My 600-lb Life’s Wednesday, January 4, season premiere was not without life-threatening drama, as one of two twin sisters was put into a medically induced coma after her heart stopped following gastric bypass surgery. It sent her family into hysterics.
“I don’t want my sister to die,” Brandi Dreier said, watching as her sister, Kandi Dreier, was under sedation. “I need my sister to pull through this. She promised she wouldn’t leave me. I can’t do this without her.”
Kandi and Brandi, 29-year-old twins from Washington, each weighed around 600 pounds and underwent weight-loss surgery as a medical necessity. Kandi had a weaker heart from her EKG levels, and initially was not granted surgery permission from her doctor until she lost more weight and her heart levels stabilized.
“It’s pretty devastating,” the twins’ grandmother, Sherry, said upon seeing a comatose Kandi for the first time. “I expected to see her wired up, but not like she is.”
Kandi suffered what her doctor called an embolism, which appeared to be a blood clot shaken loose when she began walking after surgery. She was put into a coma to avoid her body suffering further damage.
Although Kandi rebounded to full consciousness without brain damage, and was able to wiggle her toes right away, she spent a week in a coma on a ventilator before doctors revived her. “I was terrified I lost her,” a tearful Brandi said. “I’m so happy you’re awake. I didn’t like you being asleep.”
Brandi also had a gastric bypass surgery several months before her sister, but hers went off with minimal complications.
Before the surgeries, the ladies were put on a strict 1,200-calorie-a-day diet by their doctors, leading the two to lose around 70 pounds each in the first month alone, or more than 10 percent of their body weight. For the women who enjoyed pizza and drive-through fast food, Kandi and Brandi soldiered through.
A consistent diet of salads, turkey burgers, Jello cups and green beans (after a brief carb slip-up), mixed with sustained cardio and lightweight training, showed their long-term commitment, and both lost more than 200 pounds each by year’s end.
At the core of Brandi and Kandi’s backstory trauma was their mother, who abandoned the girls as kids, Brandi and Kandi said, and was a nasty drunk. During a family group-therapy session, Mom offended Brandi by saying she forgot which of her daughters had threatened to commit suicide.
The siblings and their mother started to improve their bond after the year’s intensities died down, and they started embarking on adventures together with a renewed energy for life.
My 600-lb Life airs on TLC Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET.
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