Lawi's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

Treasured Community

Posted on Thu, 10/12/2017 - 16:05 by Dayo Martin

On Tuesday, we said our final goodbyes to Lawi and his mother. Over the past weeks, these two have become treasured members of our community. It has been a blessing to be able to be with them on their journey here in Israel. At our farewell party on Monday, Lawi's mother expressed her gratitude for everyone involved in helping her son. Some volunteers shared how amazing it has been to see these two, who were quite shy at first, become so comfortable and at home here. Lawi's mom has been so faithful in her caring for Lawi and we were so thankful to see them return home to be with their family. 

Lawi is Discharged

Posted on Mon, 10/09/2017 - 22:21 by Alexa Bigl

The cardiology team announced Lawi's surgery was extremely good. They are so pleased with the results.

God is good! It was a unique heart defect with blood vessels feeding the heart all mixed up, but the surgeons did a wonderful repair and Lawi's heart and body has responded superbly.

He will continue his aspirin for a year and have regular follow-ups with his cardiologist in Kurdistan. And tomorrow morning he will fly home with his mom! We lift our voices in prayers of praise for the miracle we see in Lawi's healed heart.

What a blessing it has been to have shy Lawi and his lovely mother with us these past weeks! 

The Lord's Timing

Posted on Mon, 10/02/2017 - 21:20 by Alexa Bigl

We headed over to Wolfson for Lawi's echo today with the idea this may be his final echo in the back of our minds. His mom has been thinking about how she will return home with the international flight block in place for Kurdistan's two airports. But the Lord's timing reigns and it turns out the doctors would like to see Lawi for one more echo in a week. This means we hope Lawi and Herdi can make the trip back to Kurdistan together. It's a blessing to have the future plans for them to forge a new path back home together. 

Everything looks very nice with Lawi's echo. The doctors are pleased and good reports all around for the surgical outcome thus far. Lawi does have a bit of irritation near his incision line so his mom will apply a cream for a few days and then it should be all cleared up. 
After the echo we hung out at the garden of the children's ward and ate lunch with a big group of us. It was a nice time of socializing with the Kurdish families at the hospital and the kids all played together. It was then time for Lawi and his mom to head back to the house where they are now peacefully resting. Thank you for your continued prayers! 

Lawi's After Surgery Check-up

Posted on Mon, 09/25/2017 - 22:20 by Coby van Wijhe

This morning Lawi went with his mother back to Wolfson hospital for his echo. The doctor was satisfied and his heart was doing well. Next week Monday he will have his second echo and if that's fine too, he can go home. Mother was very pleased and they went happily back to the apartment. Thanks to God for this good news!

Back with the Shevet Family

Posted on Mon, 09/18/2017 - 23:00 by Mary Hannah Dolan
"Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me." Psalm 103:2

Lawi is home! Today our beautiful Lawi was discharged from Wolfson with a great report from the doctor that his echocardiogram looked great! He actually really enjoyed the process of getting an ultrasound of his heart and was quite fascinated with the movement of blood flow on the screen. Lawi will have a follow-up echo on Monday and be on daily aspirin to decrease the risk of blood clots forming after his surgery. Praise the Lord that Lawi and his mom are back with our shevet family!

Recovering in ICU

Posted on Wed, 09/13/2017 - 19:38 by Mary Hannah Dolan

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

I walked into the children’s Intensive Care Unit just as the medical team had finished pulling Lawi’s breathing tube! Though he did not like the face oxygen mask and kept struggling to escape the little tent propped on his face, he soon calmed down as his mother stroked his arm.

The doctor reported that Lawi’s echocardiogram—an ultrasound of his heart—looked “very good.” Little Lawi still has a chest tube coming from his surgical incision, a urinary catheter so the team can more closely monitor his output, and is being given antibiotics to help prevent infection in his surgical site. With so many things going on, we were asked by the hospital staff not to take photos today. 

I was able to bring his mom some tea, and we laughed together over some pictures Lawi had taken of himself on my phone before his surgery. Please continue to intercede for this beautiful mother and son as Lawi’s heart continues to mend.

Lawi's Big Day

Posted on Tue, 09/12/2017 - 22:12 by Alexa Bigl

Last night the hospital was able to confirm Lawi was indeed on the surgery schedule today as the first surgery. So, Coby and I headed over to Wolfson early this morning. Upon arrival the nurses happily greeted us saying Lawi would be ready to head down to the operating theater soon. Lawi and his mom had just woken up and both were sleepy as they shed some tears together. The nurses were correct in their time assumption and the transporter was soon there ready to take us downstairs. Lawi's mom carried him down as he snuggled into her during the walk.

It was difficult for Lawi when mom had to set him down on the bed for a few minutes to don the surgical-area scrubs. But soon he was back in Mom's arms. 

Lawi's mom was tearful in the pre-op waiting room as doctors, nurses, and technicians ensured paperwork and the surgical plan was ready and in place. The cardiology fellow explained a little about Lawi's heart condition and the surgical plan. Lawi's right coronary artery begins at his pulmonary artery instead of his aorta. So, the right side of his heart is only getting limited oxygen (just some that is being fed in from a connection with the left coronary). The surgical plan was to change over the right coronary artery to get fed from the oxygen-rich blood of the aorta, like it should be. After this explanation, it was time for Lawi to go into the operating room.
His mom accompanied him to stay by his side until he received his first sedation medication, at which time she came back out to us in the waiting area so Lawi could be intubated, put on bypass, and the surgery could begin. 
Throughout our waiting time today, Lawi's mom shed many tears. She wanted to stay in the garden area of the children's ward. She talked with her family on the phone a few times, but you could see she was constantly only thinking of Lawi. The bond between this mother and son is so close and it was extremely difficult for Lawi's mother to go through all the anxious waiting. 
At 12:30 we headed down to wait outside the operating theater to ensure we did not miss Lawi's approach to the ICU once his operation was finished. Because his heart defect is quite rare, the doctors could not give us an idea of how long the surgery would be. But the Lord is always so good in working these things out. We talked over with Lawi's mom what the timeline could potentially look like and agreed we would head down after lunch with the understanding it could still be a long time of waiting down there, but that would not indicate any issues necessarily.
But within 15 minutes of heading down, Lawi was being wheeled out and Mom and Coby accompanied Lawi from the operating theater to the ICU. Lawi was sedated and intubated, like all the kiddos after their surgeries, but it was a huge relief for his mom to lay eyes on him again. 
Once upstairs, we had another small period of waiting while the ICU team got him set up. During our wait a member of the surgical team updated us saying all went well! After a while, Mom could go in and hold her precious son's hands. 
Lawi's ICU nurse gave us the full run-down with very helpful information. Lawi will remain intubated and sedated overnight and hopefully tomorrow he will be extubated and awake. He is stable and only on three continuous medications.
Lawi will also have an echo tomorrow and it will divulge important information to better know how Lawi's heart is responding to the repair. Please be praying for great surgical results and the Lord's Name will be glorified through the healing of Lawi's coronary artery! Please also lift up Lawi's mother.
She has returned to our Jaffa home for the night and we pray she will rest well and be prepared for the potentially difficult few days ahead where Lawi will most likely be very demanding of her as he recovers from this big surgery. The Lord gives strength beyond measure and we lift up mother and son to Him. 

Admitted for Surgery

Posted on Mon, 09/11/2017 - 22:23 by Deborah Burke
This morning we gathered up a very emotional mother with her son, Lawi, to go to Wolfson hospital for admission for heart surgery. It has been a long wait for this family to arrive at this point in time due to an infection in the hospital. Even so, as I write, it has not been confirmed that Lawi will have his surgery tomorrow.
Since one of the other children was admitted for surgery last week Lawi's mother has been more emotional than usual. Today she was almost inconsolable at times but as the time came for all of the admission tests to be done she had to put on a brave face for her son. This included holding him tightly and talking with him while the doctor so skillfully inserted the cannula into his arm. Watching her was like observing a hen gathering her chicks under her wings (Matthew 23:37). She so tenderly and lovingly managed him.
After all of the "poking and prodding" it was time to find Lawi a new uniform, his pyjamas. He was quite chuffed and looking very handsome. Is this how it is for us when we respond to being poked and prodded by our Heavenly Father and put on our new robes? In Paul's letter to the Ephesians (4:24) he says, "...and that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."  What a glorious hope to put on.
My co-worker Mary and I were treated to quite a bit of entertainment after Lawi had put on his new robes. He seemed to relax into his role of hospital patient, telling us "stories" in baby talk, showing us photos and videos, playing with new gifts given by hospital volunteers and conversing by Skype with his family. He is a smart and sensitive little boy who is initially shy but is quite an entertainer once he warms to people. He clearly expressed his disappointment when we left for the day.
Please join us in praying for this mother to have a refreshing sleep and be freed from the fears of not being in control of her son's destiny when he goes to surgery in the upcoming days.

Lawi's First CT

Posted on Fri, 08/18/2017 - 20:52 by Eleonore Schrumpf

Today, Lawi and his mother went to Wolfson for a CT scan. He had been preparing for this test for three days now, by coming every day to the hospital to take a special medicine. When he met the nurses, who showed him his room, he got anxious and it took quite some time afterwards to make him cooperate to change into the hospital pajamas and to put the IV cannula into his arm. It was difficult for him because he had not been allowed to eat before the test. We then waited for a long time in the playground area which has become his new favourite place. The enjoyment of drawing reassured and calmed him down, and he was more confident and ready for the test.

We then had to head to the CT room which was full of big and impressive machines and many doctors. They asked a lot of questions to Lawi’s mother, which made her feel nervous and apprehensive about the scan.
They put Lawi to sleep and we had to wait outside because we were not allowed to stay in the room with him. When he came out, they moved him into another room of the hospital where we could wait for him to wake up into a calm and relieving atmosphere. His mother was still a little fussy but being by his side made her more and more relaxed. He woke up, surrounded by the warm smiles of his friends from Shevet. Joy and happiness appeared on his face, especially when he was finally to be able to eat again! He also got to talk to his father on the phone, the nurses removed the IV cannula from his arm, and it was time to go.
We are now waiting for the doctors to see the results and to schedule Lawi’s surgery. I thank the Lord for his support during this day which was overwhelming for Lawi and his mother. Please, pray for them and for their next visit!

First Hospital Adventure

Posted on Thu, 08/10/2017 - 22:19 by Maxine Stuart

Today started early for Lawi. It was his very first trip to an Israeli hospital. He started off very shy and timid, fearfully trying to make sense of all the new things happening around him. First the nurses weighed Lawi, measured his height, then took his vital signs. After that it was time for blood tests, which he did not like at all.

The hospital staff tried their best to comfort him, and in the end succeeded by blowing bubbles over him. He enjoyed this distraction. Then he went to get an echocardiogram. He did not enjoy the taste of the sedatives, and refused to finish the dose, but after a bottle of milk, he was fast asleep. The doctors examined his heart for quite a while, saying his case was very interesting.

They ordered an x-ray and CT scan to be done, and will meet next week to discuss the best way forward.  After Lawi woke from his nap, and had some food in the hospital cafeteria, he was happy, chatting all the way through the hospital hallways. He was growing more accustomed to the hospital and feeling more comfortable there. His eyes completely lit up when he discovered the outdoor playground area. A great big smile appeared on his face, and he turned into a completely different boy. I realized this was the first time I’d seen him smile since arriving in Israel. Now I can’t stop him talking - he thinks I understand absolutely everything he’s saying in Kurdish. He shows me around now, taking me by the hand and guiding me to his latest discovery. I thank God for such a positive turn-around. I hope Lawi’s hospital visit next week will yield good results, but also be full of more chats and exciting discoveries!