Man with multiple sclerosis remortgages house in ultimate sacrifice to wife

High school sweethearts Scott and Suzanne McPhillimy had their lives upended by multiple sclerosis and a brain aneursym

Ben Barry
Wednesday 04 January 2023 12:31 GMT
Related video: Multiple sclerosis symptoms and diagnosis

A devoted husband completed radical multiple sclerosis treatment to prevent his symptoms from worsening and his young wife - who suffered a brain aneurysm - from having to go into a care home.

Scott and Suzanne McPhillimy, both 34, met at the age of 16 at high school.

The couple tied the knot in 2014, but a year later Scott was diagnosed with MS aged 26.

He thought Suzanne would need to care for him due to the degenerative condition, but in November 2020 the couple’s world fell apart when Suzanne was on a work call at home and suffered a brain aneurysm.

She underwent several brain surgeries and was in a coma for three months - until February 2021 - before being transferred to a rehab unit the following month.

Suzanne was finally allowed to home in August 2021, but since then has been in a wheelchair and struggles with communication.

In 2022, Scott travelled to Mexico for a four-week radical treatment aimed at preventing his MS from getting any worse.

The treatment called haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) aims to wipe out and regrow the immune system using stem cells and costs £45k.

The treatment was paid for by a combination of donations, family help and remortgaging of their house.

HSCT is not offered in Scotland but can be commissioned on the NHS in England in extreme cases.

Scott said it is a “million dollar question” whether or not the treatment worked and he will find out in around a year’s time.

Scott, a civil servant, from East Kilbride, Scotland, said: “The longer I go without my MS getting worse then it has worked.

“I wasn’t born with MS and I lived 20 to 25 years without it until something triggered it.

“If the treatment works, it will draw a line under my condition.”

(Courtesy Scott McPhillimy / SWNS)

Scott’s main two symptoms are fatigue and foot drop - where his foot doesn’t lift when he walks.

Scott said: “I have learned to manage them through exercise and trying to keep healthy.

“My two main symptoms are fatigue, as my brain can’t process the simplest task and can be triggered by heat or stress.

“Another thing is foot drop - the foot doesn’t lift when you walk and it causes issues with mobility.”

After a four-week stint in Mexico receiving his treatment, Scott landed back in Scotland on 24th September 2021.

(Scott McPhillimy / SWNS)

He said that the treatment was ‘uncomfortable’ but other people suffered a lot worse than him.

“For me it was uncomfortable, feeling nauseous and dizzy, but I know some of the other patients were really unwell. I had bad days but I seemed to bounce back,” he said.

“They also give you an injection which causes bone pain, you can’t adjust yourself because every time you would move another part of your body would hurt.”

Scott said his wife, Suzanne, was his rock when he was diagnosed with MS back in 2015.

He said: “She has been by my side ever since, it is a cruel twist of fate with what happened to her.

“Her aneurysm came out of nowhere, she had no major signs.

“When her aneurysm burst it was the part of the brain that controls speech, she has limited mobility - it is a shame to be honest.

“We have moved to a bungalow close to our family and they help out a lot.

“I don’t think I would have got through this without family support.”

Suzanne, who was doing well in her career with an accountancy firm, would need residential care if not for her husband - and the couple had to sell their old house as it wasn’t accessible.

If the treatment doesn’t work, Scott said: “That is a million dollar question, one of the hardest things about MS is how unpredictable it is.

“Worst case scenario is I will have to go into a care home, I will lose my mobility.

“If it doesn’t work we will have to cross that bridge when we get to it.”

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