Dima's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

Protected All Along

Posted on Thu, 08/10/2017 - 22:01 by Maxine Stuart

Yesterday we said goodbye to Dima and her mother by hosting a big farewell party for them.  We celebrated Dima’s healed heart with delicious cake, sharing words of encouragement and memories, and a slideshow reflecting back on her time here. We also gave Dima and her mum gifts to help them in their future, and express our love for them.

Dima’s Mum shared how she was so thankful for all the love and support she received from Shevet Achim.

The continual support from our team really meant a lot to her. Especially the efforts of our house nurse Rebekah (pictured above left), who worked tirelessly day and night to make sure Dima had all she needed.

Jonathan, our director, pointed out the fact that even though Dima has been surrounded by problems - coming from a conflict area, her heart problems, the extra-long stay in hospital, and now going back into a conflict area - God has protected her through it all. And He will continue to do so. And Dima's mom responded with an open heart, kissing the copy of the scriptures we gave her as a farewell gift.

You see, Dima’s condition has been more unstable than most, requiring a longer stay in hospital (post-surgery), and extra monitoring and care after she was discharged. She has required feeding every four hours through a tube in her stomach because she can not keep food down yet. We organized around-the-clock care to achieve this, always having one of us available to help with the feeding. It was during my night shifts that my love for Dima and her mother grew. Jonathan’s words reminded me of my first night with Dima. There were actually demonstrations going on in the streets of Jaffa that night, and I could hear the chants of the angry crowd as I was watching over Dima. When she looked up at me through her big brown eyes, holding my thumb with her tiny hand, a thought struck me. Right in the midst of the night’s uncertainty, with protests happening literally on the other side of her bedroom wall, here was this little bundle of life - innocent, relaxed, and at peace. God was watching over her and protecting her. Just like He had been all along. And with His help, she was growing stronger and stronger everyday. I felt privileged to care for such a precious gift of life. As Dima drifted off to sleep, I thanked God for this picture of how we, His children, can be completely relaxed under His protection no matter where we are, or what problems we face.

We sent Dima off with lots of kisses and hugs, and waved as her and her Mum were driven off to the airport. Today we received news that they made it home safely. Thank you for joining with us in supporting Dima and her family through this turbulent time. Please pray for Dima’s parents as they will now have to continue the four-hour feeding schedule on their own. But we can also praise God because I know Dima will continue to grow and thrive under God’s protection and love!

Love and Perseverance

Posted on Mon, 08/07/2017 - 22:54 by Rebekah Yang

This morning after 8am, John and I had privilege of bringing Dima and her mum - plus two other families - to Wolfson hospital for their final echo follow-ups.

While we're sitting inside the van, our precious little Dima opened her beautiful, big eyes to look at her mum. It seemed like she knew what was going to happen to her soon.
As usual, we had to wait for almost an hour  for the cardiologist to be available for echo exams. But it was good for Dima and her mum to feel more relaxed while we waited. When the doctor came over to perform an echo for Dima, it did not take a very long time. Dr. Alona was very pleased with the echo results and said she could reduce one medicine but will need to keep taking it for six months longer.
Afterwards, we went back to the children's ward in order for a pedactric surgeon to do a small percedure to change Dima's feeding tube for a long term tube. At first, we did not know how long we would have to wait again. But the head nurse from the ward told us that the doctor had been called for an emergency surgery and we may need to wait for an hour or two.
Because waiting time can be even more stressful and anxious, we decided to go to the hospital cafeteria for a nice lunch to reward Dima's mum for her perseverance during a long time of waiting.
When we came back from lunch, Dima's mum went to the ward to play with a Jewish girl working on a "Frozen" puzzle and they had a wonderfully fun time.
Just before 2pm, the surgeon came to the ward and started to set a table to change Dima's feeding tube. Hallelujah, it only took a few minutes to finish. The doctor was kind and patiently explained to Dima's mum how to take care of the new tube - changing, feeding, etc. Dima's mum even took a few turns practicing. The doctor commented that Dima's mum was a quick learner and could for sure give Dima the proper care.
Please join me in praying tonight as Dima and her mum are facing this new trial of challenge. Pray that both of them will have a peaceful and restful night. May our Messiah's healing hands continue to bless them when they rejoin their family back in Kurdistan. In Yeshua's name, amen!

Soon and Very Soon

Posted on Mon, 07/31/2017 - 22:18 by Rebekah Yang

This morning John and I had the privilege of bringing three families - Dima, Ayleen, Aymen and their mothers - to Wolfson hospital for post-surgery echo follow-ups.

After quite a while of waiting, around noontime it was Dima's turn for her echo. With great expectation we all entered the exam room to wait for the doctor's performance.
Praise God it only took a few minutes and the echo was finished. Afterwards, Dr. Alona was reviewing her result and gave us the wonderful news that next Monday will be Dima's final echo and maybe released afterwards!
Hallelujah! Praise Yeshua's holy and mighty name! We thank Him for his continuing work in Dima's precious life. Please join me in praying for Dima that next week - by our Messiah's healing grace - we may able to wave goodbye to our beautiful and fragile Dima, amen.

Riding the Roller Coaster

Posted on Thu, 07/27/2017 - 21:03 by Samara Noble

We were told to go in for Dima's echo at 8am. but when we arrived at the hospital no one was there and we had to wait till 11:00-11:30. As we waited Dima's mother helped Brenda and I learn Kurdish. We also fed Dima through the tube in her stomach which was a struggle for her; milk came out of the tube, out of her mouth, and she coughed quite bit.

The doctors finally came and after they were done looking at her heart they informed us the Dima's heart is doing extremely well! But because she had a fever this morning they had to admit her into the children's ward overnight for tests so they could detect what was causing the fever.

Dima's mother took this news surprisingly well. So we walked to the children's ward and they began the admission process. When they weighed Dima she was 4.68 Kilos! She has gained weight and her fever had gone down.

About an hour after going to the children's ward and having all of the tests done the results came back saying that nothing was wrong. Dima could go back to our Shevet house! It has been such a crazy day! All of us were overjoyed that this family did not have to spend yet another night in the hospital! Monday morning Dima will go in for another echo! 

Welcome Back, Dima!

Posted on Tue, 07/25/2017 - 22:55 by Rebakah Yang

Today at the hospital, Dr. Dafy gave us a big surprise: our little Dima is well enough to leave the hospital and stay with our Jaffa community! Wow!

What wonderful news; we praise our Messiah! After hearing this exciting news, right away I told our community members to thank God with me. And to give them notice, so they could prepare a comfortable environment for both Dima and Mama at our home.

Meanwhile, I asked the pediatric surgeon who had operated and inserted Dima's feeding tube if he would come to check her wound and tube to make sure Dima's condition is good. He asked me to translate and assure Mama Dima that both wound and tube are good and have no problems at all. Mama Dima felt so much release to hear that and gradually began to pack her belongings to return to our Jaffa home.
It's really hard to describe how I feel after seeing this sweetie struggle in the hospital for over three months and now she is able to come back with us. Such a moving and emotional moment - I could only kneel down to say "Spas bo Hxua" - thank you, Yeshua, Dima's Healer.
Although Dima's current condition is stable and she can stay with us, she is still very small and needs to gain weight from her milk formula plus her feeding tube. At the moment, Mama Dima needs to feed her with a big feeding syringe every 4 hours and we will observe and watch over her digestion to see how she does.
Please join me in lifting up prayers for Dima. May our sweetheart adjust to her temporary home at Shevet until she is strong enough to return to her home in Kurdistan.

From Discouragement to Hope

Posted on Thu, 07/20/2017 - 22:30 by Samara Noble

Dima and her mother were in a good mood once more, with the expectancy that today they would finally be able to have the meeting with the nutritionist telling them how to feed Dima when they return to Kurdistan. We laughed together and talked about Kurdistan some more. While Rebekah and Dima's mother went and made coffee I held Dima and sang hymns to her, which she really enjoys.

When her mother came back she sat down and relaxed and listened to the hymns as well. When Rebekah returned from talking to the doctors and nurses we learned that there would be no nutrition meeting but that it had been pushed back to Monday! Dima's mother was extremely discouraged and frustrated. She left the room to calm down and Rebekah followed after her to bring comfort. Meanwhile I stayed with Dima, who seemed totally oblivious to the frustrations around her. She loves to look at your face, feel it with her fingers, and smiles every time you make a funny face or make a weird noise. All of a sudden two therapists came in wondering where Dima's mother was? They wanted to show her how to feed Dima. I told them that we were told the meeting had been pushed back to Monday, and when they heard this they were confused as to why we would have been told this! With much excitement, I rushed out and grabbed Rebekah and Dima's mother!

Dima enjoyed the yogurt that was given to her and her mother's spirits were lifted! 

Dima now will be fed different blended foods  and yogurt to see how she responds to them! Praise the Lord! We are one step closer to Dima returning home!

Spirits Lifted

Posted on Tue, 07/18/2017 - 22:30 by Samara Noble

Today I went to see Dima and her mother once again. We had a wonderful time together laughing and chatting. She showed me pictures of her family and her home city in Kurdistan, and I showed her pictures of my family. While Dima's mother went to go eat lunch, I stayed with Dima, and sang hymns, and rocked her to sleep.

Before I left, Dima's father called and we talked a little and I prayed with him. We are still awaiting the decision on his visa. As of right, now Dima's nutrition meeting is scheduled for Thursday, but she still needs to gain more weight.


Posted on Thu, 07/13/2017 - 22:46 by Samara Noble

Dima was moved out of the Secondary ICU today into the children's ward right next door to Aymen and Ayleen. Her mother was in good spirits today even though Dima was fussy and wanted to be held by mama all the time. Dima slept for about 45 minutes and her mother was able to rest her eyes as well. Dima's father facetimed her for a little bit which was adorable to see, he misses them terribly. A doctor came in later and examined Dima and said that she seems to be doing well.

Next week they will have a meeting with the head nutritionist to discuss how to feed her when she leaves the hospital. He also said that they should be able to leave the hospital in a couple weeks. It was hard for her mother to hear that they still have a couple weeks, but there is an end in sight! Praise God! 

Hope for Dima

Posted on Wed, 07/12/2017 - 23:16 by Shea Lindsay

Baby Dima and I spent some quality time together today while her mama got to sneak away to have lunch with Ayleen’s mother down the hall. Dima is finally so comfortable with me and is familiar with me to the point where it doesn’t bother her anymore if her mother is not an arm's length away. She held on tight to my finger for hours and stared at my dangly earrings while I quietly sang to her. She was so beautifully content! She fell asleep after about an hour of my sub-par singing, and then her mother and I went and sat outside and enjoyed a cup of orange juice while we acted out a conversation. It is just as important for us to pour out our love on the mothers here, because it is difficult for them to be in this environment and especially Dima’s mother- she has been here for almost three months! She needs people around her to laugh with her and give her joy so that she has the strength to push through the long, tiresome days.

We are in the process of getting her father a visa to come here, so pray that the Lord will orchestrate this! He speaks flawless English so it would be extremely helpful for translation purposes, and also Dima and her mother’s emotional health. Pray that Dima will start to gain weight, now that she has the feeding tube inserted in her abdomen, and that she will miraculously recover. It has been a long three months, but there is hope for baby Dima!

Another Day of Ups and Downs

Posted on Tue, 07/11/2017 - 19:35 by Rebekah Yang

Early this morning, Samara and I walked through a beautiful, green pasture in a big park on our way to Wolfson hospital. It was Aymen's heart surgery day, and we also wanted to spend time with Dima's mum.

We waved goodbye to Aymen at 8am as he was taken into the operating room. Afterwards, we brought his mum to the children's ward so she and Dima's mother could enjoy a breakfast together, and hopefully some quality time. As soon as they finished, Dima's mum and I invited our famous clown friend, Stewart, to accompany her into the ICU to check on Dima's condition.
At first, Dima just looked at him, barely showing any emotion at all. Sometime later, due to her abdomen wound causing pain, she started to cry and fidget, and clearly wanted to remove the oxygen tube from her nose. The ICU doctor was a bit concerned by the sudden change in discomfort, and came to her bedside to check her throughly but found nothing wrong. 
Around noontime, I came back to check on Dima again. There was a scary moment when I saw Dima's condition suddenly change dramatically. First I saw she was short of breath, and her lips were a bit blue and dry. The monitor showed her oxygen level was between 80 to 85% (out of 100). When I touched her body, I could feel her skin was sort of burning. Dima's nurse checked her body temperature, which was almost 39* Celsius (102* F).
While the doctors and nurses were busy treating Dima's unknown fever, Dima mum told me she couldn't bear to stay and face any more medical intervention. So I suggested that we leave the ICU and go out for some fresh air. Right away I texted our Shevet community to pray for her and asked our Messiah to heal her problems in the name of Yeshua. Praise God, I witnessed how He answered our prayers. About half an hour later her fever was completely gone. I was overwhelmed and could only praise God for His miracle.
Just after 2pm, Dima's condition was even good enough to be transferred to the Secondary ICU. Before I headed back, a general surgeon who had inserted Dima's feeding tube came to check Dima's situation. I told him what had happened an hour ago, and he did whole physical examination, including a check of her feeding tube wound. He assured me that Dima's wound is clean with no signs of infection.
Hallelujah! Thanks for all the prayers from all of our dear brothers and sisters around the world who continue to support us in praying for Dima. May God's grace and peace come to both Dima and her mum everyday, amen!