A few months ago, I watched a documentary about an Indonesian man, Dede. Long story short, he looks like this:
He has a skin disease called Epidermodysplasia verruciformis, people often refer to him as Tree Man, because his physical features are half human and half tree. There are only two others like him in the world.
Dede Koswara is a 35 year old fisherman in Indonesia. As a teenager, he cut his knee, and ever since then strange growths have covered his body. The growths on his hands and feet look especially like tree roots, and the large patches on his skin resemble the bark of a tree. As such, he’s simply called Tree Man.
Unsurprisingly, Dede has difficulty functioning, since he can’t use his hands and his feet are often a hindrance. He lost his job and his neighbors shunned him. His wife abandoned him, despite their two children. To support them, he began working at carnival freak shows.
I felt terrible after reading that! Here's another picture:
Doctors in the United States believed they could treat Dede. After months of negotiations, Dede was finally treated. He underwent extensive surgery, and 13 lbs (6 kg) of overgrown warts were removed from his body. The surgery had three parts. Firstly, they removed the thick layer of wart tissue and the immense “roots” from his hands. Secondly, they removed the smaller patches of warts from the rest of his body. Thirdly, they grafted skin over his hands, where the skin was removed. The hope was that his growths would not return, or would at least return very slowly.
This, sadly, was not the case. Though 95% of his warts were removed, they grew back, and doctors estimated that it would take two surgeries a year for the rest of his life to keep them away. However, the surgery was far from a total failure. Though he will never be fully cured, Dede regained much functionality. He could feed himself, use a cell phone, and hold a pen, for example – all of which were things he could not do before. From the hospital, he remarked: “What I really want first is to get better and find a job. But then, one day, who knows? I might meet a girl and get married.” It’s reported that he has become a fan of Sudoku, since he can now hold a pen.
This is just so unusual and things like this really interest me. It really sucks that not many people know about this skin disease and how the people who suffer from it live their lives struggling. So I guess you could say I posted this on my blog to create awareness.
What do you guys think about this disease?
Personally, I feel bad for the people who have it and the fact that Dede is looked at as a 'freak' in a circus is very disheartening. I hope they find a cure!
Click here for further information and more pictures and videos!