WLS Center.com E-Newsletter
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Issue # 13
From the Desk of Barbara Thompson
"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
* Success Story: Lynn Sperry
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
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
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
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 Barbara@wlscenter.com 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
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 Barbara@wlscenter.com
** 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
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 Barbara@wlscenter.com
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 Barbara@wlscenter.com.
** New Research Article **
"Surgery for Severe Obesity: Drastic Treatment for a 21st
By Elliot R. Goodman. MD
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
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
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
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
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.
** 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!!