to our
FREE Monthly

Click Here

Have You Ordered
Your Book Yet?
Click Here

WLS Center

July 30, 2003 Issue


WLS E-Newsletter
A FREE publication by
Issue # 29, July 30, 2003
Circulation: 8,621


From the Desk of Barbara Thompson
Author of "Weight Loss Surgery, Finding the Thin Person Hiding Inside You"

** In this Issue **
======================================== H

* What A Pain
* Poetry: Sherri Mayne
* Book & CD Bonus
* Recipe: Italian Casserole
* Success Story: Scott Myers


Dear Subscriber,

I often receive emails from patients saying that they have this or that symptom and do I think it is the result of their surgery. Sometimes I can see a connection and I think it might be possible, other times it sounds fairly off the mark. Sometimes it sounds downright silly.

I think we all have a tendency to think that everything that goes wrong with us is a side effect of weight loss surgery. Often the symptom has nothing whatsoever to do with weight loss surgery. It is always best to check anything out with your family physician or surgeon. It is better to be safe, just as I was in the story “What a Pain” in the article that follows.

** What a Pain! **

It started out as a little twinge. I didn’t feel it often, just occasionally. When I bent over it was there. If my clothes pressed against it, I could feel it. Then it got worse and over the 3 weeks that followed, I was often aware of it.

So what was it? It was on my left side so I knew it wasn’t my gall bladder. And it was right about at waist level. Hmmmm. I went scrambling to an anatomy book. What’s right there? Well my liver is up too high, so it wasn’t that. Whew! Spleen, nahh. And after awhile of expert self diagnosing I decided it was either a hernia or adhesions. After all, both are common side effects of weight loss surgery. And both to me are equally ominous! My previous husband had died just following hernia surgery, so my fear of that was enormous. And adhesions from my surgery, well I could just imagine those strands wrapping around my intestines; chocking the life out of them!! Then of course, what if it were a tumor, a cancerous tumor that was, at that moment, growing inside me?

I called my family doctor trying not to sound panicky. The first appointment I could get was mid August. So I took it and continued to worry. It seemed like the pain was getting worse, so I called back and said that I just had to see him right away, all the while wondering if he was even the right doctor to be seeing. After all, what did he know about weight loss surgery? But he squeezed me in immediately.

I waited in his examining room expecting the worse. Wondering how with my speaking schedule I could take time out for surgery. Well, people would understand, wouldn’t they??

So he breezed in and asked me what was wrong. We talked and I gave him the benefit of my diagnosis. And the physical exam began. He pushed here and he pushed there and with every push he examined my face for winces of pain, listened intently for yelps of agony, but nothing. Nothing hurt. Well maybe just a little when he pushed really hard. So I sat up and he looked at me. He told me it was muscular from exercising a little too hard and to get it out of my mind. It’s the first time in all the years of our physician-patient relationship that he looked almost annoyed!

I left relieved, and the only thing that has hurt since is my pride!

** Poetry **

I want to offer a special thanks to Sherri Mayne for sharing her poetry with us.

A whirlwind of pity,
a loss of pride,
Extreme insecurity,
bound to my side.
A mountain of emotion,
a puddle of hope,
fear entwined,
no way to cope.
A complete disaster,
impossible to fix,
love and hate,
an impressible mix.
Remarkable outcome,
unspoken words,
actions shout,
no sound heard.


** Book & CD Bonus **

I have a very special offer for those of you who do not yet have my book. My book sells through my website for $18.95 and my audio CD sells for $16.95. If you buy both at the same time, the CD is only $11!! The total cost is $29.95 plus the normal shipping & handling of the book. There is no additional shipping cost for the CD. That is a savings of almost $6.00.

The book is something that everyone must have. It will be your guide before the surgery and for a year afterwards. After you read it, you will know why my book is the most popular educational resource on weight loss surgery from the patient’s perspective.

The audio CD is not a “book on tape.” It is 78 minutes of lively interview style discussion covering all aspects of the actual surgery experience and living your life afterwards. It is funny, touching and always informative. It is a great motivator when you are experiencing the normal down times.

The CD is perfect for letting the people in your life know why you have made the decision to have the surgery and why your years of dieting didn’t work. It is especially good for the people I call “hostile significant others.” They are opposed to you having the surgery and are fighting your decision to have it. What they need is information. They won’t read a book or go to a support group meeting but they can usually be talked into listening to a CD on the way to work or in their spare time.

Now is a great time to take advantage of this great savings. Order your special package at

** Recipe: Italian Casserole **

This recipe is especially for Becky who feared that I was no longer going to include recipes in the newsletter. It was good to know they were missed!!

If you like Italian food but don’t want all the usual carbs, you will love this.

Lo Carb Italian Casserole

1 pound ground meat
1/2 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups marinara sauce
3/4 pint sour cream
3/4 pound shredded Mozzarella cheese
4 eggs, beaten with a fork
6 ounces frozen French style green beans, thawed
Italian seasoning

Sauté the ground meat, chopped onion and minced garlic until the meat is browned. Add Italian seasoning to taste. Add the thawed green beans and the eggs. Spread in a 9” x 9” pan that has been sprayed with Pam. Cover the mixture with a layer of the sour cream. Then cover that with a layer of the marinara sauce. Bake the mixture in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes. Spread the shredded Mozzarella over the casserole and bake until melted, about 15 minutes. Enjoy!

If you have a recipe that you would like to share in future issues of this newsletter, please send it to me at

** Success Story: Scott Myers **

I want to say a very special thank you to Scott Myers for sharing his story with us. Here is Scott’s story:


I had gastric bypass surgery at the Bariatric Treatment Center (BTC) in Grove City, Ohio on October 8, 2002.

Everything went fine until about 4 hours after surgery. I remember that I was up and walking around but I didn't feel well. According to my wife and my surgeon, Dr. Victor Stelmak, I developed hemorrhaging and my blood pressure dropped to 60/40 and my heart rate jumped to 190. 

My wife had just returned to her hotel room and was getting ready to sleep when she got "the phone call from hell". Dr. Stelmak was on the other end telling her to return immediately to the hospital; things were "not good". He was waiting at the front door when she got there about 10:00 p.m.

The staff at BTC immediately got me back in the operating room and proceeded to open me up and fix the bleeding. Apparently, I was the 1 in 200 that has complications or dies. I did see "the white light" while I was having the 2nd surgery but I was not ready to go into it.

Today is July 18, 2003 and my scale is telling me that I have lost 135 pounds since my surgery. I have passed several milestones to get to this weight loss and have 15 more pounds to lose to complete my goal of 150.

I got through the December holidays including a visit to my wife’s family, for a funeral and the holidays and all of the traditional holiday foods.  I went on a Valentines' Day cruise to the Bahamas and again was able to eat comfortably and not gain, just lose weight. My blood work reveals that I no longer have diabetes, acid reflux (I was just scoped to confirm that fact), high blood pressure or high cholesterol. I am undergoing a sleep study in 2 weeks to verify the loss of my sleep apnea. I have had to use a c-pap machine for over 10 years.

Other milestones in my weight loss surgery journey include traveling to England for 2 weeks in June and being able to walk everywhere and not even break a sweat. I was able to eat well in England and still lose 10 pounds. I just had a large stomach hernia repaired and am starting to feel back to normal 3 weeks after my hernia surgery.

In addition to the physical reinforcement of losing weight and feeling fantastic, let’s not forget the human response to my dramatic weight loss. Talk about being a babe magnet! I am currently performing as the drummer for a well known belly dance troupe in Cleveland (the only male among 15 beautiful scantily clad dancers- tough job but someone has to play the beats) and will be going to Dublin Ireland with my family in 2 weeks for a vacation before I go back to teaching school.

I think that my greatest gain from losing the weight has been added years to my life and a lot of extra energy. When I was having my emergency surgery a few hours after my weight loss surgery procedure and I saw "the white light" I knew that I was not ready to join my parents and 39 year old brother who had recently passed due to weight related health problems.

Have I had temptations to try foods from my old eating habits? Yes but the old throw up/dumping syndrome got me back on track.

Oh, I have gotten the total costs for both of my surgeries and they tally up over $135,000. My out of pocket has been $10.00. Not bad for giving me a new life.

I FEEL GREAT! For those in the early stages of post op, hang in there, life does get better after pureed foods. If you are contemplating having the surgery, listen to your doctors, do your research and listen to your heart. I came close to biting the big one that day, but I guess it just wasn't my turn.

Scott Myers
Richmond Heights, Ohio

Would you like to see your story here? Please send it in! Be sure to include before and after photos.

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