Kawyar's Heart Surgery

nothern Iraq

Waiting to be Loved

Posted on Sun, 06/09/2013 - 16:29 by MadelynMiles

From the first day I met Kawyar, I've learned of the sweet and gentle nature that exists in people that are just waiting to be loved. When they first arrived in Jordan, Kawyar was silent and refused to eat anything but small chocolates. But upon speaking her mother tongue--as a blonde stranger in a foreign place--I caught her darting eyes and sheepish expressions. It only took one day, and a very long wait at the Israeli border, to bring out her laughter and personality--which clearly loves animals. While we waited and slowly migrated through the different border stations, Kawyar informed me that she was not a little girl, but a cat. I played along and asked her if she knew where Kawyar went, because all I could see was a cat. She loved this, and enthusiastically meowed in response. For many days after that, Kawyar was a cat. Cats continued to be her favorite, but sometimes she sharply corrected me that today she was a dog--and barked to prove it. Then, toward the end of her stay, she decided cats and dogs were old news:

"What are you today? A cat or a dog?"

"Hmm...today I'm a cow. Mooooo."

Despite this declaration, her eyes lit up upon receiving a Beanie Baby cat for one of her farewell presents. This smart girl also understood from previous children's parties that we always take a photo with the quilt present, and instantly sat on my lap and posed.

The farewell party was pleasant and light-hearted, with music from the impromptu Shevet band:

Kawyar's mother requested a large group photo to capture the moment.

At the farewell party, I recalled how Kawyar

Kawyar Close To The Finish Line

Posted on Tue, 05/28/2013 - 00:07 by Ruth Zellweger

When I went upstairs early this morning to deliver the children

Strength and Calm

Posted on Mon, 05/20/2013 - 20:57 by Awapuhi Dancil

The strength of a mother never ceases to amaze me. I thought this several times today as I watched Kawyar

Kawyar's Jerusalem Homecoming

Posted on Mon, 05/13/2013 - 22:08 by Kristina Kayser

Just six days after her open heart surgery, Kawyar was ready to trade hospital rooms for home and return to Jerusalem. At first glance, you would never know this five-year-old girl just had a major operation. Her eyes sparkle, she walks in perfect stride, and plays without any ounce of discomfort on her face. But upon second glance, you may notice a fine pink incision peeking up above her shirt, crossed with small white bandages. This is the only clue that points towards Kawyar's recent inner makeover.

Later this morning, I accompanied Kawyar and her mother to the echo department for a follow up exam. Yesterday's echo had shown that a small amount of excess fluid had developed around her heart, constituting the need for medication. While still present today, Dr. Alona concluded that Kawyar could be discharged and treated at home with Prednisone. The ASD is sealed well with a Gortex patch, and her overall cardiac condition is excellent. Kawyar's mother was initially weary of receiving bad news, but once Dr. Alona's decision was confirmed, both she and her daughter were all smiles.

The ride home was a pleasant one, with Kawyar falling asleep soon after we left Tel Aviv. Her mother was perfectly content to have her daughter well and snuggled up beside her. Just before arriving back to the house, we passed a beautiful overlook of the Jordan Valley and stopped to take in the scenery. Kawyar posed for a picture with the stunning backdrop as the wind tousled her hair. In one week's time, she will return to Wolfson for the next echo appointment. Until then, we will pray and trust for further strength and healing from the Lord in Kawyar's heart.   

A Speedy Recovery

Posted on Thu, 05/09/2013 - 22:09 by Ruth Zellweger

I almost didn't believe my eyes I saw Kawyar today, sitting on a wheelchair, being brought to the echo department. It hasn

Kawyar's Heart Made Whole

Posted on Tue, 05/07/2013 - 23:14 by Kristina Kayser

It's dusk in Tel Aviv as I write this, and the sky is turning blended shades of blue and gray and purple. When thinking back over today's events, I am reminded of how fragile life is and how beautiful its redemption. It is Kawyar's life that captures my thoughts at the moment

Kawyar On Board for Surgery

Posted on Mon, 05/06/2013 - 21:21 by Kristina Kayser

Kawyar and her mother were outside and ready to leave at 6:30 this morning. Surprised at their promptness, I rushed to grab my things and head out the door. The reason for our early departure was due to Kawyar fasting and needing an ultrasound before she could eat breakfast. Neither she nor her mother made a single complaint; they made rather pleasant traveling companions as we headed towards Tel Aviv.  The further we drove along, the more I discovered what a special girl Kawyar is.

For example, her kindergarten teachers describe her as being extremely intelligent. She demonstrated this to me today by quickly counting to 100 and practicing words in English. Moreover, Kawyar is very gentle, particularly with babies. She was so excited to see baby Yousif at the hospital today, putting her face right next to his to ask how he was doing. The last attribute I'll mention is the patient and easy-going spirit this girl has. Though her patience was tried through many hours of waiting today, it was found true. As we walked towards the ultrasound department, it was beautiful to watch the interaction between a mother and child who so obviously love each other.

Dr. Alona had requested a sonogram of Kaywar's diaphragm to rule out a possible hernia, which would delay surgery if present. This was followed by a detailed X-ray exam with several images taken from different angles. While Kawyar just smiled her way through these assessments, her mother stood by anxiously, whispering fervent prayers. The results were negative with no contraindication for surgery, much to this mother's relief. She immediately called her husband, who had been crying all morning out of concern for his daughter. He was grateful for this report to say the least. Dr. Alona then confirmed that Kawyar's operation to correct a large ASD would be tomorrow afternoon!

A few tears were shed with the next order of business

Tea With Mr. Bear

Posted on Fri, 05/03/2013 - 00:14 by Kristina Kayser

Due to a very busy day at the echo clinic on Tuesday, Kawyar was unable to have her exam at that time. Thus, we made our way back to Wolfson this morning to meet with Dr. Alona. Kawyar is a truly lovely and compliant little girl. She didn't seem nervous or disturbed in the slightest to be back at the hospital so soon. Instead, she made the best of it by arranging a tea party in the lobby for Yasna, Mohammed, Mr. Bear, a rather large duck, and myself. She played and prattled on whilst waiting for nearly two hours for her turn in the echo room. 

When finally it came, not one word of complaint could be heard on her lips. Right up on the exam table she went. Being her first echo at Wolfson, the assessment was quite lengthy. Once again, Kawyar remained calm and quiet throughout.
I assured her mother the duration was normal, as the cardiology team thoroughly explored Kawayar's heart via 2-D ultrasound. Large images of her cardiac chambers came into view on the computer screen. It didn't take long before the diagnosis was confirmed to be a large ASD, meaning that an over-sized breach exists between the walls of her upper chambers. The result of this defect is a heart that doesn't function properly, causing Kawyar to tire easily and run out of breath in addition to poor weight gain. While this condition is not life-threatening at the moment, it most certainly compromises her over all well-being. 
Before discussing a surgery date for Kawyar, Dr. Alona notified us that she has an abnormal diaphragm that requires an ultrasound exam on Sunday morning. If the ultrasound results are conciliatory, then her surgery could be as soon as Monday. Otherwise, Kawyar will need additional tests before advancing. She and her mother left the hospital in good spirits, thankful for moving one more step towards a new heart. Please pray for Kawyar to have continued peace and joy in the coming days.