Here is a letter from Katie, the nurse on the team. She writes home that she hopes her words do justice about how she feels about this situation:
“The first time I saw Daniel I knew he was very sick. 7 years old and 17 kg, only an inch taller than his 4 year old brother but weighing kilos less. Pale skin, sunken eyes, lethargic, difficulty breathing with activity. His parents told us he didn’t have energy to play and could barely eat anything, but boy, did that kid have a beautiful smile.
As his story came out in bits and pieces we learned that he had a pancreatic pseudocyst which had already been drained in July, but which was now back, and bigger than before… In the 7 months he has been going through all of this he went down from 25kg to 17kg, at a time when most boys his age are growing exponentially! He comes from a family of refugees, his family gets by with his dad doing odds and ends work and they have sold everything they own in the past few months trying to figure out what’s going on with their son. All we could do is try to help support his nutrition and we decided to ask if people would be willing to support a surgery which I was pretty sure was necessary to save his life.
The next time we saw Daniel 2 days layer I was sure he was actively dying. He had refused to eat anything except 2 spoonfuls of meal replacement shake we had given him. His family had called, concerned about him, and when I walked in the room he was lying on his mat, did not stir when we walked in, or when I touched him to assess him and pray for him. In the states I would have called paramedics and had him taken to the ED, but things are different here and we could not get him into a hospital that night, we ended up just going home and I was just praying, “God, please just give us time to help him…”
I have to admit, part of me was surprised the next day when we heard, not only is he still alive, but he woke up (late) the next morning asking for food! At that point I really knew God was working in his life
So the process of figuring out what we will do began in earnest. A local contact found us a gastroenterologist. When Dr S. first saw Daniel he was horrified by how his care had been managed. The fact that an open surgery had been used to drain his cyst and no follow up care to make sure he actually recovered after his surgery. He sent us to get an MRI and MRCP to verify the location of the cyst so that we could proceed with an endoscopic drainage of the cyst. When we went back with the MRI results Dr Sami seemed more concerned and showed us the thickening of the wall of the stomach (probably scar tissue from the previous surgery) and explained that the method of drainage he would have attempted was no longer viable and referred us to a surgeon.
This Dr is a board certified surgeon in CA. He comes to Erbil every few months to do surgeries for a few weeks, and he “just happened” to be here when we needed him. He is the director of pancreatic surgery at his hospital in the states and routinely does live donor liver transplants. He assured us that the facility he uses here in Erbil and the staff that he works with are fully capable of caring for Daniel. He referred us to a pediatrician, Daniel had to be cleared for surgery by a pediatrician since he is so depleted from malnourishment. Dr K (the pediatrician) sent us for some labs…
(Daniel gives up some blood like a champ)
After getting the lab results dr K cleared Daniel for surgery and we called Dr A, who said he will do the surgery on Thursday or Saturday.
At this point we are very excited because it seems like everything is coming together for Daniel’s surgery, but we have to raise $14,000 for this surgery since it is much more complicated than what we had previously expected. We know Gods hand is on this child and we know that He will provide, and I hope that the funds come through soon so that we can see him after surgery recovering before we have to leave for home.
Thanks for your love and continued prayers,
The team was first told the surgery would be $4000 but then it turned out to be $14,000. As I prayed for this situation I felt like where our hearts may have dropped at the $10,000 increase..God saw an even bigger opportunity to lavish his love on Daniel and his family. IF you would like to donate for Daniels surgery please go to the DONATE tab and type DANIEL in the notes. If more then is needed comes in it will be sent over as well for supplies for the refugees.