Shahram's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

Still needs $4500
Help Shahram

With a Smile

Posted on Thu, 02/22/2018 - 21:17 by Lindsay Martin
Last night we said goodbye to our loving Shahram and his mother as they head home to Kurdistan. As we always do, we gathered together to celebrate Shahram's life and the special time we could share with him and his mother. It would seem that as we prepare these farewells for every child, it would start to feel repetitious and routine. However, each celebration has its own unique feeling. 
As we said goodbye to Shahram, there was a feeling of peace and contentment. As we shared with his mother what was on our heart, there was one theme that rang true - the beauty of a joyful heart. 
We shared how blessed we were to each morning see Shahram's mother in the kitchen, preparing a delicious meal for our community with a huge smile on her face. And the same for Shahram. He loves to give a smile. We shared of the times when Shahram didn't want to eat but then he would see one of us eating and quickly wanted to mimic us.
Shahram and his mother were only with us for a couple months, but the memories we share with this family will remain in our hearts for a long time. And we pray for same for this family as they go back home and tell of the great things God has done. We pray that He would be glorified. We pray that Shahram and his mother would see God's hand on his life and His great love for this family. And we will remember the beautiful smiles of Shahram and his mother, give from a genuine, joyful heart. 
Praise God for this beautiful family and for this story that is just beginning in Shahram's life. 
"Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, 'The Lord has done great things for them.' The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad." Psalm 126:2-3

Last Time at Sheba Hospital!

Posted on Wed, 02/14/2018 - 18:44 by Johanna Ebert

Shahram and his Mum have been looking forward to today's appointment for a long time. It was supposed to be the last echo for him! In the afternoon we started our final trip to the hospital. When Shahram realized that we were driving to the hospital, he started crying immediately. His Mum tried to hold him, calm him, and reasure him that it would be the last time.

And, the doctor gave us the great news - Shahram's heart works perfectly, and he is able to go back to Kurdistan. Praise God! On the way back to Shevet, we were all happy and I could see how thankful Shahram's Mum is for all the support at the hospital and from us! As a goodbye, Shahram had a big smile and waved his hands at the hospital. Maybe one day he will be able to appreciate  what happened in that hospital, and the reason for all his pain and suffering here. 

Shahram's Echo Day

Posted on Tue, 01/30/2018 - 23:09 by Alexa Bigl

Shahram headed to Sheba Medical Center this morning for his first out-patient echo. He was excited to go this morning but became frustrated with the long car ride and being strapped into his seat. Luckily, the traffic let up after a bit and we were able to get out of the van. 

Upstairs at the echo clinic, Shahram was called in as soon as we got his appointment card into the system. Shahram cried during his echo, but the technician and cardiologist were able to see everything they needed on the exam.
Shahram has very slight regurgitation on one of his valves, but it's a very minor concern. Everything else related to the surgical results and Shahram's heart looks great. Shahram can stop his medications now and is scheduled for his final echo in two weeks. If all is well, he will be discharged back to Kurdistan after that echo. 
Shahram and his mom are so happy to hear this good news and we are looking forward to spending the next bit of time doing life with this little family! 


Posted on Sun, 01/21/2018 - 20:54 by Alena D'Olimpio

Today, six days after Shahram's surgery to heal his Ventricular Septal Defect, he received the okay to come back to the Shevet house! While waiting for discharge out of the ICU, Shahram was anxious for his mother's arms. But when his mother changed him out of his hospital gown and into his normal clothes, he was smiling from ear to ear.

The long-awaited moment had come when the nurse in charge of the ward gave us the "thumbs up" that meant he was all set to go, along with the medication he will need for the next few days. His homecoming back to the Jaffa house was one of welcome anticipation with the other moms warmly greeting Shahram and his mother. The sovereignty of our Heavenly Father guided this little one through surgery, through recovery, and finally back to our community. Please keep praying for Shahram as he continues his recovery with us. 

The Little Things

Posted on Thu, 01/18/2018 - 22:43 by Jim Baldwin

In sports you often hear a coach in referring to a certain player say "he does things to help us win that don't show up on the scoresheet." As I made my last hospital visit before returning home, I felt that same sentiment about Shevet. Hospital visits aren't big productions like a Christian music festival or Samaritans Purse's Operation Christmas Child. Instead they are barely noticed but are one of the "little things" that help our team win. 

When Jesse and I saw Shahram Wednesday it was evident that his sweet mom appreciated our presence and concern for her son. Since Shahram is only two days removed from major surgery and still has tubes and I Vs protruding from his little body he is in some discomfort. Though his engaging smile was missing, the only time he fussed was when the doctor was checking him. He still has a long road of recovery ahead of him but the doctors are pleased with where he is at this stage.
After the doctor left Shahram was a bit unsettled, so before going I showed him pictures of the other Shevet children and workers he is familiar with. A few moments later he lay his head down and went to sleep. I left with his mom squeezing my hand and saying "thank you, thank you, thank you." Just one of those little things. 
"And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” Matthew 10:42

Heart Surgery Day!

Posted on Mon, 01/15/2018 - 21:16 by Johanna Ebert

Today was Shahram’s important day. He had his heart surgery!

Suhail and I went to the hospital very early, because the surgery was scheduled for approximately at 8am. Fortunately we were able to spend some time with Shahram and his mum before the operation began. 

About 8:30am, it was time to bring him to the surgery room. After that the terrible time of waiting, hoping, and praying began. It was very hard for his mum and she often burst into tears. But I think it was a big support for her that we were there and she wasn’t feeling so alone. Even when I couldn’t support her with words, I gave her a hug and a cheering smile.

It was 3 hours later when we got the message from Shahram’s doctor that the surgery was going well and they successfully closed the hole in his heart. Thank God!

Another hour later, Shahram was in the ICU, and we could visit him. When Shahram’s mum saw him for the first time, she was so shocked because he was still sedated, intubated and covered with infusion lines. But the nurse assured us that he is fine and probably he will be extubated in the evening or tomorrow.

Now we can give God thanks and pray for a smooth and fast recovery, and also strength for his mum.

Shahram Admitted

Posted on Sun, 01/14/2018 - 22:51 by Alexa Bigl

We got the word from Sheba today that Shahram is on the surgery schedule for tomorrow and he was called in for admission this morning. Shahram is very fearful of the doctors and medical team. This made today's admission at Sheba difficult, as every time he saw a doctor, Shahram would burst into tears. 

The cardiology team met with us to explain about Shahram's surgery. Tomorrow, in the operating room, the team will aim to close the hole between Shahram's ventricles. The hole is right next to Shahram's valve. Because of the location, one of the valve leaflets had sustained some damage. The surgical correction will prevent further damage, but the existing damage cannot be undone. The team has a positive outlook that the damage thus far is relatively minimal and Shahram's heart will be restored to a high level still. Due to the proximity to the valve, there is also increased risk associated with the surgery. So, we ask you to join us in praying for the doctors' hands and minds and that His healing will be upon Shahram. 

Shahram is admitted to the ICU and the team their took blood tests, which was very difficult for Shahram. He did not want his mom to leave him even for a moment, so we know she will need prayers of strength as she aims to care for her son in every way. Shahram is scheduled as the first surgery tomorrow and our team will be ready to head out early to be there as support to Shahram and his loving mother. 

Neurological Assessment

Posted on Mon, 01/08/2018 - 23:36 by Susanne Minshull

Today I and Jesse took Shahram and his mother back to Sheba for a neurological assessment.  It has been almost a year since I was at Shevet last but it was all very familiar, having to communicate using lots of different languages. For my part, Kurdish and English, but when it came to Hebrew we relied on help from others. It's both humbling and rewarding.

Shahram was not too happy getting into the car and did not like going in the doctor's office and protested loudly. But the doctor was quite happy carrying out his assessment mainly watching Shahram play and asking questions and finally getting close to check out some muscle tone. Our main "problem" of the day was a 2 hour wait to find out if Sharam being treated as a cardiology patient, could also be seen by a neurologist under the ususal Shevet Achim arrangement for payment. The waiting was no problem in itself as we got an opportunity to get to know each other and devour our packed lunches. 

The doctor will report to the cardiologist about his motor problems and possible further investigations. On the way home in the car Shahram was happy and blowing kisses to us in the front and I will remember his proud smiles when he was able to pick up puzzle pieces from a board in the doctor's office whilst the mother and I were exclaiming "Dest Khosh!" (Well Done!)

First Time at Sheba

Posted on Wed, 01/03/2018 - 22:08 by Johanna Ebert

Today was Shahram‘s initial assessment appointment and Suhail, Shahram’s mum and I went with him to Sheba hospital.

In the beginning he was very shy and didn’t let go of his mother, but after a while he became more trusting and I was able to distract him well with a ponytail holder. We tried to shoot it as far away as possible, which he thought was a lot of fun.

But when we entered the examination room, he started to cry and was not distracted the whole time. Mum tried to explain that he is afraid of needles. I was very sorry to see him so scared.

After the examination we had to wait. It was a good time we spent with them playing and eating. It was nice to see how lovingly his mother treats him.

The doctor told us nothing about a date for the surgery, because the next step is an appointment with a neurologist. Shahram has problems with his motor skills. He can stand but he can’t walk alone. We hope and pray that he can get the help he needs.

Shahram's Arrival

Posted on Mon, 01/01/2018 - 22:59 by Alexa Bigl

Shahram and his mom safely arrived to Israel this morning after traveling overnight. Their plane landed early and Shahram's capable and confident mother came out into the airport's welcome hall minutes after Maxine and I arrived. She and her son had been split from their traveling companions in Jordan when the baby they were traveling with, Ster, needed to be taken to a Jordanian hospital. Shahram and mom continued the journey on their own and we are very excited to have them with us now.

Mother and son have mostly been resting today but are already getting comfortable and I can sense they will very soon be folded right into our Shevet family. 

We are waiting to hear from Sheba's outpatient echo clinic when Shahram's initial assessment appointment will be. And they will hang with us at the house until then. God's blessings are so diverse and we are so happy to be blessed by this small family joining us and journeying towards Shahram's healed heart. Thank you for coming together with us in this journey through prayer!