Mustafa's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

By His Hands

Posted on Thu, 11/02/2017 - 16:28 by Lindsay Martin
Last night we joined together with our community to celebrate God's hand of healing over four of our precious children, including joyful Mustafa. It was a beautiful time of celebration as we looked back at the time we shared with him and his mother. Mustafa has so quickly become a part of our family here, sharing his beautiful smile with each of our staff. 
As we gathered together to share in a meal and dessert, we shared about the beautiful memories God has created in these last five weeks. We have especially been thankful for his mother as she has used of skills of language to help us translate with the many families here. 
It also overjoys our hearts to provide even a small gift for each child and guardian as they leave. So we gave Mustafa several small gifts, including some clothes as he gets older. However, the only gift he really seemed interested were some foam building blocks. His mother was thankful to everyone for the help and we rejoiced with her, knowing that ultimately it was God who healed him. 
We praise God for His hand on this precious family and continue to pray for His hand of protection as they go back to their home. What a wonderful work He has done!

Final Echo

Posted on Mon, 10/30/2017 - 23:53 by Alexa Bigl

Mustafa and his mom will be heading home to Kurdistan at the end of this week! Mustafa had an echo today at Wolfson and he is cleared to go home. His surgical results are very good. The team took some time looking at his different vessels, but are overall pleased with the outcome. They expect Mustafa to have a full, complete, and exceptional life. Mustafa happily chowed down on a lollipop while watching Tarzan during his echo, although wasn't happy when he thought he was done but a second doctor wanted to check some additional things.

Luckily, it was soon over and we headed down to the garden area of the children's ward to have a falafel and say a final goodbye to the hospital before heading back to our Jaffa house.
Mustafa's mom continued to bless us by helping to translate from English to Kurdish for the other moms about the outcomes of their echos and information about their flights back home to Kurdistan. Her willingness to help and cheerful manner will be greatly missed! The Lord has shown His provision through the current beautiful group of families we have, including Mustafa and his mom. We are very pleased to know mother and son will very soon be reunited with the rest of their family, and we hope our team in Kurdistan will be able to visit them at their home there! 

One More To Go

Posted on Mon, 10/23/2017 - 20:12 by Deborah Burke
Mustafa is the 3rd child of the group of 5 who today were told that they only had one more to go. That is, one more echocardiograph before being able to return home to Kurdistan.
Apart from a few minor aches and pains, Mustafa has had a dream recovery. He is a very active and sociable 3 year old who demands to have fun with each person he approaches. His medication has been reduced quite quickly postoperatively, and today all of his medication was ceased. Praise God for his favour.
Next Monday will be Mustafa's last echocardiograph. Please pray for his protection as that day approaches.

Screamingly Well

Posted on Tue, 10/17/2017 - 00:08 by Deborah Burke
This morning playful Mustafa happily dressed up and came with us to the hospital for his first echocardiograph since being discharged. He was the first of 5 of our children scheduled to have echocardiographs today.
Since being home Mustafa has continued to blossom, being very active in his play both alone but mostly with others. He is a sweet and affectionate child who is very engaging with other children and adults, actively seeking company with joy.
The hospital, though, presents Mustafa with a stumbling block. One moment he was happily playing with everyone outside the echocardiograph room but once inside with his shirt unbuttoned lying on the examining table, and even before being touched, he was screaming. This went unabated for probably a full 20 minutes. His mother could do nothing to quieten or calm him. If a loving mother can't, what hope do others have?
Despite his relentless screaming the echo was completed and the report is a very positive one. Mustafa is progressing nicely. He remains on one medication, which was halved today, and the other medication has been ceased. He will have another echocardiograph next Monday and probably one more before he is allowed to go home to Iraq. Praise God who prepares the way for healing and hope.

Mustafa Discharged

Posted on Mon, 10/09/2017 - 22:44 by Alexa Bigl

Mr. Mustafa has returned to our home in Jaffa. His mother is quite weary and was very happy to learn she could return home. Mustafa is a ball of energy and his recovery is going well; Dr. Alona reports a great surgical outcome thus far.

We are looking forward to having Mustafa and his mom back with us in the house, bringing their joy and energy to our everyday life here. Please lift in up in prayer Mustafa's heart rate, as it is quite increased. The doctors believe this is due to fear of things happening in the hospital and hope to see it decrease here at our house.

May the Lord continue to place His healing hand upon Mustafa and decrease his heart rate back to normal. We will return next Monday to Wolfson for Mustafa's weekly follow-up echo. And in the mean-time we are looking forward to a week full of fun, games, and hanging out with Mustafa. 

A Glowing Smile

Posted on Sun, 10/08/2017 - 22:49 by Lindsay Martin

This morning we were excited to see that Mustafa and his mother had been moved out of the ICU and into the children's ward. When we arrived at the hospital, Mustafa and his mother were in the echo department and already on the move to another department, where they would give him a cardiac halter to monitor his heart rhythm. 

Mustafa is doing amazingly well as he is not even one week post-op. He greeted us with many smiles today and was excited to play with Alexa and me. His father even sent him a couple videos of animals from his home in Kurdistan which he enjoyed sharing with us. 
Please pray for the continued recovery of Mustafa and strength for his mother as she cares for this strong little boy. 


Posted on Wed, 10/04/2017 - 21:14 by Alexa Bigl

This morning I brought Mustafa's mom back to Wolfson so she could be at her son's bedside when the breathing tube was taken out and Mustafa awoke from his sedation medications. She reported she was able to get good sleep last night and seemed ready to take on the big task today and the coming days of caring for Mustafa. 

When I popped into the ICU today around 9:30 Mustafa was awake and crying, but after the nurse brought him some water he was better. After alleviating his thirst, the oxygen mask was placed over his nose and mouth again and Mustafa drifted off to sleep. It's often difficult for the mothers and fathers to see their kids in distress on the first day after surgery. They are typically crying and hard to console, but Mustafa's mom understood everything will continually improve with her son, and once they get through today things will be much better for Mustafa.
We lift up Mustafa and his mother in prayer. May God's hand be upon both; for healing, rest, and peace. Thank you for joining us.

Mustafa's Operation Day

Posted on Tue, 10/03/2017 - 22:22 by Coby van Wijhe

Early this morning, we walked up to the hospital to see Mustafa. He had a good night but mom hadn't slept because of a crying baby next to their bed. Soon after arriving, he was moved to the pre-operation room.

Together with mom, we walked up and waited until it was time for the OR. While waiting, we played and tried to make him comfortable.

They were ready to come take him into surgery at 8:15am. Mom was allowed to stay with him until he was fully sedated.

Of course it was hard for her to leave him behind, and then... the waiting started. The Kurdish moms who stay together in the hospital are so good to one another. They spent some time with Mustafa's mom to encourage her.

Right now there are 6 families staying in Wolfson hospital. The nurses are very good to them and usually try to keep the children all together, if that's possible, so they have the added comfort of proximity.

Whenever a child is in surgery, it is common for the mother to fast and some wear black clothes, too. They are in despair and pray for their child. What a relief, when after 7 hours of waiting, you can see your child again. Mom was crying, but the doctor said, "No need to cry, because Mustafa is just fine."

The operation went well! After sitting with Mustafa for a little while, Mom and I left the hospital at 4pm so she could rest with our Shevet family while her son is sedated overnight. Please pray for Mustafa's recovery and thank God for all the doctors and nurses who look so well after our kids!


A Wild Adventure

Posted on Mon, 10/02/2017 - 21:52 by Lindsay Martin

This morning was an early one for Mustafa and his mother, as we left for the hospital before 7am to accompany Mohammed and his mother as he went into surgery today. Mustafa took some time to wake up and didn't really want to interact with us until we got to the hospital and he was able to play in the garden. He enjoyed going down the slide and coloring as we waited for his time to get ready for a CT scan.

I even taught him how to play the drums with the markers we were using to color. He has a very good sense of rhythm and learns very quickly.

When the doctor was ready, we went back into the ward to prepare Mustafa with an IV line before heading into the CT. It was very difficult for the doctors and nurses to find a vein that would work in his little body, especially as he was crying and kicking during the procedure. Eventually, because of time restrictions, we had to quickly walk with the doctors to the CT room, where the anesthesiologist was waiting to sedate Mustafa. After he was sedated, the doctors worked on getting an IV line in for him and asked the mother and me to leave the room. 
All of this process was very difficult for his mother as she had to remain strong for her crying son and encourage him that everything would be okay. However, once we left the room she let go of all of her emotions and cried many tears for the pain she was experiencing for her son. After only a short time, the CT scan was over and he was wheeled into recovery. After an hour or so, the doctors were encouraged that he was doing well and he was then wheeled back to the children's ward. 
After a couple hours, the mother mentioned to us that Mustafa would be going into surgery tomorrow morning. Shocked by this news, we found the doctor right away and he confirmed it was true. We are rejoicing with Mustafa and his mother that they will soon join many of our other children who have received their surgeries. 
Please pray for peace and rest for both Mustafa and his mother as they stay at the hospital tonight in preparation for surgery tomorrow. We thank God for His hand over Mustafa and for His perfect timing in his healing. 

May God's Will Be Done

Posted on Mon, 09/25/2017 - 22:32 by Deborah Burke
Three years ago, at 3 months of age, Mustafa, one of our newest children to arrive in Israel, had pulmonary artery banding. This was done in Iraq and saved this little one's life.
Today, with his well-educated and beautifully presented mother, Mustafa came to Wolfson for his pre-surgical echocardiograph and tests. They, like the others, spent some uncomplaining time in the hospital garden before being whisked around the hospital for various tests.
Mustafa's mother and I were told the results of his echocardiograph in a very simple and clear manner. In short, Mustafa has a large ventral septal defect in his heart. Because he has had previous heart surgery they need to conduct a CT scan to confirm that the surgeons are able to re-open his chest. If confirmed, the surgery will be simple with a good result.
Our prayer for Mustafa right now is that the surgery will be possible. May God's will be done.