Yousif's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

The Love of God for All

Posted on Tue, 08/22/2017 - 22:13 by Alejandra Ruiz Guzman

This morning Yousif and his mother caught a flight to return home. 

We said goodbye with a smile, thankful to God because we know that He has healed Yousif, and given peace to his family during this long journey. 

Yousif won't remember us when he grows up but his mother will remind him, and we will always keep them in our hearts. 

We had a big farewell party and we talked about the difficult moments that have happened. But we now know they have come out the other side stronger.

Yousif's mother - with tears in her eyes - told us beautiful words of love and gratitude. Through her words, I could see the love of God for all.

No matter who you are or where you are from, we are sons and daughters of God and He loves us. He has healed Yousif, so I believe God can do anything for you! Please continue to pray for Yousif and his family as they resume their life back home.

Yousif Can Go Home!

Posted on Sun, 08/20/2017 - 23:54 by Maxine Stuart

Today Yousif had his final, follow-up echocardiogram where the doctor confirmed he would be free to go back home to Kurdistan! This is great news for Yousif, his parents, and 5 siblings. In a few days, they will all be together again!

Shortly after arriving to Sheba Medical Centre, Yousif was called in for an EKG, and the nurse weighed him. He has gained weight and is now 6.35 kilos (14 lbs)!

Yousif protested a lot whenever he was placed on a hospital bed or on the scales - it is obvious that he doesn’t like being examined. Alexa had the great idea to play some kids songs on her phone to distract him, and it worked a treat!

Because of this, Yousif was nicely preoccupied all through his echo which allowed the doctors to get a clear view.

The doctor advised that Yousif does not need to continue taking his medication, but that he should start taking Vitamin D. Yousif’s mum left the echo room very happy, and went around saying thank you and goodbye to all the wonderful Sheba staff that helped her and Yousif over the last few months. Her eyes turned a little glassy, but her smile was radiant. She left the clinic waving, exclaiming “I love you Sheba!” and the nurses erupted in laughter. It was beautiful to witness bridges being built between these two nations as their citizens now have precious memories together. I am so proud of Israel and how their people reach out to the needy outside of their borders. It is a privilege to be a part of this work. Thank you for joining with us to make it happen!

Yousif is Growing!

Posted on Sun, 08/13/2017 - 18:43 by Katharina Englaender

Today we went to Sheba hospital to do some more specified health check-ups. The medical staff performed an immunology test to see how Yousif's immune system is working. First of all, Yousif was weighed and measured.

He has gained about 1 kilogram (2.2 lbs) since the last check-up, so now he weights a bit more than 6 kg (13 lbs) total - praise the Lord! His mum is very proud of this weight increase and it's a pleasure to see her talking about it with a big smile. 

The doctors then took some blood from Yousif for the immunology test and for now we have to wait for the results. 

The doctor we were talking to recommended they undergo a genetic report. So they also took blood from the mother in order to get more details about potential genetic diseases. The problem is that the test is expensive (around $1,000 USD). But the doctor was really friendly and told us she would try to get Yousif on the research list. If they choose him, the genetical tests will be free. So let's pray for that! 

Next sunday will be the cardiological follow-up. If the results of the final echo are good, Yousif and his mum will be able to go back to Kurdistan soon.

Happy Birthday, Yousif!

Posted on Mon, 08/07/2017 - 00:28 by Taylor Green

Today we had the pleasure of celebrating our wonderful one-year old Yousif!

He was dressed in his cute blue overalls and was smiling the whole time.

All of the moms spent the afternoon putting their makeup on and putting on their best for the party. We had a cake and balloons which Yousif loved.

The party ended with lots of pictures and passing Yousif around so everyone could hold him.

An Unexpected Trip to the Hospital

Posted on Wed, 07/19/2017 - 21:23 by Rebakah Yang

Yesterday in the late afternoon, Yousif's mum brought him to me and said he seemed to have a fever. After I had checked his temperature twice, I saw that he did have a mild fever between 37.4* and 37.6* Celsius (99.3* and 99.6* F). I encouraged his mum to give him some water for hydration, and to continue observing him.

In the early morning around 5am, a co-worker came into my room with a thermometer showing Yousif now had a fever of 39* C (102* F). Mum said the whole night Yousif did not sleep at all - just nonstop crying and struggling with his little limbs. Therefore I quickly gave Yousif a medicine to reduce his fever and also asked his mum to put a cold, wet towel on his forehead. A high fever can be serious even for a healthy child, but for a heart patient, it has the potential to be life-threatening. So at Shevet we always handle the situation carefully. It is better to be safe than sorry. 
So I called Sheba hospital to report his condition, and we brought Yousif in for the cardiologist to look him over. While we we're waiting for the different tests, our brave little boy enjoyed a few minutes of fun with the hospital clown.
When the technician finished Yousif's echo exam, the doctor came in to review the results. He said from a cardiologist point of view his heart is doing well and there's no evidence to show the fever was from his heart.
So he sent us to the ER for further investigation. Poor Yousif was so scared to see all the uniformed medical staff; he was again irritated and crying, refusing to be checked by the ER doctors. Eventually they finished his physical examination. The senior doctor told us that his fever was due to his thyroid gland having some sort of inflammation. Yousif will need to rest at home, and should recover in a few days. He said that there was no immediate threat to Yousif's health, and therefore did not prescribe any sort of anti-biotic. 
Please continue to lift up our precious Yousif and his mum in prayer. May our Messiah's healing hands touch him and heal him day-by-day while he stays in our Shevet community, amen!

Returning Home!

Posted on Sun, 07/16/2017 - 23:14 by Jonathan Ries

Today, we went to the hospital with Yousif and his mother to complete Yousifs final examinations. A blood test was made, and Yousif was very brave. The doctor looked at the scars and let us know that everything looked well healed.

Unfortunately, there was still no laboratory report of the fluid which they had taken from his cyst, but they will communicate the results to us as soon they get them. The doctors also looked at Yousif's arm, where he still had a big wound from the IV cannula. Finally, an echo exam was performed to look at his heart. 

At the end of the exams, when the doctor said that Yousif can go back to Kurdistan, we were all glad. His mother was expecially happy to hear the news. Perhaps that was because we met a woman in the waiting room who was with her five year-old son. He is shortly before his sixth heart operation and came away with a slight amount of brain damage from the last.  After we heard the woman's story, we all were even more thankful for God's protection over Yousif.

Updates on his departure will be coming soon! Please pray for them as they prepare to return home to their family!

Yousif is Home!

Posted on Tue, 07/11/2017 - 22:13 by Alexa Bigl

Today I arrived to Sheba just in time for Yousif to be wheeled out of the ICU and to the children's ward. Because the biopsy results are still not in from the lab with regards to the cyst under his arm, he was moved to the special isolation area. This is just a precaution to take in case the cyst is due to a bacterial or viral infection.

Soon after his transfer, the nurses wanted to let us know the results of Yousif's echo and other exams and tests were very good; he could return to the Shevet house today! 
We knew there would still be quite some time of waiting before the reports and discharge medications would be ready. So we enjoyed some time hanging with Yousif, meeting some of his family over video calls, and Yousif's mom and I enjoyed talking together. Yousif was smiling today many times and liked playing with a glove balloon and my key ring. He started crying after a while and his mom and I could not figure out what he wanted for quite some time. Eventually, his mom started eating a sandwich and he kept pointing at it, so we ripped him off some bread. That was exactly what Yousif wanted. He contentedly played with the bread and chewed on it for over an hour before tiring himself out and taking a nap. 
He and his mom are comfortably at the house now and enjoying a more relaxed atmosphere. We pray Yousif transitions well out of the hospital life and he sleeps soundly tonight, allowing his mom to catch up on lost rest these past 6 days she's been at the hospital. 
Yousif will have an echo and blood test next week. And we hope to hear back from the lab about the cyst biopsy in the next week or two also. Thank you for joining us in praying for Yousif and his sweet. joyful mother. May the Lord's hand continue to be on Yousif as we pray for this tiny baby to be able to make some strides in his growth and gain weight. 

The God of All Comfort

Posted on Mon, 07/10/2017 - 21:34 by Brenda Hofer
I had the privilege of visiting with Yousif and his mom this morning at Sheba hospital. The mother was very kind and warmly greeted me with hugs and kisses. Yousif, on the other hand, was not so excited since he was about to get a bath. He didn't like it at all, and he let everyone know his displeasure about getting clean. Yousif had a rough time this morning as all sorts of tests were being performed on him. The good news was that he was already extubated and awake when I got there, but he had to endure a quite a lot of unsuccessful pokes with needles to make sure he didn't have any infections. He was given one echo in the early morning, and the nurse said later on that the doctor ordered another one. The nurse said it would probably be a day or two before he could move to the children's ward. At the end of the visit, I asked the doctor to make sure I was understanding what happened and she said that Yousif was doing fine.
It was a rough time for mom as well, watching her son in pain during the tests. At one point she had to leave but came back shortly. It was uncomfortable watching him in distress so I prayed throughout the morning for the peace of the Lord to fill the room with comfort. I was glad I was able to share in the mom's anguish and try in some small way to encourage her. To be able to be the hands and feet of Messiah in some small way was a blessing. It reminded me of the verses that Paul talks about in 2 Corinthians 1:3-5:
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Yeshua Messiah, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Messiah, so also our comfort abounds through Messiah."
Please join with me in uplifting Yousif and his mom, that they would be comforted through the rest of their stay here in Israel and that the Lord would reveal His comfort in a special and tangible way.

The Heart of a Mother

Posted on Thu, 07/06/2017 - 22:06 by Alexa Bigl

Our favorite baby boy, Yousif, headed into surgery this morning just after 8am. When I first walked into his ICU room he and his mom were standing by his crib snuggling up to one another. His mom had obviously been crying and Yousif could sense his mother's distress. He hugged her close and baby-talked in her ear. Just as he was starting to get fussy from hunger, the nurse said it was time to head into the operating theater. 

It was hard for Yousif's mom to hand over her precious son and wave goodbye, but it was made easier as Yousif gladly went into the nurse's waiting arms and didn't cry as he said goodbye to us. As soon as the doors shut, Yousif's mom was very emotional. She cried a lot throughout the waiting time today and said a few times how it was like her heart was not with her since she did not have Yousif in her arms. 
We had a time of praying together and listened to some worship songs in the beginning of waiting until the rest of Yousif's family was awake and could talk with Yousif's mom over the phone. And then around 1pm Yousif's cardiologist came out to say the surgery was complete, he was off bypass, and his heart was looking good. They just needed to close his chest.
Yousif was back in his ICU room within the hour and we got a quick look at this sweet kiddo before we sat outside again to wait for the ICU to set up Yousif with all the machines, medications, and tests needed directly after surgery. 
Then mom was allowed into the room to see him and be with her much-loved son. Depending on Yousif's condition he may be ready for extubation tonight or tomorrow. We are so thankful Yousif is safe and healthy and we pray for rest and peace for his sweet mom. All praise to the Lord! 

Surgery in the Morning

Posted on Wed, 07/05/2017 - 21:07 by Samara Noble

Yousif was admitted into the hospital for heart surgery! The operation will be tomorrow morning at 8am! His mother, as usual, was in good spirits.

When they arrived at the hospital and went into their new room, the nurses did an echocardiogram - which he did not like - to look at his heart before they go in for surgery. Yousif's heart has holes, but this does not hinder him from stealing the hearts of everyone that lays eyes on him. He is such a precious and sweet boy and is always smiling! Please pray for this sweet mother and son.