Zhyar's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

A Healthy Boy

Posted on Wed, 12/13/2017 - 20:27 by Elwira Kromer

Yesterday was the big day for Zhyar. After more than three months, he was able to leave the land of Israel as a healthy boy! We had a farewell party at the Shevet house with dinner and singing. At the end, we watched a video of a slideshow with all the photos of Zhyar's time here. The grandma was very touched.

There were also some gifts for Zhyar and his grandmother, which made her very happy. It was an intense time we spent them. Both have changed a lot over the three months. Grandma has become more open and really welcoming. And Zhyar can now leave the country with a healthy heart and more weight. May God bless the child and his Family.

Zhyar's Last Echo

Posted on Mon, 12/11/2017 - 20:55 by Elisa Kulla
In the morning we drove with Zhyar, his grandmother, and another family to Wolfson hospital. When we arrived we didn't have to wait for very long. Coby and I went inside the echo room with Zhyar and the grandmother.
After the echo when the doctor told us that Zhyar was healed beautifully and can now go back home to Kurdistan, the grandmother was indescribably thankful and took a lot of pictures with the doctor. It is amazing to see how the grandmother opened her heart during this whole process and shows more emotions now.
Probably they will fly back to Kurdistan in the next few days. Thank you God for this fast and good recovery in this small human! Keep on praying for this family and that they see the power of God in Zhyar's life!

Zhyar's Pleasant Surprise

Posted on Mon, 12/04/2017 - 23:22 by Maxine Stuart

Today Zhyar went to Wolfson for an echo to check on his heart. After some time dealing with hospital administriva and waiting in the que, the doctor called him in. He was such a good boy. He calmly lay there as he was being examined, looking up at the nurse and holding her hand.

The doctor was very impressed by how chubby he looked, and, to our surprise, she announced that he was healthy enough to only need one more echo next Monday! After that he should be able to go home to Iraq. His grandma was estatic! She had the biggest smile I've ever seen on her face. It was a beautiful moment. While waiting for the ward doctor to be available to remove Zhyar's seuchers, we joined some of the other Shevet team and families for a falafel lunch in the hospital playground. It was lovely to all be together, as we aren't often at the hospital at the same time. Each family was at a different stage of their heart journey too, so Zhyar's good news was an encouragement to all. I am so happy for this sweet little man, and that he has a bright future ahead of him. 

Good News

Posted on Tue, 11/28/2017 - 22:56 by Coby van Wijhe
This morning we saw Grandma with Zhyar in the ward. She asked me if she could change rooms because it was very noisy. But a few hours later she had even better news: Zhyar had his echo and all looked so good that he was able to go home!
So Suhail came to pick up a very happy Grandma and Zhyar. 
Thanks to our God who is a great Healer!

The Final Leg

Posted on Sun, 11/26/2017 - 21:53 by Jonathan Chappell

Today we went to Wolfson hospital to visit Zhyar and his grandmother. Grandmother stayed all weekend so Maxine took her back to Shevet to recuperate. Meanwhile, I hung out with Zhyar for an hour or so as we watched Spongebob Squarepants in Hebrew until they returned. Zhyar's fever has completely subsided and he is now finished with his antibiotic treatment. The doctors are, once again, very pleased with his progress. We hope to see Zhyar moved to the children's ward tomorrow! Please join us in praying for Zhyar and his tired grandmother as they are on their final leg of in-hospital recovery. 

Zhyar's Fever is Gone

Posted on Wed, 11/22/2017 - 06:16 by Jesse Tilman

Today as we visited Wolfson hospital, we saw Zhyar in the secondary ICU. He was sleeping initially. The nurse had relayed to his grandmother that the fever had come down. She took his temperature later and it came in at 37 degrees Celsius, a drop from the 40 it had been.

Later the doctors making their rounds came by and did their assessment. One told us afterward that they were happy with his progress. They still have him on antibiotics to make sure he mends, though maybe just for a few more days. They have taken cultures from several different areas on his body to keep monitoring any bacteria, though so far everything has come back negative.
Zhyar's grandmother is still working through some issues herself. Last night she spent the night at our apartments and let the nurses take care of Zhyar. Her anxieties have been disturbing to the hospital staff and a little space and time apart was good for both sides. We will ask if she wants to do the same tonight. She questions her needfulness here, especially when she is shooed out of the way sometimes. With no other Kurdish speaking mothers around she has (fantastically!)  found a friend in the only other mother from Iraq nearby even though she only speaks Arabic.
The doctors hope to move Zhyar to the regular ward soon, but are making sure he is doing well first. He still receives some supplemental oxygen, just a liter a minute the same as before. He's eating fine and was active at times. God bless this little boy!

Rest for Grandma

Posted on Sun, 11/19/2017 - 20:35 by Coby van Wijhe

This morning when I visited Zhyar and his grandma in the secondary ICU, the nurses talked to me about Grandma. They had the impression that she wasn't coping well and therefore they inquired if it was possible to take her to the Shevet house for some hours of rest. Grandma was reluctant but at the end she agreed and went to the apartment. She took a shower and had some rest. In the meantime, volunteer Katie from YWAM stayed with Zhyar until grandma was back.

She is a nurse and enjoyed being with him some hours. Zhyar is slowly improving and the doctor is satisfied with the progress. Zhyar is still on oxygen, at 1 liter/hour. Please pray that his recovery will continue and that grandma will be at peace. 

Miracle Baby

Posted on Wed, 11/15/2017 - 16:17 by Marilyn Isaacson

It was such a blessing and a privilege to visit little Zhyar and his grandmother in the ICU. Two  days ago he had a 7 hour life-saving heart operation. When I saw him he looked so peaceful and fast asleep. You could see that all the anxiety and stress of the past weeks that Grandma had felt was now gone. We are so thankful to the Lord.

He had his first echo and chest x-ray, and he was so patient while all this was going on. They saw some fluid on his left side, but other than that, all was good. He will have another echo and x-ray tomorrow. Grandma and I so thankful because all his tubes were taken out and he was moved out of ICU into a small ward. He will stay here before he can settle in the main ward, so the nursing staff can keep an extra eye on this precious baby. 
On my phone i was playing nursery rhymes, and his dear eyes were looking at the pictures. This so touched my heart, to see the improvement as the day progressed. It really made me more aware of how the Lord is working through the wonderful doctors and nurses. I am so very blessed and thankful to the Holy One, for my experiences at Shevet Achim.

Great Improvement

Posted on Tue, 11/14/2017 - 19:32 by Coby van Wijhe
Early in the morning I brought Grandma back to the ICU to stay with Zhyar. He had a good night rest and was in peace. Around noon I went again and wanted to ask her if she want to stay a bit longer or go home. But there was a great surprise because Zhyar was already exubated and could be fed in a couple of hours.
He is still on oxygen but his improvement is unexpectedly great. Grandma will now stay with him and looked very happy. Thanks to our Messiah. What a great Healer He is!

Zhyar's Surgery Day

Posted on Mon, 11/13/2017 - 19:42 by Maxine Stuart

Yesterday morning we received a call requesting that Zhyar be brought to Wolfson hospital to be admitted for surgery. Zhyar’s grandmother was so happy, as they have been waiting on 3D prints of Zhyar’s heart for some time now. While Zhyar didn’t like being strapped into the car seat, he did enjoy settling in to the hospital and was very comfortable there.

He and his grandmother spent the night in the children’s ward to prep for surgery this morning.

Surgery day started early, Zhyar was first on the surgery schedule. Elisa and I arrived to the hospital to find Zhyar sleeping, but his grandma wide awake. After some time, the surgical team came to take Zhyar down to the operating room.

Zhyar’s little hand clung to his grandmother’s as he was wheeled along the hospital corridors. His big eyes were stimulated by all the movement, but they would always return to his grandmother’s for reassurance.

The surgical team spoke of his surgery being a big and complicated one, but they were prepped and ready to bring their best. Zhyar’s blood has been pumping in and out of the right side of his heart, so they would be reconstructing his heart to enable the blood to be pumped out of the left side like it should be. They would also need to repair a hole between Zhyar’s left and right ventricles that has been causing his oxygenated blood to mix with his de-oxygenated blood before being pumped back out to his body.  This has been the cause of his low oxygen saturation levels. We accompanied Zhyar until right before he was sedated. Grandma stayed with him all the way, and came back to us with tears in her eyes. It is always hard to witness this stage, but I am thankful to be a part of the support network that Shevet Achim is to the families, especially at times like these.

Then came the waiting game. For me this is the hardest part of the surgery day as the emotions of the families run high, and we try to provide support. We waited 7 hours in total. We attempted to distract Zhyar’s grandma with questions about Kurdish vocab, she told us news of the earthquake that hit the region last night, we sent photos of the day to her family and friends, she called them to give them updates. But after about 4 hours, a person goes through all possible emotions, and fatigue starts to set in. Zhyar’s grandma is a strong woman, but came to tears and wanted it to all be over when we reached 6 hours.

We took her outside and made her some tea, and at that very moment, Zhyar was wheeled out of the OR and into the ICU. We waited 45 mins longer for the team to intubate, xray, and stabalise Zhyar, then we were able to go in to see him.

The head surgeon reported that the surgery was successful! They were able to switch the greater vessels, and close the ventricular septal defect. They now need to see how he recovers as he is eased off the sedatives. They predict he will remain intubated for 2 days, then if he is strong enough to breathe on his own, they will monitor him in ICU for 2 more days. Then, hopefully, he’ll be strong enough to move to the children’s ward.

What happened today was nothing short of amazing. The very plumbing of Zhyar’s little heart was altered, and blood is flowing the way it should. Praise God for skilled, dedicated people who enable such valuable intervention. Now it is over to the Father to do what no human hands can – to sustain and strengthen Zhyar every second of these next few crucial days so that he can achieve a full recovery.