The Half-Ton Teen & His Journey to Dropping the Pounds | The Oprah Winfrey Show | OWN

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WINFREY: Her teenage son weighs more than 800 pounds. And she blames herself. She is next. WINFREY: As difficult as life is for adults who are severely obese, imagine suffering with it as a teenager. While most high school seniors spend the year looking forward to their prom, their graduation, and all the stuff we loved as seniors, Billy Robbins spent the entire year trapped inside his house. Here's Billy's story. BARBARA: Billy was perfect in his weight as a child. You know, he was right in the guidelines and everything, and just a normal baby. You know, healthy. In kindergarten, he was a little chunky, and I used to tell everybody, "Oh, yes, he's going to be my football player. He's going to take care of Dad and I when we get old." BILL ROBBINS: As he went through elementary school, you know, he started putting on some weight. BARBARA: His weight affected his school life very, very much. It would take him a while to get up the stairs and down. He had went to high school, and the children were so mean to him. He did graduate, but he did it here at the house. You know, he just got to a point where his whole life stopped. WINFREY: As his weight continued to climb, it became more and more difficult for Billy to even move. Even short trips to the bathroom were grueling for the 800 pound teenager. BILL ROBBINS: My hope for my son is that he would get active. I want to see him out of the house, I want to see him doing things, experiencing things that he hasn't done before. BILLY: Well, I -- I can get up and walk around pretty good, you know. I just can't stay up too long, because my feet start to hurt and my back starts to hurt. I have trouble sleeping. Laying down -- that's my problem. So I sleep sitting up. BARBARA: His daily routine is in that bedroom, watching his television. And he goes to the bathroom, and then he's back in his chair. That's his life in there. He loves hamburgers, pizza, chips. When he eats a hamburger, he doesn't eat, like, a hamburger. He has to have two -- double meat, triple meat. There's so much that affects a large person. You know, you can't do anything normal. BILLY: I guess my mother would be my best friend. You know, she pretty much takes care of me completely. BARBARA: You got stains from the sloppy Joes. Well, he's spoiled. I overdo for Billy. He likes junk, but he also likes good food, too. Broccoli -- you know, with cheese on it, of course. Can't have broccoli without cheese. It's hard saying no to your child when they want something to eat, or they want this or that. Guess what I got? Goodies. Goody goody goodies. It gets tiring. But everything I do for him. It's all out of love -- it's what mamas do. You should never ever have to bury your child. It's one of the hardest things you'll ever have to do. WINFREY: Barbara says the death of her first son has caused her to overindulge Billy. BARBARA: Matthew was my firstborn. He was born in 1982. He lived 19 months, and he died. Six more years, Billy came along. When Billy turned 19 months and one day, I celebrated. Twenty months, 21 months -- it was a celebration of life. I wanted to give him more, wanted to make sure he had everything that Matt didn't have or might didn't have the opportunity to have, you know, along the way, and I just thought that was food and that was clothes and that was toys and games. I spoiled Billy. I don't know how to stop. WINFREY: Well, doctors warn Billy's parents that if something drastic isn't done, their son's going to die before his 20th birthday. Some of the video you're about to see is pretty graphic. BARBARA: Do you want to die? Do you want to die? BILLY: Sometimes, yes. Sometimes, you know, I just wish that I could just get out of my body. It's really hard. It's like a prison. I mean, just move around a bit. WINFREY: Billy and his parents decide that surgery is their only hope. It takes an ambulance, fire truck, and a team of medics to get him safely to the hospital. BILLY: On the day, I felt kind of like a bit of a spectacle. I kind of noticed people looking at me, kind of made you feel like you were being shown off to the world or something. EMT: If you can just turn around, take a seat on that, does that work? BILLY: Yeah, go ahead. BARBARA: [Barbara cries] I love you. I'm so used to doing so much for him, and it's weird watching everybody else scramble. That is hard to let go. I'm, like, wanting to go in there for a bit and bathe him, you know, because that's what I do. DR. YOUNAN NOWZARADAN: Take a deep breath for me. Billy's situation right now is very critical. He has pushed his weight to the limit that is overdriving his heart and lung. WINFREY: Billy's health is so dire, he must spend 30 days on a strict diet before doctors can operate. DR. ROBERT MARVIN: We're really talking about a medical emergency. WINFREY: Billy will undergo surgery to have nearly 70 pounds of his abdomen removed. BARBARA: They're going to remove the front part of the stomach. They said it'd be about five, six-hour surgery, so it's going to be a long, long, long day. Since he's been going through this, I have felt like this is all my fault. I love you. BILLY: I love you, too, Mama. BARBARA: I spoiled Billy, but now I'm getting scared, scared to death. DR. NOWZARADAN: So this operation is aimed to improve his posture and ability to walk and breathe. This will be a positive step for him. I don't know -- is he getting tight? We're losing -- okay, hold on, hold on, hold on. Surgery went very well. NURSE: Billy, you did really well, okay? WINFREY: The first 72 hours after surgery are critical for Billy. BILLY: I'm in so much pain. BARBARA: I know you are, honey. I know, baby. It'll all be over in just a little while.

Just hang in a little while longer, please. BILLY: Just hurry up. DR. NOWZARADAN: Billy has a blood clot in his leg, and that can be a dangerous situation. WINFREY: Doctors have to operate to prevent Just hang in a little while longer, please. BILLY: Just hurry up. DR. NOWZARADAN: Billy has a blood clot in his leg, and that can be a dangerous situation. WINFREY: Doctors have to operate to prevent the blood clot from traveling to Billy's heart or lungs. DR. NOWZARADAN: Okay, Billy, slowly I need you to scoot on this narrow bed, so we'll help you. DR. MARVIN: Ok, you want to take your time. BILLY: Oh, my leg. DR. NOWZARADAN: Don't be afraid of pain. Come on. BILLY: Oh. Oh. Oh. NURSE: Almost there, hon. You're doing really well. DR. NOWZARADAN: I'm going to try to go above the clot. If not, we go to the outer groin. BARBARA: This has been nothing but a big old emotional rollercoaster. He's what I live and breathe for, and if he dies, I'd just jump in the coffin with him. There'd be no reason to live anymore. None at all. WINFREY: That operation is also successful, and Billy starts his road to recovery. BARBARA: This child is very demanding. He's a big old baby. God knows if I had it to do over again, I would love him just as much, but I would change everything. WINFREY: After recovering, Billy went on to have gastric sleeve surgery. It's a procedure that removed 80% of his stomach. He's now 20 years old and has lost 300 pounds. Billy and his mom, Barbara, are joining us on Skype from their home in Houston, Texas. We'll talk to them when we come back. WINFREY: Well, as a teenager, Billy Robbins weighed over 800 pounds, and barely able to walk he was. Last year he had gastric sleeve surgery. He lost 300 pounds. Billy and his mom, Barbara, are joining us from Houston. Hello to both of you. Hello to both of you. BILLY: Hello. BARBARA: Hi, Oprah. WINFREY: So, Billy, how has your life changed, losing the weight? BILLY: It's completely changed. You know, I mean, for a while there, it was just so hard to walk or move and now, you know, after losing all that weight moving is easy. Getting up and down out of small places is easy. It's just a complete change from what I was at that point. WINFREY: So are you still losing weight? Did you change your lifestyle as well? BILLY: Yes, ma'am. I am still losing weight. I changed my lifestyle. I eat completely different. I get up and move around. I don't eat takeout, fatty foods, none of that. Chocolate, sweets, cut that out. Cut out the starches, breads, you know ... WINFREY: You're eating broccoli without the cheese? BILLY: Yes, ma'am. WINFREY: Yeah, because -- yes. [LAUGHTER] WINFREY: Because when your mom said you can't have broccoli without cheese, I went, "Oh, yeah, you can." BARBARA: I thought that's what you might be thinking. [laughs] WINFREY: Yes, that's exactly what I was thinking, Barbara. You know, you said on the tape that you blame yourself. I mean, as we're all watching this, I'm sure the audience is thinking the same thing I'm thinking, because I'm seeing this TLC tape for the first time along with the audience here. And you were -- you have been an incredible enabler, would you say? BARBARA: Yes, yes. WINFREY: Yes, and you did that, because of your feelings about, you know, obviously, loving your son and also having lost Matthew. At the end of the tape that we just saw, you said you would do things differently. You would certainly love him as much, but you would do it differently. How would you do it differently? BARBARA: Well, his eating -- I would change his eating habits totally. We would all eat different. As you can see, I do need to lose a lot of weight as well, but ... WINFREY: I do, too, but we're not talking about it, so ... [LAUGHTER] BARBARA: No, let's not today. But I would change our life totally. I mean, our eating habits would be where I'd start, number one. And I would make sure that Junior went to summer camp and that he was active in all types of sports. I mean, you know, if I knew what I knew back then, and what was waiting down the road ... WINFREY: Uh-huh. Did you know how badly you were feeding him? I mean, as we were watching you make those -- looked like whatever -- and you were bringing him treats and bringing him snacks and saying "That's what a mother does," did you know how bad it was, what you were doing? How unhealthy -- that's the word. Unhealthy. BARBARA: Yes, ma'am. WINFREY: Yeah, you did. BARBARA: Yes. WINFREY: Yeah, you did. BARBARA: Of course, we know. We know as moms. But like I say, you love them, and they want it, so being a mom, you give it to them. And I knew it was bad, but then I'm looking -- well, okay, he's still healthy, he's still getting up, going to the bathroom, he's not complaining with this or that and, you know, I don't know. Like I said, many times I just over-loved him, overdid for him. WINFREY: So, Billy, your mom has said that she blames herself. Do you blame her or hold her responsible, or wish she had done things differently? BILLY: I really don't blame my mom. I mean, I ate the food. I took it in my hand and I ate it. No one ever forced me to. I knew what I was doing. And for the situation I got into, the only person to blame is myself, because no one ever forced food in my hand, no one every forced it down my throat. I ate it willingly, and I asked for it, and, you know ... WINFREY: So, you know what? That TLC show is riveting, you know, to watch people in such dire situations as a result of food and being overweight -- not just food. But what do you want us to learn from your experience? I know that you don't want us to just look at it and go, "Oh, my god. Isn't that a big guy?" What do you want us all to learn from your story? BILLY: Well, I guess the main point to learn from it is that when you see people in a situation like that, you know, a lot of people snicker and make judgments. You know, really don't judge a person by that, because there's a lot of roads that lead to that, to where I was. And, you know, when a person is in that situation, making them feel bad about themselves, and making fun of them, you're just making them feel horrible. Never, never makes the situation any better, no matter if you're just doing it to maybe shock them back into doing it themselves. It doesn't help. It can only lead to making things worse. WINFREY: Well, I wish you success on the journey, and I think that's so well put. There are a lot of roads that lead to whatever the situation is. That's what we'll take away from you today. Thank you so much, Billy and Barbara. BARBARA: Thank you. WINFREY: And continued success, continued success on eating healthy. The broccoli without the cheese. [LAUGHTER] BARBARA: Yes, ma'am. Yes, ma'am. WINFREY: All right. You can watch more of Billy's journey on the TLC documentary "Half Ton Teen." Speaking of that, how do you like being called a "half ton teen?" Do you wish it were called something else? BILLY: Yeah, but, you know, I really don't know what else I guess they'd call it. I guess they had to get something that kind of fits together. So, I mean, you know, I guess it's okay. No one ever really calls me that, but I wish it was just something else. BARBARA: Well, and it's no longer that anymore. He's not a half-ton teen anymore. BILLY: No. No. Not anymore. BARBARA: No. That's the old life. WINFREY: That's the old life.

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