It was tough to watch Firecracker Films’ documentary, ‘The Man With the 132-Pound Scrotum’, which aired in the U.S. on TLC last night, but not because of the graphic content and nudity. Rather, my agony was the result of waiting for a moment that never came: an accurate explanation to viewers of what lymphedema is and how it afflicts millions of people worldwide. On the contrary, the producers depicted lymphedema as simply a “mass” that can be “removed” and be done with, as opposed to the incurable, progressive condition that it really is.
This Monday, August 19 at 9 p.m. TLC will air an hour-long program called ‘The Man with the 132-Pound Scrotum.’ The show follows Wesley Warren, Jr., a 49-year old Las Vegas man, who suffers from scrotal lymphedema.
The TLC teaser fails to explain how Mr. Warren contracted lymphedema of the scrotum, but according to Dr. Reid (inventor of the ReidSleeve), the condition can be brought on by heart failure, liver failure, venous obstruction, lymphatic obstruction, or prior surgery or trauma.
As someone who has struggled to live in dignity with primary lymphedema for 15 years, it makes me cringe to think of all the people who might be sharing a laugh on Facebook at the expense of this poor man or gawking at his agony. And it makes me angry that lymphedema and lymphatic disease – a condition that affects millions of people worldwide – only gets attention when it garners circus-freak headlines.