The 110-Pound 3-Year-Old and His Family’s Quest for Answers | The Oprah Winfrey Show | OWN

The 110-Pound 3-Year-Old and His Family’s Quest for Answers | The Oprah Winfrey Show | OWN


– I know most of you
remember baby Zack. He made national headlines
when at the age of 1, he weighed close to 80 pounds. He’s still growing. And now at three
years old– hi, Zack– he weighs 110 pounds. Zack is here today
with his parents, Laurie and Chris Strenkert. He was born weighing? 10, 6 and 23-inches long. And that was a big baby. LAURIE STRENKERT:
But not overly big. But not really big. When did you start
to notice overly big? Well, we started
noticing different things. His soft spots were
very, very small. And that really concerned me. We went to the
doctor, and we had tests done to make
sure the skull was soft and growing, which
it was, thank god. OPRAH WINFREY: Mm-hmm. But I breastfed him,
so he didn’t get anything except nature’s milk, you know? And he was growing. About 2 and 1/2 pounds he
would gain every two weeks. ZACK STRENKERT: I want to see. LAURIE STRENKERT:
He wants to see. OPRAH WINFREY: Mm-hmm. And he would grow in
height an inch to two inches in a 24-to-48-hour period. And he would cry. OPRAH WINFREY: He would grow? My laundry from the
day before would not fit. I just want my sis.
I just want my sis. LAURIE STRENKERT: I
would do his laundry. I’d go to put it on him.
It would not fit. OPRAH WINFREY: It wasn’t
just that it was shrinking? No! And this was happening
every two weeks. I would go to the doctor. I’d say, you know,
what’s going on? He wants– he wants to nurse
more when this is happening. He would cry more. And he would sleep more during
that 24-to-48-hour period. And the pedia– OPRAH WINFREY: Hey, Zack. Zack? We’re on TV. [LAUGHTER] It’s OK. he wants his sister. OPRAH WINFREY: We’re on–
we’re on TV right now. And so– LAURIE STRENKERT: We
went to the doctor’s. The doctor said,
nothing’s wrong. He’s fine. And because I was
breastfeeding him– OPRAH WINFREY: The
doctor said nothing was wrong when he was growing
an inch or two overnight? Well, see, they didn’t
realize it, though. They didn’t really realize it. We would go in for
our regular checkups. We’d go have our baby shots,
all that wonderful stuff. And I’m going to the
doctor saying, you know, something’s not right.
Something’s not right. And they kept saying it’s just
mother jitters, mother jitters. OPRAH WINFREY: Well,
what do they say now? Well, now they say that
he has a genetic disorder Simpson-Golabi-Behmel,
which his– his growth rate is excessive right now. And it will slow down, which
now I can’t plot on the calendar when he’s going to grow. It’s more erratic. So like, is he still,
like, Chris, like, growing an inch overnight? No, it has slowed
down quite a bit. It’s slowed down a lot. OPRAH WINFREY: Uh-huh. Most of the excessive growth
was about a year and a half. Excuse me, I have laryngitis. OPRAH WINFREY: OK. You’re excused. And so over a year and a half,
he had those growth spurts. Right. He– it would be
every two weeks– who’s that, huh? [LAUGHS] It would
be every two weeks, and it was like clockwork. But now I know like
if he’s eating more, I know he’s growing. And the way that our
geneticist had explained it was that just like if
you drive your car fast, you put more gas in it. And when his body’s
growing really fast, it’s burning more calories,
and it needs to have that. So that’s how I
kind of can tell. And he starts getting a
little fussy and more tired. And he sleeps a
little bit longer. But what did the
doctor say, then? There’s– there’s nothing
that they can do for this. We– he has– we
had an ultrasound done on him because he
has enlarged kidneys, which is part of it. OPRAH WINFREY: So Zack
is three years old now. LAURIE STRENKERT: He just
turned three about a week ago. OPRAH WINFREY: Uh-huh.
Just turned three? LAURIE STRENKERT: On the 25th.
OPRAH WINFREY: Uh-huh. – And there’s nothing
that they can do. It will slow down. His– the puberty will come
sooner, and the weight will– Are other things wrong? I mean, how are his other–
his learning abilities, is he ahead of most kids
his age or about the same? LAURIE STRENKERT:
Nope, just normal. OPRAH WINFREY: Mm-hmm.
– Normal, completely normal. OPRAH WINFREY: He
kind of talks a lot. Yes, he’s– I’m surprised
he’s not out going around. He’s very active.
OPRAH WINFREY: Uh-huh. Very active. Well, we wondered
how this family copes with 110-pound three-year-old. Take a look. LAURIE STRENKERT:
When Jack was born, he was born 10 pounds, 6
ounces, 23-inches long. When we first
started this all out, everybody kept telling me that
he was just an obese child. And I knew in my heart
something was different. A lot of different things
in Zack’s everyday life have been very hard for him. Just trying to be a normal
three-year-old, because he just turned three, has
been difficult. There are periods when Zack
doesn’t hardly eat anything. So we’re glad to see him
eating right now because I still worry about him as a mom. Bubble. LAURIE STRENKERT: Bubbles. Usually dad gives Zack his bath. Being that he is so big,
I worry about his safety as far as me getting him
in and out of the tub. Oh, I know.
Got a Pamper. Give the Pamper back, Zack.
Come on. Come here. Come back here. This is Zack getting
his diaper changed. ZACK STRENKERT: [FUSSING] I know. Most everything
that Zack needs has to be specially made for him. These are Zack’s shoes. These are two pair
that we’ve made him. These are made from
kitchen linoleum, and they’re made by the
family with love for Zack. This is one of Zack’s shirts. And the neck holes are
sometimes not big enough. So we have to cut
the shirts open. His pants are ladies, like,
casual stretchy pants. And I hem those up. And this is what they
end up looking like. He’s had a lot of difficulties
trying to get around on car. His daddy decided that he would
make a special little car. It’s got really heavy wheels. Dad, you do it. LAURIE STRENKERT: Are
you gonna pull daddy? Yeah. [LAUGHS] He’s the man. [LAUGHS] You’re a sweetheart. So you’re saying
you have a 9-year-old son who’s 150 pounds. LAURIE STRENKERT: Right. And Zack was 110. So you– and you’d watch
your– the son grow. So you knew this wasn’t– LAURIE STRENKERT: Well, he
didn’t start out like that. He started out like a
normal, average child. He was 7, 12 when he was born. He was born with
a visual defect. And I started– when he
started growing rapidly, I started becoming inquisitive. I wanted to know
what was going on. The doctors kept saying
there was nothing wrong. And that just didn’t sit right. I started going. There are things out there that
parents aren’t aware of that doctors don’t tell them. There are organizations, like
Parent To Parent, where you can get linked up with people
that have similar problems with their children,
just compare notes and support each other. And there’s also
organizations that will send you medical information. And I got medical information
on my son’s visual impairment. And it said it was an
offset of something genetic. And that’s when I
started looking. I said, you know,
something’s connecting here. And that’s how–
[LAUGHS] Right. You didn’t give up. No, I did not give up.

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