712lb morbidly obese woman refuses to follow diet, gains weight, and then blocks doctor's number so he can't call her
After eight months on the show, she stopped participating in filming and failed to make it to her scheduled appointment with the doctor
Twenty-seven-year-old Indiana resident Schenee Murry-Hawkins is morbidly obese and weighed a whopping 712lbs. Her BMI of 123 was over five times that of a normal person, which usually clocks in between 18.5 to 24.9. But she wanted to change; she wanted to lose weight. So, she enlisted the help of renowned weight loss surgeon Dr. Younan Nowzaradan so she could begin the arduous journey.
Her battle with weight loss started in earnest and was documented by TLC's 'My 600lb Pound Life.' But after a heartening start, it would all go awry. She would give up on her diet, which strictly demanded she consumes no more than 1,200 calories a day, and begin gorging 10,000 calories once again, gain 47 pounds in the span of a few months, and then block Nowzaradan's number so the doctor could no longer reach her.
But none of this was done by Murry-Hawkins out of malice. It is a battle that she has been fighting since she was five, and the problem of overeating, she says, can be traced back to when her cousin sexually molested her when she was still a kindergartner. She explained in the episode that to deal with the emotional trauma of the assault, she started sneaking in more and more food.
That, in turn, led to her putting on unhealthy amounts of weight. She said she weighed 130lbs when she was just seven-years-old, and that one of her elementary school teachers, in a bid to humiliate her, threw out her lunch in front of her classmates because she was 'too fat.' But that incident would have the opposite of the desired effect. The embarrassment made her want to eat even more. And so she did.
She was constantly bullied for her weight, and that did not help. By 16, she weighed close to 200lbs. That figure ballooned to 300lbs by the time she graduated high school. And when it rains, it pours. She fell victim to cellulitis, a bacterial infection that afflicted her legs and restricted her movements, and as a consequence, she put on another 100lbs and weighed in at 430lbs by the time she was 20.
She says the memory of the molestation from when she was five is now hazy but that she distinctly remembers when she was raped by one of her cousin's acquaintances when she was 23. She admits the harrowing experience convinced her she had to eat even more because she thought that staying big would protect her in some way.
While the rest of her life was an apparent mess, she was offered a ray of hope in Freddie, her friend's brother. The pair hit it off, and Freddie, who said he was not bothered by the fact that his girlfriend weighed over 500lbs and that he found plus-sized women beautiful, would go on to marry her.
While it presented a sort of a happy ending, the two miscarriages Murry-Hawkins suffered while trying for a baby with Freddie cast a dark cloud over an otherwise ideal relationship.
It was Freddie who had to clean and bathe Murry-Hawkins because she had practically zero mobility. She would have to lie on her bed naked while he carefully scrubbed the folds of her skin to make sure she did not get painful sores under the rolls of flesh. He also enabled her to continue on her eating binge, pushing her around on wheelchairs in the local supermarkets as she picked out the junk food she wanted — macaroni and cheese, oil for deep frying food, and copious amounts of sugar.
But she soon realized that if she did not change, she would die. She admitted that she felt like a burden to both Freddie and her family because she was unable to take care of herself. "I feel like I'm drowning in my fat. It suffocates me, and I'm very miserable. I'm not able to fit into the shower anymore. My husband Freddie pretty much does everything for me."
Finally spurred to see change, the pair visited Nowzaradan and asked for his help. While the doctor agreed, he sternly warned her against breaking the 1,200 calorie-a-day, no carb diet that he had worked out for her and said she was only alive because she was young. The aim was to lose 30lbs within the month so she could qualify for a potentially life-saving weight loss surgery.
Despite her good intentions, she would immediately fight against her new, strict dietary regime. She began fighting with her husband and accused him of not doing enough for her and Nowzaradan realized something was wrong when she missed a follow-up appointment he had set up for a weigh-in.
When the doctor did meet Murry-Hawkins next, he found to his annoyance that she had gained 28lbs and now weighed 693lbs. Her excuses that it was because of water retention and marital troubles fell on deaf ears, with Nowzaradan stating that her weight gain was not possible if she was following the diet he had prescribed her. He agreed he would continue working with her if she honestly worked to lose 30lbs in the next month and saw a therapist to deal with the emotional trauma that made her turn to food for comfort.
But Murry-Hawkins missed the next weigh-in as well, this time claiming she had developed stomach pain. Because of her fragile health, Nowzaradan had little choice but to take her claims seriously but unsurprisingly found that there was nothing wrong with her. What he did find, however, was that the 27-year-old had been taking five times the prescribed amount of diuretics in a bid to lose weight quickly.
Now weighing in at 712lbs, she still refused to follow the diet. Hospital staff caught Freddie sneaking in burgers and pizzas for her to eat, and when confronted, both claimed it had been for Freddie, much to Nowzaradan's chagrin.
He pointed out that her weight could not possibly have been just '700lbs of water weight,' causing Murry-Hawkins to demand that he send her home.
The doctor accepted Freddie's last, heartfelt plea to treat his wife. Because of her massive weight, he kept her in the hospital on a controlled diet until she lost 91lbs and released her after she promised she would go see a therapist and stop eating junk. But six months later, it was the same story once again.
Murry-Hawkins said there was nothing around her apartment but fast food and that she could not meet up with Nowzaradan because she was busy.
When the doctor attempted to call her, she offered the same tired excuses once again. The pair got into yet another argument, and Freddie once again took his wife's side.
When she later showed up for her final weigh-in, she had gained 43lbs again. She tried apologizing for her previous behavior but was shot down by the exasperated doctor, who said the only apology he will accept is that of Murry-Hawkins losing weight and going into therapy. He issued an ultimatum: if she failed, she would be kicked off the program once and for all. No more chances.
The result offered little surprise to those who followed her story. Eight months into the show's filming, she stopped participating in the filming. She failed to make it to the subsequent appointment with Nowzaradan and blocked his number so he could not reach her. While the show has documented numerous inspirational success stories, Murry-Hawkins was not one of them.