Last year, fans of TLC’s hit show My 600-lb Life were introduced to Tracey Matthews, a 44-year-old grandmother from Ohio, who tipped the scale at 605 pounds. The former reality star carried most of the weight in her legs — 400 pounds to be exact — which were swollen with lymphedema and infected with cellulitis. Her husband, Anthony, would have to lift them up so she was able to get out of bed.
Tracey and her husband drove 20 hours to seek help from Texas-based doctor, Younan Nowzaradan. “Every day that passes my lymphedema gets worse and worse. I have to try and do this,” she said about making the journey. Her husband added, “Tracey really needs this, so we are willing to take this risk, this chance of going way down there and being rejected.” However, Tracey’s lymphedema posted too much of a risk. She would have to lose more weight.
Anthony visits with Tracey while on their way to Houston.
After losing 90 pounds, then gaining half of it back, she was ultimately able to drop to 439 pounds — meaning she lost nearly 200 pounds — and was approved for skin removal surgery. Plus, the relationship with her husband improved. Initially, Anthony was against his wife losing the weight. She said, “Things have been a little tense between Anthony and me lately. I’m not sure if he’s just tired of the diet, or if he’s upset that I’m trying to lose this weight. I know he said he liked being needed, but now he’s telling me to do everything myself.” He added, “We need each other, we support each other, even in the bad times. But if Tracey wants to do this, then she needs to learn to do this herself.”
Today, however, the couple are happier than ever. She said, “I feel like we are starting to grow in a new direction. I am excited about the future now for me and for us as a couple. I have hope again and I don’t ever want to go back to a place where I don’t.”
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