‘Tree Man’ Goes Home after Wart Surgery

JAKARTA ~ A West Java villager dubbed “Tree Man” for massive bark-like warts on his body returned home on Monday after doctors removed six kilograms of the growths.

Dede, 37, was taken home from Bandung after nine months of operations to remove the woody growths that had smothered his hands and feet, doctor Rahmat Winata said.

He said he hoped to return to normal life and find a new wife after decades burdened by the root-like growths, which had left him unable to move and work except in a travelling “freak show.”

“Now I can live with my children … I can move and go anywhere,” Dede said, back home in his village.

“I haven’t got any plans to get married yet, but I would like to.”

Dede had lived alone in the village after his wife left him and his teenage children went to stay with relatives because he could no longer care for them.

He said he had not yet talked to his ex-wife and did not know what he would do for work now that he was once again able to freely move his limbs.

His massive warts, which began growing out of control when he was still a teenager, were diagnosed last year by a US dermatologist as the result of a combination of the human papilloma virus and a genetic disorder that means his immune system is too weak to fight them off.

He will return to hospital at the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan in October for at least one more operation – the ninth – to remove the remaining 300 grams of the growths, doctor Winata said.

He has been given a strong course of medicine, including vitamin A, in an attempt to prevent the return of the growths, Winata said.

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