On this week’s new episode of “My 600 Lb. Life”, we will meet Diana Bunch, 55, who has been fooling herself for years. Living in a small apartment in Seattle, she is in need of help on a daily basis, which she gets from both family and friends. In that tiny space and with regular assistance she’s maintained the status quo, while reaching 620 lbs. (RECAP posted below)
We already know that whoever shows up with her in Houston will get the “You’re an enabler”, speech from Dr. Nowzaradan, but it was the intervention of one of those people who got Diana on the road to Texas. Her niece Megan was able to convince her aunt that her only chance to change the course of her life meant leaving the confines of her apartment.
In the sneak peek video posted below, we follow Diana on the road to Dr. Now’s office. She is unable to sit up for the days-long journey and is transported in the back of a mini-van. Here’s where she paid the price for fooling herself; she is unable to walk from the van to the hotel rooms during the journey. EMS has to be called to get her out of the car and then back in the following morning. In the confines of her space in Seattle, she never had to come to grips with that.
It’s been a while since “My 600 Lb. Life” featured someone whose extremities are so disfigured, including open sores, that it becomes almost impossible to watch without turning away. In addition to that, she has what is called “extreme lymphedema”. Fans of the show know they are mounds of skin that hang from a person’s body, filled with tiny blood vessels. They impede a patient’s ability to walk and be active, but removal is so delicate it can endanger a life unless it is done once the patient is healthier.
As we’ve seen this season, patients have been turned away until they lose a lot of weight to prove they are good candidates for surgery. In this case, it will be interesting to see if Dr. Now will hospitalize Diana to stabilize her weight and treat the sores and blisters on her legs. We’ll be posting a recap after the episode airs, so circle on back here for the whole story.
Did you have the same reaction to Diana as Dr. Now? He was a bit put off by the way she exuded supreme confidence in his office the day they met. That melted a bit when he demanded a 50 lb. weight loss the first month to be considered for surgery. As she said to her niece Megan, she could eat more than that for breakfast on an average day.
What the doctor feared was that she was putting on a good face for him and that when forced to comply she would fold, even though her niece Megan would buy and cook everything Diana consumed. Megan feared the same thing. She knew Diana well and watched her become this person who talked a good game but couldn’t break the cycle.
Having uprooted her family, including two little children, at some point you would expect her to wonder if the sacrifice would amount to nothing. Megan might have gone further or had more episodes like that but they weren’t edited into the two-hour program.
With Megan in control, Diana lost 43 lbs. the first month, then more than 60 the second month. It got her the green light for surgery. Dr. Now insisted that he wouldn’t consider it unless Megan stuck around, and not just for the operation. Like many patients this season, a gastric bypass wasn’t possible due multiple factors, but the gastric sleeve procedure went well.
It was then that Dr. Now informed Diana of what she could expect on the emotional side of things and insisted that she see a therapist. With a smaller stomach and the looming departure of Megan, the cravings and depression were sure to return. Life without the control of Megan buying groceries and cooking wouldn’t be easy, but one thing helped. Diana saw results. Credit Megan for that, as well as Diana for not whining and complaining, or sending out for a food delivery when no one was around.
After surgery, forced to move more on doctor’s orders, combined with unburdening herself to a therapist, the weight loss continued. By the end of a year she had dropped more than 200 lbs. and despite living alone in Houston, she stuck to it. There was no backsliding, cheating or self-pity to knock her off track. It was an amazing demonstration of strength and fortitude. It’s rare that a patient on the show can pull that off.
Perhaps we underestimated Diana’s bravado at the beginning of the process. Dr. Now certainly did. How blessed Diana was to have a loving niece who somehow was able to pay the bills despite her hubby and kids uprooting from Seattle for what amounted to more than six months.
What did you think of Diana’s story.
“My 600 Lb. Life” airs two-hour episodes in season 5 on TLC, Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT Image/video credit: TLC, used with permission