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February 2002 Issue


WLS E-Newsletter
A FREE publication by
Issue # 10
Circulation: 5,207


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

Dear Subscriber,

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 packet."

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:

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 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

** Recipes **

Many thanks to Joanie Messenger of Houston, Texas for the following recipe:

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

** 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 Here

** Success Stories **

Hi Barbara,

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

I love good news. If you have good news, a success story to share, or inspiration, please send it to me at so that I can include it in future issues.


Copyright © 2000-2013 Barbara Thompson All Rights Reserved