Tyne & Wear

Melanie Hartshorn's symptoms return two years after spine ops

Melanie Hartshorn lying in bed Image copyright Melanie Hartshorn
Image caption Melanie Hartshorn says she is once again largely bed-bound

A disabled woman who underwent two operations to fuse her skull to her spine after well-wishers raised £160,000 says her symptoms have returned.

Melanie Hartshorn has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which causes her joints to dislocate.

The 29-year-old, of Northumberland, had surgery in Barcelona two years ago to enable her to sit up.

She is awaiting a quote for a scan and potential surgery in the Spanish city.

Ms Hartshorn, who lives in Cramlington, said she is experiencing dizziness and headaches, and is having to spend most of her time in bed.

'Worse and worse'

"I'm not too well at the moment," she told BBC Newcastle.

"I was great. I've been on nights out, to the cinema, to a music festival, and then my neck got bad again.

"When I sit up I started being sick and then I started feeling my skull clicking, which used to happen.

"It's got worse and worse and now I've got most of my neurological symptoms back - tingling in my fingers, numbness in my arms.

"I've got really weak. I've gone from being able to lift a weight and doing physio to not being able to hold my arms above my head."

'Get back on track'

The Newcastle University biology graduate, who accepted her degree lying on a stretcher in 2016, had hoped the operations would enable her to pursue a career as a primary school teacher.

Image copyright Newcastle University
Image caption Friends and family cheered Ms Hartshorn on as she collected her degree certificate

She had been volunteering in a local school to gain experience.

Neither the scan nor the potential operation are available to her in the UK.

She said she has reopened her online GoFundMe appeal "to support me to get back to Barcelona as soon as possible to get it fixed, get back on track and not lose all the progress I've made".

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