Dhaka (Online): Bangladeshi father dub the “tree man” because of the bark-like warts that once covered his body will soon be able to leave hospital after ground breaking treatment for one of the world's rarest diseases.
Abul Bajandar has undergone at least 16 operations to remove five kilos (11 pounds) of growths from his hands and feet since his condition came to doctors' attention a year ago.
He said, "I was so worried about raising my daughter, I hope the curse won't return again."
The 27-year-old former rickshaw driver is one of only four people in the world ever to be diagnosed with epidermodysplasia verruciformis, an extremely rare genetic condition dubbed "tree-man disease" that left him unable to hold his three-year-old daughter.
Plastic surgery coordinator at Dhaka Medical College Hospital, Samanta Lal Sen said, "Bajandar's cure was a remarkable milestone in the history of medical science."
Sen said, "We operated on him at least 16 times to remove the warts. The hands and feet are now almost fine. He will be discharged within next 30 days after a couple of minor surgeries to perfect the shape of his hands."
Sen believes Bajandar could become the first person to be cured of the disease, provided the warts do not grow back.
Only last year an Indonesian man died of the rare genetic condition.
Speaking from his bed at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital, which has been treating him free of charge, Bajandar said the pain of his condition had been "unbearable".
Showing a bandaged hand he said, "I never thought I would ever be able to hold my kid with my hands, but now I feel so much better, I can hold my daughter in my lap and play with her. I can't wait to go back home."
Bajandar, who belongs to a poor family in a village of southern coastal district of Khulna, became a celebrity after his condition was widely covered in local and international media.
He met his wife Halima Khatun before he contracted the disease, but it had taken hold by the time they married, against her parents' wishes.
Since he was admitted in the hospital for the first surgery nearly a year ago all three family members have been living.
The duty doctor Nurun Nahar said, "He is probably the most loved and longest-staying patient in this hospital."
Initially, Bajandar thought the warts were harmless, but they eventually covered his hands and feet, forcing him to stop working.
He plans further to set up a small business utilizing donations received from well-wishers across the world.