Tonight’s episode of “My 600-Lb. Life” gave viewers a glimpse of the life of a morbidly obese woman. This series explores a year during the life of 600-pound individuals trying to regain control over their lives. Dottie Perkins 34 is one of them; she lives in Oxford, Mississippi and weighs 641 pounds. As the episode begins she is waking up to her son Landon 1, who is crying for his mother in his crib. She also has Daniel 12 who has severe cerebral palsy. Her husband has to go to work, so has little time in the morning to help her. She lifted Daniel and brought him in the living room, but he cannot live without his medicine and she feeds him through a tube. When she gets a free minute, she bathes herself but insists on doing this herself and could never let her husband wipe her bottom. She believes that she is repulsive and wants nobody to see her naked.
When she was a child, she loved food, especially sweets. As a Girl Scout, she loved those cookies and would sneak a box to her room. Her sister Delacy stated that Dottie was always overweight, and her mother preferred spending time with her sister and entered her in beauty pageants. Dottie found a friend in food and felt she was the ugly one. At eighteen, she was well over 300 pounds. She still fits in the car and drives herself to the drive-through to get fast food.
She weighed over 350 when she had her first child Daniel. He was diagnosed with severe cerebral palsy and his father took off because he did not want to deal. She was left taking care of him herself. She spent nearly a year in the hospital with him. They did not know if he would survive, so she stayed with him, and she ate. When he was a year-old, she weighed over 500 pounds. Being a single mom with a child suffering so much was hard. A few years ago, she met Chris; they got married and had Landon. The last time she was weighed was when he gave birth, and it was 554.
She rarely shops, but if someone is there to watch Daniel, she will go if Chris can go with her to help. She went grocery shopping and people laugh and stared at her. Chris believes that Dottie does eat a bit too much, but does not say a word. As they were leaving the supermarket, she was unable to fit outside the door on the motorized cart because her hips were too wide. Back home, she was cooking dinner. Chris knows she is a great mother, who will do anything for her kids. Chris worries that Landon will not grow up having a mother and Daniel cannot fend for himself at all.
She and Chris are heading to Houston, Texas to see the compassionate and wonderful Dr. Nowzaradan who specializes in weight-loss surgery for patients her size. At his office, she weighs in at 641. She told Dr. Now about the food she ate, but she cannot use her kids as an excuse. He wants her to lose forty pounds in the next two months. She knows she has to do this, but he asked her if she would be around at forty years of age, and they knew she would not if she kept up her habits.
At month one, she has been following his meal plans, but she knows that the children have their favorites too, so those foods are in the house where they are a source of temptation. She feels that the portions are not enough on Dr. Now’s diet, so she has increased them.
At month three, she returns to see the doctor and weighs in at 635. He asked why she did not lose the forty pounds. What she is eating is not normal, although she thinks, it is. He was ready to put her in the hospital where he could control her diet, but she had to make arrangements for her kids. He let her go home, to make the arrangements, but wants her to return within 48-hours.
Upon her return home, Daniel was having trouble breathing, and was rushed to the hospital. At month four, at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, Daniel is still on a ventilator and while there, she ate whatever she could get. At home, three days later, she had a salad and chicken.
At month five, Daniel is home and doing well. Her sister came to visit to help her out. She feels like her sister is judging her. When the doorbell rings, three pizzas and a huge chocolate brownie pie are delivered. Landon was crying for pizza, and her sister told her that the entire family had the worst eating habits.
At month seven, she returns to see Dr. Nowzaradan. The scale tells it all; 669, a gain of 34 pounds. When he came in, he told her that she was blaming her kids and stress for her gain. He insisted she be admitted into the hospital immediately and comply with a controlled diet for a month. Chris felt that the doctor was right. She has never been away from her boys, and it will be tough, but she must put herself first this time, or she will be dead.
At month eight, she is getting used to eating smaller amounts of food. She was shocked at first when her portions were about a third of her usual ones. Two days later, Chris came to see her and find out if she were approved for surgery. She weighed 597 for a loss of 72 pounds. Dr. Nowzaradan will set her up for surgery for a month from now, and if she shows up gaining weight; he will cancel the surgery.
At month nine, she has been admitted for weight-loss surgery because she lost seventeen pounds while at home. He will do a gastric sleeve, because her body cannot take the anesthesia that would be necessary to do a bypass.
At month eleven, her current weight is 564, with a loss since surgery of 16 pounds and a total loss of 105. She can eat a little and get full quickly. She was criticized her entire life for eating too much, but nobody ever gave her any help to change.
At month twelve, after a rough year, she weighed 520. The number was not one she liked to see, but it continued to go down, and Dr. Nowzaradan feels that she will be at her goal weight in another year. Congratulations, Dottie, as she gave Dr. Nowzaradan a big hug, please give him another hug for all those people who continue to have hope because of a person like him as seen on this episode of “My 600-Lb. Life.”