Sharbel's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

A Testimony of Healing

Posted on Wed, 09/07/2016 - 22:25 by Jasmin Ludwig

On Monday evening we had a really special and emotional event: the farewell party for Sharbel and his wonderful mother, and Roshna and her lovely dad.

Sharbel and his mother have been with Shevet Achim for two and a half months. I remember the first day I came to Shevet. I was a bit dizzy because of my arrival in the middle of the night, and I was feeling overwhelmed. Ruth, Camilla, and I went to the hospital the very next day. I remember that Sharbel's mother was crying because she had received the information that Sharbel's surgery would be delayed. She was crying and I felt so sorry and helpless because in that moment I felt like I was not really able to help or to be a support as I didn't know her well enough. 

In the short time I got to know her we became really good friends, and I am still impressed with how strong a woman she is. And also what a strong, little, miraculous son she has.

Our farewell party was definitely an evening of emotions. On one hand everybody was happy for Sharbel and Roshna and their chance to go home. Also for the fact that our beloved Sharbel is alive and doing really well. On the other hand we all felt sad knowing we will miss Sharbel's beautiful smiles so much! Actually I already do and I am sure everybody else does as well. We were reminded that it is nothing else than a Godly miracle that happened right here in Shevet. When he first arrived, the doctors predicted a very low chance of success for his surgery. But his surgery was a complete success and he is thriving now. 

God showed once more how gracious he is and revealed himself through the miraculous healing of Sharbel, as it is written in Romans 8:28:

"And we know that God works all things together for those who love Him, who are called according to his purpose.“

I was really touched by all the lovely things and wishes given to them by our community members. Sharbel's mother was really touched and struggled to hold tears back. I also tried to say something and give her some good wishes but I was so overwhelmed by my emotions that I could not even finish. After that we gave some presents to our children and they both seemed to be really content. 

After the party we accompanied them to the Finnish school, took some last pictures, and waved with our tissues when the cars came out to leave. Everybody had mixed emotions as we waved our last goodbyes.

We received word that last night they arrived safely into the arms of their family that has missed them so much. 

Please keep little Sharbel in your prayers, even as they are at home now. I ask you to continue lifting the families up to God. May Sharbel's healing be a testimony for everybody who hears it. Amen!


At Long Last

Posted on Mon, 09/05/2016 - 18:29 by Alexa Bigl

Sharbel has received his final echo here at Wolfson Medical Center! 

The cadiologist was happy to report more improvement this week for Sharbel's heart. Both the abnormally large size and the weak contraction force are improving towards normal numbers!

The doctors are looking forward to reports from Sharbel's cardiologist in Kudistan with more improvements. Sharbel will be able to sense his limits as he grows up, but he will lead a full, normal life. 

Research shows 50% of children with Sharbel's condition need a follow up intervention once they are full grown. This could be a catheterization or open heart surgery. Whether Sharbel will need this future intervention or not, we won't know until later down the road. No matter what the case is, we will unceasingly praise God for the miracles He has done for Sharbel.

To see this beautiful boy's life preserved is a blessing from God, without a doubt!

Brave Little Boy

Posted on Mon, 08/29/2016 - 23:50 by Jasmin Ludwig

Today we went to the hospital quite early, about 8 o'clock for Sharbel's echo. Also the doctors did another blood test for Sharbel and the nurses took the stitches out.

One could therefore say that it was quite a hard day for little Sharbel. In the morning he was quite playful and he only whined a few short times. But he is always very content when I give him my package of chewing gum to shake and to rattle. When we arrived at the hospital, it was really crowded and we had to wait a long time. However, eventually the doctor was ready to do the echo.

During the blood test and echo I felt really sorry for him and I thought, "Oh, he is just too small and he has to go through so much. I just would like to do it for him and bear his pain." As the electrodes had bonded quite strongly, it must have been really painful to remove them and he was crying.

Finally it was over and nevertheless he was really brave. And even though it was not the most enjoyable part of the day for Sharbel, there is really good news to share, as the doctor said that his echo is definitely better than it was the last week!

After the echo I went to the hospital mall with Sandra to buy some things and Sharbel was already in a better mood – even if he obviously doesn't like shopping (of course he doesn't like it as he is a boy)! When we came back, there was more good news waiting for us: his blood test was fine too. So, all in all, he is doing really well, even though he has to stay one more week with his beautiful mother to do the last echo next Monday.

When we drove back to Jerusalem, Sharbel and everybody else was really tired and everybody slept, except the driver, Suhail, and me.

As Sharbel has his final echo next week, I ask you to continue to keep precious, little Sharbel in your prayers. I also pray that the Lord will fulfill the miracle he just began and that this incredibly cute boy will be completely healed.


Pray to the Ultimate Healer

Posted on Mon, 08/22/2016 - 15:22 by Alexa Bigl

We headed to Wolfson for Sharbel's follow-up echo and blood test early this morning. As soon as we entered the children's department, Sharbel knew where he was. Unfortunately, he has some bad memories from there; needle sticks, being woken up for tests, and having medication forced on him. As soon as we entered the surgical area of the children's ward, Sharbel started to cry. Luckily, the nurses weren't quite ready for Sharbel. This gave us time for Sharble's mom to calm him. We even played a bit and got some smiles out of him. 

After the blood test, we headed up to the echo department. During our short waiting time, we got lots more smiles from Sharbel. Once it was his turn for echo, Sharbel's tears began again. Luckily, the doctors soon had all the measurements and pictures they needed.

Sharbel's heart is still enlarged, especially his left ventricle. There is improvement (it has shrunk some) compared to before surgery, but between last Thursday's echo and today there was no change. The cardiologist reported changes for Sharbel are expected to take a long time. We remember from pre-surgery meetings, it's not guarenteed Sharbel's heart will shrink to a more normal size.

Only God, the ultimate Healer, can perform this healing miracle. We pray for Sharbel and his heart; please join us in lifting him up to the Heavenly Father. 

Welcome home, Sharbel

Posted on Thu, 08/18/2016 - 18:15 by Rebekah Yang

This morning, Brenda and I went to Wolfson hospital for a visit to support our families there. Just before we left, I heard the good news we would be bringing our sweet Sharbel to Jerusalem; home to our Shevet family. I was so glad to know this and could not wait to see and kiss him. After we entered the children's ward, we saw both Sharbel and his mum were already packed and patiently waiting for us on his bed.

Sharbel looked at me with his attractive and mysterious smile. He seemed to tell me, "Hi! You are a bit late, hmmm?" His special smile gave me a lot of imagination to wonder what he has on his little mind.

We had to wait a bit for another two Gaza kids to be ready, in order to bring them back to the border. Our precious, sweet habibi Sharbel was really calm and peaceful as he rode beside his mum in the car, not crying or fussing at all.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you so much for all your protection and healing towards our cute angel Sharbel. May You continue to provide your daily mercy and strength to both Sharbel and his mum on this post-surgery recovery period. In Your holy, mighty name I pray, amen!! 

The Center of God's Will

Posted on Tue, 08/16/2016 - 20:37 by Camila Buitrago

Today I had the opportunity to be with Sharbel for a short time. His beautiful eyes showed me his strength. When I got the room, his mom​ was beside him and she told me about the situation of Sharbel; the doctors found water around Sharbel's lungs. Because of this, he had a xray and an echo. 

Tomorrow, the doctors will reassess the situation. Sharbel may need a chest tube reinserted to remove the fluid. We will pray for wisdom for the doctors in this.

Additionally, his mom told me the doctors routinely give medication intravenously. Sadly, the constant movement of the baby Sharbel is causing swelling in his hand. His mom was scared by this situation, but certainly the doctors helped by putting a cold compress on his hand, which helped so much the swelling was soon gone.
​I was very happy to see Sharbel after a long time, he is a beautiful child who we all love dearly. Thank to God, Sharbel's heart is healing from this huge surgery.  Everything that happens in our lives is the will of God. The best place is the center of His will, for that reason we continue praying for His will to come to pass for Sharbel. 

Continued Healing

Posted on Mon, 08/15/2016 - 21:02 by Alejandra Becerra

Today, our visit to the hospital was special for me. I got to see Sharbel again and with a beautiful smile. His mom was really happy for our visit too. Sharbel is doing well, though he sometimes has a fever. He has been transfered to children's ward, so we just keep seeking God and waiting for His miracles everyday.

During our visit, we spent time watching song videos. The nurse also took his temperature, and then, after a while, Sharbel got some sleep. 

Let's keep praying for both Sharbel and his mom as God continues His miracles for them both!

Beautiful Smiles

Posted on Sun, 08/14/2016 - 22:15 by Jasmin Ludwig

When we arrived at Wolfson Medical Center in Tel Aviv this morning, I spent the most time with Sharbel and his mum because Roshna was sedated. There is definitely some good news to share. The first thing is Sharbel doesn't have a fever anymore. The second is the doctors were able to take out his chest tube! And the third praise report is he is drinking milk voluntarily now. Thank God! 
Even though he is lying on the bed with lots of lines attached, and still quite weak, I had great joy to see a somewhat tentative, hesitant, but beautiful smile on his little, beautiful face. He showed us that smile especially when he was playing with the hair of his mum. She was with him almost all of the time, and she was giving him affection as much as possible. I was really touched when he was holding my finger strongly with his tiny hand.
It was a great pleasure to spend time with this wonderful little boy and his awesome mum. Thanks to God for all the progress and please keep Sharbel in your prayers. We also hope, pray, and believe there are many miracles more to come!

One Step at a Time

Posted on Thu, 08/11/2016 - 21:50 by Brenda Hofer

When we arrived at Wolfson this morning, I was pleasantly surprised to see Sharbel already moved to the secondary ICU right next to Roshna and her father. It was quiet in there, so I was able to spend some time hanging out with them. Sharbel's skin was such a soft peach color. He was awake just lying there peacefully. It was sweet to see his mom holding his little hand.

At one point, mom tried to give him some milk, but he didn't want it. She said he wasn't drinking it at all. She tried to give him some it again later, but again he cried and fussed. I told mom maybe to not expect so much right after surgery, but take it step-by-step. I hope it helped her. Please pray with me that Sharbel will continue recovering. Also, that his mother would have peace and comfort knowing her heavenly Father has Sharbel in his hands as well.


Steps Forward

Posted on Wed, 08/10/2016 - 20:43 by Camille Piche

Today Sharbel was successfully extubated! It was so good to walk through the ICU doors this morning and see him awake and breathing on his own! Sharbel was very inquisitive of all the people and machines around him, but nothing held his attention quite like the smiling face of his mother. Even though his body has been under a lot of stress from the surgery, we were able to see a glimpse of the joyful Sharbel we know and love through a small smile this afternoon. We excitedly anticipate many more to come!
Sharbel continued with his progress today as his mother was able to give him a little water and milk to drink. We are praising God for each step forward he makes in his recovery-big and small! 
Please continue to keep Sharbel, his mother, and the medical team in your prayers!