Yaser's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

God is Working in Big Ways

Posted on Fri, 02/10/2017 - 23:04 by Alexa Bigl

I hope and pray those who have followed along Yaser's story are taking heart in seeing how God is working in big ways. We got to celebrate Yaser's amazing progress Monday night with a farewell party. As soon as we all started to sit down, Yaser was very excited and smiling hugely. He had been around for a number of parties and knew it was finally his turn! I asked his mom if he was so happy because he was going home. But after weeks of crying out he wanted to go home to see his dad, Yaser was now telling his mom he wanted to stay here with us in Israel. His joy was due to the attention and all the cars we had gotten him as presents. 

It was fun seeing cute Yaser continue to happily engage throughout the evening as we celebrated the good news of his healing heart. As we learned from Ruth's blog yesterday, Yaser's mitral valve still has some regurgitation and he will need close follow-up. While God is still in the process of healing him, the doctors here felt it was safe for Yaser to return to Kurdistan with the follow-up from the cardiologists there.
Yaser and his mother both have big, fun personalities. It was a joy to go around and hear from different people how Yaser and his mom have touched us, challenged us, and loved on us in different ways. The family will most definitely be missed. However, we are so happy for the time we have had with them and that Yaser's heart is doing better and better! 
Yaser and his mom left on a late flight last night and should be resting at home now. Thank you for joining us in this journey and please continue to keep Yaser in your prayers, especially that troublesome valve of his! 

There Is Nothing My God Cannot Do

Posted on Mon, 02/06/2017 - 18:28 by Ruth Zellweger

Yaser's mother tried to stay positive these past weeks after she heard that Yaser's mitral valve was not functioning correctly and that he might need another surgery. However, it was not easy and she would often mention that she was waiting for Dr. Sasson, the senior surgeon, to return to proceed with the second surgery. When we got the news last week that Yaser's heart had already improved a lot and that he might be cleared to return to Kurdistan after ten more days, her joy was great. We all were not prepared and taken by surprise when we went for Yaser's follow-up echo this morning. After the echo the cardiologists announced that Yaser was allowed to return home. His heart looks good!

There is some regurgitation of his mitral valve, and he needs to be followed up closely. But no intervention needed at this point. The mother asked me to confirm with the cardiologists, and afterwards she made some phone calls to her family in Kurdistan. Our God had heard and answered our prayers above anything that we were asking or praying for.

Tonight we are celebrating Yaser's healed heart with a beautiful and joyful party. And even though we haven't sang this song for a while with our families, this will be my personal theme song when thinking about Yaser's rocky journey towards a healed heart: "My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there's nothing my God cannot do!" May we all be highly encouraged by Yaser's story. 


God is Revealing Himself

Posted on Thu, 02/02/2017 - 22:01 by Alexa Bigl

Yesterday, I became a little concerned about Yaser because his face looked swollen and his heart and respiratory rate were slightly elevated. So, this morning we drove Yaser to the hospital for an echo checkup. Although the doctors asked to have him early, we had to wait a while at the echo department. Yaser was upset about being at the hospital, but we soon found out it was partly because he was very tired. Once the echo started, Yaser fell asleep and slept for the whole exam.

Dr Alona came in to see the captured images and happily reported no fluid build-up, which was our concern with the assessment findings yesterday. She also reported there were no signs of heart failure and Yaser's mitral valve is continuing to progress! She now classified his regurgitation as mild to moderate, compared to the previous reports of severe. We pray that God's answers to the many prayers we have been lifting to Him will allow for a revelation for Yaser's mother; we pray God is revealing himself to her through the healing process of her son. 
We have also been lifting up Yaser's big brother in prayer. He received a diagnostic cardiac catheterization yesterday. It was very hard on Yaser's mother to be so far away yesterday as her other son underwent the procedure by our friend Dr Kirk and his team in Kurdistan. Yaser's brother had heart surgery about 9 years ago and has a complicated heart defect. We pray the situation with Yaser's brother will also be a way God uses to reveal himself to all of Yaser's family. 
Another echo is scheduled at Wolfson on Monday and if there is continued progress, we may get the final word that a second surgery will not be necessary. It certainly is a beautiful thing to see God's hand actively working! 

More Than a Glimmer of Hope

Posted on Mon, 01/30/2017 - 18:04 by Alexa Bigl

Yaser returned to Wolfson Medical Center today for another echo. Since the last echo showed Yaser's mitral valve having some serious functioning problems, today was an important follow-up.

Now that the new medications have been in Yaser's system for a few days it was vital to see how his heart was responding. Dr. Tamir came in to look at the images and reported a small improvement. The fluid is now gone from around Yaser's heart, and the valve looks a little better. We can decrease the steroid medication and return next week for another echo. 
We hope the new medications from Thursday will continue to be the vehicle God uses to heal Yaser's mitral valve, and we pray God will completely heal Yaser's heart. It has been a beautiful season at Shevet where many of our families have experienced the power of prayer. We are sincerely praying God shows his powerful healing hand to Yaser's mother through the healing of Yaser's heart. Thank you for joining us in this.  

Let's Pray

Posted on Thu, 01/26/2017 - 20:45 by Ruth Zellweger

Yaser and his mother went this morning for another follow-up echocardiogram at Wolfson hospital. This time he did not cry but patiently let the echo technician, Yfat, and Dr. Tamir assess his heart. The results were not easy for the mother to process. We had hoped that over the last days the fluid around Yaser's heart had gone and that the steroids could be reduced. This is indispensable before he can return to Kurdistan. The steroids were reduced indeed. However, Dr. Tamir came to the conclusion that the fluid around Yaser's heart is caused by congestive heart failure, as his mitral valve is not functioning correctly. 

Yaser was started on new meds to help his heart functioning better, but it is very likely that he would need another surgery. Yaser's mother was very discouraged and sad after the echo. We told her that our community and friends would be praying for little Yaser and that his heart and valve would be touched by God's mighty hand and start working properly. So far the mother had responded only reluctantly to personal prayer, but today she was very open and asked us earnestly to pray. 

Would you please join us in calling out to our heavenly Father on Yaser's behalf. He who created Yaser is able to touch his little heart and restore it completely. In all of this we trust God for His perfect way with Yaser and his mother. 


Yaser's Echo Day

Posted on Mon, 01/23/2017 - 22:59 by Rebekah Yang

This morning we brought Yaser and his mum for another post-surgery echo follow-up.

Our precious Yaser was playing with his mother nicely at the beginning. However, when it came to Yaser's turn, he was not happy at all. Poor Yaser seemed so scared with the doctors and echo technician, that he started crying and fighting with his mother to stop the echo. Even the TV playing didn't help to calm him down.
It took quite a while to finish his echo and then we were waiting for Dr. Tamir to review Yaser's results. Eventually, we got the report that says he still has a little bit of fluid around his heart so the doctor decided to increase someof his medication. Then, Yaser will need to return for another echo check-up on Thursday morning. 
Please continue to pray for our cute boy, Yaser. May God heal his heart and bring good news for this coming Thursday's echo. Amen!!

Caring Hearts

Posted on Tue, 01/17/2017 - 21:09 by Sean Perez
During an echo yesterday, it was discovered that Yaser has pericardial effusion (fluid around his heart). So, our nurses at Shevet began administering the steroids prescribed by his doctors at Wolfson hospital to treat the fluid build-up. Meanwhile, Alexa and I had to take Yaser and his mother back to Wolfson today for a follow-up echo, to see how the treatment was progressing. After good care from our nurses and the staff, the echo revealed that the fluid has begun to decrease. The doctors and nurses were very encouraged by that and are going to let the steroids run their course over the next week. 
They have scheduled a another echo for next Monday to review the progress. We are hopeful that the fluid will be gone by then. He also had his sutures removed yesterday and we were able to bring Yaser back home this morning after a short and pleasant visit in the hospital. 

Excellent Medical Care

Posted on Mon, 01/16/2017 - 21:04 by Ruth Zellweger

Little Yaser underwent this morning his first follow-up echo since his discharge from the hospital a few days ago. His mother was in high hopes that his diuretics could be already stopped. However, that was not the case, but the contrary: After the examination Dr. Alona told us the surgical results are very good, but that Yaser has pericardial effusion (fluid around his heart), that needs to be treated with steroids. He needs to return tomorrow for another echo to make sure that the fluid is not increasing and that the meds are working well. 

Yaser's mother took the news well. We are thankful for the excellent medical care that our children receive at the hospital. Please pray with us that the fluid decreases quickly and that there will be no harm for Yaser.

Back to Jaffa

Posted on Mon, 01/09/2017 - 19:30 by Ruth Zellweger

Little Yaser is quite a character. Despite the fact that he is only two years old, he is very strong willed and commands his mother around often. The sweet hearted mother is trying to accommodate any of his requests as much as possible, whether it is three eggs for breakfast, or a game on the mobile phone. What he doesn't like he doesn't like, what he wants he really wants!

After the cardiologists did their morning round in the children's ward they told us that Yaser would probably be able to return to our Jaffa home today. The echo showed that there was no fluid left in his lungs, praise God. Just before noon, Yaser and his friend Karina left the hospital and re-joined our Jaffa community. What a special day for these two families. They had traveled together, and today they returned from the hospital together. We are thankful for God's healing touch on Yaser's heart and life.

Joyfully in the Ward

Posted on Thu, 01/05/2017 - 23:13 by Rebekah Yang

This morning at the hospital, I saw Mama Yaser carrying her bag and walking out of the Secondary ICU through the corridor toward the children's ward. Wow! What a big surprise - thank God. Our big Yaser seems to be recovering pretty well and all his vital signs are good at the moment - praise God.

Later on, Mama Yaser brought some delicious food from the hospital cafeteria which was Yaser's favorite. Just watching the way he held the spoon and enjoyed his meal really made my day.
Hallelujah! Let's rejoice with both mother and son and give glory to our healer, the mighty God!!