Sarah's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Adorable Sarah Flies Home to Iraq

Posted on Wed, 04/30/2008 - 01:00 by Keleigh_Glisson
Sarah moved from the Save a Child's Heart home is Azur to the Shevet house in Jerusalem last Thursday (April 24). Friday I spent the day with Sarah and her mother walking around the Old City of Jerusalem, buying some last-minute clothes for Sarah as well as some souvenirs for her siblings. Over the weekend they were able to attend a few church services in order to celebrate the Easter holiday. After one service we spent some time in the park playing with some of the other kids from church. Monday came and Sarah's mother was anxious to get home. It was another tearful goodbye, but we all rejoiced as a healthy Sarah, accompanied by her mother, crossed the Israeli border into Jordan to begin her journey back to Iraq. 
Their flight to Iraq was delayed until 5:30. I didn't want to leave her, and especially the later it got, I thought the flight would be cancelled and I would have to come back and get them. 
But little Sarah made it all worthwhile. She entertained us and all the other waiting passengers and made about 50 new uncles and aunts. I bought her a Barbie doctor kit and she played with that for hours, checking the other passengers' hearts with her stethoscope and giving them pretend shots.
If you made a face or pretended you were afraid of the shot, she would frown, shake her head no, and wag her finger from side to side. I can just imagine that's exactly what the Israeli nurses were like! She was really adorable!

Fluid in Lungs

Posted on Sun, 04/06/2008 - 01:00 by Keleigh_Glisson

Four days after Sarah was released from the hospital, I found her happy and seemingly healthy at the Save a Childs Heart house in Azur. I took a picture of her with her buddy Nahro. The day after my visit, Sarah was back in the ICU due to fluid in her lungs and around her heart. Today she was once again released from the hospital and returned to the Save A Child's Heart house. 

I have noticed a drastic change in both Sarah and her mother following the operation. Before the operation, Sarah was always quick to jump in my arms, but never spoke. Now she is talking all the time. Her mother is also full of smiles. 

Please continue to pray for Sarah's recovery.

Sarah's Doing Great

Posted on Fri, 03/28/2008 - 00:00 by Gigi

Sarah is doing great, but it was hard for me to take a photo of her at first, because she refused to smile. In the end, I was able to take a picture of her with her mother. You can feel the peace on her mother's face now that she sees how well Sarah is doing.

Sarah also posed with her friend Hussein, while they were preparing to leave the hospital. They will continue their recovery at the Save A Child's Heart house near the hospital, until they have a clean bill of health and can return home to Iraq.

The Peace of Sarah's Mother

Posted on Sun, 03/23/2008 - 00:00 by Alex_Pettett

Sarahs mothers brow has been furrowed with worry over the last few weeks as she eagerly anticipated her daughters turn for surgery. To everyones surprise that surgery took place this morning. 

When I encountered her mother today, that furrowed brow had been wiped clean and replaced by a warm peace. From this I could tell that Sarahs surgery had gone well. Entering the ICU at Wolfson Medical Center we found Sarah stretched out on the table in a chemically induced coma. This is a standard procedure for patients post-surgery.

As I looked more closely, I could see Sarah sucking her upper teeth, a habit she unconsciously performed while she was awake. I remarked to the mother this little observation by imitating it myself. When I did it roused Sarah from her coma suddenly. She struggled briefly to sit up while a nurse hurried over to help put her back to sleep. Though it was alarming for both the mother and myself, it showed she had strong life in her. 

Surgeon Lior Sasson said the tetralogy of fallot repair went very well. If everything goes well her tubes will be removed tomorrow.

Dental Work Needed Before Surgery

Posted on Mon, 03/10/2008 - 00:00 by Elly_Miles

Sarah moved to the Shevet Achim house last Wednesday and is still awaiting her first heart surgery. She is in need of dental care and she can't be operated on until that is taken care of. Cavities or infected gums are a great risk to a heart condition, because they introduce germs and bacteria into the blood system. These germs and bacteria can develop an infection on the heart lining, which is very dangerous. When Sarah's dental treatment is complete, she will be ready for surgery. 

Last Saturday the four children staying in Jerusalem (Sarah, Juliana, Mustafa and Shinyar) and their mothers and I all enjoyed going to a church service at an international congregation. We also visited the Old City as a group. Sarah's mother has actually been to the Old City twice and really has benefited from it! By the end of her two trips she was decked out in an entirely new outfit. 

I could tell that she really appreciated the opportunity to buy herself something nice. For the most part Sarah's mom has been very quiet and withdrawn, in fact the first day she was here she cried because she missed her family so much. She also was sad because she wanted to stay with the same group of women that she arrived with, but she had to leave them when she came to the Shevet house. Mustafa's mother comforted her by telling her that she had already seen four different sets of mothers come and go with successful surgeries during her five-month wait! Please keep Sarah's mother in your prayers as she goes through this time of missing family and being without the comfort of familiar faces. 

Another outing that lifted everyone's spirits was the beach--we took Sarah and her mother to the Mediterranean Sea yesterday. Sarah had fun playing in the sand with her new friend Juliana (see the picture at the top).

Sarah's First Tests in Hospital in Israel

Posted on Wed, 02/20/2008 - 00:00 by Jonathan Miles
Four-year-old Sarah from the north of Iraq reached Israel last night, and reported first thing this morning with her mother to the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon for her first tests in preparation for surgery. Sarah seemed to be reserving judgment today, but was generally tolerant of the medical staff who were poking, prodding, and pricking her.