Kelly Beckers Has Not Eaten In More Than Four Years After Rare Condition Destroyed Her Digestive Tract

A woman from the Netherlands has gone without food for four years, thanks to a rare disorder that has essentially destroyed her digestive system, the Daily Mail is reporting.

Kelly Beckers, 21, was born breech, which doctors believe caused her digestive issues. Born with chronic idiopathic intestinal pseudo-obstruction (CIP), she is unable to digest any food whatsoever. That means that she receives nourishment through an IV inserted directly into an artery near her heart. An ostomy bag collects feces.

So sick is the young woman that she has not eaten food in four years. At this point, she’s learned to live without it, to the point that she says that she doesn’t miss it. She does, however, miss the social aspect of eating — hanging around with friends over a meal, for example.

“I can’t really picture [food] anymore. But I do miss the social aspect around it. Think of it: What will you do if you want to meet with your friends for a fun day? Everything revolves around food. I can’t partake in that, so often I sit there rather uncomfortable with a cup of light broth.”

Still, that’s not to say that Beckers isn’t going to live life to the fullest. Though she has an ostomy bag and a tube running out of her nose to collect her bile, she still lives an active life. On social media, she shares pictures of herself hiking, going to the beach, and generally enjoying herself despite her unique challenges.

Her condition can cause unforeseen problems as well. Though tubes and an ostomy bag help her with her nutritional needs and her digestion, those very same devices may someday kill her. In fact, more than once, they have come very close to killing her. That’s because when any of the devices become contaminated (due to, say, improper cleaning), she risks her life.

“In November I was on the edge of death.”

An infection had gotten into one of her lines — a line that stops just over an inch away from her heart. Had the infection reached her heart, she would have died. In fact, so close was Kelly to death that — as she lay in the hospital — her parents said what they believed to be their final goodbyes to her.

Obviously she lived through it, but she’s far from out of the woods. The next time that she gets sick, she says, she’ll almost certainly die from it.