A pensioner cruelly branded a modern day ‘Elephant Man’ due to a massive deformity in his leg is preparing for a life-saving amputation.
Michael Cull, 67, has endured more than decade of pain after his left leg ballooned to more than two stone in weight, making every day tasks an ordeal and suffering taunts from strangers.
The retired Nasa computer technician suffers from elephantiasis which left his leg grossly enlarged due to obstruction of the lymphatic vessels.
He previously accused the NHS of turning its back on him after planned surgery to remove excess flesh from the limb was called off.
Michael has repeatedly asked for help from politicians and doctors for over a decade.
But now he is hopeful that doctors will give him the chance to get back to living a normal life.
The pensioner from Rosehearty, Aberdeenshire, is hoping to hear back soon on the results of a recent consultation and what doctors feel is the best option for him.
He said: “I’m waiting to hear back from the surgeon after going for a consultation a couple of weeks ago.
“I’ve told them that I’m prepared for an amputation. I just want to lead a normal life again.
“I feel ready to get it done. The other option is a debulking programme but it is very high risk.
“Nobody wants to lose a limb but I’d rather lose the leg than take a big risk in an operation.
“I’ve felt that amputation has been the best option for about half a year now.
“You see so many soldiers come back from Afghanistan with these amazing prosthetic limbs and they can go on to live extraordinary lives. I’d like something similar to that.”
The former space programmed technologist, who worked on the Apollo programme, has been in constant pain since his leg started to swell 11 years ago.
Despite attempts to stop it growing with techniques such as high-pressure stockings, nothing has worked.
Strangers cruelly dubbed him the ‘Elephant Man’ after Joseph Merrick, the Victorian freak show performer whose battle with the disease inspired a stage show and film.
Michael said the condition has been an “absolute nightmare” to live with and has turned every day activities into an ordeal.
He added: “It’s an absolute nightmare. You have to keep buying special trousers and big size 16 shoes.
“There’s a lot of things that I used to take for granted such as going for a walk or even walking up the stairs.
“Since I’ve been talking to the press less people have been pointing at me and calling me ‘the Elephant Man'”
“They have been a lot friendlier about it.”
“These are supposed to be the best years of your life and I want to be able to live them.”
NHS Grampian has confirmed their support for the pensioner, but would not comment further on an “individual patient”.
An NHS spokeswoman said: “NHS Grampian remains fully committed to offering Mr Cull appropriate treatment.”