WLS Center E-Newsletter
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Weight Loss Surgery:
Finding the Thin Person Hiding Inside You.
Nothing is automatic following weight loss
surgery. Some people lose weight rapidly, some lose slowly, but
then those who lose rapidly may “hit the wall” and never reach
goal. Or those who get to goal may have a rebound in their
weight. We need to utilize every tool that we have in this
journey, and one of the most effective tools is our local support
group. I had a letter from someone who emphasized that to me. Her
letter follows later in this newsletter.
In This Issue
* Book Excerpt: Pregnancy
* Recipe: Quick Dessert
* Value of Support Groups
* Success Story: Jo Anne Junkin
Book Excerpt: Pregnancy
My husband and I have been married for 15 years. I had RNY
gastric bypass surgery on Sept. 26th, 2003. In the 15
years we have been married we had not used birth control and had
undergone fertility treatments for 9 years. I have never had a
regular cycle in my life until the month of my surgery. In 1998
we adopted twin boys at the age of 5. They are now 11 and they
are just the joy of our family’s lives.
Just last week I decided that things are not
right with me and my cycle. I have not been regular but not only
that, I’ve been spotting non-stop since April 15th. I
just discovered that I am 3 months pregnant. Now I
understand how important it is to use birth control every
single time. We are overjoyed about this pregnancy but there is a
lot of worry that comes with it. I got pregnant 6 months after my
surgery and for 3 months had no idea and so I also had no prenatal
visits either. So for those of you who think that getting
pregnant is not possible for you, it can happen.
This is just a short note to stress the importance of birth
control after surgery.
While I am sure that we all wish
Kathleen well on her pregnancy, her message is an important one.
The following is an excerpt on pregnancy from my book, “Weight
Loss Surgery; Finding the Thin Person Hiding inside You.”
For some women, one of the reasons
for having weight loss surgery is their inability to conceive.
Estrogen is stored in fat cells and as women gain fat cells it
affects their fertility. As they begin to lose weight and lose
fat cells, pre-menopausal women experience a newfound fertility.
Added to this possibility of pregnancy, is a more active sex life
as you become more physically attractive and begin to feel better
about yourself. Women, who have not had a period in years,
suddenly find that they have begun again.
Eighty percent of patients having
weight loss surgery are women in their childbearing years. It is
very important to remember to not become pregnant within the first
year following surgery, to give your body time to adjust. In the
beginning months following surgery, it is difficult to get in a
sufficient amount of nutrition to satisfy all your own bodily
needs and nearly impossible to supply the nutritional needs of a
growing fetus. During the first year after surgery, pregnancy is
considered to be high risk and the possibility of a miscarriage is
increased by 90 percent.
It is very important to not become pregnant
within the first year following
After that, you should be “good to go!”
Another factor that creates a
high-risk pregnancy is that morbidly obese women commonly have
co-morbidities such as high blood pressure and diabetes that puts
increased stress on the body. The addition of a pregnancy could
endanger the health of the mother.
Therefore, if you are at all sexually
active, it is very important to use birth control during the first
year after surgery. You may very well have a healthy baby, but the
risk is not worth it. Wait the year, for your own sake as well as
for the sake of your baby.
However, once you have received an
approval from your surgeon or obstetrician to become pregnant, you
should have a very normal pregnancy. In the August 1998 issue of
Obesity Surgery, Dr. Wittgrove et al reported on a study
conducted following 41 of their own gastric bypasspatients who had
become pregnant. Their pregnancies were normal and their
deliveries were without complications.
If you do not have your copy of my book “Weight Loss Surgery;
Finding the Thin Person Hiding Inside You,” what are you waiting
for? It is recommended by surgeons across the country and has
been dubbed the “unofficial bible of bypass patients” by the
Philadelphia Inquirer. Order your copy at
Hi Barbara, I am 8 months post-op and doing
great. I wanted to share this recipe with you that I got from Arlene
Williams at a home cooking show. I am not sure of the amount of
protein etc., but it has all good things in it. I really enjoy it
and hope your newsletter readers will also. Keep up the good work I
really enjoy your newsletter.
1 large container vanilla yogurt
2 packages pistachio sugar free instant pudding
1 (20oz) can crushed pineapple packed in own juice
1 (12 oz) container cottage cheese
In a bowl, combine all ingredients and mix
well, cover and refrigerate until chilled.
I have used sugar free vanilla and sugar free
banana pudding and they are very good also.
If you have a recipe that you would like to
share in future issues of this
newsletter, please send it to me at
Value of Support
Weight Watchers may have failed for many of us,
but they certainly have the right idea when it comes to support
groups. The act of getting together with people, who share a common
problem, is a powerful way to work through that problem. But I think
that too few of us take advantage of support groups.
There is nothing that keeps us on track better
than attending support group meetings once a month. We are able to
share problems, successes and solutions to the many problems that
arise following surgery. We are there to be inspired by those who
have succeeded, learn from speakers and eventually be there to
inspire those who come after us.
The following letter from Laurie emphasizes
I just wanted to write and thank you for all your wonderful
information on bypass surgery. I started attending a local support
group last September when my husband requested I check into bypass
surgery. I was against the surgery and knew of some people who had
some bad results. One was my best friend who was still on a
ventilator following the surgery she had in April 2002.
I did go to the support meeting and gained
information and did some research on the web. I saw my physician in
October and mentioned to her I was thinking about the surgery. She
was 100% for it, and even though that very week my friend died, I
went on with the testing and attended one of the physician
Well here it is April, my testing is complete,
all doctors are in agreement that I should have surgery and Monday I
heard that my insurance has approved the surgery. I am writing to
encourage others who are thinking about surgery to attend support
I have been attending since September and would
not have gone this far without their support and guidance. Hats off
to my wonderful "By Pass-Banders Buddies" support group.
I want to thank Jo Anne Junkin for sending this wonderful
Father’s Day success story.
It is so touching.
I always look forward to the arrival of my WLS Center E-Newsletter!
It was here awaiting me when I opened my computer this morning and I
started my day reading every word. What a great way to start one's
day with inspiration!
I had a medial RNY with Dr. Elariny in Virginia on July 23, 2003
(eleven months ago). I can truthfully say it was the best thing I
have ever done for my health and my happiness (except for marrying
the most wonderful man in the world almost 35 years ago!).
I had three children in three years from 1971 - 1974 increasing
my family and my weight. I am 5' 1" tall and when I had my surgery,
I tipped the scales at 263 pounds. I had the life most women would
love to have with a wonderful Navy husband, family, home, etc., but
one thing was wrong. I hated myself for losing control of my weight
and not being able to regain control over it.
I think I have tried every diet over the years. I'd lose weight
for a while and then gain it back plus a few more pounds each time.
I would always joke that my husband believed he had married one thin
woman who had grown into Siamese twins! I joked but it hurt inside
knowing it was true. I had asthma, knee joints that ached
constantly, shortness of breath, water retention that caused my
ankles to swell horribly. The list goes on and on. My family has
grown by eight grandchildren since 1993 and I was too large to even
enjoy doing things with them which made me even more miserable.
I made the decision in December 2002 to seek weight loss surgery.
I did tons of research on the internet and in books (Barbara, your
book was the best help of all!), talked to people and made an
appointment with Dr. Elariny. I decided on the RNY because it seemed
to fit my lifestyle best. I received insurance approval much faster
than I ever expected and was scheduled for my surgery on 23
September but, thanks to some rescheduling in my bariatric surgeon's
office, actually had it done in July 2003.
Eleven months later, I have gone from 263 pounds to 134 pounds. I
have dropped from a size 26 to a size 6! I feel absolutely
fantastic. I can hardly believe the energy I have! My whole family
is so excited and calls me "the incredible shrinking lady."
Yesterday was Fathers' Day and I spent the weekend with my
parents in Raleigh, NC. My dad is 83 years old and in very bad
health. My mother and I walked to a nearby school and walked around
and around the track in the evenings doing miles easily. Barbara, my
Dad had worried for years about my health due to my obesity.
Yesterday he had tears in his eyes when he hugged me and told me how
proud he was of me, and how relieved he is that I am in so much
better health. He said my weight loss was the best Father's Day
present he had ever received! It's so wonderful to know that he can
quit worrying about me!
Thank you for the E-Newsletter with all of its helpful
information and for the opportunity to share my WLS story.
G8ful 4 WLS!
Jo Anne Junkin
Lexington Park, MD
Here for more photos
I love good news. If you have good news, a
success story to share, or inspiration,
please send it to me at
Barbara@wlscenter.com so that I can
include it in future issues.
How Do You Maintain Your Weight Loss?
Are you 2 or more years post-op? If so, I need
to know what your secret is for maintaining your weight. I will be
using your story in my next book on maintaining
your weight loss long term. You must write at least 1 full page. Anything
less than 1 page will not be useable. I also need your before and
after pictures sent via email. I need to know how you eat, what you
do for exercise, and any tips that you have to offer. This will be a
tremendous help to people who are having the common problem of
weight gain following surgery, or are struggling to maintain their
Send your stories to
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from Barbara Thompson’s free e-newsletter featuring helpful
information and research material to help patients succeed following
weight loss surgery.
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