Skip to main content

Samantha's Story

Life with MS and raising three young children

Samantha McKee was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 1998. After migrating to Western Australia from the UK in 1996, Sam and her then husband had settled down with their three children to a life in the suburbs.

Sam was battling a particularly bad headache that had been hanging around for two days and constant pain in her legs, when she lost vision in her right eye. After several appointments with doctors and neurologists, Sam was diagnosed with Relapsing-Remitting MS.
“I was shocked when I received my diagnosis. I envisioned the worst-case scenario, that I wouldn’t be able to look after my young children,” Sam said. Telling her family in the UK was difficult as they couldn’t offer much support. It was always thought that her Grandfather, who was a prisoner of war, had suffered from MS, but there was no diagnosis back then.

It took Sam a while to process her new life but once she connected with MSWA things got easier. She learnt how to take her medication properly and the nurses provided wonderful support for her, and her family, through this difficult time.
“I’ll never forget going to the chemist and walking out with my medication. On the outside I looked normal but the moment I carried it in my hand, I couldn’t deny that this condition was a part of me, and my future,” said Sam.

In 2007 Sam’s marriage broke down. “I would never wish that kind of stress on anyone, I was in denial about my MS which led me to stop taking my medication. This was one of the worst decisions I made,” she added. Sam’s children were a constant source of motivation, and she will forever be grateful for their support.
19 years later, Sam’s life is quite different, her children are grown, and she has re-married. Symptoms that currently impact her life are fatigue, numbness in her feet, a gait to one side and her vision is impaired. It takes her longer to do every day activities but with regular physiotherapy sessions at the MSWA Bunbury Health Services Centre, she has regained some mobility.

Sam said, “My life has not been defined by MS, but it’s been a challenge. Two years ago, my 27-year-old son was also diagnosed with MS, and it’s something I’m still learning to accept. I feel guilty that he will now live with the condition and if I could carry this for him, I would. At least through my experience, I can hold his hand on this journey.”

Sharing her story felt like an important step for Sam, it’s a reminder that she needs to slow down. “Hopefully my story will help someone else dealing with their diagnosis.”