Nazgol's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

Visiting Nazgol's Grieving Family

Posted on Mon, 03/12/2018 - 17:39 by Jonathan Miles

Last week word came that shocked and broke hearts in our community: little Nazgol had died back home in Kurdistan while waiting to return to Israel for her second surgery. She had only left Israel a month earlier, so even our short-term community members knew and loved her.

I arrived in Kurdistan with my wife and son last night, and today we went straight to Nazgol's family to share with them our grief, and our hope, on behalf of the Shevet community. 
Nazgol's mother appeared strong, and told us she'd been doing well, although when she first saw us the tears returned. We learned from her that Nazgol's first surgery had not failed, but Nazgol came down with the flu back in Kurdistan, and eventually succumbed to it. The family expressed some anger toward the local doctors, but also agreed with the words of Jesus, that not a sparrow falls to the ground without the Father's knowledge.
Then the family honored us, even in the midst of their grief, with an abundant meal. Their hearts are still filled with gratitude to us and the doctors in Israel for the love and care given to Nazgol. We committed to stay in relationship with them, as their servants for Messiah's sake.

Bye for Now, Nazgol!

Posted on Wed, 02/07/2018 - 20:16 by Esther Vine

Yesterday we had to say goodbye to one of our beloved mothers and babies as they travelled back to Kurdistan. We will see them again after two months or so for Nazgol’s second surgery. Nazgol and her lovely mother were with Shevet Achim for three months, and have completed the first of 2 surgeries. Nazgol and her Mum were such a blessing to have with us as was expressed by many of our volunteers last night at their goodbye party.

The evening was spent in the families’ apartment, with colourful decorations and beautifully laid tables to celebrate the time Nazgol and her mother spent with us.  We sang and ate, and shared stories about our most treasured memories with the beautiful baby and mother. It was said many times that Nazgol’s Mum has the most gentle and kind disposition and has been a friend to some of the volunteers. As for Nazgol, she would be incredibly missed and is one of the most beautiful babies in the whole world. At the end of the party, Maxine showed us all a video to depict the timeline of Nazgol’s stay at Shevet Achim.  It really painted a colourful picture of how Nazgol has touched so many lives here and how her journey has inspired us.

Farewell of Nazgol - Part 1 of 2 from Shevet Achim on Vimeo.

Her mother was all smiles as she bounced her sweet girl on her knee. The night ended with gifts for Nazgol and her Mum and a group photo of the team with the soon to be departed little family. 

As they drove away to the airport, everyone waved them off, waving handkerchiefs widely as the car passed.

While this time has been incredibly difficult for Nazgol and her mother, Nazgol is on the way to being a much healthier child now. Her mum has made so many friends here and she will be sorely missed. Waiting for surgery for a period as long as three months can be very stressful, but Nazgol’s mother handled it with grace and steady patience. It is so touching to see how even though Nazgol came to Shevet Achim for them to help her, she and her mother have helped Shevet Achim and inspired us in friendship and kindness.


Preparing for Second Surgery

Posted on Mon, 01/29/2018 - 17:54 by Joanne Jackson

Suhail and I took Nazgol and her mom to the hosptial today for an echo. The doctor performing the exam was from Kenya and was gentle with her. Nazgol was so good and quiet but after a while it all became too much for her and she cried and cried. So she had a break for some time of comfort with Mom. Then they carried on with the procedure. Then a senior doctor came to examine her as well, and the two doctors were discussing the echo. It sounds positive that Nazgol should have her second surgery very soon.

Trip to Kurdistan Too Dangerous

Posted on Tue, 01/23/2018 - 21:29 by Johanna Ebert

Today was Monday, which means it was time for Nazgol's next echo.

So I went with her and her mum again to Wolfson hospital. We were there very early and the clinic clown had time for entertaining Nazgol. He was pretty funny and his reward was a very sweet smile from Nazgol. Her mum enjoyed the time which he spent with us.

After the examination the doctor wanted to speak with the mum about her wish to return to Kurdistan while they wait for Nazgol's second surgery. I was glad that Fatima, a very kindly woman from the organisation Save a Child’s Heart, could translate from Hebrew to Arabic for Nazgol's mum and to English for me. But the news was not the best for Nazgol's mum; the doctor explained that it would be too dangerous for Nazgol to travel to Kurdistan and stay so far from the hospital. In the first surgery, she got a shunt from the aorta to the pulmonary artery and there is a risk, that the shunt could close and Nazgol wouldn not receive enough oxygen. The doctor spent a lot of time comunicating all of this, so that Nazgol's mum could understand. He even painted a picture of the heart and showed her the performed surgery and the scheduled surgery to come.

That was important, because her understanding helped her not to be sad that she can’t go to Kurdistan yet. According the doctor, the second surgery is probably in three weeks. Another problem is, that Nazgol has lost weight. Today the doctor changed the recipe for her baby milk; now it’s more concentrated. Hopefully this will help to increase her weight until next Monday.

Nazgol's Fifth Echo

Posted on Mon, 01/15/2018 - 21:03 by Coby van Wijhe

Today we went to Wolfson hospital again for Nazgol's echo. She was doing fine and mom is so sweet with her. But it's already the fifth echo since the first surgery, and Mom wants to know how long until the second operation will be scheduled. So I asked the doctor and it looks like it will be maybe in one month's time.

We asked the doctor if there is a possibility for Nazgol and mom to go home for one month, as they are missing their family. They were not able to give us the answer because the doctor was called away for an emergency. They will discuss it and let us know.

Nazgol's heart is becoming stronger, and she is gaining weight. Her oxygen was a bit low today, though. Please pray that the right decision will be made for Nazgol and that mom will have peace with it. 

Good Progress

Posted on Mon, 01/08/2018 - 23:30 by Ben van Wijhe
Today was another echo day for Nazgol. So we headed off to the hospital together with Alexa, Jim, baby Mohammed and his father. An echo easily takes up to 4 or 5 hours, as it involves a lot of waiting. But then again this is a nice opportunity to have a chat and hold the babies. 
Mohammed's father showed us some of his pictures from home, family, and work. Alexa got to hold beautiful baby Nazgol. When the father went outside to have a smoke, I offered to hold baby Mohammed, but no, he was given to Alexa. "She is a nurse," he explained to me, thinking Mohammed would be in better care. I chuckled inside. How beautiful to see how they love their children and want the best for them. Whilst waiting they were both hugging and cuddling their babies, showing how valuable they are to them. Isn't this something we share as humans, no matter where we live or what we believe. It's also a privilege that we at Shevet can take part in the restoration of children's hearts and lives. 
Then Nazgol's turn came. She cried at first when she was undressed, but some music from mommy's phone put her at ease. She remained quiet during the 15 minute examination. Good for you, Nazgol! 
The echo results showed that her heart was making good progress. On top of that she had also put on some healthy weight. One more echo to go and then she may be ready to have her big surgery, which is also a risky one. So though we are happy with the progress of Nazgol, we realise she still needs our prayers. 

Echo Day

Posted on Tue, 01/02/2018 - 22:01 by Johanna Ebert
Today Nazgol had a appointment for her next echo. So Jesse, Nazgol's mum, Kovan with his mum, and I started our trip to the hospital in the morning.

The examination took a long time and it was not so easy to pacify Nazgol all the time. But for the echo she had to be quiet. It was a little bit exhausting for her mum and me. 

After the examination the doctor told us that Nazgol needs a second surgery, which will possibly occur in one month. We are grateful that her mother has taken it well.

He also checked her weight and found out that she has lost weight. The doctor in the children ward explained to us how the mum should prepare the infant milk to help her gain weight again. We hope she puts on weight by the next appointment.

Nazgol, Echo and Jerusalem

Posted on Tue, 12/26/2017 - 19:35 by Elwira Kromer
Last Wednesday, Nazgol and her mother finally had the opportunity to travel to Jerusalem. Nazgol's mother was full of anticipation. We (my co-worker Suhail, three children with their mothers, and I) started the trip in the morning. In Jerusalem, we started on the Mount of Olives, where we had a good view of Jerusalem.
Nazgol's mum was enthusiastic about the camel being presented for the tourists and wanted to have a lot of photos of it. Suhail told the ladies where we are right now and what you can see in Jerusalem.
A little later we drove down the mountain again and parked the car just outside the old city walls. On the way we saw a mosque and Nazgol's mother went in to pray. The next item on the program was the Garden Tomb.
There we stayed for most of our time. Suhail took the time to share the gospel with the women and explain the significance of the Garden Tomb. The ladies listened attentively and also asked questions.
May God bring fruit in their lives from the seeds Suhail planted.

It was already afternoon before we found a stall where we could eat together. Actually, we did not intend to stay long in Jerusalem, but the mothers wanted to pray at the Dome of the Rock. After a lot of talking and thinking, we decided to fulfill the wish of the mothers. We share our faith in Jesus openly, but we respect their freedom to choose. Despite our differences, I learned a lot from the behavior of the women; to have a desire to worship God.
Tired but full of joy, we came back.
Today, Nazgol had her weekly echo check. Her mother had hoped that she could return home soon, but the doctors had to disappoint her.
Nazgol has to stay in Israel for at least another week. Let us pray for strength and patience for Nazgol's mother and for faster recovery for Nazgol.

Echo Day

Posted on Mon, 12/18/2017 - 21:42 by Coby van Wijhe

This morning I took Nazgol with her mom to the echo room of the hospital. It was busy in the hospital because of many African kids from the Save a Child's Heart program. These children also needed to have echocardiograms. It was a couple hours later when they called us for our turn.

Although we had hope for just one echo, they let me know that Nazgol will need more time. They want to keep a close eye on the right ventricle of Nazgol's heart. Because of the change of the blood circulation they want to see how her heart is coping with this new situation.

So far she is doing well. Next week there will be another echocardiogram. Mom took it well and is pleased that they are keeping a close eye on her. Please continue to pray for a good recovery for Nazgol. 

Nazgol's Release

Posted on Mon, 12/11/2017 - 21:09 by Coby van Wijhe
This morning I was met by a happy mother who told me that the doctor had said that Nazgol could go back to our Shevet house. That was a big surprised and we were very happy with her. The doctor confirmed it and they were working her release papers. After about 1 hour they were ready and we got the information for the coming period. Nazgol's medications were written down and she needs an echo exam next week.
Nazgol will have her second surgery in two months or six months time. It will depend on the coming echo. We brought a happy mom and child back to the house. Thank you for your prayers for Nazgol. God is good!