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WLS Center

March 2003 Issue


WLS Center E-Newsletter
A FREE publication by
Issue # 23, March 2003
Circulation: 7,527


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

** 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


Dear Subscriber,

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 terribly.

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 had complications.

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 3%.

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 sufferers.

A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen.

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 burrito shell

Chicken Burrito

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 following:

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 rare.

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:

Hi Barbara;

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 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



Copyright 2000-2013 Barbara Thompson All Rights Reserved