, visa issues giving us several more wonderful days to spend together. We were also able to secure one final echo at Sheba yesterday afternoon. Nyan, though compliant at the beginning, threw a royal tantrum for the remainder of the exam. The prognosis was unchanged from the last echo, except that her right ventricle function was slightly less than before. The doctor's discharge report quotes this result "might be connected to noncooperation."

Nyan will continue to receive follow-up care in Kurdistan with a local cardiologist. He will specifically monitor the right ventricle to determine when she needs further surgery in the future. For now, Nyan's heart is sustaining her with a boost of energy and appetite! Dr. Salem commented that today's final echo also served as a stress test for her heart. "She couldn't do this (referring to the screaming) before her surgery," he added with a smile. Nyan returned the smile as she waved and said, "Bye!"

Since Nyan and her mother were the only family in the house this week, they loved being around our community as much as possible. In preparation for their farewell party last night, Nyan's mother participated in making Purim masquerade masks with Madelyn and Sophie.

Later in the afternoon, she also learned to make chocolate cake with me, which we all enjoyed together after dinner. See the video below of Nyan and her mother seeing the finished product alight with candles.

Music, gifts, heartfelt words, and a DVD of picture memories encompassed a beautiful evening together. Nyan, decked with a Purim crown, was the queen of the hour. Her mother, beaming with joy, shared, "You are one family for me. When I first came, I didn't know you would become my family. I love you all!"

Just before leaving Jerusalem this morning, one last stop was made at the Garden Tomb. Nyan's mother thought it was beautiful and stopped to take lots of pictures.

When we approached the site of the tomb, I said, "When the women came to mourn for Jesus three days after He died..."

"He wasn't there!" Nyan's mother finished. "I saw the movie!" What a fitting reminder of life conquering over death, of something beautiful made out of joy and sorrow. The Giver of life continues to overcome, as we see a new heart being given to Nyan.

As Nyan and her mother made their way out of Israel through the Jordan Valley, God presented them with one more gift: a beautiful bouquet of wildflowers...super-sized. 

Nyan and her mother will always remain etched on my heart. Yes, there was both sunlight and rain in saying goodbye, but I am ultimately reminded of God's redeeming love and promise, which was just what the first rainbow was created to do. 

Addition to the blog, Sunday, 11 March, 2012:

Our coworker in Amman Mary provides hospitality to Iraqi families when they are in transit between Iraq and Israel. Several weeks ago, before Nyan

A Surprising - and Wonderful - Report

Posted on Wed, 02/29/2012 - 21:18 by Stephanie Ventura

Day after day we notice the strength that Nyan is gaining, with her ability to walk around the house, play, and communicate how she feels (which is usually baby talk that only her mother fully understands). In any case, this opens up more opportunities for outdoor activities. Both Nyan and her mother have never seen a beach, and so we spent some time yesterday and had a picnic on a sea-shell filled beach in Tel Aviv. Nyan has reservation about sand getting in her toes, but overall she enjoyed the view. Her mother, like a child, spent a while kneeling over the water, picking out as many multicolored shells as her eyes could glimpse.

Today, we returned to Sheba hospital in Tel Aviv for Nyan

Introducing Nyan, The Chef!

Posted on Sun, 02/26/2012 - 21:50 by Stephanie Ventura

As Nyan recovers with us in Jerusalem, every day looks basically the same: lots of playing, music, several learning games, a bit of cartoons every now and again, going for walks, eating delicious Kurdish meals prepared by her mother, and occasional visits to a nearby bazaar. Today, however, she embraced baking. This little chef helped with ingredients and mixing together all that was on the table in order to create yummy biscuits that everyone enjoyed at lunch. Her mother stood by laughing as she watched Nyan steal a few bites of dough as we lined the cookie sheet.

We love watching each child engage in activities that bring a smile to their face and joy to their heart. Her mother laughed, and Nyan let an

Nyan Returns to Jerusalem

Posted on Tue, 02/21/2012 - 23:47 by Stephanie Ventura

We received a call today from Nyan

Doctors Considering the Next Steps for Nyan

Posted on Sun, 02/19/2012 - 23:04 by Stephanie Ventura

We turned the corner today into Nyan

Craving Yogurt, and Recovering from Heart Surgery

Posted on Wed, 02/15/2012 - 22:27 by Stephanie Ventura

Just before leaving for the hospital on Tuesday morning, Nyan

The Best Possible Outcome on Surgery Day

Posted on Mon, 02/13/2012 - 22:21 by Stephanie Ventura

Upon walking into Nyan

Nyan Suddenly On Deck for Heart Surgery

Posted on Sun, 02/12/2012 - 22:56 by Stephanie Ventura

The wait is over. The fortnight delay on Nyan's surgery that was communicated in the last blog is no more, and now we are expecting to see her enter into surgery tomorrow morning, praise God. One phone call from the doctors at Sheba brought excitement and anticipation for Nyan's mother, who smiled big and asked several times, "Really, it's tomorrow?" With the same level of excitement, those of us at the Shevet responded over and over with, "Yes!" 

At the sight of Sheba hospital Nyan became slightly distressed. She is quite observant for a two year old, and recognized her surroundings within minutes of entering the children's ward. She let us know quickly of her disapproval and let out cries of "Dya, nah" (meaning "Mom, no"). 

After an x-ray and a bit of waiting for the next steps, Nyan was rewarded with an ice cream and that changed her behavior completely. She became friends with everyone and held conversations without hesitation and without regard to where she was. 

We hope to report again tomorrow after Nyan

Surgery in a Fortnight, and Shevet for Now

Posted on Wed, 02/08/2012 - 22:55 by Brian Mace

A sudden call from Sheba Hospital this afternoon brought us to little Nyan's bedside, as she has been released to return to Shevet until her surgery, which has been planned for a fortnight's time.

However, on arrival, we found her still connected to the monitors, and with cannulas on one wrist and one foot. But it was not long until a nurse quickly removed everything. Nyan was very brave, but the pain was too much for such a little girl, and her monitors registered noisy interference (from her cries).

Her mum soon quieted her with a bottle of water, and the concentration required by a little girl when her mum is dressing her with clothes to be pulled over her head, which have only a very small head opening.

They both seemed to be delighted to return to their fellow Iraqi friends here at Shevet.