Armanj's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

Former Strangers, Now Friends

Posted on Wed, 06/14/2017 - 21:49 by Ruth Zellweger

On Monday evening, our Shevet community celebrated the healed hearts of baby Armanj and little Mimi. We started the evening with some time of worship, and it was so nice to see our families engaging and joining in. Since most of our families had been fasting due to Ramadan, we then continued with dinner, as the break of the fast had just been announced from the nearby mosque. In the meantime, Armanj's grandmother had taken her grandson to their room where he fell asleep. For the rest of the celebration he did not wake up, and did not rejoin us. 

Nevertheless, the party continued, as we had a delicious dessert and then shared with the two families about their time in Israel and with us. Armanj's grandmother was full of gratitude, expressing her heartfelt thanks to everyone. It was beautiful to see that this once so shy woman was smiling, radiating joy and peace.

We then presented her with gifts for Armanj and herself, which she graciously accepted. After watching the farewell DVDs for Armanj and Mimi, we ended the evening with our customary worship song that is declaring God's faithfulness and His healing power. 

Since their flight wasn't departing until Tuesday evening, the two families had another day with our Shevet community. Around noon I had the opportunity to spend some time with Armanj and his grandmother, and we talked about their time with us. It was the grandmother herself who recalled their first days and weeks with us. She told me that in the beginning she did not feel comfortable, as she did not know anyone, and was not familiar with the country, nor the hospital, nor our community. We were strangers. But now, she continued, we had become friends. What a beautiful testimony from this woman, who in the beginning did not even want to join us for our corporate meals at lunch time. 

We have seen a beautiful transformation taking place in both Armanj and his grandmother. Armanj's transformation was physically, from being sick and blue, to now being a healthy and chubby baby boy. The transformation of his grandmother was of different nature. She had seen and received love and support from our community and the medial staff at the hospital. With time she opened up more and more, and built strong and trusting relationships with our different volunteers. This became possible only by spending time together and by going together through the hard and challenging times before the surgery, as well as through the joyful moments after the heart repair. 

Armanj and his grandmother arrived safely in Kurdistan and are now happily reunited with their family.

We thank God for the grace and mercy that He has poured out on precious Armanj.

Good News

Posted on Mon, 06/12/2017 - 21:40 by Ruth Zellweger

Baby Armanj underwent his final echo today. The doctors were very pleased with the results and discharged him officially. His grandmother was very happy about this news and returned joyfully to our Jaffa home. 

This evening we will celebrate Armanj's healed heart. We praise God for His grace and mercy that He has shown Armanj and his family.


Going Home Soon

Posted on Mon, 06/05/2017 - 21:51 by Rebekah Yang

Today Armanj, Mimi and Sara all went to Wolfson for their echo follow-ups.

While we're waiting long hours for our turn in the echo room, Armanj was always very content and sleeping. However, by the time it was his turn for an echo in the afternoon, he became so irritated and cried nonstop. Although it was a bit difficult to perform, the technician was very gentle and patient to finish Armanj's echo. Praise God!
Afterwards, Dr. Alona was very pleased with his results. So she reduced one medicine and mentioned that next Monday will be his final echo. Please join us in offering gratitude to our Messiah, for his mighty healing power has blessed both baby Armanj and his grandmother during their time in Israel. Thank you, God, for your love endures forever, amen!

Stronger Each Day

Posted on Mon, 05/29/2017 - 22:47 by Eva Markewitz
Armanj got his follow-up echo today.
It was a quick check-up, as he just needs two more weeks until he can go home. His heart looks great and his body is getting stronger and stronger. Praise the Lord!


Posted on Wed, 05/24/2017 - 22:32 by Dany Escalante

By the grace of the Lord, today was the last day in the hospital for Armanj. He needed to stay one day more than planned for observation because he had fever. But the fever ceased this morning.

When Simone and I arrived to have our visit at the hospital, we saw a lot of joy in the face of Armanj's grandmother. She gave a strong hug to my wife, and was saying goodbye to the other mothers with much joy, wishing them the best.

Pray please, because Armanj's echo will be next Monday and he will continue to take two medicines at home. Pray that we all can be a blessing while serving them here.


No More ICU

Posted on Sun, 05/21/2017 - 23:50 by Simone Escalante

Today we have more good news about the recovery of Armanj. In the morning he was transferred from the ICU to the children's ward. During today's visit I could see tranquility in his little face and his grandmother told me that he was no longer crying as muhc as before. Everything seems to sow that he is improving every day. He still has to stay in the hospital for 2 or 3 more days to continue receiving intravenous antibiotics. Despite the improvements, he and his grandmother have stayed in the hospital for quite a long time, and she has been depressed and tired. They all need a lot of prayer for physical and emotional comfort. Please pray for each volunteer to be a blessing in their lives by showing love and bringing peace.

Chest Tube Removed

Posted on Thu, 05/18/2017 - 23:49 by Rebekah Yang

At noontime, I had the opportunity to enter the ICU to check on our little baby Armanj's condition and to find out how his grandmother doing.

Grandmother was just finishing her prayers and stood up to greet me with kisses. She told me that Armanj seemed to have a good appetite, and cried a lot for a milk bottle. So she had just finished one bottle before I came in, and I could see his face was very content for the moment.
She also told me that a doctor tried to tell her something about his chest tube but she couldn't understand. So I went to ask his doctor and found out that they were planning to remove his chest tube this morning, but because they couldn't adequately communicate with grandmother, she fed him already. Armanj must be fasting prior to the removal. So they rescheduled the removal procedure for this afternoon at 4pm. And they asked me to speak with his grandmother so she understood no more milk or water until his chest tube has been removed.
After the grandmother understood, she smiled and nodded her head to say yes. At 4pm, Armanj's chest tube was removed and again he started to eat without any problems. 
Thank you, God, for your merciful, healing hands, Please continue to work in our precious Armanj's body. May Yeshua's peace and strength provide his grandmother with a lovely, restful weekend at the hospital. In Messiah's name I pray, amen!

Goodbye to the Blue Color!

Posted on Tue, 05/16/2017 - 18:04 by Camila Buitrago
This morning we visited the families that are now in the hospital. Armanj and his grandma are in the ICU but Armanj was extubated this morning and that is a great news!
Armanj looks bloated but those kinds of changes are part of his recovery process. Also his skin color is very different now. Armanj now has a beautiful, healthy color in his skin. Goodbye to the blue color!
His grandma is a very quiet woman but she is very lovely with us and she was very grateful for our company today. 
Almost all the time Armanj was sleeping. A couple times during the day he opened his eyes to look around but quickly closed his eyes to sleep again. Probably tonight Armanj will be able to drink and eat something.
It is beautiful to see the team of doctors and nurses working constantly for the care of the little ones. We know that the families are in the best hands. God chose this time and this place for them.

Stable with a Good Prognosis

Posted on Mon, 05/15/2017 - 22:05 by Dany Escalante

Today I was part of the team that went to the hospital, and I was able to acompany some children to the Echocardiogram Department. After that, I went to find some information about our Little Armanj who was operated on yesterday. When I entered the ICU I could not linger more than a few minutes avoid any external contamination. That is why the doctor who was in ICU gave us the information that probably tomorrow morning Armanj will be extubated. He also highligthed that, despite a complex surgery, Armanj is stable and with a good prognosis. This was good news for which we also give thanks.


Armanj's Heart Surgery

Posted on Mon, 05/15/2017 - 00:24 by Rebekah Yang

Early this morning Alexa and I headed to Wolfson hospital for Armanj's big day- his open-heart surgery day.

Upon our arrival, both of them were still sleeping. Later on grandmother woke up and greeted me with kisses and told me that she did not sleep he was crying most of the night. Poor Armanj's right leg was swelling due a loose IV, which not properly in his vein and this caused him discomfort throughout the night.
We were waiting in the ward until 7:55am and then a messager came over to wheel Armanj into the pre-op room.  We didn't wait long before the time came to wheel him into the operating theater. Armanj's grandmother was in tears, waving goodbye. 
The grandmother and I came back to ward first, and she spent some time making phone calls back home to Kurdistan to inform Armanj's parents and all the family members there about the surgery. And then Dima's mum and a Gaza baby's grandmother sat with us outside the children's ward playground to have breakfast and some lovely time together.
It was so sweet to see both of them use different ways to support Armanj's grandmother - even though this Gaza grandmother did not speak Kurdish but only Arabic.
Hours and hours of waiting was not an easy thing to handle, but Armanj's grandmother seemed to cope very well, indeed. She spent some time on her phone again chatting with her family, then she took a short nap as well. During lunch time, she even ate fruit and some biscuits and had a cup of tea with me. However, when we went downstairs outside of the OR corridor for "phase two" of waiting after lunch, then she began to be very worried and anxious.  She asked me all the time when Armanj will finish his surgery. I could say nothing but just hold her hands to support her. 
She saw the OR doors open and close many times, but no one came out to say anything. Then she started to cry and call Armanj's name. I could only hold her shoulder and pray from my heart to ask God to comfort her. At around 2:30pm, I saw Dr. Tamir go inside for Armanj's post-surgery echo and I knew it was close to the end. Half an hour later, he came out and told us it's almost finished and everything went well.
Another 10 minutes later, Dr. Sassion came out to confirm the good news that Armanj had a completed surgery! Although it took almost 7 hours, it was indeed a very good and successful heart repair. The surgery method is called the "Nikaidoh Procedure" and it is especially for correcting Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA), Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD), and also Pulmonary Stenosis (PS). In Armanj's case, this procedure was used to correct his TGA. 
Hallelujah, what a wonderful news to learn that through this operation, Armanj's heart has been made well! At the moment, Armanj is intubated with the ventilation machine on, and he will stay in ICU for close monitoring as he overcomes such a big surgery.
Please join me to offer prayers of thanks to our Messiah, as He has performed another miracle in Armanj's life through all the doctors and medical staff at Wolfson hospital. Also please continue to pray for Armanj's recovery, too. May God's healing hands work in his little body and give his grandmother new strength to look after Armanj. In Yeshua's name I pray amen!