This week on Iyanla Vanzant's reality TV show on OWN, "Iyanla: Fix My Life", the host takes a page out of the successful playbook of TLC's "My 600 Lb. Life" when she rescues a California woman who had not seen the light of day for seven years. As chronicled in the video clip of the show posted along with this article, Iyanla performed a miracle in an effort to help Bonnie get well.
It required cutting a hole in her bedroom wall to lift her out and get her to an ambulance for transportation to a hospital for a thorough exam. She was too heavy for the hospital scale and thus her weight had to be estimated at 650 lbs. In coordination with Bonnie's 24 year-old daughter Jamesha, the intervention took place in March 2014 and in the episode airing this week on OWN, viewers follow up with Bonnie to learn how it all went down and the state of her health at this point in time.
In the TLC show "My 600 Lb. Life", Dr. Younan Nowzaradan, a surgeon practicing out of Houston, TX treats some of the largest people in America, who seek his help to perform bariatric surgery when no one else would take the risk on people of their size. Week in and week out viewers get a one-hour overview of the patients' lives for one year prior to, during and after treatment.
It includes footage of what their lives consist of at that weight, the decision to seek help from Dr. Nowzaradan and his treatment regime. He usually requires that patients go home and practice discipline to curb their eating, giving them a target weight to hit in one month in order to be good candidates for the very dangerous surgery that will reduce the size of their stomachs. Their success rate is hit or miss, but usually they are on the road to recovery by the time the show concludes.
Except for Penny, who was in the same shape as Bonnie. She had not left the house or been able to walk for a long time and the video of her struggle can make even the most solid viewer feel a bit queasy. Her legs could no longer withstand the strain of her large body mass. Her story was televised in the season just concluded and each time it airs in replay, more people take to the Internet to rage about her and her seeming inability to admit her problems.
Taking a look at the comments section of the show's review, you begin to understand how strongly America feels about Penny's journey. With a young son and a husband who cares for her each day, Penny even frustrated Dr. N. He repeatedly called her out as untruthful about how hard she was trying to stick to a healthy diet.
On "Iyanla: Fix My Life", Bonnie's journey has just begun and while the video demonstrates that she has lost a lot of weight and begun to practice walking, she is far from clear of obstacles to total recovery. If there's nothing else we've learned from multiple seasons of "My 600-Lb. Life", it is that wanting a normal life and a return to health is one thing. Being able to get there is another.
Watch Bonnie's story on "Iyanla: Fix My Life", airing on OWN this week. Check local listings for time of broadcast in your area.