A young mum was left facing "internal decapitation" and wearing a collar to hold her neck in place after a brutal attack by her ex.
Diana Olijar, who lives in Manchester, has a host of debilitating conditions triggered by the trauma of the attack that initially damaged her spine.
Now, Diana's neck cannot support the weight of her own head and the 34-year-old has been left in "crippling debt" after she paid for private healthcare to stabilise her neck, meaning she has to wear a collar.
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Diana, from Fallowfield, now spends much of her time lying in a dark room due to Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), an illness which affects her skin, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, internal organs and bones.
The pain is so debilitating, she said, that even small tasks like making a cup of tea feels impossible.
Diana told the Manchester Evening News she had been working as a member of cabin crew for Thomas Cook Airlines when she suffered a spinal injury in an attack in 2012.
At first her symptoms were more subtle, namely dizziness, migraines and neck pain. For years she was told by doctors that the mostly likely cause was fatigue and that she probably needed a 'good night's sleep'.
However, her vision and hearing began to deteriorate and her joints would dislocate at random.
In 2018, Diana finally received a diagnosis of EDS and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), a type of dysfunction of the nervous system.
She believes the late diagnosis came down to a lack of understanding about the condition.
“All I heard from medical professionals was that it was just a trauma reaction and that I needed rest and sleep,” she said.
“They said it would get better with time, but it was getting progressively worse until I got diagnosed.
“I’ve not talked about it for a long time because of the shame of what I’ve experienced. My whole life is basically medical care and trying to get better.
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"I’m not managing anything. I know there is a long way to go and a lot of treatments ahead of me.”
Diana now needs to raise £100k for a second operation to untether her spinal cord to secure her independence in the future.
"I hope I can get better enough to go back to any employment so I can provide for my 14-year-old daughter," she said.
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