(CBS) For people who complain about carrying a big burden, the strange plight of Wesley Warren Jr. offers a dose of perspective.
The 47-year-old Las Vegas man has a huge, painful, and disabling scrotum, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
Warren has trouble getting dressed, breathes heavily, and is forced to use a makeshift pedestal made from a pillow and milk crate to ease the pain caused by the pendulous mass. When he goes out, he covers himself in baggy clothes.
What caused the bizarre condition?
Warren traces it to a 2008 incident in which he rolled over in bed and struck his testicles with his leg, causing pain unlike he'd ever felt before. The pain subsided, but by the next morning his scrotum had swollen to the "size of a soccer ball."
Can trauma really cause an outsized scrotum?
"Known cases are very rare," Warren's urologist Dr. Mulugeta Kassahun, told the Journal. Kassahun said swollen testicles are more common in tropical regions in Africa and Asia, and are typically the result of elephantiasis from a parasitic infection spread by mosquitoes. Elephantiasis is a thickening of the skin and underlying tissue. But doctors who have examined Warren have found no traces of an infection, and antibiotic treatments failed to shrink his scrotum.
Warren was diagnosed with scrotal lymphedema - a debilitating, massive swelling of the scrotum that results from lymph fluid and tissue buildup. "Patients referred with this condition have scrotums so large that the sheer size interferes with walking," according to the Center for Reconstructive Urology in Orange, Calif.
When Warren consulted doctors, he was told corrective surgery might leave him without his penis and testicles.
"He was telling me there was a good chance that I would be castrated and have to go to the bathroom through a tube for the rest of my life," he said. "I should be in the prime of my life right now."
Then doctors at UCLA Medical Center said they could save his penis. But there was a catch: Nevada Medicaid won't cover the out-of-state surgery, so it'll cost Warren about $1 million from his own pocket.
Out of options, Warren used a fake name and went on shock jock Howard Stern's radio show to solicit donations. "I don't like being a freak, who would?" Warren told the Journal. "But I figured that the Stern show is listened to by millions of people and they might want to help me."
While he won't reveal how much he's raised from email donations, he acknowledged it was a step in the right direction.
Said Warren through tears, "What I've got is a start."