Imagine your legs are so swollen and large that you cannot even see your feet, let alone any normal part of a leg that should be there. Lymphedema is destroying Tracey Matthews’s life on tonight’s My 600-lb Life.
Tracey, of Lorain, Ohio, is only 44 years old and she is practically homebound. She tips the scales at 605-lb and the majority of her weight is below her waist, mainly her legs.
Unrecognizable now, her shockingly misshapen legs are so swollen and tender her skin is bursting in various areas. Making matters worse, her feet are all but disappearing under her lower legs.
She needs to get to Houston, Texas, for immediate lifesaving help. But the only way she can make the 20-hour trip is in the trunk of their car.
Her husband Anthony and her mother help her get in, but the pain in the legs is excruciating as they travel and she has to stop to stretch her legs and get Anthony to massage her feet.
Tracey’s lymphatic system is utterly haywire, and her condition means body fluids remain trapped in her skin and soft tissue and she is constantly dealing with cellulitis, which infects the tissue beneath the skin.
Tracey says of her journey to Texas: “Every day that passes my lymphedema gets worse and worse. I have to try and do this, and I’m really glad my mom is going with us so we have an extra set of hands to help.”
Can specialist weight-loss surgeon Dr. Nowzaradan help Tracey with these frightening and disfiguring complications of morbid obesity?
The daily chores of tending to her fall on Tracey’s husband, Anthony, who is more of a caretaker than a lover or spouse.
Like practically every single story on My 600-lb Life, child abuse is the root of Tracey’s problems, as she grew up in a chaotic and extremely violent household with food being her only sanctuary and solution to her stress.
Witnessing domestic abuse first-hand, Tracey used food for comfort. The spiral continued as she gave birth to children, gaining more than 100-lb with each pregnancy.
Dr. Nowzaradan sees weight-loss as the stabilizer and control valve for the out-of-control swelling that Tracey’s suffering with.
Can this severe case of lymphedema be controlled and reversed?
My 600-lb Life on Wednesday at 8/7c on TLC