Tree Man of Java - Dede Koswara Picture
Dede Koswara, 37, who is also known as ‘The Tree Man of Java’ had underwent four major operations that hacked away the bark like tissue sprouting from his hands and feet. Dede was able to see the outline of his toes for the first time as medics removed more than 4lbs of warts from his body. Spending his last 20 years (his ordeal started when he was 15 and cut his knee where a small wart developed and spread) with the bizarre condition, Dede expressed that he wants to get better and find a job and hopes that one day he will meet a girl and get married.
"This is the most remarkable case, the most severe case, I have seen in my career," said American doctor Anthony Gaspari at a news conference in Bandung, about a two-hour drive from capital city Jakarta.
For Dede (who is known by his first name), what started as a simple wart on his knee as a teenager spiraled his life out of control when it became infected. Treelike growths gradually spread all over his legs, arms, chest and face.
He became physically unable to do basic functions and everyday tasks.
As a result of his condition, Dede lost his job, and his wife left him. He moved in with his parents and has been supported by extended family. His two kids often visit him at the hospital.
Doctors have learned that Dede has a defect in his immune system. This defect doesn't allow him to control the type of human papilloma virus -- an extremely common virus that most of us develop an immunity to -- causing the warty growths on his skin. Their treatment plan is to control the tumorous growths and restore his immune system.
Hopes are high for Dede to have a second chance at life.