By Bilal Kuchay
A Pakistani teenager has tied the knot with a woman he met in the hospital five months ago doctors removed a 5st tumour from his hip.
Muhammad Essa Pallari, 19, from Nooriabad in Karachi, Pakistan, suffers from a rare condition plexiform Neurofibromatosis – a genetic disorder that affects the normal growth and development of cell tissue.
He was bedridden for a year before being operated at Dr Ruth Pfau Hospital in March this year in a complicated four-hour-long surgery.
Essa was kept under observation for several weeks and during this crucial phase of his life, he met his future wife, 22-year-old Faiza Khan, a divorcee and mum-of-two.
Essa said: “Her sister was also admitted in the same ward of the hospital. She was very caring and would often help my mother in making tea or serve food.
“We quickly became friends and I eventually fall for her kindness.
“She was so helpful and kind during the most toughest days of my life.
“I just asked her to marry me when my all surgeries will be done but she insisted on marrying me before my second surgery which made me fall more deeper in love with her.”
Faiza said she was shocked when Essa proposed her.
The new bride said: “I didn’t know that Essa would propose to me.
“My sister was also admitted in the same hospital.
“After he underwent the surgery, I used to visit him and would ask for his condition. We starting getting close to each other and would often talk at length.
“On the day he was getting discharged from the hospital, he asked for my mobile number.
“We started talking to each other regularly and soon we started liking each other.
“A few days later Essa was on a visit to hospital for his check-up and he asked me to meet him at Jinnah Mausoleum.
“I was shocked when he proposed me. I never expected that he will propose me.
“I left the place without answering him. I wanted to say yes but I was shy.”
Essa then sent his parents to Faiza’s home with a formal marriage proposal.
Faiza’s parents accepted the proposal and the duo got married on August 14 during a simple wedding ceremony, which was attended only by the members of the two families and few close relatives.
Essa’s parents had never thought that within months after the surgery, Essa would be married to Faiza.
His mum, Khatija Pallari, said: “Owing to his condition, we never thought that our son will ever get married.
“We had lost hopes that he will be even able to walk again.”
Essa, who couldn’t even walk and was completely bedridden for last one year, first showed the signs of Plexiform Neurofibromatosis six years ago.
He noticed swelling in his right thigh in the form of a mass no bigger than a table tennis ball.
The poverty-stricken family ignored the tumour and it kept growing.
In a year, it grew to an enormous size covering his entire thigh and hip.
A social activist named Zulfiqar Solangi had posted Essa’s pictures on Facebook and asked people to help.
Local government officials then intervened and offered him free treatment and he was admitted in Dr Ruth Pfau Hospital in Karachi.
Surgeons at the hospital were stunned at the size with one confirming it is the biggest he has ever removed from any patient in Pakistan during his career.
Dr Naushad Sheikh had said: “In my entire career, I’ve never seen such a massive tumour being removed from any patient in Pakistan.
“It was a very complicated surgery and took us four hours to remove the tumour, weighing almost 35kg, from the patient’s hip.”
FACT BOX: WHAT IS PLEXIFORM NEUROFIBROMA?
Plexiform Neurofibromas are, in most cases, benign tumours of the peripheral nerves, also called a peripheral nerve sheath tumour (PNST).
They are caused by genetic mutations.
The tumour may arise from the nerves underneath the skin surface, or from nerves deep within the body. They can occur anywhere in the body and grow to fairly large sizes.
The frequent sites include the head and neck region, arms, legs, chest, and abdomen.