Scott McColl – Secretary and Founder Member Buddy
Born in San Diego California in 1951, I was the third of six children with one sister and four brothers and life was great. Dad was a dentist and mom was a homemaker, and summers were spent together, building a cabin in the local San Diego mountains. In University I studied the sciences thinking that being a dentist like dad, was a good idea but then discovered that I had a different calling and decided that the priesthood was my vocation.
I spent the last two years of University studying philosophy at the University of San Diego and graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Philosophy. This was a most enjoyable time of my life!. I was fortunate enough to have the seminary faculty select one of my dream choices for advanced studies which was to study Theology in Belgium at the University of Leuven, where I received an MA in Theology in 1980.
I was ordained to the priesthood in 1980, with five different assignments over 25 years. Sensing a redirection in my life, I took a sabbatical in 2005 and that’s when I met Jeremy, whom I married in 2014. I spent four years teaching English in Korea and then moved back to Belgium where Jeremy was awarded his PhD in Education in 2015. Jeremy accepted a post at the University of Glasgow in 2017 and that’s how we come to be here in Scotland. I continue my ministry in the priesthood with the Scottish Episcopal Church, serving the Annandale area church group.
As a proud Highland Scot, with my family originating in Oban, I was beyond ecstatic when Jeremy accepted the position at the University of Glasgow. With my third great grandfather (great, great, great) having left Oban for Canada in 1819, I feel like I have come full circle and returned home. I’m extremely proud to wear the McColl tartan and attend family reunions every year, this year being the 139th, celebrating the McColls and Macphersons, two clans that were joined by marriage in 1880.
Jeremy and I love to travel and among all the places we’ve visited, Tibet stand out, for the spirituality of the people and the stunning mountainous vistas. Recently, I joined a theatre group here in Dumfries and enjoy making new friends and socialising with the company members. A chance conversation with Roly at one of the company’s productions, where he had charity collection buckets for Prostate Scotland, gave me an opportunity to share my story about my diagnosis and subsequent treatment. He recruited me to the group there and then and I look forward to helping other guys in their acceptance of the diagnosis.
With regard to myself, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer following my father, uncle and two older brothers who had all been diagnosed and had surgery to remove the prostate. It would seem that prostate cancer runs in the family and according to research, this is quite common.
My own PSA seemed to climb a little over the years but was within acceptable parameters although I did begin to notice that I was retaining fluid when I urinated and having done so, always seemed to feel the immediate need to go again.
I turned 50 in August 2001 and having gone for my annual exam that September, my PSA count had jumped such that my medical doctor recommended I see an urologist and have a biopsy performed. The result was that I did have cancer and while it was still encapsulated within the prostate, I was advised that surgery earlier rather than later, was necessary.
Having decided upon surgery, my recovery period was around six weeks including some of the temporary side effects of which I had been advised.
Having my family support group around me and several family members who had already ‘been there’ I was fortunate that I never feared my diagnosis or what I had to do, or the outcome. I come from a medical family and treat medical specialists in the highest regard. My two older brothers were diagnosed, had surgery, recovered and were doing fine, so why wouldn’t I also do the same?
We were all open with each other and talked about our diagnoses and our surgeries and how we managed in our recovery (did we have any problems?, how did we overcome them?).
Subsequent to my diagnosis in 2001, two younger siblings were also diagnosed with cancer and had surgery and notably, we were all in our early to mid 50’s at the point of diagnosis. All of us determined that surgery rather than treatment best suited us. We are all doing fine and living active, healthy lives.
Even though I am getting older, I have never felt better. I still visit my GP for an annual medical exam and still have a PSA test – it just makes good sense.