When 12-year-old Nitta Juggi's family learned the real reason for their child's debilitating headaches, little did they know they were about to make medical history.
Doctors were forced to remove a tapeworm cyst half the size of the child's brain -- the largest in medical history, Mirror reports.
For two years, Nita, who lives in Gujarat, India, suffered symptoms ranging from headaches to seizures and even paralysis.
"We took her to many doctors but none of them could understand neurosurgery I guess," said her father, Kishor Parbat Jogi, a poor 45-year-old farmer.
“I think we were seeing the wrong kind of doctors," he continued. "Her health was just getting worse day by day and we were helpless.”
They were only able to get to the bottom of the issue after Kishor and his wife, Sarla, took Nita to see Dr. Chirag Solanki, a consultant neuro and spine surgeon at Sterling Hospital in Gujarat.
“I sold my wife’s jewelry to pay for the surgery," Kishor said. "We are very poor and had no other way to pay for it so we had to sell something."
It was there that an MRI scan revealed the child had been carrying the record-breaking cyst.
“I believe the hydatid cyst had been slowly growing in the girl for the past eight to 10 years," said Solanki. "But as it got bigger it had more affect on her day to day life and her headaches were getting worse."
What's more, Solanki said that if Nita hadn't gotten it removed at that moment, the consequences may have been deadly.
“It had grown to be half the size of her brain," he added. "It was very dangerous and there were chances the cyst could have ruptured and killed her at any time. It’s a bubble so it could burst at any moment.”
The doctor said Nita's dirty living environment may have led the child to contract the cyst.
"Tapeworm infection is caused by ingesting food or water contaminated with tapeworm eggs or larvae," explains the Mayo Clinic. "If you ingest certain tapeworm eggs, they can migrate outside your intestines and form larval cysts in body tissues and organs."
Thankfully, the surgery went well.
“I have told the doctor he is like my God," said a thrilled Kishor. "He performed the surgery very well. My daughter is now back to normal and is doing very well."