Dede Koswara has spent much of his life covered in tree-like growths. His struggle began at the age of 15, when he cut his knee in an accident. A small wart popped up on his lower leg --and then spread out of control. The growths on his arms alone weighed 12 pounds! He even had insects living inside of them! For several years, he was able to earn a living as a builder and fisherman, but was forced to abandon those jobs as his condition worsened.
What was causing all of those mysterious growths on his body? Believe it or not, it's a rare genetic defect that prevented him from fighting off the HPV virus. In 2008, "tree man" underwent surgery to have more than four pounds of the warts removed from his body. Since then, he's been able to regain partial use of his hands.
HLN’s Mike Galanos spoke with a preventative medicine specialist to find out more about this unusual condition.