Alan's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Seeing This Smiling Baby Again

Posted on Sun, 08/28/2016 - 11:47 by Sophie

Alan has been back home over one month now, and he is doing very good. We were so happy to see him and hear his giggle! That is a such blessing.

We had the privilege to visit his family. I was so blessed by seeing the relationship between the mother and her cousins. They help her lot. Before Alan and his mother came back from Jerusalem, they even deep cleaned her house. Tonight, they helped her prepare the dinner and took care of Alan, as well. How good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters live together in unity!

The other special memory we had during this visit was looking through Alan's parent's wedding photos. Ruth found on the back page of the photo book were verses about true love, from 1 Corinthians 13.

The verses at the back were in English, and they did not understand at all. We were so excited and worked to help them understand. I found the verses in Kurdish and sent it to both parents. We hope their hearts will fully understand!

Because Alan's situation, the parents were afraid to have another child. They fear he/she will have a heart problem too. Please pray for them, may God take all the fears from their hearts and give them true peace!

Smiles- Alan Returns Home

Posted on Wed, 07/27/2016 - 16:49 by Sophie

Alan is the most gorgeous baby I have ever seen! He caught my heart the first time I met him, in our Kurdistan apartment. I held him in my arms, and he was so peaceful without any discomfort. This was the start of our special relationship.

Over the past three months Alan has been with us, he has captured many more hearts with beautiful smiles.

Alan's farewell party started after dinner. We had some delicious tea and an ice cream pie for dessert. We then sang some songs of praise to God. 

I remember before the surgery, Alan's mother was so anxious. Every day she would ask the same question, "When will Alan have his surgery?" I wanted her to know Jesus can heal, so I decided to share His story from the Bible with her. After she read it in Kurdish, I told her, "God knows the best time for Alan. Jesus heals the sick, and He can do that for Alan as well. Do not worry, God will take care us. God is faithful, He hears our prayers and comforts the broken hearted."

After singing the praise songs at the party, we shared our precious memories with Alan and his mother and gave them their gifts.

Early the next evening, we regathered together to pray and send them on their way back to Kurdistan.

Time to say goodbye.

Ruth and Agnes said their last goodbye from the airport.

I was amazed, Alan's whole family went to the airport early this morning to welcome them home! How precious it is.

We will miss them greatly and will treasure the time we spent with them.

Last Echo Day

Posted on Mon, 07/25/2016 - 20:12 by Mingyang Li

This morning, Ruth drove Alan and his mother to the hospital. When we had just arrived, we saw a parking space. We were all so happy because it seemed that the Lord prepared it for us. Before the echo started, Alan stayed a while with his African friends. These are children that are in the hospital as part of Save A Child’s Heart (SACH) program. Those African friends were so kind. Some of them talked with Alan, played with Alan, and even one small boy hugged Alan.

During the echo, Alan cooperated with the doctor so much, and he did not even cry one tear. After ten minutes, the doctor asked Alan: “Do you want to go home, baby? Go home now! Bye-bye!” When he said this, I saw a big smile appeared on Alan's mother’s face. 

Later, we met a nurse who helped Alan during his surgery. She was so happy that Alan could go home. 

Thank God Alan has been cured by His almighty hand. Alan will fly to his home tomorrow, and his father cannot wait to see him. We pray to God they will arrive home safely. Hope to see you guys in Kurdistan soon!

One More to Go

Posted on Mon, 07/18/2016 - 22:43 by Ruth Zellweger

Today's echo revealed that Alan's heart is healing well.

He doesn't have any fluid left around his heart or lungs, and as a result one of his medications could be reduced. One more echo next Monday, and he will be discharged to return to Kurdistan. 

After the echo, we went to the children's ward to have some stitches removed. And an orthopedist specialist came to examine Alan's hips and legs, which had been a big concern for his young mother. However, the doctors said that everything looks normal, which was a great relief for his mother. 

Alan and his sweet mother enrich our community and we are looking forward to another week with them. 


Just Two More

Posted on Thu, 07/14/2016 - 20:48 by Rebekah Yang

Suhail dropped Alan, his mother and I off at Wolfson hospital this morning for Alan's echo follow-up, after his heart surgery. 

Before we had the echo, we first went to the childrens' ward in order to check Alan's legs. His mum has been very worried about them. The doctor took a few minutes measuring and checking his legs and hips, and then she decided to consult with the orthopaedic specialist. However, he was not during this moment in time. So the doctor arranged an appointment for him next Monday.

Then we had the echo with Dr. Alona. She was very pleased with the echo result. There was no fluid in his chest or heart - praise God! Dr. Alona mentioned that he would need to have two more echoes, but hopefully within the next 10 days, he could be discharged and return to their sweet home: Kurdistan.Thank you God for Your healing hands working on Alan's little body.

Please continue to lift both Alan and his young mother in your prayers. May God's peace and strength be with them always.

Echo Day

Posted on Mon, 07/11/2016 - 18:30 by Alexa Bigl

Alan had his first out-patient post-operative echo today. The results were great! He has no fluid collection, his reconstructed valve looks wonderful, and his heart is healing beautifully!

While 20% of kids with Alan's defect (tetralogy of Fallot) need additional surgeries as they grow up, the doctors are hopeful Alan will not need any additional surgeries.

We thought Alan would need to be on his special nonfat milk diet for a month, but the doctors said it was no longer necessary. With no fluid present, it appears Alan's lymph system has repaired itself. Alan can have his yummy milk formula again; he really disliked the nonfat milk, so his mom is very happy with this news. To ensure the change in food won't lead to fluid buildup, Alan will have another echo on Thursday.

We praise our healing heavenly Father for the great news today, and we pray He continues to touch this sweet baby boy.  

Welcome Back to Jerusalem

Posted on Tue, 07/05/2016 - 20:35 by Alexa Bigl

Friends, I'm happy to report Alan is home with us in Jerusalem! After a one-day stay at the children's ward, and after many days in the ICU, the doctors were comfortable discharging him from the hospital. Alan will remain on his special, no-fat diet to help keep his leaking lymph system healing without a fluid buildup. Please join us in praying Alan will be able to safely heal from the leak and he gets rid of the fluid. We are so happy to have him and his beautiful mother back with us. Their joy is already, once again, lighting up the atmosphere here at Shevet. Alan was a little out-of-sorts after waking up from his nap, but we cannot wait to pour our love onto him tomorrow and the following days during his recovering.

Next Monday Alan will head to Wolfson for an echo; stay tuned for the update! 

Joyful In Hope

Posted on Mon, 07/04/2016 - 18:04 by Valentina Jaimes Vargas

It has been almost two months since Alan arrived to our Shevet community. It has been a long process, but we praise God He has been faithful with this little baby and his mother.

Part of this process has been Alan spending many days in the ICU. This wasn't easy for his mother, but she has been patient. Today, Alan was moved to the children's ward! Also, his last chest tube has been taken out. Now his mom is happy because he is improving in great ways.

What a blessing it is for us to see the transformation of this baby since his surgery. It's also wonderful to see Alan's mother standing with a joyful hope, and we give thanks to God because He gave strength and patience to this mother through this long and hard process.

Be joyful in hope, patience in affliction and faithful in prayer.
Romans 12:9-13

The Road of Recovery

Posted on Sun, 07/03/2016 - 21:34 by Ruth Zellweger

Over the weekend we had expected that Alan would be moved to the normal children's ward as the nurses had told us over the phone that he was doing well, with just one chest tube left. I was quite surprised when I found out today during my visit that Alan was still in the ICU. I was thankful, however, that Dr. Alona was around to update me on Alan's condition.

She told me the echo this morning showed Alan's heart looks really good. However, he has a complication called chylothorax, which is a special type of pleural effusion. For that reason, they had reinserted chest tubes and put Alan on a special fat free diet. Today, they were able to take out one of the chest tubes and hope to do the same with the last one tomorrow morning. Then he would be ready to leave the ICU. 

I explained the news to Alan's mother, who accepted this news very well, after having made sure her beloved son's heart is doing well. She is willing to be at the hospital as long as it takes - if only her son is well. A true mother's heart!

We later went together to the ICU where Alan hastily drank a bottle of milk. Luckily, he likes the special fat-free formula that the hospital is providing.

We can never take for granted when a child is recovering well after open heart surgery. It is all by God's grace. Today, I was praising God especially for watching diligently over baby Alan. Thank you, Lord.

By God's Grace

Posted on Wed, 06/29/2016 - 20:50 by Ruth Zellweger

Today was a day of rejoicing for Alan's sweet mother, as her beloved son was extubated around noon time. Soon after, she came to the children's ward to share, with our other  mothers and our hospital team, her joy. It was only later that we found out that the doctors in the ICU actually had to perfom CPR on Alan yesterday morning, as his heart had a severe arrhythmia. For that reason they had kept Alan intubated one day longer. 

When I went into the ICU to see baby Alan, he was crying. His mother quickly got out her phone and distracted him with Kurdish songs, which calmed him down. He fell asleep, which was very good as he was not yet allowed any water or milk. 

We are praising God for watching over Alan and blessing his mother with joy and peace. Please continue to pray for the complete recovery for precious Alan.