The other day I stumbled upon a TV show on TLC called my 600 lb life. I sat on the couch and watched at least 4 episodes. This show shares WLS journey’s of individuals who weigh 600 lbs or more. Watching this show and knowing I had something in common with these men and women kept me watching. At times I found myself happy and cheering them on from my couch and other times trying to give them encouraging words (even though I knew they couldn’t hear me).
Each story was different. Some understood that having gastric bypass or VSG was a tool and a life changer and that life as they knew it was going to change for the better. That foods they were used to eating and cooking were no longer the norm for them; And others just thought it was a GET SKINNY quick fix which angered me. I don’t know if they just didn’t understand, or if that’s how they really felt, or if their surgeon’s office failed to educate them properly. All the individuals that had their story shared all went to the same surgeon; which was Dr. Younan Nowzaradan in Houston TX . I did enjoy watching him throughout each episode and how he becomes more stern with the ones who are not getting it and aren’t trying.
The reason the title of this post is titled: “My 600 lb life… Penny” is because this is the story that really had me going! See Penny is 46 year old mother who weighs 530 lbs (which is not her highest weight), her, her husband, and son live in MD. Her episode started out like the others where she stays in the house but her main reason she stays in doors is because she is unable to get up to walk. I felt compassion for Penny because in the beginning it seemed like she was really ready for a change and to start working towards a healthier life; but once you see more of this episode you see she just wanted to have the surgery and not use it as a tool and hope just because she got the surgery the weight would JUST MAGICALLY FALL OFF. I will tell you more about this later on in this post.
So in going to her first appoint with Dr. Nowzaradan; Penny and her husband will travel from MD to TX in their mini van. In getting Penny to the van they must remove the seats and call for assistance from their local EMTs to transfer her from the house to the van where her hospital bed mattress awaits. Penny’s husband Edgar is forced to drive an incredible amount of miles without stopping off at a hotel to catch some sleep in fear of leaving his wife in the car to sleep alone in the van.
Finally making it to TX they meet with Dr. “Now” at a local hospital as there is no way to get her into his office. In meeting with Dr. “Now” he asks Penny why she is on oxygen being he saturation level was just fine, but once her oxygen with turned off, she became uncomfortable and had no real reason as to why she was on the oxygen and started to get upset so he ordered for it to be turned back on. At that time the doctor put Penny on a 1,200 cal diet and was able to loose 40 lbs while in the hospital. In loosing the 40 lbs her surgery was scheduled for 2 weeks later.
Penny ends up having the VSG and recovers in the hospital for about a month. In the first week of surgery Penny did not want to even try to sit up in the bed, stand up for the few seconds that she could stand, or even dangle her legs. After the whole month she had no weight lose what so over. That right there tells me her husband must have been sneaking in food. So after four months of Penny being in the hospital not wanting to try to do anything for herself or to start this journey, Dr. Nowzaradan sends Penny home because she is not complying with what is being requested of her in her treatment.
In being sent home Penny and her family now live in TX so she is able to go to her follow up appointments with Dr. Nowzaradan. During month five Penny is provided with a PT (physical therapist) to help her start walking. In knowing she will be working with a PT Penny’s goal is to be walking by time her son’s kindergarten graduation so she can be there to see it for herself. Well that doesn’t seem like that will happen as she works with the PT and doesn’t seem like she really wants to like she even wants to try to get up and walk and has an excuse for EVERYTHING!
Now at month six and seven she is still unable to walk and has missed every post-op appointment with Dr. “Now” ; he even gave her strict guidelines as to sticking with a high protien low carb diet which she failed to follow. After missing all her appointments Dr. Now calls Penny and request she be be brought to the hospital so he can check on her progress. Once at the hospital she is weighed and has gained 5 lbs. When Dr. “Now” questioned Penny about the weight gain she had excuse after excuse and lie after lie and refused to listen to anything Dr.”Now” had to say; after he realized he was not getting through to her he just walked out of the room. I found myself upset at this point and realized she was really one of those people who just thought the weight was just going to melt off on it’s own.
At the end of the episode which was month twelve Penny was still not walking, missed her son’s kindergarten graduation, and missed all her follow up appointments once again; Dr.”Now” once again requested she be brought to the hospital for another check up. At this point she had no more weight loss and Dr. “Now” is at wits end and has finally realized she is not going to change her ways and seems to know the WRONG answer to EVERYTHING. At the end of the episode it shows Penny partaking in a large meal of ham,rolls, mash potatoes, and mach and cheese, (soooo much for that high protein low carb diet huh) and her making the choice to go back to MD where she thinks she will be more successful with her weight loss journey.
This epiesode angered me because Penny seemed so upset and ready for a change and was not happy with being stuck in the bed and not being a bigger part of her son’s life like a mother should me. But in the end she really had no desire to try and use this weight loss tool ( her VSG) and put to it work and make life as enjoyable is she was hoping it was going to be. I am sooooo greatful for having gastric bypass and understand it was not just a quick fix; and wished people like Penny understood that having WLS is a gift and you are being provided with a tool. A tool that you must work with to see results and to have a better and healthier life. It’s just sad knowing she will die in that bed because she was not willing to give it her all and push herself outside of her comfort zone and give it 110%. Having WLS is a BIG deal and some just really don’t see it that way which breaks my heart!