Living With Hole In The Heart (Part 1)

Hole In The Heart

I was born with a Congenital Heart Defect, in simple words it’s a HOLE in the HEART. Mine was diagnose with a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD). Basically the hole (defect) occurs in the wall (septum) that separates the lower chambers (ventricles) of the heart, allowing blood to flow from the left to the right side of the heart. 

As a result, the oxygen-rich blood is then pumped back to the lungs rather than out to the body, making the heart work harder. Luckily mine was a small VSD and it stayed as such for more than 45 years. Thankfully no surgery or long term medication was needed.

Early Childhood as VSD heart patient

I was told by my parents that when I was a baby doctor told them to  check my finger nails frequently to see if it turns blue or not. Undoubtedly blue fingernails are caused by a low level or lack of oxygen circulating in your red blood cells. Therefore if they notice it any color change I’ll be brought to the hospital for further check up. Hence for the first few months they were living in fear of my condition.

Doctors said that if my condition worsens and the hole is grew bigger, I might have to go for a surgery to fix it and might be on a long term medication. After all things considered, my parents decided to look for an alternative treatment and second opinion. Thus they brought me to see a TCM sensei.

My life long journey now begins with this sensei. Dr. Loo is a very knowledgeable TCM practitioner. He prescribe some herbs and told my parent to boil it for me to drink few times every week. It was so bitter that I almost didn’t want to drink anymore after the 1st try. Luckily I didn’t stop and the medication actually works.

It help to strengthen my body and made the blood circulate better. After a few years, Dr. Loo changed my medication to powder form which tasted better. As a matter of fact, I owed my life to him. Eventually I was able to live a normal healthy life without surgery or long term medication. Hence I continued his regimen all they way until my secondary school years. Thank you very much, Dr. Loo!

Heart Warming Primary School Years

Now that I grew up healthy and was able to lead a normal life but with some exceptions. Thus having a hole in the heart I wasn’t allowed to join any sport events during my primary years. I had a doctor letter to exempting me from doing strenuous exercise. Any PE or house training session I would just have my attendance taken and sit by the side to see all my friends having fun.

I’m thankful to be alive but I’m not out of the woods yet. Every few months I’ll need to go back to the hospital for medical check up. Once every half a year I would need to do either ECG or Echo depending on the doctors instruction. 

ECG (electrocardiogram) is a simple test that can be used to check the rhythm and electrical activity of your heart. An Echocardiogram is a test of the heart’s action that uses ultrasound waves to produce a visual display in order to diagnose or monitor heart disease. 

Hole Heartedly Secondary School Years

I joined scouts when I was in primary and continued in my secondary school years. Whenever there’s a camping trip, I wasn’t allowed to go unless it’s held in the school compound. Hence I envy my friends that was able to join the Jamboree at Kota Kinabalu, Gunung Tahan and other parts of the state. But having a hole in the heart didn’t stop me from enjoying my life.

The good news however is that I was told that I could do some light exercise hence I pick up badminton. From then on this is my form of exercise for the next 30+ years. Seeing that I was healthy enough to exercise, after form 5, I went cycling with my buddies. It was an unforgettable memory.

We started cycling up Genting Highlands, Fraser’s Hill, all the way down to Melaka and many more off road adventures. Now this is life. I enjoyed it so much. After all the hardship I went through in my early years, now I’m able to do the things I enjoy doing. Therefore NEVER GIVE UP in life and keep fighting whatever that is thrown at us. Persistent will prevail. 

Stay tuned for the next chapter of my life where I head to college and graduate from there.


Contributor : BK Tan (Web Designer)

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