Donald Shelton is an amazing example of the success stories found in My 600 lb Life. At first, Donald weighed 675 lb, he was very unhappy, unhealthy and unable to walk more than a few meters. Thankfully, Donald made the necessary changes in his life and in the end lost that weight and moved on to live a much happier, healthier life.
Donald is in his early 40’s in 2018. He attended Sam Rayburn High School (class of 1989). He lives in Pasadena, Texas. Donald likes Waylon Jennings, Urban Cowboy, The Jerry Springer Show, Texas HoldEm Poker, John Cena and Houston Rockets. He is part of Disable My Disability.
Donald’s path to success wasn’t easy, he had to deal with many difficult challenges. After Donald’s gastric-bypass surgery he lost 400 lb. However, following this, he was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome – autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks healthy nerve cells. This leads to weakness, numbness, and can eventually cause paralysis. Guillain-Barre led to him sadly gaining 200 lb back. It was extremely upsetting for him after everything he’d been through. He then focused on losing that weight.
Although Donald is still confined to a wheelchair he is not letting that ruin his determination and he is very active on social media, frequently posting before and after photos to help others in similar situations see that they can change their own lives.
Ever since Donald was a child he’d always had weight problems. All his life he had been gaining weight. As his mother said when “Donald was little”, people thought that he and his brother were twins, “then Donald just started getting bigger and bigger.”. When Donald was just 5 years old he was 150 lb and by the time he was 15 had increased to 275 lb. He continued gaining weight until the age of 19 when he was roughly 400 lb. Donald’s only problem was that he “…just liked to eat.”
Because of the predicament that Donald’s weight caused he had to live with his parents as there was no way for him to look after himself. He couldn’t cook, clean or even wash his own clothes. Being this helpless was one of the reasons why Donald was so unhappy with his weight. Donald sat on the couch most of the day as there was simply nothing else that he could do. “He has cellulitis in his legs” his father said, “I hear him crying at night ‘cos his legs hurt so bad.”. He “worked up until the doctor said he couldn’t work no more”. Donald simply wanted to work and be able to care for himself. He felt to be a burden on his parents and to be preventing them from enjoying their life. His weight was a handicap for his parents.
After Donald’s gastric-bypass surgery and losing lots of weight, Donald started to enjoy life. He was going to clubs frequently, dancing and even had a girlfriend. The sense of freedom Donald was experiencing all came to a grinding halt when he started to feel weak and sick. He went to the doctor and was later admitted to hospital. He couldn’t walk and could barely stand up. His girlfriend later admitted that she and Donald had been using drugs. Donald later slipped into a coma and was put on life support. Donald was later diagnosed with Guillain-Barre disorder. Guillain-Barre disorder is a rare sickness which affects the nervous system, it often leads to death or paralysis. Donald lost most of his movement due to the disorder and spent over a year in hospital. His insurance provider decided that he should be moved to a care facility as he didn’t require the level of care that the hospital was providing. This care facility was over 300 miles away so Donald’s parents decided to transform their home into a care facility for him.
By this point in time Donald had lost almost 400 lb since his gastric bypass and was in fact on the verge of becoming underweight. His parents began to feed him high calorie foods- in the hope of him gaining enough weight to be healthy again. He still cannot walk, though he does get outside and socialise in his wheelchair. He thought it was good to be “back with the family and just to be back home.”. After two years of not being able to walk Donald had his chances of walking assessed again, this turned out hopeful and he was admitted to a rehabilitation centre.
A year later Donald had gained 100 lb and his hips were in bad condition from not walking for a prolonged amount of time. Donald’s parents have had a bad influence on him and he has started to overeat again. Donald’s mother says that he “goes to the grocery store and buys what he wants to buy.”. After another check-up at the hospital doctors told Donald that things have started to look better and if he works hard he may be able to walk again. In the next year Donald gained another 100 lb, “he was in denial that he was gaining weight.”. He was drinking and not watching what he was eating. After breaking his electric wheelchair due to his weight Donald began to work out again. He swam and went to the gym. He finally started to lose weight again. With hope, Donald will continue to lose weight.
Although Donald still hasn’t reached his ultimate goal of being able to walk and be healthy he is on his way. Hopefully soon Donald will be able to do many of the things that he previously hasn’t been able to and even move out of his parent’s house. Donald’s story is example of how important determination and persistence is, he hasn’t given up hope and continues to look forward to a better future.
My 600-lb Life
My 600-lb Life is a TV show which follows the successes of morbidly obese people. It portrays the struggles that these people face in their journeys to save their own lives. The TV show consists of 4 seasons of hour-long episodes; each episode explores the story of one person.