Ayman's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Precious Time Together

Posted on Sun, 11/02/2014 - 20:42 by Ruth Zellweger

When Jonathan, Sophie, Kristina and I went for Kurdistan a few weeks ago, it was not easy to decide whom to visit. We all knew so many families that had become dear to us, but our time was limited. Also, we agreed that it is better to spend quality time with the families we got to meet instead of trying to fit in as many families as possible. Nevertheless, even though it had not worked out for us to visit Ayman and his family at their house, they were willing to come to Sozdar's family’s house very nearby and meet us there.

Ayman arrived with his parents, his sister and his grandmother after dinner. While his father stayed in the garden with Jonathan and the other men, the rest of the family joined the women in the living room.

It was a joyful reunion; Ayman and his mother were among the first friends I made when I came to Shevet, and they hold a special place in my heart. His open-heart surgery was followed by several complications, including  a stroke that affected his right side of his body. I was so happy to see my little friend again and to get to know his sweet sister, his father, and his grandmother. Ayman was shy, sitting quietly beside his mother. Because one of his heart valves is not working correctly, he will need to return to Israel for follow up within the next three to four months. We are thankful that Ayman can be helped in Israel, and this time we will need to raise more funding than for the first surgery to cover the costs. However, Ayman's life is precious and we trust God to provide everything that is necessary.

The time with Ayman and his family went by quickly. When it was time for them to leave we went to the garden and sat a few more minutes with Jonathan and Ayman's father. Observing Ayman as he walked, we could tell that his gait is still stiff. The stroke is still affecting his right side, but he is doing a lot better than when he left Israel. 

Ayman's family left by taxi, and as the car slowly made its way through the street, I walked along beside it. It was then that Ayman again became the little boy I knew when he was in Israel. He started smiling as I blew a kiss at him, and he in return sent some kisses my way. As the car sped up, I stayed behind and waved them off until I could no longer see them. 

What's In A Fairy Tale?

Posted on Mon, 12/10/2012 - 00:54 by Ruth Zellweger

"Once upon a time..." This is how many stories started that I read and listened to when I was a young girl. I was eager to see good overcoming evil, hearing at the end: "And they lived happily ever after."

During the past five months of serving at Shevet, I have hoped and prayed for many children who came to Israel for heart surgery. My biggest wish has been that they would return home to their families completely healed and would live

Ayman Prepares to Kiss Israel Goodbye

Posted on Wed, 12/05/2012 - 22:41 by Mikaela L

The day dawned for Ayman

Ayman Begins Physical Therapy in Jerusalem

Posted on Sun, 12/02/2012 - 16:01 by Jesse Tilman

Ayman and his mother visited the Princess Basma Center for Disabled Children in Jerusalem today with Kristina and me. Located on the Mount of Olives, this center is just what Ayman needs to speed his recovery from his stroke.  Ruth and I had visited on Thursday with Ayman for a first quick session in the physical therapy room with a woman named Lucy. Ayman had done well and enjoyed trying out the various children

Continued Healing from Surgery and from Stroke

Posted on Thu, 11/29/2012 - 11:04 by Taylor Shields
Yesterday was Ayman's first echocardiogram since his release from the hospital one week ago. Ayman didn

Ayman's Post-Surgical Infection Being Treated

Posted on Sun, 11/25/2012 - 23:00 by John M.

Right after we exchanged Shabbat Shalom

Ayman Comes Home!

Posted on Wed, 11/21/2012 - 23:17 by Donna_Petrel

Psalm 91:2 "This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him."

This morning as we were preparing to take Essa to his echo appointment, we got a surprising phone call from Sheba letting us know that Ayman was being dismissed today. Praise to God! We were delighted to hear the news, and since it had been several days since we'd been able to visit Ayman, we became even more excited to see them again.

It was obvious upon entering Ayman

Next Step: Physiotherapy

Posted on Sun, 11/18/2012 - 15:40 by Kelsey Cannon

By all looks and appearances, Ayman seemed to be doing better when we visited him and his mother at the Sheba Medical Center this past Friday. He was able to grasp his mother

Catheterization Today, MRI Tomorrow

Posted on Tue, 11/13/2012 - 23:03 by Donna_Petrel

Ruth and I arrived at Sheba in the early afternoon so we could sit with Ayman's mother while he underwent a diagnostic catheterization to check the pressures in his heart and pulmonary artery. We were all surprised last night to receive the call about today's procedure, and looking forward to finding out the results. Thankfully Ayman's sweet mother was not an anxious woman, as we had quite a long wait for Ayman's turn in the catheterization lab. While we waited Ruth and I enjoyed entertaining him with bubbles and silly games, helping him exercise, and observing the range of his abilities as he continues to slowly recover from what doctors suspect was a stroke suffered either during or after his surgery. Tomorrow an MRI of Ayman's brain is scheduled, followed by a meeting with a neurologist who will examine him to determine more details about his condition. So far the most notable part of Ayman's condition, in my opinion, is his visual attentiveness to what is happening around him as well as his spontaneous smile and laughter in response to something he likes. Yet much of the time, he also seems detached, as if pondering how he would like to respond, but cannot. But thankfully, his mother never wavers in her zeal and determination to encourage him in every way, an exemplary model of pure love towards her child.

It was around 3:30pm before Ayman was called for his turn with the doctors and his mother was allowed to carry him in to the catheterization lab. She remained strong for Ayman even though we could see her emotions bubbling up just below the surface, and were glad to keep her company after she released her precious son into the hands of God and the medical team. The nurse told us that the procedure would take about an hour, and if it wasn

Finding Joy in Every Measure of Progress

Posted on Sun, 11/11/2012 - 22:39 by John and Cyndi Carter

When we visited Ayman and his mother in the hospital today, they both seemed to be in good spirits. He loved it when Donna and Kristina blew soap bubbles for him, and we all got into the act. He has a wonderful smile and laugh. His mother is very attentive, and is very good at keeping a four year old content. 

During our visit, Dr. Amir was able to shed more light on Ayman's present condition. It is supposed that at some point during or after surgery, Ayman experienced a stroke. While he is smiling, laughing, and tracking with his eyes, his motor skills are minimal, and he has yet to speak. The right side of his body is also weaker than his left side. The good news in all of this, however, is that there is hope for significant recovery. Results from last week's CT scan revealed that Ayman should be able to regain muscular and speech abilities. It will be a long and gradual process, requiring special rehab treatment. Dr. Amir explained that as a visiting patient from Kurdistan, Ayman does not qualify for Sheba's rehab services. Thus, the cardiac nurses have been asked to include exercises in his daily care. Meanwhile, his mother is a beautiful example of devoted love and patience. Her pleasant spirit and affection bring light to Ayman's eyes.

Rather than being discouraged by her son's losses, she is finding joy in every measure of progress, big or small. As we continue to pray for God's complete healing in Ayman's body, may we be encouraged by the scripture which says, "Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin." Zechariah 4:10.