The stars of a 2016 season of TLC’s My 600-LB Life were revisited in an exclusive special on Wednesday, May 10. During My 600-LB Life: Where are They Now?, Dottie Perkins and June McCamey revealed personal anecdotes about their struggles during and after their first appearances on the show.
Both Dottie and June, who underwent gastric bypass surgery performed by Dr. Younan Nowzaradan, have steadily continued to lose weight despite severe emotional setbacks. Here are some of Dottie’s revelations.
When we first met 34-year-old Dottie Perkins from Mississippi, weight-loss surgeon Dr. Younan Nowzaradan gave Dottie a toppling ultimatum: she had to lose 40 pounds before she would qualify for much-needed gastric bypass surgery.
What made the stifling situation worse was that Dottie was the single mother of her son, Daniel, who had been born with cerebral palsy. At the time of Daniel’s birth, Dottie weighed more than 350 pounds. Upon hearing the news of Daniel’s diagnosis, Dottie’s partner and Daniel’s father abandoned his family.
Dottie was left alone with the task of being the primary caregiver to her frail son. For Dottie, the stress of Daniel’s poor health and extended hospital stays became too much, and she turned to food for comfort. During that time, Dottie’s weight spiked up to over 500 pounds.
Then, Dottie met her husband, Chris, with whom she had another son, Landon. At the time of Landon’s birth, Dottie weighed 544 pounds and decided never to step onto a scale again.
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Dottie had struggled with food addiction her entire life. Her sister, Delacy, explained that as a child, Dottie would collect boxes of sweets and cookies into her room and binge often. Dottie’s mother neglected her while she was growing up and preferred to bond with Delacy instead. This led Dottie to seek comfort in food.
“I remember just eating and eating and eating so much. And I have just never been able to stop. It hurt a lot and food is what comforted me. At one point I was putting on a couple of pounds every week.”
Delacy concurs with Dottie’s version of their childhood, and also believes that it contributed significantly to Dottie’s weight gain.
“Every child has that want and that need to be loved by their mother. But that is just something that Dottie didn’t grow up with.”
Delacy was a beauty pageant queen, which meant that her mother was always spending a lot of time with her, pushing her to win competitions. Dottie, on the other hand, felt ugly and like a family outcast.
Dottie weighed 641 pounds when she first appeared on My 600-LB Life, and due to the immense weight her bones had to carry, Dottie complained of severe pain and discomfort while walking. Yet, she had to do it because even after Chris came into her life and was able to assist her in raising her children, he would leave early for work. Dottie had no choice but to move around, in agonizing pain, to be “[there] to take care of [her] boys; they need their mama.”
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Luckily, after her successful surgery, she managed to lose 121 pounds and started feeling much better.
But then tragedy struck. Daniel succumbed to his illness and passed away at the age of 13. On April 10, 2016, Daniel passed at LeBonheur Children Medical Center in Memphis, Tennessee. Dottie was so distraught that his death threatened to send her back into an unhealthy eating cycle.
In August of last year, Dottie was interviewed by the Oxford Eagle, and she refused to discuss Daniel’s death, saying only that it was “too painful for her to talk at length about.” Her surgeon, Dr. Younan Nowzaradan, reminded her that she would not be able to have skin removal surgery if she gained any weight.
Regardless of Dottie’s tragic setback, she did not falter in her determination to be thinner and healthier. She has time for great workouts and is well on her way to being her ideal weight.
My 600-LB Life airs on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on TLC.
[Featured Image by TLC]