To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders
Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications
Featured Image Credit: PA Real Life
A teetotal mum is in desperate need of a liver transplant because her body makes her drunk.
Sara Lefebvre, from Connecticut, US, is often mistaken for an alcoholic by doctors, but actually suffers from a condition where yeast in the stomach produces excessive quantities of ethanol, which travels into her blood and causes her to become intoxicated.
As a result, the 38-year-old has in the past been breathalysed and found to be as much as six times over the limit - even though she hadn't drunk a drop at the time.
It wasn't until February last year that Sara was finally diagnosed with auto-brewery syndrome (ABS).
She is now hoping that a new antifungal drug, Micafungin, will make her well enough for a liver transplant.
Speaking about her ordeal, the former hospital IT administrator said: "If this new medication doesn't work, I'm going to die.
"It has been so upsetting, not just because of what I'm facing but because so many doctors don't believe auto-brewery syndrome is a real condition."
The mum-of-two, who used to drink, says the symptoms started to appear in her early twenties, and that she used to pass out randomly.
One night after her 23rd birthday, she had been out for a few drinks and a meal with friends. But when she was dropped back home, she passed out before making it into her house, falling unconscious for six hours in -1 C conditions.
"When I spoke to my friend afterwards, she said I seemed absolutely fine before she drove off," recalled Sara.
"I was confused when I woke up, but I just wanted to get inside and get warm."
Over time, these falls began to become more frequent and her symptoms started to mimic those of drunkenness.
Sara has since given up work due to her condition, but even after the diagnosis of liver disease, a hospital treatment of lactulose - a sugar-based laxative - caused her ABS to spike.
And due to her blood tests still showing that she had high alcohol levels, despite no longer drinking, she was taken off the transplant lists at two local hospitals.
It wasn't until she suffered a fall in her basement that a nurse (hired by Sara and husband Ant, 39) came across a Facebook group for auto-brewery syndrome, and everything started to fall into place.
Now, suffering from jaundice because of her damaged liver, she is in desperate need of a new organ.
But, while her blood alcohol levels remain higher than average, no hospitals will operate, so it's vital that this new drug, Micafungin, works.
Ant, who works at home, says he has to be on high alert every waking minute of the day in case her condition deteriorates.
He said: "I'm always terrified of what Sara is going to fall into, or how she might hurt herself. It is like a living nightmare.
"If I hear thudding or crashing upstairs, I know what has happened and I have to rush up there to pick her up and make sure she's alright.
"One night, she decided she wasn't going to take the blanket off and walked away with it, only to slam straight into a wall."
The couple believe Sara's condition was triggered by repeated courses of antibiotics as a young woman, for dental procedures, throat infections and surgery to remove tonsils and adenoids.
And while it has taken its toll on the family, Ant says his kids just get on with it.
"The kids are used to it no - unfortunately it is their new norm. They know it isn't her fault, but at the same time, it has been taking a toll on our family," he said.
"It isn't easy, but the kids have been very resilient."