By Mirembe Martina
“I want to grow up. But the mole won’t let me.” Turtle boy, Didier Montalvo said just before the operation.
Now a free boy, Didier is happy and playing happily at peace after suffering for six years with a mole on his back which prohibited him from playing with other children. His family was shunned after locals saying his mother looked at the eclipse during pregnancy; they blamed her for her child’s condition.
Didier was suffering from a condition called Congenital Melanocytic Nevus. The condition however does not have a clear cause as doctors have failed to come up with the cause of the disease. However, according to statistics, 1% of infants in United States has the condition.
Plastic surgeon Neil Bustrode came out with a team of surgeons and flew to columbia to operate on Didier to rid him of the mole. Neil is from Great Ormond Street Hospital, in London.
According to Bulstrode, Didier’s condition was the worst he had ever seen. “Didier’s was the worst case I had ever seen due to the size and bulk of the lesion. Effectively three quarters of the circumference of his body was affected. Often people have CMN that are much flatter and are therefore much easier to care for and deal with,” he said.
Locals in his village feared he had been cursed by evil forces because he was conceived during an eclipse. The operation took a series of skin grafts to remove the mole which had grown to cover almost every inch of his back. “Obviously he has had to go through a number of painful operations, but we feel it was worth it. It’s great to see the photos of how Didier is getting on now. I’m really happy with how things have healed,” Neil said.
Gosh paediatric dermatologist Dr Veronica Kinsler who operates a weekly clinic for patients with the same condition said “When babies are born, their parents can get understandably very worried until they know what the marks are. In the weekly clinics we run at Great Ormond Street Hospital we are able to give a diagnosis, check that the moles themselves are safe and whether the skin appearance is telling us what other things might need to be checked. ”
Congenital Melanocytic Nevus