WLS Center.com E-Newsletter
A FREE publication by
Issue # 10
From the Desk of Barbara Thompson
Author of "Weight Loss Surgery, Finding the Thin Person
Hiding Inside You"
** In this issue **
* Question of the Month: Insurance
* Book Excerpt: "Eating In Restaurants"
* Recipe: Poor Man's Stew
* Research Article: Bariatric Surgery: A Review
* Book News: New Affiliate Program
* "When Things Go Wrong" an article by Barbara Thompson
* Success Story: Mary Valentine
* Speaking Calendar
We have just celebrated Valentine's Day and I hope that each of
you was your own Valentine. One of our greatest abilities is to
love and appreciate ourselves. At whatever point we are in our
journey, there are still wonderful things about each of us to be
appreciated. I hope that each of you can spend a few moments
appreciating yourself today and to love the unique person that you
are. And I do hope that you had a wonderful Valentine's Day.
**Question of the Month**
Last month we tried something new. We asked everyone who had
any innovative ways of dealing with their insurance company, any
particular advice or important tips or anything they would like to
share with the rest of the e-Newsletter subscribers regarding
insurance issues, to submit them. You really came through! I
received some excellent replies. Here is a sample. The rest are
continued on my website. Click Here
From Brenda in Virginia:
I had my first appointment with my surgeon on March 28, 2001.
My material was submitted to my insurance company and I was
denied. I was totally crushed! I cried and thought it was useless.
I was right on the border of the insurance company's approval
weight - 100 pounds overweight, but I had a lot of medical
problems associated with my weight.
Well, I picked myself up and being a "research freak"
I went to work. First I called my insurance Co. and asked them
what I needed to do, name and addresses of whom I was to send the
appeal too, etc... Then I went to all the bariatric sites I could
find and looked up insurance issues, I found people with the same
insurance as I had, CIGNA, and how they dealt with it. Then I got
on the phone and called all my doctors, OB-GYN, Orthopedic,
General Surgeon, family doctor, etc. I asked them to write a
letter to my insurance company and send it to me, explaining why I
need this surgery. I also stressed my need for getting them ASAP.
In the mean time, I called my drug store and got the regular price
of all the medications I was taking, and could not take after
surgery, you know the ones the insurance company was paying for,
and logged them, explaining all of this in my "appeal
I won my appeal and had my surgery on August 15, 2001. I am now
75 pounds lighter and much healthier.
Brenda Emory from Virginia e-mail: Brdacella@aol.com
Click Here for more letters:
>>> Next Month's Question: Sources of Protein
I am always receiving questions regarding getting in enough
protein during those first few weeks and months following surgery,
and I understand. I had the same questions and concerns when I was
newly post-op. If you have some good protein sources or recipes,
please send them to me at Barbara@wlscenter.com
and I will post as many as I can! Remember that this is your
newsletter also, so please help by contributing.
** Excerpt from the book**
Eating In Restaurants
Eating in restaurants can be a challenge. In my early days,
post-op, dining out was not the adventure that it used to be.
Before my surgery, I loved eating in restaurants and used them as
an excuse to overeat. Now, however, I never walk out of a
restaurant feeling guilty, like I used to. I walk out feeling
satisfied and proud of myself that I have conquered the terrible
food demon that has been with me all my life.
Initially, I tried to order the same things that I ordered in
the past that usually came in large portions. I found this to be
upsetting when I looked at what seemed to be a mountain of food in
front of me that I was not able to deal with. Waitresses and
waiters would always ask me, with concern in their eyes, if the
food was satisfactory which was a nice way of asking what was
wrong with my meal. I would take boxes and bags of food home, and
never touch them. The experience of having a nice night out was
not the same. I was miserable.
Children's meals do not provide the answer. These meals of
hamburgers, spaghetti, pizza, and deep fried chicken nuggets, are
poor food choices. Makes you wonder why we feed these meals to our
children. Some restaurants will offer senior portions that are
merely smaller portions of adult food, which is a start, but
rarely do they approach the variety of a normal menu. Appetizers
or soup offer a good alternative. One of my favorite
"entrees" is shrimp cocktail. I also enjoy a small crab
cake appetizer as a meal. And most soups are good fillers. I have
also ordered a regular meal and asked the waitress to not even
bring the salad, but to immediately box it with the dressing of my
choice. Then when I am served my entrée, I eat half of the
protein, a forkful of the carbohydrate and take the rest home
along with the salad that was not even served to me.
Be very careful about trying something new in public. If the
food does not agree with you, you could be in a bit of trouble. If
you do need to try something new because it is a set menu, try a
small piece and see how it goes down. Do not overdo it. Also, be
careful about eating too much or too fast. In a social setting, we
can get carried away and not remember our new training - chew,
chew, chew and stop when we are full. I must admit I have had to
walk hurriedly to the ladies room on more than one occasion
because of that.
Here is one last tip about eating in a restaurant that should
allow you to feel that you are having a pleasant experience. Order
from the menu based on what you would like to eat (within the
guidelines of healthful food) and don't worry about the quantity
that is served. You can always take home what you don't eat and
enjoy it again for lunch. Try to order in smaller quantities, if
possible, but don't opt for something else just because the
quantity is less. If you deprive yourself from the things that you
are able to eat just because there is too much, you will not be
totally happy with your surgery and be very discouraged.
This was an excerpt from "Weight Loss Surgery, Finding the
Thin Person Hiding Inside You," available at http://www.wlscenter.com
** Recipes **
Many thanks to Joanie Messenger of Houston, Texas for the
Joanie says, "Now, here's a really great recipe that's
healthy, yummy, and inexpensive. And my husband and 11 year old
daughter love it too!"
Poor Man's Stew
1 lb. ground turkey (or really lean ground beef is great too!)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 6oz bag frozen mixed vegetables
1 8oz box frozen corn
1 8oz box frozen peas
2 medium potatoes, cut up
1 can tomato soup
Fry ground turkey and onions in a large pot. (If you are using
ground beef, drain off excess fat.) Add remaining ingredients.
Cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until
potatoes and other vegetables are tender. Makes enough to feed a
family of 6. You can freeze leftovers in glad-ware containers.
If you have a recipe that you would like to share in future
issues of this newsletter, please send it to me at Barbara@wlscenter.com
** Research Article **
"When Things Go Wrong"
by Barbara Thompson
Something I have always been known for is my honesty. It comes
through in my book and certainly when I speak to patients. In this
issue of my e-newsletter, I would like to address what most people
are reluctant to talk about and that is what about when things go
wrong. Weight loss surgery is not without its risks and people
should be fully informed when they make the decision to proceed.
Surgeons call this concept "Informed Consent" and this
is a requirement of the National Institutes of Health before
surgery can be performed.
Sometimes I wonder about our reluctance to talk about the bad
things. It is like we are being disloyal to this surgery if we
acknowledge the risks. Or perhaps we will have the bad things
visit us if we mention them. Or perhaps we hear enough old and
outdated horror stories that are no longer applicable that we feel
this constant need to defend the surgery. Whatever the reason, we
do need to recognize the risks. Now let me make this perfectly
clear. It is certainly not my intention to discourage anyone from
having the surgery. I believe more strongly every day that this
surgery is our greatest hope for a normal healthy life.
For the complete article, Click
** Success Stories **
My name is Mary Valentine. I just wanted to share my story. I
had my RNY surgery on 12/13/00. I weighed 293 pounds and was only
29 years old. I have 3 sons of my own and 5 stepdaughters and I
wanted to be around to watch them grow up. I was in constant pain.
I suffered from bouts of insomnia, sleep apnea, painful joints,
and you name it! I found a wonderful doctor in Whittier, CA - Dr.
Thompson. My mother had the surgery 13 years ago with the same
doctor and had wonderful results, so when I finally decided that
this was the way for me as well, I chose the same doctor. Needless
to say, I was scared to death! Dr. Thompson has a wonderful
support staff at the Whittier Surgical Weight Loss Center and they
discussed absolutely EVERYTHING with me regarding my decision to
have the surgery. I met with Dr. Thompson for my pre-op consult
just 2 days before my surgery (my initial consult was conducted
over the phone because I live over 3 hours away from Whittier). He
spent about 2 hours discussing every aspect of the surgery, what
to expect post-op and even drew diagrams for my husband so he
could have a visual of what to expect.
For the rest of Mary's story, go to http://www.wlscenter.com/SuccessStories/MaryValentine.htm
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.