A mother-of-two has revealed how her weight soared out of control leaving her bed bound for eight years.
Claire, 49, from Southampton, tipped the scales at a whopping 31 stone, leaving her incarcerated inside her own home and needing round-the-clock care from her youngest daughter, Jasmine, 19.
Appearing on Channel 4 show Shut-Ins: Britain’s Fattest People, Claire described being a prisoner in her own home as ‘the worst way to die’ – but with help from bariatic surgery has managed to turn her life around, in spite of a terrifying cancer diagnosis.
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Claire, 49, from Southampton, tipped the scales at a whopping 31 stone and had been bed bound for eight years, requiring round-the-clock care from one of her daughter’s Jasmine, 19, who still lives at home
Describing herself as a prisoner in her own home, Claire told viewers of Channel 4 show Shut-Ins: Britain’s Fattest People: ‘It’s like a slow death. You can think of all the worst ways to die and this to me is the worst I can imagine. It feels like the whole world has forgotten me.’
Forced to eat, sleep and even go to the toilet in the living room of her house, where her bed is positioned, Claire said her weight had steadily grown out of control since her early twenties
Claire is seen in the bed that held her prisoner for eight years, with her teenage daughter Jasmine forced to fetch her the things she needed, something which put immense strain on their relationship
Of being stuck in her home, she told the Channel 4 team: ‘It’s like a slow death. You can think of all the worst ways to die and this to me is the worst I can imagine. It feels like the whole world has forgotten me.’
There are 50,000 people currently super morbidly obese in the UK and the show explores how many are left ‘shut-in’ their homes by their weight problems.
Claire, who lives by the sea in Southampton, hasn’t set eyes on the ocean for over a decade.
She explains: ‘I sleep here, eat here, get washed here, go to the toilet here’, describing what it’s like to live in the four walls of what used to be her living room.
‘I do feel trapped when I’m stuck in on my own. There’s no-one on this planet who can make me feel more ashamed of myself than I am of me.’
Claire’s relationship with her daughter and carer Jasmine reaches breaking point and the mother-of-two is offered the chance to save her life through surgery.
However, Claire receives the devastating news that under her body fat is a cancerous growth in her uterus.
Claire, who appeared on Channel 4 show Shut-Ins: Britain’s Fattest People said she no longer knew where her left knee was, as it was buried under the excess flesh on her legs
Claire’s daughter Jasmine is seen breaking down in tears as she experiences her mother’s frustration at not being able to get out of bed and do things for herself
Claire, who struggled with her weight from an early age, had a difficult upbringing and was never close to her mother.
‘Back then, I used food to comfort myself because I didn’t have anything else,’ she explained.
By the time she was 21, Claire was married and already weighed 20 stone – but as the years passed she continued to pile on the pounds.
Then eight years ago, she developed a flesh-eating illness called necrotizing fasciitis, which almost killed her, left her shut in and bed bound.
‘I think my belly button is somewhere under that lump somewhere,’ she said on the show, lifting up piles of fat.
Her weight has left her with life-threatening health problems – including diabetes which means she has to inject herself daily with insulin.
She’s plagued with constant skin infections and parts of her body have become abnormally swollen.’
Claire pictured on her wedding day; her battle with her weight had begun after a difficult childhood and food – particularly carbs – became her comfort
Claire’s decline into becoming bed-bound began eight years ago after she developed flesh-eating bug necrotizing fasciitis, which almost killed her
Determined to improve the quality of her life, Claire decided to seek help and underwent bariatic surgery, which revealed the mother-of-two (seen at home with her daughter Jasmine) has a cancerous growth on her uterus
Her obesity has caused diabetes and Claire is seen in the show regularly injecting insulin to keep her body’s blood sugar levels stable
But Claire isn’t alone – while her eldest Tracey has moved out, she lives with 19 year old daughter Jasmine, who has been her carer since the tender age of 11.
Jasmine brings her food, helps with her personal care and does most of the housework and is even on call for her mother at night.
‘When I was younger my mum was happy. She was always laughing with friends at the time,’ she explained.
‘My life is completely different to what it was before.
Claire admitted she was like a ‘big baby’ who ‘needs constant looking after.’
She added: ‘Carbs are my trigger food. I like bread, pasta, pork pies. I’m just a carb fiend. If there’s a car I’ll eat it. Even the dogs are addicted!’
Bariatric surgeon Nick Carter examines an oozing wound from the side of Claire’s stomach, which is one of many infected legions she had across her body
Success story: Claire has managed to shed eight stone since undergoing surgery and can now walk with the aid of a frame; her weight has reduced from 31 stones to 23 stones
In the show, bariatric surgeon Nick Carter explained that the only way Claire would ever be able to leave her house would be to have stomach-reducing surgery.
‘It’s crucial Claire will have surgery because without it she’ll die younger and the complications she’s having at the moment will multiply,’ he said.
‘It’s fair to describe her as a ticking time bomb.’
Only the operation, which reduced Claire’s tummy to a quarter of its size, wasn’t as straight forward as he’d hoped.
Her extra weight was masking a cancerous growth in her uterus – which could only be operated on if she lost further weight.
Two and a half months later, Claire managed to lose two stone after being put on a calorie-restricted diet and had a second operation which removed the large two-stone lump on her stomach, followed by the unexpected hysterectomy.
Now, surgery has helped her slim down to 23 stone, she can get out and about by herself and she’s been given the all-clear.
‘The last time I went out on my feet was 10-12 years ago,’ said Claire.
‘It’s just nice to have the sun on me – that’s amazing. it’s the smell of the grass. seeing stuff that’s not behind a window is amazing.’
Shut-Ins: Britain’s Fattest People, Wednesday, 10pm on Channel 4