WLS Center E-Newsletter
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Issue # 23, March 2003
From the Desk of Barbara Thompson
Author of "Weight Loss Surgery, Finding the Thin Person Hiding
** In this Issue **
* Research Article: Risks of Surgery
* The Importance of Drinking Water
* Recipe: Chicken Burrito
* Book Excerpt: Surgery is Only a Tool
* Success Story: Jo Anna Chacho
* Spreading the Word in Allentown, Macon, Merrillville and Lafayette
* Poetry: Erica Dillon
I am just coming off a high and a low, so bear with me. I just
returned from speaking in Allentown, PA for the patients of Dr.
Rovito and other surgeons in that area. It was wonderful. The crowd
was standing room only. There were many people there who have been
emailing me and I was finally able to put a face with a name. I felt
like I had 200 arms around me the entire time I was there. And all
the while I considered how fortunate I am to know, be in a position
to help, and interact with so many people. I am truly blessed.
I then returned home only to find that my sweet dog, Gambler, who
is 16, had reached the end of his life. We had to put him to sleep
last night. My heart aches as I write this. He had the sweetest
personality of any animal I have ever known. And I miss him
Life and death happen. But it is how we react to the challenges
in our lives that determine our character. My husband and I cried
and held each other. We talked about Gambler and the sweet and often
funny things he would do. And eventually, later on, we ate. It
seemed to be an integral part of the entire process. How many times
in my life would I eat, not because I was hungry, but because I
hoped it would make me feel better, because it would ease the pain,
because it would fill the emptiness?
It was almost a natural reaction. We ate tortilla chips and
salsa. I wasn't hungry, but I was looking for some comfort from my
food. Guess what, I didn't find it. The whole process was different.
I had my surgery more than 3 years ago and this was the first time
that I tried to comfort myself with food. I ate the chips, but I
didn't overeat. I didn't then seek out another food to see if that
would work. I didn't go from the chips to something sweet. I
stopped. I didn't hate myself in the morning. And I learned from it.
I learned an even greater appreciation for the control that I now
have. I am not always perfect when it comes to my eating, but the
control is such a relief. But I still miss my Gambler.
** Research Article: Risks of Surgery **
The March 10, 2003 issue of "People Magazine" carried an article
about 4 patients who have had very serious complications from weight
loss surgery. The article is entitled, "Weighing the Risks." The
patients' complications include excessive weight loss and the
necessity for a feeding tube, bleeding ulcers and a fistula;
osteoporosis and extreme fatigue; infections which led to gangrene
and having an arm amputated; and a leak. The reporting is real, and
my heart goes out to these people and to the many patients who have
I can understand why "People Magazine" ran such an article. They
have covered Carnie Wilson and Al Roker and how their lives have
been so positively changed. So in the spirit of balance, they ran an
article on the other side of the surgery.
For the rest of the article, go to:
** The Importance of Drinking Water **
A friend of mine recently sent this to me. It highlights some of
the very important reasons for drinking enough water.
The Importance of water, are you drinking enough?
75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated.
In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is
often mistaken for hunger.
Even MILD dehydration will slow down one's metabolism as much as
One glass of water shuts down midnight hunger pangs for almost
100% of the dieters studied in a University of Washington study.
Lack of water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue.
Preliminary research indicates that 8 to10 glasses of water a day
could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of
A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory,
trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer
Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon
cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%,
and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer.
Are you drinking the amount of water you should every day?
** Recipe: Chicken Burrito **
Thanks to Carol Ann Corcoran for submitting this recipe. This is
an excellent source of protein for those early days. If you are
still on soft foods, be sure to shred the chicken well and skip the
4 skinless/boneless chicken breasts
1 package taco seasoning
1 cup water
1 can black beans
1 package flour burrito shells
8 oz. cheddar cheese
Cut chicken into cubes and brown in a skillet.
When cooked - shred chicken in a food processor, then return the
chicken to the skillet.
Add the taco seasoning, black beans, and water, and simmer over
medium heat. Place 2 tablespoons of the chicken mixture in a flour
burrito shell, sprinkle with cheese, wrap the mixture, and bake in a
350 oven for 10 to 15 minutes
If you have a recipe that you would like to share in future
issues of this newsletter, please send it to me at
** Book Excerpt: Surgery Is Only A Tool **
There is nothing magical about losing weight after weight loss
surgery. Ninety seven percent of patients are successful as opposed
to only five percent who diet. Remember that "successful" is defined
as losing 50 percent of your excess weight. But if you want to reach
your goal weight, you will have to apply good sense. There are rules
for success, as well as ways that you can sabotage your surgery. It
will still be necessary to make wise food choices and exercise some
control, but this is so much easier to do post-op. You will not be
able to go back to your previous way of eating and some people have
a difficult time with that adjustment. You will need to make
lifestyle changes. And if you eat for reasons other than hunger, you
will need to have some counseling to address those issues. But, and
I can't stress this enough, it is so worth the effort. When I think
of how far I have come, I can't believe it. Remember that I had the
same cycle of yo-yo dieting that you had. I had the same failure
after failure as you. With dieting, I had the same initial success,
followed by a regain of all the weight, plus more, that you had. By
using weight loss surgery as a tool, I did it, and it wasn't that
hard. You can too!
Weight loss surgery is a tool. How successful you are depends
upon how well you use that tool.
Long term this is what you can expect. The Mayo Clinic did a
study of RNY patients that were three years post-op and found the
93 percent considered themselves satisfied and improved
84 percent reported that they felt the same feeling of being
satisfied after eating as they did soon after their surgery
82 percent reported an overall decrease in appetite, and all were
able to eat regular food
This was three years after surgery!
Of the foods that were not well tolerated:
23 percent had problems with milk
14 percent had problems with steak
10 percent had problems with hamburger
Although 22 percent reported having diarrhea once or more times
per week, symptoms of heartburn, vomiting and constipation were very
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? Many surgeons all across the country will not allow their
patients to have the surgery unless they have read my book. Order
your copy at
** Success Story: Jo Anna Chacho **
I would like to thank Jo Anna Chacho of Palmyra, VA for sharing
her story with us. It is not a success story about weight loss. It
is a story about her triumph over her insurance company. There is
such an important message here. Do not take no for an answer from
your insurance company and give them what they want. Those of you
who are struggling for an insurance approval may also prevail. Here
is Jo Anna's story:
My name is Jo Anna Chacho and we met when you spoke to Drs.
DeMaria, Kellum and Sugarman's support group in Richmond, VA. You
were dynamic and entertaining and certainly an inspiration.
My daughter had the Roux En Y procedure done in August of 2001.
She has gone from a size 26 to a beautiful size 6, and had a weight
loss of 136 pounds. She's had a tummy tuck and works out at least 4
times weekly. She too has been an inspiration to me.
I decided to have the surgery last August and started the ball
rolling with an informational meeting in September. I chose to use
the services of Dr. Dan Procter at the Obesity Solutions Center in
Gainesville, Ga. because that is where Amy went. As a matter of
fact, she is now part of their team full time. All of my research
only convinced me further that this was the doctor for me. He has a
marvelous program that includes so much.
I began the long process of the "insurance game" with CIGNA in
September. First, they wouldn't pay for the psychological workshop
that Dr. Procter insists you commit to. The cost of this, along with
a 1-hour evaluation and also the MMPI exam was $750.00. They paid
$150.00 for the evaluation.
Then they denied my surgery claim because they said they didn't
have the proper evaluation to make a decision. They went on to deny
my claim 3 more times.
For the rest of Jo Anna'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 Barbara@wlscenter.com so that I can
include it in future issues.
**Poetry: by Erica Dillon**
Thank you to Erica Dillon for sharing her poetry with us.
Inside looking out,
I wondered what life was about?
I took my curiosity's leap.
Not realizing it was this deep!
I wondered why I was so bold.
Everyone out here, has left me cold.
I only wanted to live my life.
People your words they cut like a knife!
Why don't you understand?
All I wanted was to be your friend.
Don't you have anything better to do
If I stared at you, would you like that too?
To all of you, I've had enough!
You've done nothing but made it rough!
Hear me now, for you are being told!
Yes that's right, I am getting bold!
Where I once walked around in fear,
Now you will not see a single tear!
What is that, you look so surprised?
I'm still that girl! I was just in a disguise.......
By: Erica Dillon