By Lucy Notarantonio
A stunning teenager has been left paralysed from the neck down after her ‘back pain’ was later diagnosed as a rare life threatening illness.
Eva Heatley from Bath, Somerset, was unknowingly battling Guillain-Barré syndrome – a rare neurological disorder in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks part of its peripheral nervous system.
The bartender had complained of pain in her back for four weeks before things took a turn for the worst on January 7 when she struggled to get out of bed.
Her worried mum Tracey, 41, took her to Royal United Hospital in Bath where she has been ever since.
Mum-of-three Tracey has shared a video of Eva’s arm twitching for the first time in six weeks.
Eva, who is unable to walk, or talk has given her mum permission to share her story to raise awareness of the condition affects one in every 100,000 per year.
Tracey, who is self-employed, said: “It has been a scary few weeks, but it is reassuring to know that most people make a full recovery.
“It is a waiting game, but things are looking good as her arm can twitch now and she is able to communicate.
“She can speak but without words, so I have become a pro at lipreading.
“I asked Eva if she wants me to share her story and she said yes because it is important to raise awareness of this condition.
“She also told me she is fed up and lonely.
“We had never even heard of it before and it has been terrifying.
“She has an acute form of the condition and will need to learn how to walk and talk again in the future.
“It is a waiting game as we have to wait for her body to start again which is why we were ecstatic to see her arm moving – Eva’s face lit up.”
After one month of back pain and two courses of anti-biotics for a kidney infection – Eva started to experience pins and needles in her hands and feet.
Tracey says she noticed ‘something wasn’t right’ when Eva needed help getting out of bed and could barely walk and rushed her the Royal United Hospital in Bath.
Eva also suffered with three cardiac arrests over the course of one hour on February 15.
Tracey said: “We went to our GP twice as Eva had severe back pain, but we never thought it was anything to worry about.
“Then, a rash appeared across her legs, I knew something wasn’t right so we went to A&E but they thought it was a side effect of the anti-biotics.
“She was given more but they still didn’t work and the following day, I had to get her out of bed.
“Eva couldn’t work and I knew it was something serious, she has been in hospital ever since.
“It has been horrible seeing her in intensive care – I was petrified when her heart stopped three times.
“Doctors were shocked with the diagnosis as the symptoms usually start from pins and needles in the feet up to the difficulty swallowing.
“But Eva’s symptoms were all mixed up.
“It has been deliberating and lonely for her, but we have been visiting every day to keep her company.
“It is difficult to communicate as she has no voice but we have been able to manage.
“Our house is quiet without her and I can’t wait to have her back, she is my rock.
“She might be back in a few weeks or months but it’s a waiting game.
“At the moment she’s stable and is slowly rebuilding her strength to try and move her muscles.”