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Issue # 25, May 2003
From the Desk of Barbara Thompson
Author of "Weight Loss Surgery: Finding the Thin Person Hiding
** In This Issue **
* Research Article: JAMAH
* Weight Loss Surgery: A Thin Way of Life
* FAQ: What’s Wrong with Me?
* Special Thoughts on Mother’s Day and Book Excerpt
* Recipe: High Protein Pizza
* Success Story: Karen McRoy
* Spreading the Word in New Brunswick, Danville, Boise, and Margate
Today is Mother’s Day and I want to say a very special hello to all
of the Mothers who are receiving this newsletter. I have devoted
some thoughts to the subject of having children later on in this
issue. I especially want to honor those Mothers and Grandmothers who
have said to me either in person or via email that they want weight
loss surgery because they want to be able to get on the floor and
play with the kids. I wish each of you a very special wish for
success on your journey.
I have made a change to the Navigation Bar on my website. I have
grouped the subjects under headings and initially only the headings
appear. If you put your cursor over the heading, the individual
subjects appear. I would love to know if you like it or find it
confusing. Drop me an email at
** Research Article: JAMA: Surgery for Obesity, Demand Soars
Amid Scientific, Ethical Questions**
The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) is one of,
if not the most, prestigious journals in the world. The April 9th,
2003 issue of JAMA is a theme issue devoted to the subject of
obesity and its treatment. The issue investigates dieting and drug
therapies, and touches on weight loss surgery as an option.
In the article on surgery for obesity, the author discusses
surgical and ethical issues, and brings to light some very important
considerations. One concern is with surgeons who advertise for
patients, have year long waiting lists and then have no
comprehensive means for evaluating patients’ suitability for surgery
and no provisions for follow up care. Also, the author of the
article warns that the popularity of the surgery is far outpacing
the science. While short term effects are extremely impressive, long
term effects are not comprehensively documented.
Dr. Walter Poires, current President of the American Society for
Bariatric Surgery (ASBS) is quoted in the article as saying that
Body Mass Index (BMI) is an ineffective means for determining
eligibility for surgery, which is what is now used for selection.
Currently if you have a BMI of 40 or above, you are classified as
morbidly obese and you qualify for surgery. Dr Poires points out
that some athletes have a BMI in excess of 40 yet are very healthy,
while others have a lower BMI and are not healthy. He questions who
should be having weight loss surgery, what surgery should be
performed, and what kind of centers should the surgeries be
To help answer some of these questions, there will be a federally
funded grant to form 4 to 6 research centers generating data over a
5-year period. These Centers will be those that already treat large
numbers of patients. The grant will form a Bariatric Surgery
Clinical Research Consortium established by the National Institute
of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDKD). The NIDDKD
is an arm of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It is the NIH
which recognized the importance of this surgery in 1991, which is
the reason that insurance companies fund our surgeries.
The hospitals that win the grant will be announced this coming
September. While patients will be having surgeries all over the
country, the hospitals in the consortium will be gathering more
controlled and scientific data so that the surgical procedures and
the long term success rate can improve.
This is very exciting news and can have wonderful implications
for this surgery. So often I am asked about long term effects of the
surgery. Because there is no organized method for reporting these
effects, much is not known. This Consortium will provide those
answers and work to improve the effectiveness and safety of the
surgical procedures. I am sure that we will hear more about the work
of the Consortium in the months and years to come.
The JAMA article is not available online, but JAMA can be found
in any Library. Just ask for the April 9th issue. For the text of
the (NIDDKD) grant, click here
**A Thin Way of Life** ========================================
Do any of these situations sound like you?
* Are you just considering surgery and learning about it?
* Are you waiting for your surgery and are frightened and
* Do you have family or friends who just don’t understand what
you are going through?
* Have you had the surgery and are struggling a little with
depression or plateaus?
Then you need to get my CD “Weight Loss Surgery: A Thin Way of
Life.” It is not a book on tape, so if you have my book, it won’t be
duplicated. It is a perfect complement to my book. The CD is done in
interview style and is funny, sad, informative and inspiring. As you
are driving, you can pop it into your CD player and listen to it.
And those family members who give you a hard time about why you are
having the surgery are not going to sit down and read an entire book
no matter how good it is. But they might listen to a CD! It is such
an effortless way to get information. And if you know people who are
interested in the surgery and want to know everything that is
involved, then this is a valuable starting tool for them.
This is what Randy of Milwaukee had to say about the CD:
“I was very nervous the days before surgery but have to admit
your CD really helped me through a lot. I must have listened to it
at least 10 times but always felt very positive afterwards.”
The price for this 78 minute CD is only $16.95 and shipping is
To order online or for more information, go to
http://www.wlscenter.com/AudioCD.htm or call our office toll
(877) 440-1518 today to order.
** What’s wrong with Me? **
Here is an email I received recently that I wanted to share with
Dear Barbara, I met you recently when you were speaking. I have a
question. What's happening to me? I agreed with some religious views
along with my husband when we got married, and I no longer feel that
way. Ever since I had surgery in December, I'm changing. What's
wrong with me?
One explanation is that it could be hormones! Hormones are
stored in fat in your body. When you lose a tremendous amount
of weight and you are burning fat, hormones are released into your
system and some women tend to go a bit crazy. Or it could be
that you lacked so much self esteem when you got married that you
didn't really agree with these beliefs. Now that you are gaining
self esteem as a result of your weight loss, you have the courage to
recognize your true feelings.
I highly recommend that you get some counseling. You are going
through so many physical and emotional changes as a result of this
surgery. You sound so troubled by your feelings that you may need
some professional help in sorting them out. Also, this could be the
first of many changes that you go through. Take care.
* * * * * * * * * *
I have a lengthy section of Frequently Asked Questions on my
website. Click here
http://www.wlscenter.com/FAQ/faq_questions.htm to view them.
** Special Thoughts on Mother’s Day **
Mother’s Day can bring such a mix of emotions. It is a happy day
for me. My mother is still living and I love having her here with
us. We have formed a closeness over these last two years that she
has been living with us that wouldn’t have been possible at a
But I remember a Mother’s Day 17 years ago. It was such a sad day
for me. I wanted so desperately to become pregnant and couldn’t. I
had tried everything for so long, yet each month I would fail.
Although I celebrated my own mother on that day, there was a
tremendous frustration and sadness that I felt. Yet the Mother’s Day
the very next year was the happiest in my life. My daughter Erin had
arrived, not by conventional methods, but in the arms of an adoption
facilitator. Erin was 8 days old when she arrived and has been my
special gift since that day. She still takes my breath away. So to
those who are struggling to get pregnant, know that I understand. I
have been there and know that particular and profound hurt.
I am asked often if a woman can become pregnant after this
surgery, and to that I always answer a resounding “yes.” Here is an
excerpt from my book, “Weight Loss Surgery; Finding the Thin Person
Hiding Inside You,” that deals with that subject:
For some women, one of the reasons for having weight loss surgery
is their inability to conceive. Estrogen is stored in fat cells and
as women gain fat cells it affects their fertility. As they begin to
lose weight and lose fat cells, pre-menopausal women experience a
newfound fertility. Added to this possibility of pregnancy, is a
more active sex life as you become more physically attractive and
begin to feel better about yourself. Women, who have not had a
period in years, suddenly find that they have begun again.
Eighty percent of patients having weight loss surgery are women
in their childbearing years. It is very important to remember to not
become pregnant within the first year following surgery, to give
your body time to adjust. In the beginning months following surgery,
it is difficult to get in a sufficient amount of nutrition to
satisfy all your own bodily needs and nearly impossible to supply
the nutritional needs of a growing fetus. During the first year
after surgery, pregnancy is considered to be high risk and the
possibility of a miscarriage is increased by 90 percent.
It is very important to not become pregnant within the first year
following surgery. After that, you should be “good to go!”
Another factor that creates a high-risk pregnancy is that
morbidly obese women commonly have co-morbidities such as high blood
pressure and diabetes that puts increased stress on the body. The
addition of a pregnancy could endanger the health of the mother.
Therefore, if you are at all sexually active, it is very
important to use birth control during the first year after surgery.
You may very well have a healthy baby, but the risk is not worth it.
Wait the year, for your own sake as well as for the sake of your
However, once you have received an approval from your surgeon or
obstetrician to become pregnant, you should have a very normal
pregnancy. In the August 1998 issue of Obesity Surgery, Dr.
Wittgrove et al reported on a study conducted following 41 of their
own gastric bypass patients who had become pregnant. Their
pregnancies were normal and their deliveries were without
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
** Recipe: High Protein Pizza **
Here is a “pizza” dish that is high in protein and low in
carbohydrates. Right after my surgery, I could not eat pizza, but I
enjoyed the toppings. Even now, 3 years after my surgery, I am still
not a pizza fan. The crust just tastes too sweet for me and does not
go down well. This “pizza” recipe gives you the taste of pizza
without all of the carbohydrates. I hope you enjoy it.
2 lbs of hamburger
One 8 oz can of tomato sauce
Salt and Pepper
12 ounces of shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Two four oz cans of mushrooms
Spray a 9 x 9 inch pan with Pam and press the hamburger into the
bottom of the pan and slightly up the sides. Bake the hamburger for
about 30 minutes at 325 degrees or until the hamburger is no longer
pink. Remove any juice and pat the hamburger dry with a paper towel.
Mix together the tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, garlic powder,
salt, and pepper and spread this over the hamburger. You can use
pizza sauce if you like but it will most likely have more
Cover with the Mozzarella cheese, then sliced mushrooms,
pepperoni, and any other toppings that you like. Bake until the
cheese has melted.
The recipe makes 6 servings with about 5 carbohydrates each.
If you have a recipe that you would like to share in future
issues of thisnewsletter, please send it to me at
** Success Story: Karen McRoy **
A special thanks to Karen McRoy for sharing the story of her
total and courageous transformation. Here
is her story:
It was such a thrill to talk to you on the phone yesterday! My name
is Karen McRoy. I am 46 years old, and I live in Southbridge MA.
I had the RNY gastric bypass surgery on April 9, 2002 at the
Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston MA. My surgeon was Dr David
Lautz, I call him "The Wizard" and will be forever grateful to him.
I have a long history of obesity. I am an only child of parents
of normal weight. I first realized I was different when I was 3
years old. It was Easter and my cousin and I were having our
pictures taken and my mother was telling my Aunt that I couldn't
wear a fitted coat like my cousin.
I was always being told not to eat. My weight was always brought
up at family functions, and was always unacceptable. I learned to
lie, cheat and steal at an early age so that I could eat the foods
that were not allowed. I have been on diets since the age of 5.
My father was an active alcoholic all the years I was growing up.
The unspoken rules of my family were: 1) don't talk, 2) don't feel
and 3) don't trust. By the time I was in the 4th grade I weighted
200 pounds! I was always the fattest person in my class. I believe I
developed an out-going, humor filled personality to survive. I
learned to stuff myself with food as a result of every feeling I
I have lost and gained close to 100 pounds at least 3 times in my
life, never getting less than 200 pounds (which was my 4th grade
weight) until today! That old needle was shakin’ between 199 and
198!! Oh what a feeling!!
My journey began at the age of 40 when I realized that I too like
my Dad had a problem with alcohol. I went to detox and then to the
halls of AA. I owe my life to the women of AA, they saved my butt...
and it was a large butt to save in more ways than size! AA gave me
the tools of recovery and little by little I developed a
relationship with a Higher Power who I choose to call God.
My life this past year has totally come together as I never
dreamed possible. I also used the AA program and 12 steps of
recovery to put down those nasty cigarettes that had been my friend
since the age of 14. I have been sober for over 5 years now,
cigarette free for over 2 years and one year out of weight loss
surgery with a 110 pound weight loss with about 40 to 50 pounds to
go! I just got into size 16!
I exercise every day at Curves or go out walking at least 45
minutes. Some days I do both! This is not like me!
I graduated this past year as a Certified Addiction Counselor. I
recently started working in a treatment center and I love it! When I
look in the mirror these days, I like what I see. I respect myself
and am so proud of my accomplishments.
I'd like to thank Barbara for asking me to share my story. I
sincerely hope my story was of some help to someone today, and that
you too can find the happiness that I have.
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.
** Spreading the Word in New Brunswick, NJ; Danville, PA; Boise, ID
and Margate, FL
On April 26th I spoke for Dr. Vinnie Mehta at St. Peter’s
University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ. Dr. Mehta is building a
very comprehensive program for his patients including an active
support group and an exercise program.
I hope to be speaking for Dr. Mehta again in Atlantic City, so
those of you in that area, watch my schedule.
I will be in Danville, PA on May 19th speaking for the Geisinger
Clinic. The Clinic gives every one of their patients a copy of my
book, so I am very honored to be speaking for them.
On May 29th I will be in Boise, ID speaking for the practice of
Dr. Jim Valentine. I have been working with the practice for almost
2 years to get this arranged, so I am really excited to finally be
And on June 10th I will be in Margate, FL (the home of my
favorite Aunt!!) speaking for Dr. Paul Wizman of Bariatrix, Inc. So
I am also looking forward to that.
I am often asked about coming to speak for various practices and
support groups. Many times my professional fees can be funded by my
corporate sponsor. If corporate funding is not available, then the
Community Relations Department of the Hospital may very well
consider sponsoring me.
If you are interested in having me come out to speak to your
group, contact your surgeon to get the following information:
1. Does your surgeon do surgeries laparoscopically?
2. If the answer to the first question is yes, then what is the
name of the company that supplies the hospital’s laparoscopic
3. Is your surgeon or hospital interested in having me come to
Give this information to your support group leader and have him
or her give me a call at (877) 440-1518. I will check to see if I
can get corporate funding.