Last night, we watched a programme on the National Geographic channel entitled "The Boy with a Tumour for a Face". It was about a little five year old Indonesian boy, Novemthree Siahaan, who had a gigantiform cementoma tumour on his face. It really was an enormous tumour, the biggest I have ever seen, and it obscured his entire face. I found some more information and photographs on this FaceBook group, Wikipedia and the blog of someone who had also seen the programme.
It was a very shocking and utterly heartbreaking story. Novemthree underwent a series of operations which was sponsored by a Buddhist organization in Taiwan. The programme left us with some hope that he would recover, but when I read the Wikipedia article mentioned above, I discovered with sadness that he had died in his sleep two years after the programme had been produced. The cause was a respiratory infection, but the tumour had also returned.
Sometimes I think that it would be better if some people had never been born. But then, the doctors who had operated on Novemthree would not have pioneered new methods and means to help other people with similar diseases in future. The circle of life is astonishingly perfect in its simplicity, even if it is a little rough on a sensitive soul like me from time to time.
Rest in peace, little Novemthree. You are better off than most of us.
November 3, 1998 – September 15, 2005
Written by I