An Australian mother who hasn’t eaten a solid meal since Christmas Day will undergo surgery Thursday to implant a device meant to help stimulate her stomach nerves, news.com.au reported.
Kerryn Barnett, 36, was diagnosed with a rare stomach condition called Gastroparesis nearly a year ago. The nerves and muscles in her stomach are paralyzed, and she suffers severe nausea, vomiting, fatigue, muscle cramping and malnutrition, news.com.au reported.
Barnett’s upcoming surgery will install a gastric neurosimulator, which works like a heart pacemaker, according to the report. Without the surgery, Barnett would be forced to have her stomach removed and a feeding tube inserted into her abdomen.
“That means I will never be able to ingest anything through my mouth ever again, not even water,” Barnett told news.com.au.
“There’s a huge risk of infection with removing the stomach, and the feeding tube will have to be placed every six months. There’s also a chance of the feeding tube kinking or becoming blocked,” she said.
The mother of three is currently working to raise funds as her insurance company will only cover the device, not the actual surgery.
“Aside from being sick, having the additional worry about our finances and the amount of money we’re going to have to borrow is hard,” she told the news website.
On some days, Barnett said she can’t even keep soup down. She’s currently on a regiment of five different medications, and has had to cut her hair because it’s become dry and brittle.
A Change.org petition has also been started in the hopes of appealing to her insurer.