Herdi's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

Farewell, Herdi!

Posted on Tue, 10/10/2017 - 22:28 by Maxine Stuart

Herdi spent his last night with us partying, grinning, and giving his signature hi-fives. He was homeward bound, and told me of his excitement to see his family again, especially his Mum. We celebrated his time here with a special meal, cookies and cake, gifts, and a slideshow.

It was a wonderful end to his stay here. Herdi’s brother was full of gratitude. He told us that Herdi’s heart condition has been a huge weight and concern for his family for many years, especially his father. Because Herdi’s father is battling cancer and undergoing chemo right now, he was not able to accompany Herdi to Israel, and so sent his oldest son instead.

This family is a wonderful example of sacrificial love, they have a very tight bond. One of our team mentioned how Herdi and his brother have been a huge blessing to our community. Joyfully helping out with translation, taking out the garbage, setting the table for meals, playing with the younger children, and helping new families settle in. After the celebrations they said their last goodbyes because they had to leave for the airport at 5am!

Please be praying for Herdi and his brother. Unfortunately, they have a very long journey ahead of them. They have a 10-hour layover in Jordan, and because of the airport closures in Kurdistan, they will have to fly into Iraq via Bagdad. They will then have to board another (domestic) flight, stay a night with their Aunt, and then, they will finally be able to make the last leg of their journey home. Thank you for your prayers and support of Herdi and his family. They will remember this gift forever!

Herdi Is Going Home

Posted on Mon, 10/09/2017 - 22:18 by Alexa Bigl

Dr. Alona has given us the final word; Herdi can return to Kurdistan!

His surgical results are very good and his recovery has been great. He is still overcoming the final pains related to his hernia surgery, but he is recovering well.

So, tomorrow morning he and his big brother will return home. It's been a long time for Herdi and his brother in Israel and they are definitely ready to be reunited with their family!

It will certainly be sad for all of us at Shevet, these two brothers will be missed sorely. However, we are so very thankful for the healing Herdi has undergone, praise God! 

The last step at Wolfson was for Herdi's chest tube site suture to be removed. All went well and Herdi and his brother enjoyed a last Israeli falafel before heading back to sleep one more time at our house. 

Very Tired Brothers

Posted on Mon, 10/02/2017 - 21:25 by Lindsay Martin
This morning as we made our way to the hospital, we found Herdi and his brother resting in the children's ward. Herdi is recovering well from the surgery yesterday but is experiencing quite a bit of pain. The doctors reported that everything looks good and gave him some medicine to help with the pain. 
After packing up in the children's ward, Herdi headed up to the echo department to check his heart. The doctor said everything looks good and next week Herdi will have his final echo. We praise God for this good report and trust Him to work out the perfect timing to return back to their home in Kurdistan. 
Please pray for Herdi as he continues to heal from hernia surgery, that his pain will be gone quickly and that he can be up and walking soon. Please also pray for his brother who is also very tired. We can see God's hand at work in Herdi's life and are so thankful to be a part of his journey towards healing.

Herdi Gets a Successful Hernia Repair

Posted on Sun, 10/01/2017 - 21:51 by Alexa Bigl

Mr. Herdi headed over to Wolfson with his big brother and me this morning to be admitted for his hernia repair. We arrived and the nurses were waiting for us, but Herdi would not be wheeled down to surgery for a few hours. During the waiting between admission and going down for surgery Herdi did some crafts in the game room and kept himself busy to keep his mind off what was coming up. 

Then it was time to head down to the OR. Herdi's brother and our co-worker Suhail joined Herdi in the pre-op room and kept him entertained during this final wait.
Then he went in with surgeons. Herdi's surgery ended up being a bit longer than expected but the doctors gave a good report.
Herdi will spend the night in hospital, but we are hopeful he will return to our Shevet base tomorrow after an echo and assessments to ensure all is well with today's surgery. Herdi and brother are both tired tonight and we lift them up in prayer as they continue to find themselves in circumstances to bond closer and closer as brothers. 

The Next Chapter

Posted on Wed, 09/27/2017 - 21:55 by Deborah Burke

This morning Herdi arrived at Wolfson for an appointment unrelated to his heart surgery.

Pursuant to a medical clearance from the cardiology team, Herdi is being admitted on Sunday morning for repair of an inguinal hernia.
What a blessing Israel is to the nations and to individuals like Herdi, whose quality of life will not only be improved by his heart repair but also from some minor surgery that will improve his development into a young man.
The God of Israel is watching over His family and no doubt rejoicing in the pleasure he has brought and is bringing to Herdi and his brother as the next chapter of Herdi's life approaches.
After a day out, Herdi has been hanging out with one of his little friends. He seems to be getting back his energy and along with that, his smile and warmth.

The Bond of Love

Posted on Mon, 09/25/2017 - 21:40 by Deborah Burke

Herdi and his brother arrived at Wolfson this morning for Herdi's first post-surgery echocardiograph. These 2 brothers are almost inseparable. Herdi's brother fusses over him like a parent to the extent that the trainee cardiologist today thought that Herdi's brother was his father.

The echocardiograph took an extraordinarily long time mainly because of the difficulty in getting clear images of Herdi's heart due to his congenitally deformed chest (commonly known as "pigeon chest"). About one hour later, and after some discomfort to Herdi having to lie in the same position for prolonged periods, the examination was complete. Then the pediatric cardiologist checked the results and concurred with the trainee that Herdi was healing well, could have his medication halved, will be immediately cleared for his hernia surgery, and will have 2 more echocardiographs in the next 2 weeks before, God willing, he can return home.
This news was received gratefully and in a celebratory way. Herdi's brother was then immediately off to get some lunch for them both and to check on another little boy who adores him like a big brother. The bond of love between the brothers is so strong and joyful it has overflowed to other Shevet children and their carers. They are such an inspiration to others. May the Lord bless them and keep them as their time with Shevet becomes shorter.
"Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity." Psalm 133:1

A Joyful Heart

Posted on Mon, 09/18/2017 - 00:49 by Deborah Burke

"When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul." Psalm 94:19

One week after surgery our beloved Herdi is home. This young teenager has won many hearts because of his "joie de vivre" - love of life. As well, his heart, though damaged, was a lion heart, so obviously filled with love for people. Although his culture would suggest that males don't embrace females outside of the family, Herdi loves to high five and embrace everyone he comes to know, male and female. Our community of families love him so much that they told us several times that they were praying for him.
The first stop on arriving home was the big family apartment where Herdi was met with joy by his newfound friends. It is a beautiful thing to observe the bond that is formed between children with broken hearts and the joyful celebration when one returns home with a new heart. It creates an anticipation of miracles among those awaiting surgery and their carers.
While surgery has dampened Herdi's energy and willingness to fully embrace others, because of where his suture line is positioned, you can see in his eyes and the way he socialises, that his joy is still there. As he was being discharged today the doctor did mention that he probably has some stomach ulceration related to anxiety. He has hidden that well but couldn't contain it after surgery when he has continued to complain of pain which is not related to his heart. Bless the doctors whose thoroughness uncovered Herdi's anxiety. We have been asked to encourage Herdi to eat more and along with some medication his pain should disappear over the next few days. Please continue to pray for Herdi's healing of body, mind and spirit, and especially between now and next week when he has his first postoperative echcardiograph.

In the Ward and Drinking Juice!

Posted on Wed, 09/13/2017 - 23:13 by Mary Hannah Dolan

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you.” Ezekiel 36:26

Today was moving day for Herdi! The nurse disconnected Herdi from his intravenous fluids as I pulled aside the curtain leading into Herdi’s hospital room. “Drink lots!” she instructed Herdi. His brother gave Herdi a little of his favorite juice to sip on: apple juice! Because of all of the fluids Herdi is drinking, he has to urinate often; this is a good sign that his body systems are returning to normal. Because of this, Herdi was transferred from the intensive care unit to the children’s ward. Herdi's brother still is very tired from his faithfulness in caring for Herdi. Though he did not want any food or drink during my visit, he did allow me to pray over him and Herdi. He seemed very touched by this and thanked me for praying for his brother. Please pray that Messiah would comfort and strengthen these brothers, and that Herdi’s pain level will continue to decrease.


Brotherly Love

Posted on Mon, 09/11/2017 - 22:13 by Mary Hannah Dolan

“There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24

As I stepped into the ICU at Wolfson Medical Center to check on Herdi, I was met with the quiet stillness that surrounded the two sleeping children in the room. Herdi's brother faithfully sat by his side, watching his every move, wanting to be there every moment his eyes were open. Though Herdi no longer needed the breathing tube, he still was on some supplemental oxygen through a nasal cannula and had one chest tube next to his chest incision. Please continue to uplift Herdi’s healing from his surgery and intercede for his brother to find rest as he fears to leave Herdi’s side. Pray that these brothers will see our Messiah’s love through the staff at Shevet Achim and the bond they share together.

Herdi’s Successful Surgery!

Posted on Sun, 09/10/2017 - 22:24 by Maxine Stuart

Today was Herdi’s big day. It started early; Herdi had just woken up when I arrived at the hospital. He greeted me with a big cheesy grin, and a high five. Soon after, he was asked to board the bed that would take him to the surgical department.

He was trying to put on a brave face and would flash a grin when he looked in my direction, but when he thought he wasn’t being watched, I saw the nerves and concern all over his face. We went down to the surgical waiting room where his brother and I did our best to keep the mood light. Then it was time for Herdi to go under. His brother stayed with him as he drifted off to sleep.

There were a few tears as he had to pull himself away. These two have a very tight bond, and Herdi has been constantly at his brother’s side (and under his protection) since they arrived in Israel. The sight of such a loving older brother having to hand over his responsibility to people he didn’t even know was very touching. It was then a waiting game. We waited for 6 hours in total. So many of Herdi’s family and friends rang wanting news. Then finally, we saw Herdi being wheeled in to ICU.

The surgeon reported that the operation was successful, and they were able to remove the obstruction in Herdi’s aortic valve. He said the valve is now a lot bigger than it was before, allowing a lot more blood flow. They also removed some muscle tissue that was causing some obstruction. Herdi has another valve that appears to be thickening, and will require regular follow-up in future. He will remain sedated tonight, and will be on pain medication through the night. If all goes well, he should be able to be extubated tomorrow, and slowly unhooked from the various tubes helping with drainage. Herdi’s brother was full of relief, and thanked the surgical team, the nursing staff, and our Shevet team many times. He will be able to sleep in a real bed tonight, knowing that his little brother is in safe hands. Hopefully he can regain some energy to go back tomorrow and see Herdi as he wakes up. Thank you for being a part of Herdi’s journey. I cannot think of a more genuine and appreciative heart than Herdi’s.