WLS Center.com E-Newsletter
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Issue # 29, July 30, 2003
From the Desk of Barbara Thompson
Author of "Weight Loss Surgery, Finding the Thin Person Hiding
** In this Issue **
* What A Pain
* Poetry: Sherri Mayne
* Book & CD Bonus
* Recipe: Italian Casserole
* Success Story: Scott Myers
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
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
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
** 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,
bound to my side.
A mountain of emotion,
a puddle of hope,
no way to cope.
A complete disaster,
impossible to fix,
love and hate,
an impressible mix.
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
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
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
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.
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