*Wesley Warren Jr., a Las Vegas man with a rare medical condition that has his scrotum weighing 132 pounds, has taken his story to cable channel TLC.
The network on Monday aired, “The Man With the 132-Pound Scrotum,” which chronicles his quest to seek surgery to get his life back. [Scroll down to watch a clip.]
The special originally aired on Britain’s Channel 4 in June as “The Man With 10-Stone Testicles.”
Warren had surgery in April to remove a debilitating mass from his scrotum that forced him to wear a hoody as pants to carry his enlarged organ.
More procedures are required, but he already has his sights on life beyond the TLC documentary. Warren says he’d like to have his own talk show.
Below, the Hollywood Reporter has listed five key things to know about his story.
1. Warren has lived with scrotal lymphedema since 2008.
The Las Vegas resident says his plight began with a sharp pain five years ago after he accidentally struck his scrotum. When he woke up the next day, it was “the size of a soccer ball” and soon was growing three pounds per month. His condition is more common in tropical regions, but extremely rare in the U.S.
2. He turned to Howard Stern for help.
Warren had little luck seeking medical treatment, with doctors estimating he would need a $1 million procedure to fix his condition.
Living off of disability and without health insurance, Warren appealed to the listeners of The Howard Stern show for help, using the pseudonym “Jonathan from Las Vegas” to tell his story. To embarrassing peals of laughter on the show’s set, he told listeners he had trouble with routine tasks like going to the bathroom. (His condition forced him to defecate in the type of pail casinos use for coins, and he often could not control where his urine would go.) “I don’t like being a freak, who would?” Warren said in a 2011 interview with the Las Vegas Review Journal. “But I figured that the Stern show is listened to by millions of people, and they might want to help me. I hope some millionaire or billionaire will want to help me.”
3. He turned down a free operation from Dr. Oz.
A producer of The Dr. Oz Show made him an offer for free surgery in 2011. In exchange for putting together a surgical team, the program would gain exclusive rights to his story. Warren declined, citing fears that he might die on the operating table and not wanting to be allowed to only speak with the program about his story.
“I’m not sure they are the best doctors,” he said in November 2011. “I might be castrated or bleed out on the operating table.”
By this point, he had received about $8,000 in donations via his PayPal account, attached to the e-mail address [email protected]
4. Surgeons removed a 134-pound mass from Warren in April.
On April 8, doctors in Irvine performed a procedure to correct his condition. Afterward, Warren denied accusations that he’d previously refused treatment in order to reap the benefits of notoriety. “One reporter wrote that I purposely turned down a free million-dollar surgery because I was enjoying the limelight,” he said. He had been offered treatment in Greece, but could not fly because his enlarged scrotum would not allow him to fit into an airplane bathroom.
“That I would choose fame and fortune over having the surgery, that is not true at all.”
5. Warren is unhappy with health care in the U.S.
Though he is on the road to recovery, Warren says his ordeal should not have lasted as long as it did. Ahead of the airing of his TLC documentary, he said Americans need better access to health care. “Right now, we have one party in this country that can stifle everything,” he told The Huffington Post. “I actually get where the Republicans are coming from. But we’ve become what the old Soviet Union used to be — a country that can’t meet the basic needs of its people. That’s sad.”