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WLS Center

October 16, 2003 Issue


WLS E-Newsletter
A FREE publication by
Issue #34 , Oct 16, 2003
Circulation: 9,062


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

** In this Issue **

* The Paper Jungle: Your Personal Safari to Health
* Research Article: Fighting Obesity and the Food Lobby
* Dating Following Weight Loss Surgery
* E-Newsletter to Continue
* CD Special
* Cheering on Louisiana Patients
* Success Story: Ron Falkowski
* Spreading the Word in Tulsa and Morristown, NJ


Dear Subscriber,

Today is my 4 year anniversary! Not the anniversary of my surgery! It’s the anniversary of my paperwork! It was 4 years ago that I set sail on my own personal journey by requesting the forms and started the documentation process.

For those of you just getting started, the article that follows will provide you with some guidance on your journey. For those of you well along, I think it always helps to reflect on how far we have come.

** The Paper Jungle: Your Personal Safari to Health **

It’s a frightening task to make that call to request the paperwork to start your journey. You wonder if the surgery is really what you should be having. Will it work for you? Will you survive the surgery? Will you be rejected by the surgeon? Will you be rejected by your insurance company?

The paperwork arrives and it can paralyze you. You may set it aside because it is too much to tackle. You wonder what the “correct” answers should be.

Here are some tips to keep in mind as you are shuffling through all of this paperwork:

National Institutes of Health (NIH) – The paperwork is really based upon the requirements set by the NIH. Your answers will establish that you meet the requirements of Body Mass Index (BMI), establish what co-morbidities or health problems you have, establish that you have tried to diet and have failed, and establish that you understand the risks and benefits of this surgery. Those are the requirements set by the NIH and almost all surgeons and insurance companies follow their lead. So the paperwork establishes how well you meet thoes requirements.

Documentation - Try to document all that you can, especially when it comes to dieting. If you have old Weight Watchers books, or if you have talked with your doctor about your weight, or have been on a diet when he or she wrote a prescription for a weight loss medication, that counts. Ask your doctor’s office to verify everything possible. Even a fluctuation in weight will indicate that you were on a diet and failed.

Be accurate and honest. A very serious and complicated surgery will be performed on you based in part on the information that you provide. Although most of what you provide will be medically verified, some will not. Do not omit anything with the fear that the information will disqualify you from the surgery. You could be puting your health and safety in jeopardy.

Paperwork paralysis – Don’t get so wrapped up in all of this that you never submit it. At some point, you will have to "just do it." If you have not included something, someone at some point will probably let you know.

Call to ensure that the surgeon’s office has received the paperwork and keep copies of everything that you send in. Call periodically to see how the paperwork is moving along. An appropriate frequency of calls would be about once every 2 weeks.

After you complete your paperwork and submit it, congratulate yourself on your courage to take charge and change your life!

** Research Article: Fighting Obesity and the Food Lobby **

To follow-up last issue’s article on obesity and how our children are affected, this is an article from the Washington Post followed by one mother’s response to what she is doing to spread the word about school lunches.


Thank you for your wonderful newsletter. I look forward to the interesting and insightful articles you provide.

I have been thinking hard about the habits that I developed that helped me create the obesity I am now fighting (and winning thanks to WLS) and recently started looking at school menus for my children. Lunches are typically "kid" food like nuggets and pizza but they provide salad, etc. Breakfast is even worse, however. Twice a week the school provides doughnuts and/or cinnamon rolls for breakfast!

I called the nutritionist for the county and complained about the food choices. Healthy breakfast foods are not available. The only protein available is peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and French toast because "it is thicker than you would most likely make at home." I was told that school breakfasts follow the food pyramid, heavy in grains, and that "these are baked goods." I couldn't believe that answer. I told her I thought the food pyramid was mainly considering complex carbohydrates as the basis of the food pyramid and not processed white flour and sugar laden products. Of course, she told me she would take my comments under advisement. To me that means no change.

I have now become an activist for proper nutrition in my school and hope that every other person who reads this will make that his or her own personal goal, especially if he or she has children. Schools teach children to eat "color" every day. Big signs hang on the cafeteria door, but healthy, colorful food is not available. We need to make a difference in our children's lives so that they grow up with better eating habits and don't wind up like we did. I would appreciate whatever you can do to help spread the word.


Leslie Peabody
WLS and Healthy School Food Activist

** Dating Following Weight Loss Surgery **

By now most of you know that the magazine “WLS Lifestyles” has asked me to be a regular exclusive contributor to their magazine. My next article for the magazine will be on dating following weight loss surgery. I would love to interview anyone who would like to talk with me about their experiences and insights on dating. Please email your phone number to and I will call as many of you as I can. And if you would like to subscribe to WLS Lifestyles, their link is Just click on the yellow star. The subscription cost is $24.95 per year.

** e-Newsletter to Continue **

I received this question in the past few days and it occurred to me that more people might be wondering the same thing:

Good Morning Barbara,

I see that you are writing for WLS Lifestyles magazine. Does this mean we won’t be getting any more newsletters from you? I do hope that’s not the case. I enjoy reading your newsletter and the things I get from them I share with our support group so I do hope you keep up your letter.

Thanks, AL Rico

Dear Al,

I have no plans to discontinue the e-newsletter. It is sometimes hard to keep up, but this is one of the ways that I stayed connected with everyone. And I know that there are thousands of people just like you who really look forward to it. So the e-newsletter will continue!

** Cheering on Louisiana Patients **

CNN ran this story, “Can Weight Reduction Survey Save Money” this week which is very important to the future of insurance coverage of weight loss surgery.

There are many of us who have seen our health problems disappear following our surgery. We have been able to toss our medications, and know that weight loss surgery is a health altering procedure. But often insurance companies turn a deaf ear to those arguments. Now 40 people who are Louisiana State employees will have gastric bypass surgery and will be followed for 3 years to determine long term cost savings to health care. Whoever these 40 people will be, thousands of us will be cheering for them.

By the way, what the article does not mention is that there will be a control group of 40 people who will diet and exercise. As individuals, I wish them well also, but we have all been there so many times, haven't we?

** CD Special **

“I was very nervous the day 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.”

Randy Borkowski
Milwaukee, WI

Are you nervous about your upcoming surgery? Or do you have people around you who are terrified for you? Then my CD is the perfect solution. While my book is the “bible” that you will use for a year after your surgery, the CD will allow you to listen to some truths about the surgery and life afterwards while you are on the run. It is not a “book on tape.” It is a 78 minute interview of me on all aspects of the surgery. Parts of it are funny, parts are touching, but it is all informative and inspiring. And although you may pour over my book for hours, your support system at home probably won’t. But they will listen to a CD.

Click here to order, and notice the special package price if you order the book and CD together. What a great deal!

** Success Story: Ron Falkowski **

I want to offer a special thanks to Ron Falkowski for sharing his story with us. Here is his story:

Dear Barbara,

I would like to send you my weight loss surgery story. Most of my life I did not have a weight problem. However in 1991 after working for almost 20 years in a foundry I developed a major case of osteoarthritis all over my body. That started my many surgeries--12 of them in 14 years. Along with my surgeries, my doctors told me that I was permanently disabled.

At first I was OK with that but after a few months I battled with depression and also became addicted to food.  My weight went from about 255 pounds to 423 pounds. On December 30, 2002 my blood pressure was 170 over 100 and I was on 5 medications. I was also borderline diabetic. Along with that I have had both my knee totally replaced.  If I did not lose weight I would in time have to have them replaced again. I tried working with a dietitian but lost little weight. Trying prescription diet pills made me sick, so surgery was my last chance.

Everything with my surgery went great and after 9 months I have lost 114 pounds and 12 inches of my waist. I feel great.  My blood pressure is down to 122 over 82. My sugar level is in the normal range on the low side. Although I never had a problem with cholesterol, six months after my surgery, my cholesterol level was down to 104.  My good cholesterol was up 11 points and my bad cholesterol was down 9 points. My doctor was very happy with the results of my blood tests.

I tell people I am becoming half the man I once was. I also tell people in the support group of which I'm a member to encourage others to have weight loss surgery because the "Life You Save Will Be Your Own."

In closing, I would like thank you for the newsletter.   I find it great reading material.  It’s a great way for you and all the people that have had the surgery to encourage the people in this country who need it to know that it is a way to save a life.


Ron Falkowski
Stevens Point, WI

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.

** How Do You Maintain Your Weight Loss? **

Are you 2 or more years post-op? If so, I need to know what your secret is for maintaining your weight. I will be using your story to include in a mini e-book on the secrets of success of weight loss surgery patients. You must write at least 1 full page. Anything less than 1 page will not be useable. I need to know how you eat, what you do for exercise, and any tips that you have to offer. This will be a tremendous help to people who are having the common problem of weight gain following surgery, or are struggling to maintain their weight loss.

Send your stories to



Copyright © 2000-2013 Barbara Thompson All Rights Reserved