to our
FREE Monthly

Click Here

Have You Ordered
Your Book Yet?
Click Here


May 2002 Issue


WLS E-Newsletter
A FREE publication by
Issue # 13
Circulation: 6,037


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: Plateaus
* Support Group Corner
* Frequently Asked Question: Depression
* Calling All Angels
* New Research Article: Surgery for Severe Obesity: Drastic Treatment for a 21st Century Epidemic
* Smoking
* Success Story: Lynn Sperry

Dear Subscriber,

If any of you have called the office lately and heard someone trying to mumble back to you on the phone, it was me! On Monday May 6th, I had major plastic surgery on my face and neck. I am still wondering why I do these things to myself. I am still in pain, and my face is a variety of colors - none of them normal flesh tones.

When riding in the car to the doctor's appointment two days ago, I had some very sympathetic glances while my husband, the suspected wife abuser, received glares. All this week, I have looked like the cartoon character, Pumpkin Head. It has not been pretty. I will spare you the pictures until I can contrast them with some pictures of me looking a little better than I do now. I'm sure not there yet!!!


** Question of the Month **


I had my first plateau three weeks after my surgery. This hardly seemed fair. I had gone through the drastic step of having surgery. I should be exempt from plateaus. Isn't that a Right of Passage? But it is like getting a blemish after menopause! These are truly cruel jokes of life! Unfortunately, plateaus are as much a fact of life after surgery as before.

I often hear from people who say that they have lost 100 pounds in their first 3 months and then stop losing. With this surgery, the maximum that most lose initially is 20 pounds per month. After a few months the average is 15 pounds per month. If you lose in excess of that, your weight loss is getting ahead of itself and it has to catch up. And plateaus happen.

Sometimes we get comfortable with our routine of eating. We are pleased with the massive amounts of weight loss and think, not consciously, that this will go on forever no matter what we do. So we start to eat a little more just to see if we will continue to lose weight regardless of how much we eat. We eat a little more here and eat a little more there, not really realizing what we are doing. And then the plateau happens.

The best way to guard against plateaus is to follow the 4 Rules of Success:

1. Eat protein first at any meal and try to limit your daily carbohydrate intake to 20 grams.

2. Drink water. Strive for 64 ounces per day.

3. Don't graze. You will soon find out that you can out eat this surgery by snacking.

4. Exercise. This is the most important way to avoid plateaus.

If you still plateau and you are following these rules then you know that a plateau is just a plateau!!!

For more on Plateaus Click Here


Thanks to those who contributed by sending information on how they deal with plateaus.

Next month's question will be on PLASTIC SURGERY (guess why!). It will be one month after my own surgery and I am sure I will have some insights to tell you. I would love to hear yours. Please send me your thoughts about and experiences with plastic surgery. We can all learn from each other. Send good experiences, bad experiences, and anything you have gone through. Send them to I'm counting on you!!!

** Support Group Corner **

I would like to start a new feature in future monthly newsletters. As we all know, a support group is a valuable resource for anybody who is considering or who is post-op from weight loss surgery. It is critical that support groups offer lively and informative subject matter to ensure people receive the maximum benefit.

I often hear from people from all parts of the country who are support group leaders. Some of these leaders have large groups led by allied health professionals from their bariatric practice, and other groups are led by volunteers. Some groups are very successful while other groups are always struggling.

In the interest of enhancing the weight loss surgery experience of patients around the country, I would like to start a forum where support group leaders from large and small groups can exchange information and ideas about how to run their groups. All of you share something in common. If you are working with a support group, you are committed to the education and success of the patient. I would like to offer this forum for everyone to learn from each other.

If you are a leader and have something you would like to share or if you are a leader and have a problem or a question, please send email to

** New Frequently Asked Questions **


It has been a week since my plastic surgery and I can feel those grumpy blue feelings creeping in. Having just gone through dealing with this myself, I thought I would include this Frequently Asked Question regarding depression following surgery.

Cheryl Lynn asks:
"I am just wondering if it is normal to feel a little down after surgery? I am 3 1/2 weeks out and I have noticed as well as others that I am very quiet and reserved. Have you dealt with this at all?

For the answer, Click Here

** On the Road Again **

Trip to Reno, Nevada

On Saturday April 27th I had the wonderful pleasure of speaking in Reno, Nevada at St. Mary's Hospital and the surgeons of the Western Surgical Group who are Dr. Kent Sasse, Dr. Robert Watson and Dr. John Ganser. The doctors and their entire staff including Joy Stout, Penny Bennett and Karen Bauman really put so much into this event. They arranged for a radio interview for me as well as two television interviews on NBC and CBS. Thousands of people in the Reno area learned about the benefits of weight loss surgery from these interviews. The event coordinators had expected about 98 people to attend and were thrilled when about 225 arrived.

I would love the opportunity to speak to your support group and the people from your community on the subject of weight loss surgery. My seminars are motivational and informational. Have your surgeon or support group leader contact me at to inquire about my coming to your town or city.

** Recipes **

I have received so many requests to do a recipe book that I have decided to get serious about publishing one. I have been occasionally working on a recipe book for quite a while and I needed a final push to get really serious about it. That push came from so many of you calling and emailing me that this is something you really wanted.

The book should be coming out sometime this fall and if any of you would like to submit a recipe to be included, I would be happy to credit you for submitting it.

The first year after surgery is the time that everybody wants to learn about how to eat in a new way. It would be nice if you especially liked a recipe that was pleasing, nutritious and helped you to get through that first year. By submitting what worked well for you, you would be helping the thousands of new patients that are walking in your weight loss surgery footsteps. Please send your recipes to me at

** New Research Article **

"Surgery for Severe Obesity: Drastic Treatment for a 21st Century Epidemic"

By Elliot R. Goodman. MD

Click Here for this article from ABC News that provides an excellent overview of the surgical treatment of morbid obesity. The article includes excellent illustrations of 5 types of weight loss surgeries.

** Smoking **

If you smoke, it is highly advisable to stop before your surgery. Let me put that another way. Quit now! You will be having major surgery and you will need your lungs to be in the best shape possible. Following major surgery, there is a risk of pneumonia and collapsed air sacs in the lungs. You will be doing breathing exercises and coughing when you are in the hospital to help guard against these problems. Being a smoker interferes with your breathing at a time when you want your lungs to be as healthy as possible.

Being a smoker also has adverse effects upon your supply of oxygen during your surgery. A 1998 study done by the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee found that smokers undergoing surgery in which they were under general anesthesia, are 20 times more likely to experience problems with an inadequate oxygen supply to the heart, which can cause angina, the sharp crushing pain often felt by those having a heart attack.

Following surgery, it is also very harmful to smoke because smoking constricts blood vessels. A study done in 1995 at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston found that smoking blocks oxygen from going to the site of the wound, severely slowing the healing process. This is an especially significant factor to consider if you are having an open incision for weight loss surgery.

There is one other smoking factor to consider. You are being given a new pouch, which is easily irritated. The chemical components of tobacco smoke can cause irritation of the pouch as well as ulceration. This is definitely something you want to avoid.


The above was an excerpt from "Weight Loss Surgery; Finding the Thin Person Hiding Inside You" by Barbara Thompson, Available Here

** Success Stories **

I would like to offer a special thanks to Lynn Sperry of Seaside, CA for sharing his very inspirational story with us. Here is Lynn's story:

"I am a 49-year old man, married and the father of five grown children. Bariatric surgery has given me the weight loss tool that I had been looking for, for so many years. 

Since my surgery, I no longer have cravings for tons of food. I started at a size 66 pants, and at a whopping 500 pounds. Frankly, in the months before my decision to have the surgery, I didn't care if I lived or died. Don't get me wrong, I love my family, but I was tired. Everything I did was a losing battle against gravity.

The one thing I cherished was my three times a week "swim" at our community pool, which I did under the guise of "exercise". Actually, I would paddle back and forth, and fanaticize what it would be like to not hurt every time I stood up. When I was out of the water, my joints protested painfully every time I would stand. My back hurt, almost constantly. I was taking one 500 mg Vicoden daily for the pain. My feet were a mess, because having Type II diabetes had brought me a wonderful malady called neuropathy, which is a gradual numbing of the extremities, in this case, my toes and the soles of my feet. It gets that way because the diabetes is ruining the blood vessels, and the nerves are affected.

It sucks, dying bit by bit. That was what was happening to me. I was dying slowly, and I guess the sum of it all was that I was becoming marginalized. I had a job, thankfully, that let me sit at a desk. I no longer attended my church meetings, social events, or whatever because I felt and looked terrible. I would take a short walk to the car, and be out of breath. I would plan my life between home (my recliner), work, and home again.

For the rest of Lynn's success story Click Here


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.

** ASBS **

Every year the bariatric surgical community gathers to meet, discuss advances in the field, present studies and learn from each other. The professional organization that hosts this meeting is the American Society for Bariatric Surgery. This year the meeting will be at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, NV from June 25th to June 28th. Frank and I will be exhibiting again this year. We will be in booth number 80, which is at the end of a row right in front of a food area. I hope that anyone attending will stop by and say hello. I would love to meet you!!

Barbara Thompson


Copyright 2000-2013 Barbara Thompson All Rights Reserved