‘I had a heart attack – and God saved me’

Early this year, Dr Loh Ban Chye, a 63-year-old general practitioner who is a member of Covenant Community Methodist Church, survived a heart attack and recovered from a highly fatal disease of the aorta – the body’s biggest blood vessel – all within one month. In a testimony he shares with Methodist Message Editor Peter Teo, he tells how God had answered his prayer and saved him.

“I WAS GOLFING with my wife Lili and two other members of our church on the evening of Feb 5 this year when I suddenly experienced intense pain in my chest and upper back. In the shower room, the pain became even more intense that I had to call for help.

A doctor friend said that I might have suffered a heart attack. Another friend immediately took me and my wife to Mt Elizabeth Hospital while I called my cardiologist friend to attend to me.

The cardiologist arrived five minutes after me. As my pain was more intense at the back, he ordered a CT scan to check on the vessel ailments in the lungs and aorta.

The result showed that there was bleeding in the aorta wall. As there was no visible dissection or penetrating ulcer of the aorta, immediate surgery was not needed. My cardiologist did a catheter angiogram for the heart vessels. e imaging test showed an 85-per cent blockage at a big left artery called LAD. A stent was inserted into the narrow segment, and the pain disappeared instantaneously while my eyes were still on the real-time X-ray screen.

While I was in hospital, friends, family and I prayed for God’s healing upon my aorta wall bleeding condition (also called haematoma).

Two days after my admission, another CT scan was done. e haematoma beneath the aorta wall was found to have shrunken although there was a tiny dot which might have been a small aorta ulcer. e doctors decided to leave it alone and would follow up with later checks.

Every night I prayed to God for further healing. I meditated on Mark 11:22 and 24 to petition for our prayers to be answered.

Mark 11:22 reads: “Have faith in God”, and verse 24 reads: “ erefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

I recovered well with no more symptoms, but my doctor insisted that I go for another CT scan before I return to work. On March 1, the repeated scan showed that the tiny dot had grown into a penetrating ulcer and a 1.9-cm of aorta dissection at another location, any of which could lead to death should it progress or burst.

My doctor told me that I must go immediately for a procedure called stent grafting through both my thigh arteries. A team of four doctors, comprising a cardio-vascular surgeon, two intervention radiologists and a cardio-vascular anesthetist, decided to perform the operation on the morning of March 5.

All of us were praying very hard for God’s mercy to help me get through the highly technically complicated procedure. We prayed that the ulcer or dissection would not worsen or it might end my life through massive bleeding.

The night before the procedure, I could not get myself to sleep. Lili urged me to read the Bible. I took the Bible and when I opened it, I saw Isaiah’s Songs of Praise. In reading Isaiah 12:4-6, I realised that God would help me through, but God wanted me to use my healing to praise His greatness and mercy. After that I became very calm and found myself ready to face the operation the following day. I went to bed and slept well that night.

Isaiah 12:4-6 reads: In that day you will say: “Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”

The next morning the procedure went very well. Two grafts (of c.18cm in length each) were inserted without their interfering with the blood supplies to my brain and other parts of my body.

God showed me His love and great care during a time of tremendous distress and despair. He was instrumental in every process of my treatment and recovery.

Let me give two instances:

My blood pressure had to be kept below 90 before the stent could be triggered to open up to seal up the aorta wall. Being hypertensive, I was so scared that the day before the procedure I asked my cardiologist to remind the anesthetist not to forget to lower my blood pressure. Later, he told me that in fact my blood pressure was low at 80 and extra medication was not needed.

Also, during my two admissions to the hospital, I had bouts of flu and was coughing very badly. I did not pass on the flu to Lili although she is prone to catching it. Being bodily weak in nature and much in distress, every night she prayed for God’s provision of strength to take care of me while I was recuperating.

At about the same time, my god-daughter, Wendy, was also down with a bout of face shingles and was on three weeks of medical leave. As she was living alone, Lili invited her to stay with us so that Lili could also take care of her.

Everything went on so well that recently, after I had recovered, one of the doctors who operated on me, commented that “someone up there must be taking good care of you”.

Yes indeed, God took great care of me, and with His grace and love, I am able to share His goodness and promise of salvation with readers of Methodist Message.

I became a Christian after my daughter, Audrey, went home to the Lord 13 years ago in a diving accident. Lili and my son Adrian had accepted Christ much earlier. Today, we have recovered from our loss, and we are living a life of tranquility (as she would wish us to do). My family and I praise our Almighty God every day and night. He is our Comforter and we know that He will give us salvation too.

If our loving and precious God could bless me, I am sure He will also bless every one of you as long as you believe in His Word and are in covenant with Him always.”