A nurse and model have revealed she couldn’t eat or drink for four years after a car accident.
Steph Kelly, 27, from Sydney, was involved in a car accident in 2018 that damaged her vagus nerve, which is responsible for regulating how internal organs function.
Taking to TikTok to describe her condition, she said she’s since suffered from gastroparesis and bowel failure, meaning she can’t “fully absorb” the meals she eats.
The gastroparesis prevents food that enters her stomach from being digested, making her “very sick.”
Meanwhile, bowel failure means whatever leaves their stomach makes its way into their intestines, causing blockages.
Since her accident, she has relied on a medical technique called Total Parenteral Nutrition to survive.
Nurse Steph Kelly, 27, from Sydney, was involved in a car accident in 2018 that damaged her vagus nerve, which is responsible for regulating how internal organs function
TPN is a formula that is delivered through the bloodstream and gives it nutrients.
She said on TikTok: “Gastroparesis means everything I eat goes into my stomach, doesn’t leave it and makes me very sick.
“And the gut failure means that anything that leaves my stomach and goes into my gut is causing a blockage and isn’t moving and therefore isn’t being absorbed.
“It sounds crazy, but I actually eat and drink through my heart.
“The central line (also known as the Hickman) is inserted under my skin and under my collarbone and then tunneled into a large vein that then sits right in my heart.”
she said Yahoo News Australia that TPN “pretty much gave me my life back”.
“I didn’t know TPN would nourish me! I have so much more energy, I can go out and do things, I’m not tired,” she said. “I gained 10kg which is great because I’m a healthy weight now.
“I’m getting married in June and I’m hoping to start a family with my fiancé Adam next year. I was able to walk at Australian Fashion Week in May last year and I think they might bring me back to walk this year.
However, the TPN treatment forces her to be put on an IV drip to take home 16 hours a day.
“TPN is used primarily in hospitals, but I’m lucky enough to have it at home six nights a week,” she added.
The method is also often “a last resort” and “poses many risks,” doctors warned.
Since her accident, she has relied on a medical technique called Total Parenteral Nutrition to survive
The treatment has also left her vulnerable to other illnesses and infections, and she revealed she had three near-death experiences from sepsis in 2022 and spent 12 weeks in the hospital.
“You can do everything right and then a tiny bug just gets into your bloodstream,” she said. “I lost an organ as a result and was in intensive care for a while.”
Ms Kelly said she still gets cravings and eats for social reasons and uses a gastrostomy tube to satisfy her cravings, which drains her stomach.
“I don’t feel my hunger in the pit of my stomach, it’s kind of a mental craving, like if you got your period and you could actually eat some chocolate,” she said. “Or if Maccas comes out with a new article, I’ll want to try that.
“There’s no point in eating veggies and stuff like that because it won’t get absorbed, and junk food won’t give me high cholesterol.
“Because the food just sits there I can usually let it sit for an hour or two, maybe even four hours max, but it will eventually make me bloated. And even if I skip it I might get pain and nausea because it will make my stomach really miserable.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11634069/Sydney-nurse-Steph-Kelly-25-able-eat-drink-four-years-nerve-damage.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Steph Kelly, a 25-year-old Sydney nurse, has been unable to eat or drink for four years due to nerve damage