'Horrific quality of life': Woman risks 'internal decapitation' every time she moves

Severe instability in Erin Meegan’s neck is causing her head to gradually slip towards her spine, putting her at greater risk of internal decapitation as each day passes.

Mrs Meegan is originally from London, and she met her husband, Isaac when she moved to Perth on a working holiday visa in 2013.

The 34-year-old, who used to live a regular, active life, now spends up to 20 hours in bed every day, as her need for life-saving surgery becomes more desperate by the hour.

“It started very gradually,” Isaac Meegan told Yahoo News Australia. “We were just going about our lives like a normal, married couple.

“In about March, 2017 she [Mrs Meegan] had to stop work after noticing changes in her health.

“She was starting to experience these symptoms, very gradually. We were going to doctors appointments and specialists and getting opinions and treatment options and trying everything suggested.

“And she just got gradually worse.”

Perth woman Erin Meegan shown in bed as her skull gradually drops towards her spine.
Mrs Meegan was bed ridden for 20 hours of each day due to the fragility of her neck. Source: GoFundMe

Her survival is hanging in the balance and there’s just one surgeon capable of performing a procedure that would help her return to a normal life - but the cost is massive, and the neurosurgeon is located in Barcelona.

Mrs Meegan’s husband, Isaac, has established a GoFundMe page and appealed for helping to raise money to have his wife receive the life-changing surgery.

He wrote that despite her undergoing successful neurosurgery for Trigeminal Neuralgia, she was in dire need of having her neck and skull fused with titanium pins to “create the column of support necessary to remove the compression of her brain stem”.

This would also alleviate the jugular veins, stop her skull sliding further down, and her neck from dislocating.

“She will lose up to 100 per cent mobility of her neck, but this is a small price to pay given her horrific quality of life,” the fundraising page read.

Her condition is a product of a connective tissue disorder which affects her collagen production and leads to various problems such as loose ligaments, joints, blood vessels and weak tissues.

“She has now been diagnosed with severe instability in her neck due to the weak ligaments resulting in cranio-cervical instability, atlanto-axial instability, sub-axial instability and bilateral jugular vein compression,” Mr Meegan wrote.

X Ray of Erin Meegan's neck and skull as the Perth woman faces internal decapitation.
A graphic shows Mrs Meegan's fragile spine connecting to her skull. Source: Source: GoFundMe

“This means each time her head moves damage is caused to her brain stem and her skull is too heavy for her neck to support.”

Due to the severity of her condition, Mrs Meegan experiences daily neck and head aches, chronic pain, problems with memory and speech, tinnitus, pins and needles, vision disturbance, and frequent vomiting and nausea and dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system, like breathing difficulties, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, and poor sleep.

She must wear a cervical collar to avoid any further damage, as well as worsening symptoms and the dislocation of her neck.

Her family hope to raise $100,000 by November and travel to Barcelona shortly after to meet with the neurosurgeon.

If the surgery is successfully executed, Mrs Meegan hopes to complete the final two units of her postgraduate degree and return to living a meaningful life.

The couple also hope to start a family themselves in the future.

Erin and Isaac Meegan shown as they raise money for Perth woman's life-saving surgery.
Erin and Isaac shown as they race to raise money for life-saving surgery. Source: GoFundMe

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