Friday, December 10, 2010

Tree Man (Half human/ half tree?)

Note: I'm going to try to make this post as interesting as possible because I don't know if other people will find it as fascinating as I did...

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!


  1. wow, must be a very serious type of disease =/
    Yes, i never knew about this before you told me abt it too.. blah and there's no "real" cure...
    oh btw, haha i jz found out that you didn't actually "type" much in this post but jz copy pasted =P

  2. Yeah it is :/
    Haha, yeah, I think the article itself explained it best :P

  3. OMG... i already watch on news or documentaries about different or unusual conditions like this.. but whenever I found another issues like this.. it never fails to surprise me..!!

    I always complain with my life, and this post makes me feel I must be thankful of everything, because other people are striving to have a normal one...

  4. I have watched his Documentary and I felt really bad for him. It sucks that most people in these types of situations can never get the help they need because of where they live. Mostly from India, Indonesia, Thailand etc.. Had he just went to the hospital when he was a boy maybe this would have been prevented or at least treated so he could lead a somewhat normal life. Last night I watched a documentary about a little 6 year old boy who had a parasitic twin coming out of his stomach. It was horrible but I thanked the stars that he had parents who cared for him enough to get him treatment. That they were able to get him help at such a young age instead of later on in life.

    I feel as though they won't have it cured any time soon because like you said or the article said there are only 3 people who have this. I think people are more concerned with AIDS, Cancer and other diseases that affect millions of people. It's sad and disheartening but completely true.

  5. I heard briefly about this once before, but I didn't know it was a disease.. I think someone told me that he was a genetic experiment or something and I just believed it.
    But that's terrible, and indeed very disheartening that humans look at illness as something to be shunned and looked down upon.
    It's good to see he has faith in the future, though.

    So strange though, how biological mutations work..

  6. Kamila: Yeah, our life is so much simpler than his, he can barely do normal things to get through the day. I guess we should appreciate and be grateful for what we have.

    Adventure Spot: Omg, a twin in his stomach? :/
    Yeah, people are more concerned about diseases a higher quantity of people suffer from.

    Ashley: I know, right? I was so shocked when I saw it.

  7. Such a nice looking young man. I find myself asking the age old question,"why?" We each have our own personal "tests" and "struggles" in life, but my gosh,how small they seem when you realize the people who must endure so much ! I do believe we do not hold all the answers to our "whys" but that one day we will come to know and that we won't be disappointed.

  8. pthib: Yup, our struggles definitely seem non-existent compared to his.

  9. Okay, I admit.. First reaction upon reading this post.. "Gawd! What the heck is that??? That's freaky!!"... Sorry, only human.

    I actually didn't know that a disease like this one exists.. so yeah, thank you for sharing.

    After everything that has happened to this guy (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), he still manages to smile.. A genuine smile.

    Hmm...... Kinda makes me ponder about my life a bit...

    I saw your link from Kamila.. Just dropping by here.

  10. Leah: I think your first reaction was perfectly normal.
    It does make you think about your own life, doesn't it?
    Thanks for stopping by :)

  11. think about this. what if this happened to you?