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WLS Center

May 2003 Issue


 WLS E-Newsletter
A FREE publication by
Issue # 25, May 2003
Circulation: 7,825


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

** 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
Dear Subscriber,
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 performed in.

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 nervous?

* 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 FREE!

To order online or for more information, go to or call our office toll free
(877) 440-1518 today to order. 

** What’s wrong with Me? **

Here is an email I received recently that I wanted to share with you.


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 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 distance.

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 baby.

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 complications.


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.

Pizza Pie
2 lbs of hamburger
One 8 oz can of tomato sauce
Italian Seasoning
Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper
12 ounces of shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Two four oz cans of mushrooms
Pepperoni slices

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 carbohydrates.

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:

Hi Barbara,
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 had.

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  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 going there.

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.

Please Note:

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 equipment?

3. Is your surgeon or hospital interested in having me come to speak?

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.



Copyright © 2000-2013 Barbara Thompson All Rights Reserved