Sunday, 25 September 2016

“Life is now or life is never” Syd Scroggie

 Syd Scroggie was a Scottish walker, but he wasn't just any walker, he was  remarkable man. Born in Dundee in 1919 Syd as a teenage boy would cycle 40 miles to Glen Cova to walk in the Cairngorm Hills. In 1945 Syd was seriously injured when he stood on a German landmine loosing both his sight and one leg. But that didn't stop him, his love of the mountains was so strong that he was determined to continue his passion for walking. He made over six hundred trips into the mountains afterwards with the aid of a walking companion, a large stick and his artificial leg wrapped in a plastic bag to keep the rain out! Syd was a self taught greek scholar and a poet and in his poem Time he wrote “Life is now, or life is never”.
 Its a line that struck chords with me. I am lucky enough to have my sight to allow me to take in the views and appreciate the world around me. I am lucky enough to have all of my limbs to allow me to easily traverse the paths ahead without giving it a second thought. But I feel like I truly understand exactly what Syd was saying in his poem and I share the same beliefs. For me time isn't something you can take for granted. Living with a third diagnosis of Pseudomyxoma and with the reoccurrence in such a difficult place  to operate on I know that at some point my very best option is likely to be another huge operation. I know that playing the “watch and wait” game is a gamble. Will we simply come to a point where we decide that it’s time to face another operation or will it spread to a point where it becomes inoperable? Who knows?

With the decision at the beginning of the year not to operate and undergo a Whipple procedure at this stage we agreed that a repeat CT scan in the Autumn was best and we’d see how/if things had changed and review how to proceed at that point. This lifted a huge weight off of our shoulders and allowed us to enjoy the summer ahead.

The weather has been very kind and we have been out and about enjoying family time together. Days out at the seaside, walking in the Brecon Beacons and a great day at Monkey world in Dorset. All have allowed me to continue my passion for amateur photography and also satisfy my love for the outdoors. Days have been spent fishing as well as walking and I have made a tentative return to running after a minor back operation and an 18 month break. I felt well, I felt fit and healthy, I even made the comment recently to Tracey that for the first time since I can remember “Life actually felt as it did pre-Pseudomyxoma”.

 For me our days out are also about making memories, trips to beautiful places and taking in amazing sites is something we will all remember for a very long time. Like our recent visit to “waterfall country” in the Brecon Beacons. Walking behind the wall of water crashing over Sgwd-yr-Elra on the Four Falls trail and a beautiful walk at  Blaen-y-Glyn.

Sgwd-yr-Elra, Four falls trail

Sgwd-y-Pannwr, Four Falls trail

Blaen Y Glyn

 This summer I have also had the real satisfaction of seeing my girls growing in to adults. Jess has done extremely well in her first year at university and is working part time. Chloe did very well in her GCSE’s securing her place at college, securing a work placement at a local community farm and bagging a Saturday job all in the space of a week. It’s been an amazing time and I’m a very proud dad!

But as the summer wore on I became increasingly aware that CT scan time was looming. It seemed to edge it’s way to the front of my mind as time slipped by despite me almost completely forgetting about it at the high points of the summer. As the days shortened the clouds gathered on the horizon as reality crept ever nearer. Ironically, on the first day of the meteorological autumn a letter dropped through the door like a lump of lead with an appointment for my scan. The dream I’d been living was over. 

Wednesday 12th of October will see us back at Basingstoke for the scan. Time to “spin the PMP wheel of fortune” once again. If nothing has changed then it’s likely that I may not be required to go back for another year. If things have changed then it will be one of two path’s I guess, either another operation or…..well, lets not think about that… 

So I have more walks planned; a trip in to the mountains to walk a circular route near Pen Y Fan, I also have more caving planned and want to continue with my running and swimming and of course time with the family as like Syd said “Life is now or life is never”…….


  1. Sending good thoughts . . .

  2. Thank you Nancy, hope all is well with you?