In many of my articles, I reflect on being a plus-sized adult for the first part of my life. What I haven’t written about is the fact that all of my family members are overweight.
My own “little” brother, Quin, topped out at his highest weight of 840 pounds at the age of 27.
Quin recently expressed the desire to share his story of being morbidly obese and how he lost over 300 pounds in less than a year. His hope is to help others understand what it’s like to be one of the heaviest people alive and how it is possible to lose weight on your own without surgery.
Quin said growing up fat was a social disaster,
“I didn’t go outside of my home too much unless it was to school or a friend’s house. I also couldn’t do a lot of things with my friends– such as riding rollercoaster rides. I remember being mortified when I was told that I could not ride a rollercoaster ride because I couldn’t fit in the seats anymore. It was not the greatest feeling watching family and friends have fun while I sat by and watched.”
As an adult, Quin’s weight doubled from his high school years.
He believes this further limited his social life. He became a shut-in for the last four years while living with family. Quin passed the time by playing a lot of World of Warcraft. “This game was like a drug to me—I was completely addicted. I had no motivation to do anything else at all.” Quin explained the devastating truth that when he would go to sleep each early morning, he would hope that he would not wake back up.
“I thought it would be easier if I died in my sleep. I would be less of a burden on my family.”
The sad existence Quin once knew so well completely changed at 3am on August 8th, 2013. That morning, he fell four feet off of his back porch while trying to check on a problem with the central air in the home. The fall resulted in ripping the ACL and ligaments in his left knee. Quin was alone that day and did not have any way of helping himself off of the ground due to his injury and weight. He said, “I had no idea when or if someone would help me since I lived in the country. I lay outside for twelve hours before help arrived on that hot 100 degree August day. The whole time I waited for help, I thought my life was over, and in a way, it kind of was.” He eventually spotted a neighbor down the road and called out for help. After 911 was called and an EMT came out to his home to help, it still took the muscle of 8 people to hoist Quin onto the ambulance floor.
During the hospital stay, Quin’s depression worsened.
The truth of his existence became very clear. He couldn't do anything for himself anymore. He urinated and defecated in his hospital bed because nurses simply could not help him to the toilet. Of all of the embarrassing things that happened in his life, Quin says this experience topped them.
His dirty little secret was now out for the public to see.
The medical staff did their best taking care of Quin for 2 months, but they could not operate on his leg until he lost more weight. Because Quin could not stand upright without assistance, it was in his best interest to be transferred to an assisted living facility to continue to lose weight. His new home was now located nearly 900 miles away from his family and the life he once knew. With anxiety in his voice, Quin confessed, “This was a big change for me since I had not left my home in such a long time.”
One of the most surprising things Quin expressed to me about living at the healthcare facility is that they enable the patients to purchase large quantities of fast food daily.
“I had a really bad roommate when I first arrived here. One of the worst things he did was ordering fast food delivery every night. This made living here on a diet hellish for the first six months until I was able to change roommates.” Despite the fact this assisted living facility prides itself on helping individuals lose weight; the reality is they do the bare minimum that the law requires. Quin says, “The food is bad. It’s not fresh, wholesome foods. It’s just portion-controlled junk. It’s worse than any sort of food from a school cafeteria and it makes hospital dining seem awesome in comparison.”
As Quin continues to lose weight on his own through portion-controlled meals, gentle walks on his injured leg, and lifting weights, he will be offered the chance for gastric bypass surgery. However, he says,
“I look at gastric bypass as a crutch and not a real solution to the problem. If I can lose over 340 pounds on my own so far, what is stopping me from losing it all? I see it as a quick fix, but most of us know in life that there is no such thing.”
Even though Quin has managed to lose a massive amount of weight in such a short amount of time, he still needs to lose at least 200 more pounds before he will be eligible for surgery to repair the ACL tear in his left leg at the University of Toledo Medical Center, according to orthopedic surgeon, Nabil Ebraheim, MD. The risk is high for someone that is over 300 pounds of re-tearing the ACL before it is healed. Quin says the thought of waiting until another 200 pounds is lost makes him feel depressed. It’s a struggle for him living in constant pain every day. He says,
“I sometimes feel stuck— like I’m not going anywhere.”
Despite sometimes feeling trapped, Quin says he hopeful for his future. At 500 pounds, he is still morbidly obese, but he is the smallest he has been in the past seven years– and to him, that’s an accomplishment to be proud of. He says that the time he has spent in the assisted living facility has taught him that life is precious and shouldn't be wasted.
Quin has proven that even though his situation is far from ideal, he is still determined to make progress to reach his dreams of a new, happier life.
After Quin receives his knee surgery, he plans to enroll in school and start building a new life. He says,” I do not see myself going back to my family’s home when I leave assisted living. I am going to move forward in my life and not backward.”
>>>UPDATE 9/2015: Quin is doing great! He continues to lose weight and now lives with his new fiance outside of the health care facility. He just became a first-time father this month to his new baby daughter. Congrats Quin!
If you wish to congratulate Quin,
leave a comment below and let him know how much he inspires you!
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