A former flight attendant told how she is in danger of being “internally decapitated” after being struck down by a rare syndrome which has left her needing life-changing surgery.
Diana Olijar, 33, had led an active life before an incident in 2012 left her with drastic neck and spine injuries.
She was able to recover - but shortly after started to experience extreme tiredness, memory loss and widespread pain.
Now Diana is very restricted with what she can do and is danger of internal decapitation - which describes the ligamentous separation of the spinal column from the skull base.
Doctors didn’t diagnose her with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), which is a type of dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system, and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome until June 2018.
EDS is a multi-systemic condition, which means it affects the skin, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, internal organs and bones.
She has slowly deteriorated so that she can no longer take care of her daughter, 14, and had to send her to boarding school.
Diana is now mostly bedbound and dependent on her wheelchair.
Three weeks to raise cash for surgery
Diana only has three weeks to raise £100,000 for surgery and other treatments for her spine as it’s not something the NHS offer for people with EDS.
The surgery will stabilise her spine and has to be done soon due to the availability of the surgeon.
It’s hoped it will mean Diana can go on for further treatment on her joints to help her regain mobility.
Diana, who lives in Manchester, said: “I now spend most of my time in bed.
“I had been living with this all my life, but the injuries brought all my symptoms on.
“I could internally decapitate if I don’t get my spine stabilised.
“My life used to be so active and now I can’t even make dinner for my daughter.
“I’m only 33, this shouldn’t be my life.
“I would be flying back and forth visiting lots of countries and now I can’t move from bed.
“I need to raise money to help my spine from deteriorating further.
“I miss my daughter and not being a proper mum to her anymore.”
Diana had memory problems and mobility declined
Diana led an active life before her neck and jaw injuries.
She slowly deteriorated but doctors put her initial symptoms down to her trauma.
“I was still in pain and would get tired really easily,” she said.
She would also have memory problems and slowly her mobility declined.
She would faint often but had to quit her job in July 2018.
She collapsed while getting ready for work and started vomiting everywhere.
‘I’m in desperate need of of surgery’
A few months after she collapsed she was finally able to get a diagnosis for POTS and EDS.
“I had been struggling on for so long but after that I just got worse and worse,” Diana said.
“I lost everything - my job and my daughter when I had to send her to boarding school as I just couldn’t look after her anymore.”
“I feel so guiltily that I can’t make my daughter’s favourite meals anymore,” she said.
“I’m in desperate need of surgery for my spine to help change my life.
“If I can get more mobility back then that would be life changing.”
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