“He is not just a talented surgeon but he’s compassionate and has the greatest bedside manner,” said Meghan Crumpler, a 43-year-old Stockbridge resident who is featured in the first episode that debuted June 2 exclusively on Discovery+, the streaming service which runs shows from TLC, Discovery, Food Network and HGTV, among others, as well as original programming. “He makes me feel like a human being and is not judgmental.”
Keely Walker Muse, executive producer for “Too Large,” said Procter is as nice in person as he seems on the show. “He always tells his patients that they are his patients for life,” she said. “He goes above and beyond both before and after surgery. He genuinely cares.”
Crumpler starts the episode at nearly 500 pounds after years of depression and trauma. Chronic respiratory issues led her to take steroids, which made her gain even more weight.
“Once you get in that position, it goes downhill,” Crumpler said. She had to have an oxygen tank 24/7 and would have to struggle to make it from her bed to the bathroom.
She said she was inspired to go on “Too Large” after her father David, dying in hospice, had watched comparable shows and told her she can lose weight, too.
“My dad was not just my dad,” she added. “He adopted me. He chose to love me. We had a special bond.”
Crumpler met with Procter because she was tired of not being able to move around or be productive. She was ready for a change. “This was a do-or-die moment for me,” she said. “I was tired of sitting on the sidelines. I was alive but not living. I had to do something I’d contemplated for years. And doing it this way, hopefully, I can help others who relate to me.”
Procter said he loves patients like Crumpler who are self-motivated. “You don’t have to be morbidly obese forever,” he said. “You can get yourself healthy and turn things around.”
The episode she’s featured in shows her getting the surgery soon after the pandemic began and follows her efforts to keep losing weight afterwards. It helped that she has a supportive boyfriend in Jon, who kept her motivated.
Crumpler said many view this type of surgery, which involves reducing the size of a patient’s stomach to reduce appetite, as a shortcut. “But if you don’t do the work, it won’t work. It’s just a tool,” she said. “It’s not a get-out-of-jail free card by any means. This is a life-long commitment and there will be setbacks.”
She has a bucket list of things she wants to do that she has never done before: fly in an airplane, go swimming, go on a cruise, take a vacation, kayak, take dance lessons, even cross her legs.
With the weight loss, she said she can now stand and cook and use a seatbelt.
Crumpler early in the episode brought her friend Vannessa Cross to meet with Procter for possible surgery as well.
But Cross, who had gained 70 pounds in one year, was more resistant to losing weight. She first told Crumpler she was happy the way she was, but she later admitted that wasn’t true. She said she would get angry when she saw food she wasn’t allowed to eat, that willpower for her was futile.
“There is such a big psychological component to this,” Procter said. “That’s lost on a lot of people. It’s not just getting the surgery. The bigger leap is changing your lifestyle completely in order to make this work and be successful long term.”
Muse of Crazy Legs Productions said she was glad to see Discovery+ release this particular episode first. “Meghan and Vannessa are both lovely human beings,” she said. “Both were ready to be raw and honest and that’s the key.”
WHERE TO WATCH
“Too Large” is available to all Discovery+ subscribers.