Chandra Wisnu, nicknamed the “Bubble Skin Man,” wears a ski mask and sun glasses to hide his appearance on the rare occasions he goes out.
Now, desperate for help, the 57-year-old is going public with his condition. His plight is featured in a one-hour documentary debuting Wednesday on The Learning Channel.
“People have never mocked or ridiculed me directly, but they do stare at me and avoid me. Most people act very strangely around me,” Wisnu said last fall, according to Britain’s The Sun newspaper.
“It makes me feel very insecure and angry when people treat me differently,” he added.
He began noticing the bumps on his skin when he was 19, he said. He married a few years later, and his condition only intensified.
By age 32, they spread to his entire face, according to reports.
Doctors told Wisnu the tumors were benign, possibly caused by a genetic disorder brought on by abnormalities in his nervous system, The Sun reported.
Early on, he was prescribed different types of creams, but they didn’t work.
Meanwhile, he and his wife, Nanik Tri Haryani, had four children together.
He was certain she would leave him.
“But I refused,” his wife said, according to The Sun. “Seeing him carry on with his life in spite of his changing appearance was, to me, a sign of great strength, not weakness.”
While the lumps don’t appear to be life-threatening, they are uncomfortable,
Wisnu said. They become itchy and sore in hot weather.
“People are afraid, they are frightened of my horrible face and worried they might catch the disease,” he said, according to News.com.au.
“So instead I avoid people, I rarely go out except to pick up my daughter from school,” he continued. “And when I do, I cover my head and my face because I don’t want my daughter’s friends to bully her for having ‘the dad with the horrible face.’”
Wisnu said he hopes doctors can find a treatment for the sake of two his children, ages 26 and 32, who are beginning to develop tumors themselves.
“If there is a chance to get such ... free medication, I will take that chance,” Wisnu said, according to The Sun. “But right now my family is all the treatment I need.”