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'My 600-Lb. Life' takes viewers on ‘Penny’s Story’ on TLC

Tonight's episode of “My 600-Lb. Life” gave viewers a glimpse into the life of a morbidly obese woman. This series explores a year in the life of 600-pound individuals trying to regain control of their lives. Penny is one of them.

'My 600-Lb. Life' on TLC
Wikimedia Commons

As the episode begins she tells viewers that sometimes she feels dead, and if she could have done it without surgery, she would have done it, but her way does not work. Penny knows that there comes a time when you make yourself a prisoner and it is time to break free. Penny is 45 and weighs 530-lbs. She lives in Elkton, Md. with her husband Edgar, who takes care of her and their son Liam. She lives in her bed, that is her dinner table and also her bathroom. Her sister Christina said that Penny is a good mom, but you can’t be a good mom when you are in bed. Liam goes to Tae Kwon-Do, but other than a video, she has never seen him perform. Her sister Angela believes that her food addiction stems from the abuse from their father, who severely beat their mother. Being the oldest, Penny witnessed the most of this abuse. When Penny met Edgar, she was about 450-lbs. When she had Liam, she was over 600-lbs. Now Edgar is her full-time caregiver and they live on Penny’s disability.

At the supermarket, Edgar read from the list Penny wrote, and nearly everything on it was sweets and junk food. Her sisters know she is going to die if things do not change.

Penny found Dr. Nowzaradan in Houston, and she is leaving the house in Maryland to go see him. He is the first doctor who will see her and hopes to help her. They got help from the local EMS squad to wheel her into the back of the van, where she will be on her mattress until she arrives in Texas at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Houston. Dr. Nowzaradan met her when she arrived and the staff helped her from the car to her bed in the hospital.

When he examined her, he asked why she needed oxygen, as her saturation level was fine, but once removed, she became uncomfortable and he turned it back on. He feels that some of her ailments are imagined. He put her on a 1,200 calorie per day diet. After a month, she lost 40-lbs. and he scheduled the surgery in two weeks. Before surgery, Liam came to visit her and waited outside with his dad as the surgery proceeded. They performed a sleeve gastrectomy, to reduce the size of her stomach from a football to the size of a banana. A week after the surgery, she did not want to get up and walk, and Dr. Now was very concerned and after another month, she lost no weight and he is fearful that someone is sneaking food to her.

At the fourth month, Dr. Nowzaradan decided to send her home because she would not comply with his treatment. She arrived home and demanded Edgar move the furniture so she could see the television.

At month five, Penny is now home and Dr. Nowzaradan provided her with a physical therapist to help her start walking. Mike Sprague is the therapist, who has worked with several bariatric patients, but never one this large. Penny has an excuse for everything.

At month six, Penny is still unable to walk or stand and has missed her post-op weigh-in with Dr. Nowzaradan and although she was given a strict high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet, she has started going back to her old eating habits.

At month seven, after two-months at home she has missed every scheduled check-up with the doctor. She received a call from Dr. Nowzaradan, who ordered her to the hospital that day. She gained five pounds and would not listen to anything he said, so he just walked out of the room. He also told her that he has signed death certificates for many obese people. He tried to help her, but it seems that she was expecting an instant cure.

At month nine, she was still in bed, but she is watching her diet, thanks to Edgar following suit. She also resumed working with the physical therapist and hopes to attend Liam’s kindergarten graduation in two months.

At month ten, it was Liam’s graduation day, but after four months of therapy, Penny is still unable to walk and cannot attend the ceremony.

At month eleven, Penny has missed another appointment with the doctor. So he is sending a nutritionist to meet with her. She claims she was not given the proper tools to stick to her diet. Kim Lynn, a registered and licensed dietitian. She seemed to get nowhere with Penny, who would not answer the general questions she asked and Penny stated that she had no goals. As Edgar and Kim checked the refrigerator, as Penny called from the other room.

At month twelve, after missing several more appointments, the doctor has called Penny to the hospital again for evaluation. She has lost no weight after the surgery and Dr. Nowzaradan feels that he cannot get through to her. She continued to make excuses and he knows the truth is in the scale. So Penny and Edgar decided to return to Maryland. Penny believes that she will be more successful with her weight-loss back home.

Dr. Nowzaradan knows that Penny has no intention of changing her lifestyle and as the episode ended, she was eating a very large meal on this episode of “My 600-Lb. Life.”

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