Link #63: Jose Mestre: The Man with Tumours for a Face
In the last article, we spoke about how crows can remember the faces of people who threaten them. However, even crows, with their good memories, would have trouble remembering Jose Mestre’s face. The reason for this is that his face was at one time completely covered with tumours.
In fact, if having tumours all over his face wasn’t enough; Mestre had other troubles to contend with too. Are you curious about Mestre and how he dealt with a problem that most people wouldn’t be able to stomach? Read on.
How Did Jose Mestre’s Face Get Covered with Tumours?
Jose Mestre is an individual from Portugal who was born with a disease known as haemangioma. Haemangioma is a disease where certain blood vessels don’t ever stop growing. Jose Mestre had haemangioma of the face when he was born.
In his early years, Jose Mestre’s vessels grew at a relatively normal rate because tumours usually tend to not grow alarmingly till the individual hits puberty. So, when Mestre turned 14, the blood vessels in his face experienced a spurt in their growth rate.
They began to grow so fast that they started covering his face. They grew so large that they ended up weighing a massive five and a half kilograms. As a matter of fact, the tumours ended up growing to cover and destroy his left eye and his mouth. As a result, he couldn’t see from his left eye and even had trouble eating.
Every time he tried to eat, he would risk bleeding into his mouth and onto his tongue. The worst aspect of Mestre’s condition was that he couldn’t seek out proper treatment because his mother wouldn’t let him get a blood transfusion. Mestre’s mother was a Jehovah’s Witness which is a faith that bans blood transfusions, regardless of the validity of the reasons for it.
Jose Mestre could only seek out medical treatment once his mother passed away. He was encouraged and persuaded to do so by his sister who wanted him to get better. However, even the desire to seek out medical treatment was not enough at the time because Mestre’s condition had progressed too far.
In the end, Mestre was helped by a stranger from the United Kingdom. A tourist from the UK came across Mestre in the streets of Lisbon and decided to help him. The tourist had seen documentaries on facial surgeries being conducted at St. Joseph Hospital.
The tourist decided to help Mestre by bringing him into contact with Dr McKay McKinnon from the hospital via email. Dr McKinnon performed about three dangerous surgeries on Mestre to save his life. He even helped him achieve a semblance of normality because Mestre’s face doesn’t look any different from a burn victim’s face right now.
Neither Mestre nor Dr McKinnon have heard from the tourist since he helped them connect. This stranger is simply known as Peter, and Mestre and his sister call him ‘our angel Peter’.
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