The Woman with the huge leg

Vicki Borken, her daughter and her huge leg

Vicki Borken, her daughter and her huge leg

  • Vicki Borken is a 45-year old woman from Miami, U.S.A. who has rare type of the condition called “Lymphedema”, which has made her left leg grow to a massive size.
  • Vicki’s foot and leg started to grow abnormally when she was 2 years old, now it is 102 cm around and weighs 39 kg. Vicki’s case of Lymphedema is one of the largest in the U.S.
  • Lymphedema is swelling of the tissue. Lymphedema is caused by a faulty lymphatic system. The lymphatic system collects and filters the tissue fluid of the body, helping fight infections. Lymphedema causes the fluids to be kept localized at one area, causing it to swell.
  • Vicki’s swelling on her leg has an infection that risks spreading to her whole body, poisoning her blood.
  • Vicki fears her condition will be genetically inherited by her 8 year old daughter, something that’s possible.
  • Vicki things her swelling began after she had a dresser falling on her leg when she was young.
  • Each morning, Vicki has to wash and dress her leg – a task which takes 3 hours.
  • Vicki’s daughter helps Vicki with the protecting bandaging of her leg, a job she has been doing every morning since she was 3 years old.
  • There are different ways of treating lymphedema. One is a special type of massage to encourage the lymphatic system to work as it should. Another one is a method which is performed by the Swedish surgeon Dr. Håkan Brorson, where fat is drained from the bodypart by liposuction.

Sources and further reading:

The Vicki Borken Story
Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
My Shocking Story: episode information

The Man with no face

Jose Mestre - The Man with no face

Jose Mestre - The Man with no face

  • Jose Mestre from Portugal has a gigantic life threatening tumor covering his face.
  • Jose Mestre was born in 1957 in Lisabon, Portugal. He was born with a birthmark on his face, and at the age of 14, it began to swell.
  • Since Jose was a teenager, the tumor has been growing, covering his lips and one of his eyes. The tumor is now 33 cm long and weighs around 3 kg.
Jose Mestre as a teenager

Jose Mestre as a teenager

  • The growth is a condition called a vascular malformation –a collection of blood vessels that have expanded.
  • If it wasn’t for all the blood and its vessels in the growth, Jose said he would cut it all off.
  • Jose’s mouth has become a part of his tumor, causing his teeth to breaking and twisting.
  • In 2008, at the age of 51, Jose finally got the courage to try a surgical procedure. If his tumor is not removed, he is in a great risk to be suffocated by it.
  • Jose went to London with his sister and his niece to be observed and hopefully – relieved from his tumor.
  • At a surgery, there is a great risk because all of the potential blood loss when trying to remove the tumor. Another problem is that Jose is a Jehovah’s witness and can’t accept the procedure’s necessary blood transfusion.
  • After a surgical procedure, Jose would be left with a raw face which would need reconstruction. The problem with this is that Jose wouldn’t be able to show facial expressions.

Sources and further reading:

The Telegraph-article
My Shocking Story: episode information

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