WLS Center E-Newsletter

A FREE publication from


Hosted by Barbara Thompson
Author of:
Weight Loss Surgery:
Finding the Thin Person Hiding Inside You.

Issue #99

August 15, 2006

Barbara Thompson
The Voice of Obesity

Hello Everyone,
I went to my high school reunion last weekend. It just reminded me how I felt pre-surgery when those occasions came up.  I would dread them. I would do anything to not go.  How great to look forward to them, to take the emphasis off me and how bad and self conscious I felt and to put my attention on others.  Let's hold onto that great feeling and fight to keep it.  Regaining weight is no one's fault.  We are fighting genetics and our own hard wired make up. But the battle is worth it. 

In This Issue


* Hypoglycemia: A Rare but Real Problem
* It's time to get Back On Track
* Complications of Weight Loss Surgery
* Life after Surgery as a Vegetarian
* Recipe: Ricotta Chicken  
* Speaking Event in Erie
* Success Story: Jamie Lavery

Hypoglycemia: A Rare But Real Problem

Hi Barbara,
I have just found out that I am hypoglycemic as a result of my gastric bypass surgery.  Could you please address this condition in your newsletter in case others have had a similar condition?  I would find myself waking up soaking wet from my sleep, totally disoriented and feeling "yuckie".  After MRI's, EEG's and other tests, I found out I was hypoglycemic.  I also found out this is not so uncommon in people who have had gastric bypass surgery.  Well, this was news to me!   I think I would have been a little less frightened had I been aware of this possible side effect.  Please inform others of the possibility so they won't have to go through all these tests to find the answer.

Thank you.

Hi Karen,
You are correct.  This is a possible side effect of gastric bypass surgery, but it is rare.  It is caused from food entering the small intestines rapidly without being completely broken down in the stomach by gastric acid.  It is not a side effect of the lap band.


It's time to get Back On Track

If you’re not happy with your weight loss, then join the
Back on Track with Barbara Internet Mentoring Program.

Would you like results like this?
“I am loving this Back on Track With Barbara Program. It really does keep me on track.  I like having a new lesson each week, and practicing each of the new steps in the lessons. I know I need constant encouragement to keep the grazing under control. The low glycemic foods are a wonderful help. Let's hear it for Barbara! I'm so glad she is doing this work for us. This is a real need she is filling.”

New Jersey

For more information or to join the Program, go to


Complications of Weight Loss Surgery

A report was recently issued that shows that the complication rate from weight loss surgery is much higher than previous reported.  The study which was conducted by government economists shows that about 40% of patients have complications following surgery. I would like to make my comments about the report.

While it is true that there are complications associated with weight loss surgery, I question the definition of “complications.”  The study included diarrhea, vomiting and dumping as complications. While I consider my surgery very successful, I would have been included with those who had complications.  There were times when I had diarrhea, when I vomited and I still have dumping.

Another problematic area of the study is that it included data from 2001 to 2002. There were far more surgeries done as open incisions then, which lends itself to more complications. Now that the vast majority of surgeries are performed laparoscopically, the complication rate is lower.

Studies such as these cause those who are anticipating surgery to be very frightened.  What I suggest is to stay informed, but to look closely at the studies, how they were done, what data they included and upon what basis a conclusion was drawn.  Then talk about it with your surgeon or bariatric coordinator.

Life After Surgery as a Vegetarian

Hi Barbara,
I just finished your book Weight Loss Surgery: Finding the Thin Person Hiding Inside You. It was so helpful to gain some insight into the patient's perspective through your personal experience, aside from all the medical information.

It did, however raise some questions/concerns regarding post operative choices for a vegetarian.

I am having gastric bypass surgery August 24th with Dr. Chand at the Cleveland Clinic.

I know you mentioned your personal experience as far as difficulty with spinach, and talked about vegetables, fruits, grains and legumes as possible cause for blockage of the stoma and/or difficulty with digestion.

Is this for the first few months post-op?  Or possibly long term difficulties? I do not eat fish or chicken.  I know you mentioned tofu, which I like very much - but pan fried or grilled. Not right from the tub - yuk!  Are you familiar with Tempeh, and is it difficult to digest? I'm worried about my choices for protein besides Egg Beaters and plain tofu. Most low-fat yogurts contain gelatin.

Do you have any advice? Or better yet, do you know anyone who has had bypass surgery, who like myself is vegetarian, who can contact me? I feel quite a bit alone with this.

Thank you so much in advance.

Sally Sahni

Hi Sally,
The difficulty I had that I mentioned in my book had to do with whole leaf spinach and eggplant that had not been peeled.  Had I eaten chopped spinach or avoided the eggplant peels I would have been just fine. In other words, it was my own fault.  I just got careless!

When eating any fruit or vegetable when you are newly post-op, just say to yourself, “Would I feed that to a baby?” Think of your new pouch as a baby’s pouch.  And if you think that a baby could eat it without chocking, then you should be OK. I would never feed a baby whole leaf spinach or eggplant that hadn’t been peeled. What was I thinking??

Concerns about food getting stuck diminish the longer you are post-op.  You will find that the variety of what you are able to tolerate increases over time as well.

It is not necessary to eat meat and meat products in order to stay healthy after weight loss surgery.  There are great legume and soy products that will provide all the protein that you need, such as the Tempeh that you mention. 

Of greater concern is the amount of calcium that you will be eating.  Whenever possible, eat calcium enriched food, such as calcium fortified soy milk.  You will have to be very diligent about taking your calcium supplements. 

I invite anyone out there who is a vegan to write to me about their experiences so that I can share them with Sally and all of you.   Contact me at Barbara@WLScenter.com

Ricotta Chicken


1/2 cup ricotta cheese
3 Tablespoons pine nuts
2 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 artichoke heart, chopped
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, pounded ¼ inch thick being careful not to tear the meat
1/2 cup white wine
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350° F
2. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, pine nuts, basil, thyme, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and artichoke heart. Mix well.
3. Lay the pounded chicken breast flat and divide the cheese mixture evenly
4. Spread the cheese mixture over the top of the chicken breast and roll the chicken breast tightly.
5. Place the chicken seam side down into a baking pan
6. Pour the white wine into the baking pan with the chicken and add the salt and pepper
7. Bake at 350° F for 40 minutes or until done and juices run clear. Serve

Makes 4 servings
Per serving:
Calories 222; Protein 28 grams; Carbohydrates 4 grams

If you have a recipe that you would like to share in future issues of this newsletter, please send it to me at Barbara@wlscenter.com

Speaking Event in Erie

Opps!! My speaking event for Hamot Bariatric Center in Erie, PA has been moved to Wednesday October 4th.  That will give you one more month to plan on coming!! Hope to see Erie, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Upstate New York folks there!!

Success Story:
  Jamie Lavery

Many people email me that one of the parts that they like best about the newsletter are the success stories.  I can’t keep including them, if I don’t receive them. 

If you are 1 year post op and have before and after pictures, please send me your story.  Don’t worry about your writing ability. I will make edits as necessary. Your story can serve as an inspiration to others.

I want to offer a special thanks to Jamie Lavery    Here is her story:

I have always been fat, for as long as I can remember. But, then everyone in my family was chunky. Why should it skip a generation? I played basketball and, in my opinion, was a good player who could run up and down the court just like the skinny girls. But, even with all the running, I was still FAT! My fellow classmates made fun of me and eventually I got used to the fact that I would always be fat, nothing could change that.

When I first started hearing about gastric bypass surgery, I said that it was not for me. I would be one of the statistics that died either during or after surgery. There was no way that I could give up my favorite foods. They meant too much to me. Besides, I had to have something to love.

In 1995, I married, I thought, the man of my dreams. It was embarrassing trying on wedding dresses. A lot of bridal boutiques do not have plus size dresses. I had to get a size 30 just to fit, but it had to be altered. 

I had tried every diet drug I could. Phen-Fen worked the best. I lost 70 pounds, but once I quit taking them, the weight I lost plus a few more piled on!

I went to school, so I could offer a better life for my daughter, Kendra. I started working at a local hospital in the surgery department. I assisted on a Roux-en-Y bypass shortly after, and that patient died! There was no way that I would ever do that.

Dr. Tim Robarts, my lifesaver, started doing Roux-en-Y’s in 2003. I decided that I wanted a new life, so I made an office appointment. I was Dr. Robarts' first weight loss surgery patient. I really wanted my surgery done laparoscopically. I finally got approved and my surgery was scheduled for April 13, 2004. At the time of my surgery, I weighed 270 pounds.

I trusted this doctor with my life for several reasons.

 1. I had watched him operate thousands of times and I knew his skills were excellent.

 2. He has compassion for his patients.

 3. I knew that if he had taken the time and patience to learn this procedure, then he thought the procedure was safe for me to have.

I was nervous the night before surgery. I’ve been nervous before, but even though I knew every single person that was in the room with me, I still was scared. What if it was my time to go? But I made it through just fine.

I met the man of my dreams 2 months after having my surgery. He has supported me along the way. I met him in June 2004 and we got married October 9, 2004. I felt that he was the right man for me.

It has been almost 2 years and I am 140 pounds lighter. That is a whole person! I feel great, look great, and I am so glad that I had gastric bypass surgery. If I would ever need it again, I would. I would even go back to Dr. Robarts and have him perform the procedure again!

Thank you, Dr. Robarts for making my life better and healthier! This surgery is a tool and you have to use it as such. It is a mind game. You have to know what and how much to eat everyday and listen to your body.

Jamie Lavery

Congratulations Jamie

You achieved your goal. Share your story.

If you have a story to share, are at least 1 year post-op and have before and after  pictures, please send them to me at Barbara@wlscenter.com so that I can include them in a future issue.

Spreading the Word in
  Erie, PA and Alabama

Since the beginning of the year, most of my speaking has been to hospital employees on obesity sensitivity and patient satisfaction.  These events have been closed to the public.  However there are 2 events coming up in September and October that patients will be able to attend.

And on Friday September 29th, at 1:30 PM I will be speaking at the Alabama State Nurses Association at the Dixon Conference Center in Auburn, AL sponsored by KCI.  I will be speaking on patient satisfaction and positive patient outcomes. The Alabama Nurses Association has invited anyone who wants to attend my presentation to attend free.  Although this is a subject probably of more interest to nurses, anyone is welcome.

On Wednesday Oct. 4th at 6:30 PM I will be speaking to the patients of Dr. Ali and Dr. Arreola of the Hamot Bariatric Surgery Group, at Hamot Hospital in Erie, PA, sponsored by Autosuture.

Hope to see you at one of these events!

Please Note: I am asked very often about coming to speak for various practices. If you would like me to speak, I am sponsored to speak by either the Hospital or by a corporation. Call me for details 877-440-1518.

Attention Nurses

If you are a nurse and would like for me to speak on positive patient outcomes, patient satisfaction, or obesity sensitivity for your State Nurses Association, please have the conference planner for your State Association contact me. I have a corporate sponsor who will pay my fee and expenses so it is free for your Association. I also speak for many hospitals on the same topics. 

Contact me at Barbara@WLScenter.com or 412-851-4195.

Permission to Reprint

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Reprinted from Barbara Thompson’s free e-newsletter featuring helpful information and research material to help patients succeed following weight loss surgery.
Subscribe at http://www.barbarathompsonnewsletter.com/

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