A 20-year old man from Kenya who has been dealing with a 3-foot penis and 11-pound testicles for years underwent life-changing surgery. He has finally gotten his life back after his ordeal with elephantiasis.
A Heavy Burden
Horace Owiti Opiyo, called Forence by his peers, had a cyst removed from his genitals in 2006. Merely a year later, the cyst returned. What began as a cyst the size of a fist continued to grow until his penis had grown to almost a meter long and five kilograms in weight. However, he did not have the funds to get another surgery.
He was forced to quit his studies because his condition prevented him from wearing clothes or walking with ease. He even tried to use herbal medications that did not help. Because of his ordeal, he had even begun to feel that he was cursed.
"It could be a curse. I knew this was not God's work, but the devil's," said Forence of his ordeal.
Help From Social Media
Fortunately for Forence, a neighbor shared his story through social media where it quickly went viral and got the attention of Olivia Ranguma, the Kisumu county governor's wife, who immediately sent an ambulance to have him checked by a doctor.
Thanks to the doctors who performed two surgeries on Forence, his scrotum and penis has been reduced in size and reconstructed so that it will remain usable.
"When I got up I was surprised that my body was so light. All the heaviness had gone. I'm swimming now. I couldn't go anywhere near the water because of the heaviness of that thing," said Forence. Forence is now looking into continuing his education and to one day have his own family.
Forence was diagnosed with scrotal elephantiasis. Elephantiasis or lymphatic filariasis is a tropical disease that occurs when the body is infected with filarial parasites that are often transmitted through the bites of mosquito species such as the Culex and Aedes mosquitoes.
The tissue swelling or thickening leads to physical deformities that can affect extremities, breasts, and genitals. These could eventually lead to physical disability, social stigma, loss of income-generating opportunities, and poor mental health.
In the year 2000, 120 million people were affected by lymphatic filariasis, 40 million of whom were disfigured and incapacitated. As such, the World Health Organization (WHO) utilizes preventative chemotherapy, morbidity management and disability prevention activities, and mosquito control to reduce lymphatic filariasis cases as well as other mosquito-borne diseases.