Lya's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

A Healed Heart

Posted on Tue, 10/24/2017 - 17:24 by Co-authored


Yesterday Lya was given the green light to return home to Kurdistan, after exactly one month in Israel.

This little sweetie and her quiet mother have such gentle spirits. Lya's mother is devoted to her, an attribute that was spoken about with great admiration at the farewell party for Lya and fellow Shevet Achim graduate, Awezhan. Lya's mother's speech began by first giving thanks to God. On outward appearance she does not seem to be particularly religious but her spirituality was expressed tonight and she certainly lives a quietly unassuming life. The bond between Lya and her is so strong that it is a testament to the great love she carries in her heart.
The outpouring of these observations and her devotion to her little daughter's brought tears to many eyes and to her own. Our prayers for this family are for safe travels back to their loved ones, and for Lya a life filled with God's grace and love.

She had quite a journey during her time here. She and her mother's quiet presence will be much missed and we have been blessed to come to know this little family. The day after their arrival, Lya and her mom were admitted to the hospital immediately from their initial assessments. And she was on the surgery schedule for two days later. She had an amazingly smooth recovery with her mother devotedly by her side. It's these types of recoveries we must stop ourselves and consider how the Lord's hand is upon the situation. He is sovereign and it is because of His healing touch we can recount such a wonderful recovery. 

As we celebrated Lya's healed heart last night with her farewell party, we were overjoyed with the good works the Lord has completed. We began by eating our meal all together as one large group and we had tea and dessert as we began some upbeat children's songs worshipping God. We then shared with Lya's mom how her time here and love for Lya has impacted us as a community and as individuals. Lya's mom had tears in her eyes as we had this opportunity to speak out our love for her. We then gave gifts (we are happy to say Lya will be the best dressed baby in Kurdistan this winter) and watched Lya's farewell DVD. Her time here was a whirlwind of blessings and we could see that reflected in the pictured journey. 
Early this morning they headed to the airport, alongside Awezhan, for the elongated journey back to Kurdistan. They have a long layover at one of the transit airports and we are praying for the travels to go well and the waiting will pass by quickly. All praises to the Heavenly Father for Lya's healed heart! Thank you for joining us in her journey and for your continued prayers as she grows up with her surgically corrected heart. 
Written by: Deborah Burke and Alexa Bigl

This is the Day

Posted on Tue, 10/17/2017 - 00:25 by Deborah Burke

Today brought a great smile to Lya's mother's face as the cardiologist said that her little heart looked very good and she only needed one more echocardiograph before returning home to Iraq. Lya wasn't aware of the good news, just relieved that she didn't have to have any more gooey stuff put on her bare chest and be prodded by that machine and that other person!

It is a wonderful thing to experience the turning of mourning into dancing as a potential and premature death is turned into a new life. Mother and daughter are such quiet and sweet people, and we rejoice as Lya continues to give us more smiles.
We also rejoice that this is the day that the Lord has made for Lya to begin finalising her time here in Israel. Hallelujah. 

Lya's Echo

Posted on Mon, 10/09/2017 - 22:16 by Alexa Bigl

We headed back to Wolfson today with Lya and her mom for her follow-up echo. They patiently waited for the other kids and Lya's mom was ready to hear how Lya is doing by the time their turn rolled around.

And it was all good reports from the doctors! Lya is allowed to stop the medication she was on for pulmonary hypertension, which is a big step of progress! 

After checking in with the nurses at the children's ward, Lya was given the 'ok' to head back to the house. Next Monday we will return to Wolfson for Lya's second echo. Mom and daughter are happily resting at the house now, already starting to dream of their return to Kurdistan! 

Discharged from Wolfson

Posted on Sun, 10/08/2017 - 22:57 by Alexa Bigl

We arrived to Wolfson and had to go on a quick search to find all our kiddos. Many of them, Lya included, were upstairs at the echo department. Lya had been moved from the ICU to the children's ward this past Friday and continued to improve throughout the weekend. So, the cardiology team was happy to report they felt Lya was ready to come back to our house in Jaffa. Lya is doing well and the echo report read, "very good surgical results." 

We headed back down to the children's ward for a last blood test and to get final approval Lya could head home. And soon, Lya and Mom were making themselves comfortable here at the house. We are very much looking forward to having Lya and her mom at our house and to have time to spend with this sweet family. Tomorrow, we will return to Wolfson for Lya's first out-patient follow-up echo. Please continue praying for her complete healing, may God's hand be upon little Lya. 

Quiet Grace

Posted on Wed, 10/04/2017 - 21:18 by Alexa Bigl

Miss Lya is doing very well. She and her mother are very sweet, and they are perhaps the most content family I've had the privilege of coming to know through Shevet. Her mom often shyly and quietly asks how her daughter is doing and is very appreciative of time spent together with any of the volunteers. Mom and Lya always have smiles for those around them, and it's very rewarding to be with them, the love emanating from them is palpable.

It was very touching the other day I was in the garden-area of the hospital making some phone calls and Lya's mom pulled up a chair and happily sat beside me as I focused on other work. With her daughter asleep, she was happy to simply be with others, requiring nothing. And today when she asked if we could bring some of her clothes to the hospital she was so concerned it would be an inconvenience; I am truly touched by each interaction I have with her. And you can easily see how her calm, sweet influence rubs off on her baby daughter. 

The doctor today reported Lya's recovery is going very well and the next step is to get Lya gaining weight. A nutritionist has been consulted and Lya started a new milk formula today to help with the weight gain. We will be praying for strides of progress in this area. With everything going well we hope to see Lya soon moved out of the primary ICU. May the Lord bless and keep mother and daughter. 

Extubated and Happy

Posted on Thu, 09/28/2017 - 23:18 by Coby van Wijhe
This morning at 6:45am our team brought Lya's mom back to Lya. Mom had had a good sleep and was longing to see her daughter again. Lya was doing well and was exubated around twelve o' clock. The doctor was positive about her situation. Mom looked happy and will now stay with her in the hospital.
Please pray for good recovery.

There's a Sweet, Sweet Spirit...

Posted on Wed, 09/27/2017 - 22:00 by Deborah Burke

At 7am Tabita,  one of our short-term Danish volunteers, and I arrived at Wolfson ready to escort Lya and her mother to the OR. Mother and daughter are both so sweet, and often I think such people are overlooked in our big world. In talking about beauty, in the context of wives and husbands, Peter says in 1 Peter 3:4, "Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the uncaring beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." It was this sweet fragrance that lingered through the day and carried us through.

We didn’t wait long before the wardsman came to walk us down to the pre-op room, where Lya's mother so gently and quietly soothed her now very hungry daughter.
Fortunately it wasn't a long time, (40 minutes) before the surgical team came for Lya, leaving a quietly tearful mother behind at the door.
After the farewell we walked to the hospital cafe and shared some time over coffee or juice. Lya's mother was quite happy to be led around but we all agreed that fresh air worked for us.
I had to leave Lya's mother in Tabita's care for 2.5 hours while managing another situation. I felt out of step with how I imagined the day may go, but came back to find Lya's mother sleeping on the floor. It's so interesting to observe how differently our mothers deal with the anxiety of waiting for their children's surgery to finish. It was me who was anxious about whether we had missed seeing Lya come out of the OR or being wheeled into the ICU. I just want them all to see their children as soon as possible after such a long wait. Anyway, it's all in God's perfect time.
Lya's surgery was around a 6-hour wait and a disbelieving mother finally saw her little one being wheeled into the ICU after a "good surgery" that was given the thumbs-up by the chief paediatric cardiologist. It was over another hour with quiet tears before we could visit Lya in the ICU. Her mother wasn't sure how to respond to what I imagined appeared to her to be an alien who was unconscious, breathing with the help of a machine, having tubes coming and going from various parts of her body, and not responding like she had just 7 hours before. It was too much to bear and tears again quietly slid down her cheeks. 
Lya's mother decided to come home to Jaffa for the night and my prayer for her is that she sleeps resting in the arms of our Heavenly Father, and wakes refreshed and prepared for a new day with a daughter who is recovering from her life-saving surgery. Join us too, in interceding for Lya while she is in an induced sleep, that her angels surround her and Father God protects her and keeps her. May the sweetness of the Holy Spirit breathe life through the ICU tonight. Amen.

Lya's Assessment Day

Posted on Mon, 09/25/2017 - 22:12 by Alexa Bigl

Lya and Mom had a long wait this morning before their big day of tests and assessments began. The other new Kurdish children were called in before Lya, so she and her mom patiently waited in the garden-area of the children's ward.

Mother and daughter contentedly waiting together until it was their turn for Lya to begin with the nurses' assessment. Lya did a great job getting her vital signs checked and having the ECG. The doctor's assessment also went well until it was time for the blood draw. Lya cried, but the test was successful in the end. We then headed to echo where Doctor Alona assessed Lya and confirmed her diagnosis she received in Kurdistan. Lya is a good candidate for surgical repair; praise the Lord. The Wolfson team is hopeful Lya's surgery will be soon, perhaps next week. 

Due to the cardiology team seeing a change in medications was in the best interest of Lya, she has been admitted to the hospital overnight. The change requires close monitoring and we are very happy she will be watched over well by the wonderful staff at Wolfson's surgical children's department. Lya is scheduled to return to our Jaffa house tomorrow on her new meds. Her mother did very well today with all the assessments, language barrier, and waiting.
She was definitely tired by the end of the day, and we were thankful to have a quiet room with a nice bed to set them up in for some rest. Thank you for praying alongside us for beautiful Lya and her mother. May the Lord sustain them and encourage them as they are just at the beginning of their time here with us in Israel. 

Safely in Israel

Posted on Sun, 09/24/2017 - 22:06 by Lindsay Martin

We praise God for Lya and her mother's safe arrival to Israel this morning. As the families arrived, we welcomed them with hugs and kisses and Lya was glad to join in the festivities. Lya has already opened up to our staff here, offering many smiles and laughs. She is a joyful little girl. 

Tomorrow, Lya and her mother will head to Wolfson hospital to receive their initial checkups in order for the doctors to know what the best plan of treatment will be.
Please pray for Lya and her mother as it can often be a very long day and also quite overwhelming as they do not speak the same language as the doctors and nurses. We pray for peace and comfort and strength for this little girl and her mother. And we praise God for His perfect timing in their arrival to Israel.