Morbidity 101: Van der Hoeve Syndrome

Another sub-category under Health has now been created and named Morbidity 101. The first I will feature is the latest and newest disease or morbidity I was told by an ENT Specialist to be having: Van der Hoeve Syndrome.

The condition is new to my knowledge and I bet not too many health professionals know of this condition. It is actually one of the eight major classifications of Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) and is characterized by the presence of three symptoms or manifestations: blue sclera, hearing loss and osteoporosis, with known fractures. I have all three features.

The very first disease I was diagnosed with was OI, which is a genetic disorder which affects the bones. I was born with it and it was passed on to me by my father, including my three other sisters. OI is commonly-called “brittle bone disease” and it is the reason for my gradual hearing loss and periodic fractures. The white of my eyes (sclera) are colored blue.

This is my latest photo which was used for the renewal of my Civil ID. You won’t miss seeing my eyes to be blue (the normally white part).

Van der Hoeve Syndrome is named after a Dutch Opthalmologist Jan van der Hoeve who characterized the condition as a late-effect of OI. It is a progressive disease and doesn’t improve as the patient ages.

At the moment, at age 60, I cannot hear at all without my bilateral hearing aids. And when I wear the gadgets, I can only hear sounds. When someone talks to me, I hear the sound of the voice and with my improving ability to lip-read, I sometimes understand what is being said to me. When at home, I don’t wear the hearing aids and I totally rely on lip-reading and I have no problem communicating with my husband Waleed. I easily get what he is talking about. But with my two companions at home, very seldom I understand what they are talking about so they end up writing for me to read. It’s faster that way, actually.

Whenever I go to see a doctor, I try to understand what is being said but most of the times my caregiver-cum-personal driver jots down notes for me to read. I have had fractures in the past and the last one was in August 2016 and is called comminuted fracture of the patella, left knee. It is a type of fracture which bone breaks into more than one fragments. I am due this October 2017 for a knee surgery to remove the wires and metals fixed in order for the knee cap to heal.

About Author

Freda Editha O. Contreras
Writing is a God-given talent which I try to utilize the good way. I used it as a means to earn a living, my very first job after graduating from college, when I got hired as an Information Writer by the Provincial Government of Antique through Governor Enrique A. Zaldivar in January 1982. By profession, I am a Registered Nurse, and was only able to practice it when I got recruited to work in a private hospital in Kuwait. This was in November 1987 and since then I have been living in Kuwait, now retired since June 2002. Because of my knack in writing I got hired in 1994 to write for Kuwait Times and later became an Editor of 'Pinoy News' a weekly supplement of KT. In March 1996 I published the very first independent Filipino newspaper in Kuwait and the Gulf bannered as Pinoy Expat News or PEN. The paper lasted for only 10 weekly issues. This was followed by another publication and came out first as an insert of an ad paper and later as a separate tabloid. I used then 'Pinoy News' as it was my idea the first time it was used for Kuwait Times. This again failed and produced only three weekly issues. I then turned to the Internet and in 1999 I got hired as a Contributing Editor of, a writers' portal on the web. The last of my articles was published December 31, 2002 but my topic 'Overseas Filipino Workers' was still visible until January 2006. All the 38 articles I wrote have been compiled into a book which I published in August 2007. I discovered blogging in 2006 but was not really serious about my writing. I wrote according to my whim. Having this blog under my own domain name is now a welcome development and I plan to concentrate again in writing. As is commonly said: "A writer will always be a writer."

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