It's a new beginning for the man formerly known as "tree man." Abul Bajandar, whose hands and feet were covered in giant warts that looked like tree bark, underwent his first surgery to remove the growths last February. Now—nearly a year and at least 16 operations later—the 27-year-old Bangladeshi man's hands and feet are "almost fine," Samanta Lal Sen tells AFP. The plastic surgery coordinator at Dhaka Medical College Hospital says Bajandar still needs a few small surgeries to "perfect the shape of his hands" but should be able to go home for the first time in a year in the coming weeks. Provided the warts don't return, Bajandar will likely be the first person ever cured of epidermodysplasia verruciformis.
Rare Disease Report has an in-depth explanation of epidermodysplasia verruciformis, an extremely rare hereditary condition involving "widespread" infection by human papillomavirus. Bajandar, believed to be one of four people ever diagnosed with the disease, has been living with it for a decade, CNN reports. He says the pain of it was "unbearable." He was shunned by his village, his marriage to his wife was opposed by her parents, he had to stop working as a rickshaw driver, and he was unable to hold his 3-year-old daughter. He joked the only thing he could do was scratch his neck. But after doctors removed 11 pounds of growths, that's about to change. "I feel so much better. I can hold my daughter in my lap and play with her," Bajandar tells AFP. "I hope the curse won't return again." (This rare disease can make you think you're dead.)