My 600-lb Life’s Donald Shelton before and after weight loss photos

My 600-lb Life's Donald before and after weight loss

Tomorrow night, TLC’s My 600-lb Life will introduce us all to the amazing story of Donald Shelton from Pasadena, Texas. The network has followed four different people for 7-years through their decision to have gastric bypass surgery and the trials and tribulations that follow.

Here’s a dramatic preview clip of David’s upcoming episode. An emotional Shelton reveals that he has difficulty walking because of his weight and that he would have been lost without the support of his parents:

Later in the clip a doctor reveals that at one point following the surgery David lost 380 lbs. In the above before photo, David indicated that at that time he weighed 678-lbs. The clip leaves us with an ominous feeling as we can hear the voice of a woman emotionally wondering if the only thing keeping him alive was a respirator.

The premiere episode focused on Melissa Morris and it was a fantastic and detailed look at all the danger, emotions and personal ramifications that can come from someone at that weight having the procedure. As was pointed out in our previous post, the heavier a person is the more dangerous a gastric bypass procedure can be.

Donald posted the following motivational photo to his Facebook page labeled, “Standing for the first time in three years.”

My 600-lb Life's Donald standing for the first time in 3 years.

Obviously it was brave for Donald to have the procedure but it’s my opinion that he’s also courageous in sharing his story with TLC so that others might find strength in and a greater appreciation for his struggle. Donald’s episode premieres tomorrow at 10PM/EST.

UPDATE: On the episode, Donald’s surgery was successful and he lost over 300 pounds. He was doing very until he had a huge set-back. He fell, and checked into the hospital because he was having trouble walking. Everyone thought he had the flue. While in the hospital, Donald started talking incoherently, and eventually slipped into a coma. While he was in a coma, his friend told his family that Donald was using meth, and that his girlfriend was a heavy user.

Later, doctors found that Donald had developed a rare auto-immune disorder Guillain-Barre, which attacks the nervous system and can lead to paralysis or death. The disease had nothing to do with his meth use. His disease can take years to recover from, and though he did come out of the coma, and made strides, his recovery was slow. Eventually his insurance company wanted to move him to a nursing home, which the doctor predicted might kill him. In order to save Donald’s life, his family took down walls in his mother’s house, and remodeled so they could care for Donald at home.

While recovering at home, Donald continued to lose weight, and was able to slowly become more mobile with the help of a special chair. His mother, however, started feeding him junk food again, which she thought wouldn’t hurt him because he was “so skinny.” Despite these struggles, Donald was able to meet a new girlfriend, Barbie Stephens, off of a dating website. They really hit it off, and Barbie moved in with Donald and his family.

By year six, Donald gained 105 pounds in one year. He had gotten down to about 200 pounds, and he was back up to over 300. He received good news that he should be able to walk again, but the doctor was concerned about his weight gain, which may be influenced by other people in his house who overeat. By year seven, Donald had gained another 100 pounds. He was engaged, but Barbie left him. He just came home one day, and she was gone

Barbie: “Towards the end, it was just too much for me to bear. All of a sudden his frame of mind changed, and he started going back to his old ways.”

Donald had started drinking again, and according to Barbie, was in denial that he was gaining weight again. Donald says he gave up after Barbie left, but Barbie says he gave up before, and that’s why he left. He started pigging out on all sorts of sugary and fatty foods.

When the doctor confronted him about his 200 pound weight gain over two years, and why he was still in a wheelchair he stormed out of the hospital, and interestingly enough, Melissa Morris from the first episode was working there as a patient liaison and chased after him.

A few days later, his wheelchair broke, and Donald decided to really make a change. He committed to working out again. After he starts losing some of the weight he recently gained, he arranged to meet Barbie again, and they talked about why Barbie was so frustrated with him that she left. She told him that he was still her soul mate.

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  • jim hitz

    I would really like to speak to donald shelton i think he needs to know there is others out there with his same problem could you would you please pass along my email address to him i would be forever greatful.

    thank you so much
    Jim Hitz

    • Kristydp7105

      I too contracted Gillian-barre syndrome from the surgery. My journey was not nearly as rough as his. We all need someone who can relate. Please feel free to contact me.

      • The truth

        People like you and that other beast. Will soon no longer be tolerated. I’m not trying to be mean. The reality the world will soon have to decide to shelter you or put you down.. Trust me.. Current world population is at 7.5 billion soon very soon we will be at 10 billion the more. At those global numbers we will have no choice..

        • KD7105

          What you talking about? Are you being ignorant

          • The horrible truth

            Nope not ignorant. I’m a true realist. Why do we praise pathetic social leaches. we then encourage them and call them brave.. They are social leaches.. Think about it. We both saw the same show. Who is or was paying for their medical bills. They can deny it all they want. once again. Feel free to google this. Current global census is at. 7.5BILLION! Ten years ago we had 5 billion people. Another ten years from now census project we will have over 10billiom people living. So 15-20 years from now. We global population numbers are at a point were you and I have to decide weather we continue to sheltered the pathetic social leaches… Trust me.. Your point of view will change…

  • Tami

    just wanted to say what great support you had in family , my daughter got cancer , and well, i was not so lucky ,but did have people help me that we call family know lKudos to you mom what a trooper

  • Anthony ferullo

    I just want to come out And say i am absolutly touched by The journey you have embarked on. you have to be One of The strongest individual on The face of this earth. I am envious in The respect that i wish i could accomplish a task so great. Donald i honestly have to say that you have saved my life…i would really love to have lunch with you…maybe you would want to have lunch with me.

    Sincerely, Anthony ho

  • bryan;

    It seems he lives only 30 minutes from here. We in Houston are lucky to have the best treatment for severely overweight people, so he was in good hands. I wish him the absolutely best!

    • Texas is WACK

      Why do we praise and encourage pathetic people like that.. We can no longer tolerate those who can’t help them selves.. Don’t blame me. You and I are apart of the monster that is this reality.. Be realistic. When the world has a population that has to decide weather to sheltere or put people down like him. I’m sure you will be the first to vote to put him down.. One last thing Texas is horrible!

    • Skinny

      Not sure that is a good thing. Seems a majority of these obese people are from Texas or the south. Maybe you need to reconsider all the fried food and start to eat healthier and exercise. An improved educational system may also be of benefit to the patient and their caregivers. Sorry to say, but these people are not the brightness lights on the tree.

  • Up2Me2day!

    Way to go Donald! You can do it. Bless your mom for taking on the care taker task but until she decides that she is on this weight loss journey with you as a team, it is going to be harder to accomplish. AS you get older, you can’t eat as you did when you were a kid. I would love to but I will just put the weight back on and I will create my own health problems, not the food, me. As soon as you take responsibility for your own health, you will make it. It is not ok, to be fat. Wishing you the best for the new year.

  • Thetruth

    I am a very proud American. I fought for our country and I serve with great pride. It saddens me that we take pitty on pathetic human brains like this beast of a man.. He’s a drain on the system. The world has over 7.5 billion humans.. One day very soon. People like this man will no longer be tolerated. We will have no choice to.. We have become a nation of pathetic a nation of beggers.. It’s time we take the examples our great American ancestors. And make this country great. A man like this shouldn’t be praised but humanly put down..

    • Yup

      Yo I agree.. We can no longer afford to have people like him alive..

  • BreAnna

    Just wanted to say that you are an inspiration. You are SO brave for sharing your story with everyone. People have a tendency to say mean things when they’re anonymous on the internet, or when they don’t understand the journey someone else has been through. But for every internet troll or hater, there are so many more people who you’ve inspired. Obesity and alcoholism both run in my family, so I know what it’s like to constantly be around the addictions, the enabling within the family, and the stigma from others. There’s depression, there’s financial problems, there are times when it feels like you’re trapped at rock bottom. But I think it’s important to know that you aren’t ever alone, even at the bottom. I think your story, and those of the other patients, is so important because it lets others know they aren’t alone. And you aren’t alone in this either. Thank you for your courage. I believe in you.

  • courtney

    I just wanted to say that the Guillain Barre disease likely caused a neurological disorder called CIDP I believe? Anyway this happens in some cases after Guillain Barre but not many people or doctors know about it. The good news is it can be treated with medicine and he can regain function. I don’t know how to tell him this but he or anyone can look it up on YouTube . I wish he knew that this is a strong possibility that has likely not been realized by doctors and that he could be close to cured.

    • Lesley Gordon

      What????? I have CIDP. Gbs does not cause CIDP. Gbs is similiar yet temporary (average 2 to 6 months) . Cidp is permanent and there is no cure ! And likely not realized by doctors ? Do not tell people things like this . look it up on YouTube??? I’m astonished right now.

  • megan

    OMG he makes me so mad! Eating taco bell gaining 200lbs back and being lazy and making excuses! I don’t deny that he went through some really rough things on his weight loss journey but thats no excuse to blame everyone else for your problems and eat whatever you want and throw away your chance at happiness!

  • Karl

    Barbie was a huge problem

    • Barbie Stephens

      How was I a problem? you didn’t see or hear about the many fight we had over what he was putting in his mouth, not wanting to workout with me, you only seen a VERY small part into our lives

      • Nathan

        Hi Barbie. Thanks for writing. What happened with Donald. Is he walking now? Did you two get back together? Sorry if it’s a a sensitive question. I hope you are both doing great.

        • Barbie Stephens

          Hi Nathan, no he is not walking and no we didn’t get back together. It’s not a sensitive question at all so no worries. Me and him are friends on facebook but we don’t really talk that much. From what he post he is doing good he hasn’t lost any more weight, but he is working on it. I myself I am doing very well. I have been with my current boyfriend for almost 3 years and have a year left in college.

          • Nathan

            Hi Barbie thanks for the reply. Glad to hear you are doing well 🙂

            That’s sad he hasn’t been able to get walking again. What he went through is pretty hard. I can’t imagine having to do all that. And yet it’s still a shame he wasn’t able to follow through.

            It makes me think I should also make sure I follow through on what I want to achieve, especially since I don’t have it as hard.

            What do you think happened when he gained back the 200 pounds and stopped trying? Do you think he thought he wasn’t good enough for that success?

  • Jena Bowman

    Has ever gotten out of that damn chair?

  • Minimimi

    I had gastric sleeve surgery in late 2015. On 2/27/16 I lost all ability to walk. It took weeks but too was diagnosed with Guillian-Barre (GBS). It took me 4 months to walk again. I was then diagnosed with the chronic form of GBS called CIDP. I did lose about 175 lbs (but I did not start out as heavy).
    GBS is no joke, I admire Donald for fighting all his demons, set backs and all. The depression from being overwieght as well as from fighting this rare autoimmue disorder.