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Weight Loss Surgery:
Finding the Thin Person Hiding Inside You.
The Voice of Obesity
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
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.
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
you’re not happy with your weight loss,
then join the
Back on Track with Barbara Internet Mentoring
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.”
information or to join the Program, go
Complications of Weight Loss
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
1/2 cup ricotta
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.
3. Lay the pounded chicken breast flat and divide the cheese
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
Makes 4 servings
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
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!!
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
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
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
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
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
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.
You achieved your
goal. Share your story.
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
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.
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.
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from Barbara Thompson’s free e-newsletter featuring helpful
information and research material to help patients succeed following
weight loss surgery.
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