ABBY Tannetta, 18, had gone to stay for a few days at her parents' caravan in Wales with a friend to celebrate finishing college when she was attacked as she slept.
She woke up in agony with a huge spider in her bed - thought to be a false widow spider - and ran from her room shrieking in fear.
Just days later, Abby was rushed into hospital for emergency surgery as doctors feared the young student could contract sepsis if the oozing infection was not dealt with immediately.
Abby, from Caerphilly, said: "I woke up with a sharp pain that woke me from my sleep, looked next to me and I just saw this giant spider running away from the bed.
"It was really sore and just got worse. It got bigger, it was very red, itchy and so sore that I couldn't move my arm or sleep on the side.
"I was feeling really dizzy and weak, I was boiling, I felt like my heart was racing and the lump had grown even more to the size of a golfball.
"I collapsed as the doctors were rushing me into surgery but thankfully they managed to do it otherwise I could have got sepsis which you can die from.
"I was already really scared of spiders before this but now I'm too scared to even go back to the caravan and the sight of any tiny spider makes me feel sick and terrified."
Abby had been to her parents' caravan in Cardigan Bay Holiday Park many times before and had never come across any spiders quite like this one.
It was the first night of her most recent trip when she woke up in the early hours of May 26 with a stabbing pain in her side and a giant spider next to her in the bed.
Student Abby said: "I'm really scared of spiders anyway so my first reaction was to scream and run out of my room panicking.
"I went back in and couldn't find it anywhere, it had hidden somewhere, but I had this little mark under my arm.
"It's hard to describe the pain of the mark but even though it was this tiny spot, the pain of it felt like a stab wound. It was so, so sore any time I lifted my arm, as if there was something huge there.
"I didn't sleep in the same room that night after not being able to find the spider, I was too scared."
Abby started taking antihystamines daily to combat any infection left from the bite but the lump under her arm kept growing in size and becoming more painful.
She managed to capture the spider in a tupperware container and took a photo of the beast that bit her which she believes could be a false widow spider.
Her scary encounter came just days after the British Arachnological Society (BAS) said they had seen "a huge increase" in sightings of all species of spiders - including an increase in the number of venomous false widows.
Unable to sleep from the pain, Abby visited her GP surgery three days after she was bit after she was left feeling dizzy and weak with the lump now the size of a golfball.
She was given antibiotics and told to head to A&E if pus started to leak out of the lump which is exactly what happened just two days later.
Abby said: "I didn't feel any better from the antibiotics and then on Monday morning, I woke up and there was blood and pus all over my tshirt - I must have ended up sleeping on my side.
"I took my top off and it was just covered in pus and blood. It was really scary.
"By the time I went to A&E, I was feeling really awful, hot, weak and my blood pressure and heart rate were really high.
"The doctors said I needed surgery and I just looked at my mum in shock. I don't like blood or needles and I was really scared but they said it could turn into sepsis if we waited too long.
"I was all over the place. My symptoms were worsening really fast - I was boiling, just absolutely sweating through my clothes.
"They put me on a drip straight away but as they were doing that, I had a panic attack and I fainted because I was just so ill and they couldn't get the drip in as I was so dehydrated and shaking.
"I couldn't breathe so I had an oxygen mask and I heard the doctors saying 'Oh my god, she's really in a bad way' as they rushed me into theatre."
Abby was given general anaesthetic for the surgery where doctors drained the infected area and removed the lump.
The surgery was a success and Abby was kept in hospital overnight after her body was left so weak from fighting the infection.
She returned home the following day and has since had a nurse attending the house every day to have her wound repatched.
Abby said: "It's been difficult, I've been in such a lot of pain whilst recovering.
"The pain is a lot better now. After the surgery, I felt like I'd been stabbed, but it has died down now and I'm just uncomfortable instead.
"It was an open wound and so far into my body - it was about 4cm deep after the surgery.
"I'm meant to go back to the caravan in a couple of weeks but I feel too scared to go back there right now so I'll just have to see how I feel nearer the time.
"I think it was a false widow spider - I've done some research and found other people in Wales who have been bit by them and in the same place under their arm as well. My photo of the spider matches the markings of false widows I've seen online too.
"People always say that spiders won't hurt you, that you're much bigger than them, but this shows they can. You just don't think it will happen to you until it does."
How can you spot a false widow spider?
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