25-year-old Tomasz Nadolski, from Wroclaw, Poland, suffers from a rare and cruel disease that has not only made his life a living hell, but also left him stuck in the underdeveloped body of a 12-year-old boy.
Tomasz’s health problems began when he was only 7-years-old. He would throw up after every meal and experience excruciating pain in his stomach, hands and feet. Because he couldn’t keep any food down, he lost a lot of weight and kids at school started teasing him about looking like a walking skeleton. For years, doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him, and some of them even claimed that his problems were mental rather than physical. It took 16 years for Tomasz’s condition to finally be diagnosed, but, unfortunately, knowing what he was suffering from didn’t make the young man’s life any better.
Photo: UWAGA! TVN video screengrab
Tomasz Nadolski was diagnosed with Fabry Disease, a rare and cruel genetic condition caused by the lack of alpha-galactosidase, an enzyme responsible for processing biomolecules known as sphingolipids. These build up in the walls of blood vessels and other organs and cause a number of serious symptoms, including excruciating pain and organ failure. In Tomasz’s case, the disease has also stopped his physical development, leaving him looking like a 12-year-old boy.
“I am 25 years old and I would like to look like a man of my age. I hate this boy who I see every day in the mirror, because it is not me,” the young man recently said, adding that sometimes people refuse to accept his real age, even after showing them his ID card. One time a policeman suspected him of having a fake one.
But while he would love to look his age, Tomasz’s unusually youthful looks are not his biggest problem. His genetic condition leaves him unable to eat proper food, so he has to be connected to an IV for up to 20 hours a day in order to get enough nourishment. He also needs painkillers to deal with the incredible pain he feels in most of his body. It prevents him from sleeping soundly and night, and living a normal life during the day, as the simple act of walking can be excruciatingly painful.
Because Fabry Disease is so rare, Tomasz constantly has to travel all over Poland to have various experts treat his symptoms. So far he has only seen minor improvements, but he is not giving up.
Tomasz is currently taking special medication to keep his condition in check. It would cost him around $215,000 a year, which he and his family could never afford, but luckily he is receiving from the producer free of charge, for taking part in the test trials. However, he doesn’t know how much longer this will last. All he knows is that without proper medication, he would succumb to a slow and agonizing death.
Unfortunately, Tomasz’s brother has also been diagnosed with Fabry Disease when he was 12, but his symptoms are not as severe. There are days when Tomasz cannot muster the strength to get up from his bed, and has to take be administered large doses of morphine just to cope with the pain. Apart from the progressing degradation of his body, the traumatic experience has also taken a toll on his mental state. Asked if he ever thinks about starting a family in the future, he said:
“No. I have the feeling that I am too mentally damaged, I feel that after all these experiences I would have to undergo deep psychotherapy to be able to create a healthy relationship.”
To support Tomasz Nadolski in his struggle with this unforgiving condition, you can donate to him via the Avalon Fundation.