According to Savannahian Daniel DeLoach, 27, “there are always people out there in much worse situations.”
Here’s his: 105 surgeries — so far — including two spinal cord surgeries, three body casts, two near-death close calls, one kidney, hindered lungs and breathing, swollen feet and an unbreakable will to live.
“I love life,” he said.
Proteus syndrome, the disease of gigantism and abnormal growth, seemed to hit DeLoach sooner than the rare few affected.
Only a few hundred people are believed to have it worldwide, according to the Proteus Syndrome Foundation.
Think “Elephant Man” Joseph Merrick of the late 1800s, but all cases are different.
“The body grows however it wants to grow,” DeLoach said.
Life expectancy is 9 months to 29 years, according to “Radiologic manifestations of Proteus syndrome” published in the Radiological Society of North America journal RadioGraphics.
“He’s definitely one of the oldest,” said his sister Dr. Kathleen Benton, a Proteus Syndrome Foundation board member.
And if DeLoach had different parents, he may not have made it out of the womb. One physician suggested the family abort him.
“That wasn’t an option,” Daniel’s father Mike DeLoach said.