After developing abnormal growths across her face when she was a child, Wiang Boonmee, 63, of Thailand, has since gone blind as the unchecked tumors continue to twist her nose and mouth out of shape. It’s gotten to the point where it looks as though Wiang’s face is melting, but she is refusing medical intervention.
Despite her rare condition, Wiang recently moved from her home in rural Surin province to the capital city of Bangkok where she makes a living selling accessories on the sidewalk.
Medics were contacted last week regarding her condition, which is said to be related to neurofibromatosis, but Wiang, a grandmother of two, refused help because she is afraid of dying on the operating table.
“I have had this problem for a long time. More than I can remember. I have survived and I’m healthy and have a job,” she said, adding, “If I have an operation I might never wake up. I’m afraid I would not survive it.”
Grateful for whatever life brings her, Wiang insists that she’s not suffering.
“I am sure she has a hard life but she is still working hard. She does not beg. She sells flowers and other small things. I’d really like to see her receive help,” said Dr. Sunura Ourairat, President of Rangsit University, who visited Wiang on the street on Friday to offer to help her get medical attention.
He added, “I have asked for assistance from the Ministry of Public Health and asked for doctors to visit this grandmother. She is blind and originally from the north east region. We are welcome and ready to help with surgery, but she is afraid of dying. She said thank you to everybody for trying to help. We will continue to see what can be done for her.”
Neurofibromatosis is a genetic condition that often begins in childhood and causes benign tumors to grow on nerve tissue. In the developed world, the condition is most often treated in the early stages with surgery.
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