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Warts and all

April 16, 2008 - Cindy Votruba
I was watching Fox 9 news last night and saw a headline about a man who had four pounds of warts surgically removed from his hands and feet. Since I didn’t get to see the news segment, I started looking around online, using the search terms “four pounds of warts removed.”

What popped up was a story about a 37-year-old man from Indonesia who had gotten warts from a cut on his leg when he was 15. As the warts grew and spread, Dede Koswara had to quit his job as a fisherman and joined a freak show to earn money. He was known as the “Tree Man.”

In the news story I found, there were links as to what Koswara looked like before his surgery. My first reaction (and of course being half-Bohemian, I let out a little cuss) was “how the #$%@?” How did his hands and feet ended up looking like that? Last year I had a little colony of warts removed from the bottom of my left foot. I thought that was bad enough. Then I saw Koswara (http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,23542714-2,00.html). There’s links to more photos. If this link doesn’t work, just use the search terms I used above. I can see why Koswara was billed as “The Tree Man,” it looked like he was growing branches and leaves from his arms and legs.

Turns out that Koswara has the human papiloma virus (HPV) and a rare immume system deficiency.

After his first surgery, Koswara and his father can now see the outline of his toes. He’s become addicted to Sukoko puzzles and hopes one day to meet a girl and get married. He’s able to wear flip-flops. I remember when I had that patch of warts removed earlier last year, I didn’t feel self-conscious about wearing flip-flops anymore.

Koswara is set to have a couple more surgeries to graft undamaged skin onto his hands, feet and face.

 
 

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