Rawand's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Intertwining Our Hearts

Posted on Sun, 02/17/2013 - 23:16 by Kristina Kayser

Sometimes I think about the way paths cross, the way people come into my life, and the way friendships are made. Though each encounter and relationship is unique, the common thread that binds them is the often unexpected warmth and sweetness these friendships bring. Rawand and his mother are two priceless individuals that have recently proved this statement true for the Shevet community. We welcomed them into our home just over three months ago. Rawand, with his cheeky smile, along with his mother's love and good nature, made a house feel more like home. 

Their time in Israel was not without difficulty, however. Rawand's surgery was postponed six times before it came to pass. This long-awaited operation was then followed by a surprise second surgery to correct a complication. I watched in amazement at the patience Rawand's mother exhibited with each "bump" in the road. Naturally, she was disappointed and frustrated to begin with, but she always rose to the occasion with new strength. It can't be explained any other way except to say it was by God's grace. As it is written, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Cor. 12:9a). 

As we walked alongside this dear woman and her son, we shared in their pain as well as their joy. What a beautiful season of rejoicing it has been following his conclusive surgery. Upon returning to Jerusalem, Rawand's heart has healed perfectly. Not only has each echo exam shown exceptional results, but doctors sent Rawand home without any medications! You must know that this hardly ever happens. Corresponding with this good news, we really enjoyed ourselves during his and his mum's final week. Although they had already been to the Mediterranean and the Garden Tomb on earlier outings, we thought it would be nice to go again, and they concurred. If you can't tell by the next photo, Rawand was the coolest baby at the beach with his sweet shades. 

At the Garden Tomb, we all soaked in the lush surroundings while reflecting on the precious love of God given through His Son. This same love continues to be extended as we watch Rawand's heart and life restored.

On the eve before their departure, we held a big celebration for Rawand and his friend, Sara. No party is complete without cake, tea, and gifts, all of which were present in abundance. It was then time to share memories and words of encouragement with mother and son. It was difficult to express in adequate words just how much they mean to us. Our party concluded with a lovely photo DVD that summarized Rawand's stay in Israel with both striking and humorous images. 

It's only been two days since we gathered around Rawand and his mum to pray and bid them farewell; still, I miss them and half-expect to see them throughout the day. I miss Rawand's baby chatter, the way he inexplicably loved to bounce, his perfect dimple, and watching his first attempts at walking. As for his mother, I miss her cheerful spirit and warm hugs, the way she delighted in her son, and the way her eyes shone when someone complimented her cooking (which was always delicious, by the way). My life has truly been enriched by theirs, and I praise God for the way he intertwined not only our paths, but our hearts as well.

All Positive Signs From Second Echo

Posted on Mon, 02/04/2013 - 22:00 by Linn Magnusson

In spite of the fact that Rawand is one-year old and I am twenty, he still has had more experiences than me of what we were going to do today at the hospital. It was time for his second echo, and he wasn

In the Right Direction

Posted on Thu, 01/31/2013 - 20:17 by Johanna Magnusson

Rawand has continued to recover well and his condition is going in the right direction. The direction is pointing toward Kurdistan because soon Rawand will be able to go home. 

Today Rawand had an echo test to check how his heart is doing after the surgery, and he will have the next echo on Monday. Together with Rawand we were eight persons crowding in the echo room: his mother, four from the hospital staff and three of us from Shevet. It was good to hear that everything was good with him. From now Rawand

Rawand Returns to Jerusalem

Posted on Sun, 01/27/2013 - 21:21 by Linn Magnusson

I was happy to go to the hospital today in order to bring Rawand back to Shevet again. When we left Jerusalem in the afternoon, we only knew for sure that Rawand was going to come back with us. But it turned out that Shaida was coming back with us as well. 

It was encouraging to meet Rawand

Making Things Beautiful In His Time

Posted on Thu, 01/24/2013 - 19:43 by Ruth Zellweger

Today, Rawand and his mother greeted us already at the entrance of Wolfson Hospital. Since yesterday, Rawand has been in the children

Round Two: Rawand Extubated

Posted on Wed, 01/23/2013 - 15:10 by John M.

After six weeks back home, I

Mercies New: Rawand's Second Surgery Day?

Posted on Tue, 01/22/2013 - 00:34 by Kristina Kayser

When Ruth called me yesterday and asked, "Guess who's having surgery tomorrow?" I never would have supposed Rawand to be the answer. As far as I knew, his surgery last week had gone without a hitch and he was healing well. And this was the case until an echo on Sunday revealed that the VSD had reopened, requiring an additional operation. Dr. Alona further explained to me that the initial seal had used his own anatomy rather than an outside source, but some of the stitches had pulled loose. While the situation was far from threatening, Rawand's heart could, in time, be compromised if the defect was left uncorrected. Today's surgery would be a simple procedure, she continued, that would provide better long-term results. 

With all this in mind, Johanna and I made our way to Wolfson's pediatric unit early this morning. The sun was just peeking over the mountains behind us as we approached the outskirts of Tel Aviv. "As a new day begins, Lord, I know your mercies are new every morning," I had prayed. Rawand and his mother were in need of new mercies today, of this I was sure. The unexpected and sudden nature of this second heart surgery required strength and grace that only God could bestow. 

Rawand, blissfully unaware of the task he was up against, was playing in his crib when we arrived. His mother, on the other hand, was fighting hard to keep her tears at bay. It wasn't long before an escort arrived to lead us to the operating department. Rawand's mother scooped her son into her arms, allowing tears to flow freely now. When it was time to say goodbye, she kissed his milk-stained cheek one last time and handed him over to the nurses. Yes, she trusted that the surgery was for Rawand's good, but oh how painful it was to let her precious son go.

It's at this point on a surgery day that I typically begin to prepare a mother with what to expect and critical information. As a nurse and translator, part of my role is to help newcomers navigate their way through the unfamiliarity of the medical world. This time however, simple love took precedence. Rawand's mother had walked this road before -- a mere seven days before. She knew where Rawand was going and understood the formidable challenges awaiting them both in the hours and days ahead. Just now, she needed only a shoulder to cry on and arms to hold her. More loving arms awaited her upstairs when we rejoined three other Kurdish mothers. For the next three and a half hours, friendship, in addition to ice cream, sweetened the bitterness of waiting. 

As the clock approached twelve noon, Rawand's long awaited gurney rolled around the corner into ICU. The transport team calmly stated that everything went well. Rawand's mother cried tears of relief and thanks to see her son return. Once again, she was already familiar with the routine of waiting an additional hour before attending his bedside. Meanwhile, she gathered her composure and began relaying Rawand's status to family in Kurdistan. Her face lit up when her five-year-old daughter got on the phone. This woman loves her children unreservedly. 

Rawand's positive surgical outcome was reiterated upon entering ICU. The surgeon himself, Dr. Sasson, was present when Rawand's mother and I entered the room. He told me that the operation went well, with no complications to report. I thanked him for his tireless work in mending each child's heart and told him we were praying for him. The surprise and gratitude in his response reminded me of the privilege we have to intercede for him. Through his hands, God provided healing for Rawand. His mother, full of love for her son, sat gazing at his face. I could not begin to articulate what she is feeling, but perhaps this image can. Tonight, Rawand is stable and resting under vigilant care. As tomorrow dawns, I pray that Rawand and his mother will find God's mercies new and plentiful once again. 

Another Surgery In The Morning

Posted on Sun, 01/20/2013 - 23:26 by Ruth Zellweger

There are things in life that are hard to understand. Over the last few weeks I accompanied Rawand and his mother regularly to the hospital. Most of the times we hoped that his heart surgery would be soon. I remember several times that I was with them when Rawand

Back On The Upswing

Posted on Fri, 01/18/2013 - 19:02 by Johanna J

After the surgery we can never know what will happen. Yesterday Rawand returned to primary ICU, because he had fluid in his chest. This morning we found him again in secondary ICU, so that must mean something good. Afterwards we heard more good news: Rawand would be transferred to the children