'Your life will never be the same'

Ricky Callan

Ricky Callan was diagnosed with diabetes nearly 20 years ago.

He told the BBC what impact it has had on his life, and his health.

"I suppose it wasn't really that hard to believe I had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. As with the help of the box of delights, that's the TV to the uninitiated, I had kind of self-diagnosed it in a way.

But like everyone else that I know, I thought all you had to do was inject yourself, like that's easy, and you weren't allowed to eat sweets. Sure!!

If only it turned out to be that simple.

Unknown to me, at 25 years of age, 1986 would turn out to be the year where my life would start to change in so many ways. Forever.

It all started whilst watching a TV medical drama at the time. They convince us we're dying from anything and everything we see.

However, in my case, I really was suffering from the same symptoms, as one of the characters. A terrible thirst. Anytime not spent drinking, was spent in the loo, getting rid. I missed the following week, but tuned in the next week, only to hear the character protesting that he 'couldn't do it'.

Ricky Callan had his leg amputated because of diabetes Ricky Callan had his leg amputated because of diabetes

The camera pulled back to reveal, that he was being shown how to inject himself.

'Okay', I thought 'something's not right here' I made an appointment to see the doctor, had some blood taken.

And after being told the results would take a few days, I received a phone call that afternoon, telling me there was no doubt, I was diabetic.

I don't think it really registered as to the seriousness of my diagnosis, even after being in hospital as part of my treatment, so that I could learn to inject.

Complications that could arise were explained to me. But it was all a bit too much to take in. After all, apart from the thirst, which had gone, I felt fine.

That's the thing with diabetes, if you had visual evidence of the condition, you could probably accept it easier. It doesn't feel as if it exists, because there's nothing to see.

Now, after amputations, problems with my eyes, and more recently, kidney failure, mean I'm virtually housebound, and have very little interaction with others, apart from medical professionals.

With little, or no distractions, my preoccupation with premature death is never far from my thoughts.

Anyone diagnosed with this chronic disease, must be made aware of everything that comes with it.

Your life will never be the same."

BBC Scotland Investigates: Scotland the Fat will be shown on BBC1 Scotland on Thursday 15 August, at 20:00, and for a week afterwards on the BBC Iplayer.

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