A Pennsylvania woman who was scheduled to undergo a life-saving bowel transplant was given devastating news moments before her scheduled operation.

Doctors told Karlene Novotny, who had traveled to Washington D.C. for the surgery, that the donor’s intestine was not suitable for the transplant, MyFoxPhilly.com reported.

“He said that the intestine was fatty and large,” Karlene told the news station. “I felt as if my stomach just dropped everything had fallen in that moment and then I had to regroup.”

The surgery would have been the 53-year-old’s 36th procedure. Doctors performed her first abdominal surgery in 1986  to correct her intestinal track.

Novotny waited on the transplant list while her body slowly stopped responding to food.

“Food doesn’t do anything for me, I don’t absorb anything, don’t live like every other human being lives,” she told MyFoxPhilly.com. “I have a bag, I have a port.”

Karlene and her husband, Steve, recently adopted their biological granddaughter Ava, so after learning Wednesday that the donor was not a fit, they said their reunion with the 9-year-old provided some much-needed comfort.

Support from people on social media has also been a source of comfort for Karlene and her family.

“I’m speechless, I’m so touched,” Karlene told MyFoxPhilly.com.

For now, she’ll be placed back on the donor list and the wait will continue.

“I’m looking at my tomorrows, and for that, put me through whatever I have to go through,” Karlene has said.

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