A man in Nepal unable to marry due to his 11kg facial tumour – which he carried in a bag balanced on his head for 40 years – has started a new life thanks to life changing surgery.
Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, 60, from Taplejung, in eastern Nepal, suffered a severe case of Neurofibromatosis since he was 12 years old.
A tumour had continued to grow over the years until it weighed a staggering 11kg.
He had visited many different doctors but all of them told him there was nothing they could do until he met Dr Jaswan Shakya, at Sushma Koirala Memorial Hospital, in Kathmandu, earlier this year.
Dr Shakya said: ‘I have seen many patients with small tumors covering the face but never one as big as this. I was really shocked to see him at first. I’ve done these surgeries for many years but this is the biggest tumor I’d ever seen in Nepal.’
Krishna, who lives with his sister and mother, said a small tumour appeared on his head when he was just 12-years-old and slowly it increased in size. Eventually, it had grown to such a huge size people were afraid of him.
He has never been able to get married, find a job or build friendships.
‘People were too scared to speak to me,’ he said.
‘They would look at my face and walk in the opposite direction. It has been a very lonely life.’
He met with doctors at several hospitals in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, but they all concluded there was no surgery or treatment possible.
But earlier this year he was walking the streets of the city when an NGO approached him and suggested he meet with Dr Jaswan Shakya.
Dr Shakya, a medical director and cosmetic surgeon at Sushma Koirala Memorial Hospital, in Kathmandu, said: ‘He was born with a genetic disorder. But due to neglect the tumour had grown to a large size. Its heavy weight meant he found it difficult to do normal day-to-day things. It was so heavy and long, he used to carry it in a bag.
‘The extra skin was in a bad way. Due to friction it was infected and extremely smelly. Nobody came close to him or even talked to him. He had been abandoned by his community and lived his life pretty much alone.’
As soon as Dr Shakya decided to treat Krishna, he was admitted and given a hot shower and clean clothes.
And then a team of 11 doctors planned his complex surgery.
In April this year, the team removed 11kg of skin during a seven-hour operation.
Dr Shakya, who offered his services free of charge, said: ‘This was possibly the biggest tumour we have ever operated on so it made the surgery very challenging. But to see his face after was wonderful.
He is very comfortable now. A much happier man.
‘I have no idea how he got about with so much skin.’
‘He still has many small tumours all over his body but we will deal with them in the future. For now, he is free of the huge weight that he’d carried for decades. Such a relief for him.’
Now, Krishna is now working in a job he loves in the local farming fields and said it’s like he’s been reborn.
‘It’s like a rebirth for m,’ he said. ‘I used to hate looking at myself in the mirror and nobody in my village talked to me but now life is very different. My life has drastically changed after the surgery. Everyone is now friendly with me. I am more confident and I love to work. It feels good to earn money for myself. I am so happy. I am extremely thankful to the doctor for helping me. He has given me a completely new life.’