By Taniya Dutta
An Indian teen whose leg has swollen to the size of a football is so depressed to depend on his widowed mother that he thinks he is a burden on his family.
Tulsi Adivasi is 18 years old but due to the unknown disease that has engulfed his left leg and bloated it to a whopping 24 kilos, his growth is contorted.
He cannot stand straight and walking for him is a pain.
Tulsi spends his days sitting in one position because any movement is excruciatingly tedious for the frail youngster.
“I cannot take the weight of this leg anymore.
“This is so heavy that I cannot even lift my leg and have to walk using crutches.
“The whole village sympathises with me; young children laugh at me and are afraid of my leg,” said the glum youth.
Born to a poverty-stricken family in Madhya Pradesh in central India, Tulsi had developed an infection on his left leg when he was 11 years old.
However, because of the lack of education and money, his widowed mother Guddi did not take him to medical doctors, instead she relied on witch doctors and quacks for his treatment.
Guddi, who earns £12 a month from working in the fields, said: “My husband had died ten years ago. Ever since I have been working day and night to make ends meet. I have to feed my four children.
“There are days when we have nothing to eat at all. We are living in forests where there is no mode of transportation available for commuting and no doctor dares to come here because of irregular terrain.
“His treatment meant I had to take him to town but I had no money for transport or to give doctor for fees and medicines.”
The teenager got some initial relief but with time and no proper treatment, the severity of Tulsi’s condition has only grown worse.
The lump on his leg has spread in his foot and his fingers are not even visible under the flesh.
While he has not been diagnosed yet, Tulsi’s symptoms look like a case of Elephantiasis- a variety of diseases where parts of a person’s body swell to massive proportions caused by parasitic worms known as filarial worms.
And in most cases, the disease have no symptoms but some people develop severe swelling in the arms and legs.
“I do not know what the disease is but I hope that there is some treatment available,” Tulis said adding that if he gets treated, he would like to help his ailing mother run the family.
“Because of the weight of the leg, I can do nothing and work is just a dream. I have to depend on my mother and I feel like a burden on her.
“She is old and ailing but has to work day in and day out to feed us. But if I can get a treatment and get legs back I can also start working and help my mother and raising my brothers and sister.”