Ronas's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

Journey in Israel Complete

Posted on Thu, 11/02/2017 - 15:26 by Jonathan Chappell

Last night we had a farewell party for four of our families here at Shevet Achim. We started the evening with some delicious Kurdish food and then sang some songs of praise for our Lord. We then ended the evening with a video slideshow documenting their journey in Israel. We give them this DVD to take home with them, so family and friends in their community can see firsthand what Ronas and her mother experienced here. 

Little Ronas was so beautiful with her smile. I love how she she tilts her head and gives a relaxed gaze and smirk. We gave little gifts for them to remember us by, but I should have known the balloons we decorated with would have been half the fun for the little guys.

We will miss them but are happy that God's healing work in Ronas is now complete. Praise the Lord!

Ronas is Cleared

Posted on Tue, 10/31/2017 - 00:08 by Alexa Bigl

Ronas had her final echo at Wolfson today. The cardiology team is very pleased with her surgical results, praise the Lord, and she and her mother can return home to Kurdistan! Ronas was smiling at as she received her echo and it was so sweet to see her interacting with the hospital staff. We will miss her bright personality very much; she and her mother are so joyful and special! 

After her echo, Ronas headed down to the children's ward to have the bandage on her hand removed and the site assessed where her thumb was removed. All looks well and her mother can continue the care of the area over the next week while it finishes healing. 
Ronas is now finished with one of her medications and will continue her other two for a bit longer. We are honored to report the work the Lord has done for Ronas and we pray this work of healing and time here in Israel will be a seed for Ronas' future. May the Lord call Ronas and her family to know Him personality. We have Ronas here for a couple more days before the fly out at the end of the week, so we will be soaking in our final times with her over the next days. Stay tuned for a final farewell blog after their goodbye party!

Small Surgery

Posted on Wed, 10/25/2017 - 18:33 by Coby van Wijhe

This morning I went together with our volunteer Lilian to escort Ronas with her mom to Wolfson hospital. She has on her right hand a deformed thumb. While they are still being treated at the hospital, mom asked if the doctor could repair or remove it. When we arrived at 8am, the surgeon had a look at her thumb and told us that she needed an x-ray first, and then they would perform a small surgery on her thumb after noon.

We waited and played at the outside playing area. Ronas kept her happy smile for a while, but when they tried to put the IV needle in her hand she cried a lot. And no wonder - they had to try it five times before they got the needle into the vein. Poor little Ronas; we felt sad for her. Around 1pm Ronas was taken for the surgery. The thumb has been removed because it was only a little piece of flesh without bones or muscles. Ronas recovered well and we were able to take her back to the Shevet house around 4pm. Thanks to God that it went so smoothly.

One More

Posted on Mon, 10/23/2017 - 23:11 by Deborah Burke
This morning Ronas was in the second wave of children brought to Wolfson Hospital for a follow up echocardiograph. 
Due to the cacophony of sound and peer pressure among the children to cry the loudest, Ronas was one who was given a mild sedative so the the doctors could conduct the echocardiograph. 
All successfully completed, the good news that brought joy to her mother's face were the 2 words "one more". Ronas' recovery has been a good one and her heart medications are slowly being reduced. Tomorrow she is being admitted to hospital for amputation of her left thumb.
It is always exciting to hear the words "one more echocardiograph and (s)he can go home". So, God willing, the echo next Monday will be Ronas' last. What a delight she is to be around. Please pray that God will bless her abundantly with a long life.

Being Watchful

Posted on Thu, 10/19/2017 - 23:12 by Deborah Burke

This morning we took Ronas to hospital as she has had a few days of several episodes of diarrhoea each day. This is all without a fever and only the occasional vomit. We have to be very watchful of any excessive fluid loss in babies let alone those who are recovering from open heart surgery.

The doctor at the hospital was not particularly worried given that Ronas has no fever,  is not excessively vomiting and is eating well. He did agree that she was pale. So, we will continue to be watchful and report back to the ward next Monday before her next echocardiograph. It is possible that one of her medications is causing the diarrhoea.
As well, we enquired about an orthopedic consultation for the deformities of her left thumb and arm. The report from the intern doctor was that due to there being no muscle mass around Ronas' thumb, he recommends an amputation of her thumb. He spoke with her mother in Arabic who agreed that an amputation would be the best. This will possibly be scheduled in before her departure, depending on cost and whether it could easily be done in Iraq. Ronas' left arm has a small deformity but there is little muscle weakness and she uses her arm normally so the doctor reported that there is no need for any intervention.
Meanwhile, back at the house, Ronas continues to bring her joy into the community. She is an adorable little girl with an easy smile that lights up her face. Often she can be seen sitting on the floor immersed in social activities with the other children. She is one of those children who is very easy to be with. I wonder what plans God has for her future?

A Breath of Fresh Air

Posted on Tue, 10/17/2017 - 00:24 by Deborah Burke
Ronas is like a breath of fresh air. She arrives into a room or situation and her palpable joy and laughter brings smiles to people's hearts and faces. 
Today another echocardiograph showed how our joyful God is healing this joyful child of His.  She was one of the only children to laugh and giggle during the echo. Her medications are gradually being reduced and she is hopefully 2 echos away from going home to Iraq.
As well, Ronas will have an orthopedic consultation for a small deformity of her left hand and arm. For her this is no problem at present but a repair to her left thumb will be useful through the rest of her life.
May God continue to pour out His joyful blessings on this little one.


Posted on Tue, 10/10/2017 - 22:38 by Deborah Burke
"Light in a messenger's eyes brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones." Proverbs 15:30
Curly haired, sweet little Ronas brings joy to all who see her as she breaks into a generous smile, giggles, and sings out loudly. There is certainly a good health link to the expression of joy. Today was no exception even though we had to wait for 2 and a half hours for an echocardiograph that took about 10 minutes. 
Ronas was remarkably patient, bringing smiles to the faces of many in the waiting area outside the intensive care unit (ICU), and enjoying the company of another very joyful and friendly little girl. She also brought a big smile to the head of the ICU who quite happily posed for a photograph:
Even in one day the good news is that Ronas' heart is looking good on echocardiograph and she has been asked to return next Monday for her next one. As well, an orthopedic consultation is being organized for congenital deformities of her left arm and hand.
Please continue to pray for Ronas' joy to continue to overflow and help to heal not only her heart but also to lift the spirits of the broken-hearted who come in contact with her and bring them healing. It seems that her gifting is already being unleashed.

Ronas Is Back

Posted on Mon, 10/09/2017 - 22:33 by Alexa Bigl

Ronas is back in more than one way. First, she is back at our home in Jaffa. And also her happy personality is back in full-force! We were playing outside of the echo room this morning, waiting for the results, and Ronas thought everything was hilarious. She was laughing out loud as I poked her sides and tickled her. And her beautiful eyes lit up with every smile, it was a special sight indeed. Although Ronas does have fluid around her heart, the team at Wolfson feels comfortable having her sleep at our house tonight. Tomorrow morning we will return to Wolfson for another echo to ensure the fluid is decreasing. Ronas is on quite a few medications, to treat her dysrhythmia and decrease the fluid around her heart. We are hopeful the dysrhythmia and fluid will improve over the next week so the medications can soon be reduced. But we are so happy to have this joyful mother/daughter duo back with us at our home! Praise the Lord and please continue joining us in prayers for complete healing. 

Out of the ICU

Posted on Sun, 10/08/2017 - 23:04 by Lindsay Martin
Ronas, along with two of her friends, were moved out of the ICU this past Friday. This was exciting news for her mother as she is able to move around with Ronas and interact more with the other mothers in the hospital. Ronas is also enjoying the freedom of being out of her bed as she interacts with her mother. 
She had an echo today which showed there is still some disrrhythmia which the doctors hope will get better. The echo also showed that Ronas does have some fluid around her heart so they have started her on a new medicine which will help to get rid of the fluid. 
Day by day Ronas is improving and we are thankful for her joyful and peaceful spirit which is such a reflection of her mother. Please pray for her continued healing and for God's perfect timing as they wait to join us back at our home in Jaffa. 

Post-op and Doing Well

Posted on Sun, 10/01/2017 - 21:54 by Alexa Bigl

Ronas was extubated this past Friday and has been recovering well. She still wasn't ready to start smiling, but we are hopeful for this to come in the near future. 

Medically, Ronas looks great. Her surgical results are wonderful and the ICU doctors are happy. Some tests to determine how well Ronas' heart is functioning were done today and more will be done of the next couple of days to ensure she is adjusting well to her repaired heart and corrected blood flow; the doctors have a very positive outlook. 
Ronas' mom is well and handling the stresses of her situation with grace and joy. I enjoyed visiting with her today and she practiced some of her English and did very well; I was impressed! It's certainly a blessing getting to know this sweet mother; she brings love and joy to those around her! Thank you for your prayers for this lovely mother/daughter duo.