Dede Koswara the Indonesian "tree man" has been written about and filmed extensively over the last couple of years. For those who don't know his story you can check it out on You Tube. He suffers from an extremely rare disease, whereby his body can't prevent the continual spreading of the common wart virus, which manifests in ugly tree-like growths on his hands and feet and warts over much of his body.
It had reduced him to the only job he could get, in a circus 'freak show'. He couldn't work as a fisherman or look after his two children and his wife left him. If things could be worse you would have a hard time thinking of how. His plight was captured on film for the Discovery Channel and an American dermatologist Dr. Anthony Gaspari saw it one night and became fascinated. The documentary team took him to Indonesia to meet Dede and he sent samples back for testing in the lab. He said:- "I've never seen anything like it in my life".
I also became fascinated by his case, but not for medical reasons. I saw a TV show "My Shocking Story" and the opening line got me in:- "36 year old fisherman Dede...". This whole unfolding episode 'Part 2 Tree Man, The Cure' was about what happened in this one man's important year of revolution. Remember there are two elements to the revoltuion. The first is that it is an upheval and the commencement of a new 12 year cycle and often this age 36 cycle coming as it does in mid-life, brings the most important changes. Secondly and this is equally important:-"as we experience it we are not fully in control of the outcomes". Fateful events can occur. The wheel is in spin and you are that roulette ball for 12 months. Life Cycles is brand new, totally different and has the most dramatic and statistically significant case history evidence supporting it. Don't think Dede's life isn't the same as your life, if you know what I mean.
Anyway back to the story. Dr. Gaspari wants to try a drug regime with a Vitamin A base. However the Indonesian Government did not like him sending samples to the US and wouldn't allow Dede to be taken there for treatment either. There is a clash of national pride here with the President of Indonesia personally involved. He orders Dede to be taken to hospital and that local doctors operate to get rid of the warts.
Now there is a constant media scrum at the hospital with every move reported. Dede feels alone and scared. Dr. Gaspari wants to join the Indonesian doctors and get involved but there is resistance. He knows surgery alone won't work. Then there is an about-face and Dr. Gaspari gets invited over and discusses a new treatment option involving chemotherapy. The local doctors want to do a skin graft, but Gaspari convinces them to hold off till he gets the chemotherapy drugs.
The wheel is spinning so hard it's difficult to keep pace. Unfortuneatly this is not Hollywood and Gaspari can't get the drugs in time and the difficult and dangerous skin graft goes ahead, with results looking bad. Now another twist and the chemo drugs arrive post-op and it looks like the combination will work. Dede is presented to the world as 90% cured of this terrible disease. He even gets a female admirer who contacts him and he says he wants to marry her.
I don't want to leave a stone unturned so I combed the net to find out what has happened since. The best I can come up with is that Dede's warts have grown back somewhat and a further operation happened at the beginning of the year. So it's not a complete fairytale, but I'm sure you can agree it's one incredible year in this man's life that turned the world media spotlight on and involved a President and a leading US medical expert.
Don't worry I'll be back next month with a complete change of pace and the most dramatic evidence yet of what it's like to live in a Year of Revolution. Till then :-"may the cycles always bring you good fortune".