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 #60

December 1, 2004

Hi everyone,
We are now well into the Holiday season.  It is a great time of the year, but it can also be very stressful.  Enjoy the season, but try not to let it get to you.  Save some time for yourself, time to exercise, time to plan what you will eat and please save a little time to relax.

As you will read below, our office will be closed Dec. 11th through the 19th.  So there will not be a Dec. 15th e-newsletter.  The next time you hear from me will be 2005!!

Have a wonderful holiday.

In This Issue


* Plastic Surgery Telephone Seminar
* Office Closed
* Walk Your Way to Health
* Please Pass the Olive Oil
* Dummies Book: More Help Needed
* Medicare Coverage Advisory Committee
* Recipe: Seafood Gumbo  
* Success Story: Brenda Duenas
* Spreading the Word in Long Island

Plastic Surgery
        Telephone Seminar: Jan 26, 2005

Are you confused about plastic surgery?  When to have it, will you need it, how much it costs, does it hurt??? Then join me on Wednesday January 26th for a telephone seminar with one of the most experienced plastic surgeons for weight loss surgery patients, Dr. Peter Rubin. 

What is a telephone seminar? It is a discussion conducted on the phone that you can join in. After you register for the telephone seminar, you will be sent a phone number and an extension number.  Call that number on Jan. 26th about 5 minutes before we start and you will be on a party line.  I will be on the line with Dr. Rubin along with other people who also registered. I will interview Dr. Rubin and stop periodically to ask if people have questions so you will have an opportunity to ask your questions directly of the doctor.  Within 3 weeks after the telephone seminar, you will receive a CD recording of the event. 

Click here for more information and to register

Office Closed Dec. 10th thru 19th
Our office will be closed Dec. 10th thru the 19th while Frank and I take a cruise. Orders that you would like to guarantee for Christmas delivery should be placed by Dec. 9th. You will be able to order via the internet and we will fill the orders in the order that they are placed when we return on the 20th.  Weíll be thinking of you.  We just wonít be able to communicate while weíre in the middle of the Caribbean.

Research Article: Walk Your Way to Health

USA Today carried an interesting article about the value of walking.  While we are encouraged to walk 10,000 steps per day, it takes a lot of steps to burn off calories. If you overindulged this Thanksgiving, consider the following.  It might help you to be more careful during the rest of the holiday season!

Type of Holiday Food Steps Needed to Burn Calories
1 cup of holiday stuffing 6,992
1/2 cups of candied yams 3,910
3 ounces of roast turkey 2,737
8 ounce glass of red wine 3,266
1 slice of pumpkin pie     5,267
1 slice of homemade pecan pie  1,569

A mile is about 2,000 to 2,500 steps depending on your stride. Calories are based upon someone who weighs 150 to 165 pounds.

From Bonnie Jortberg, co-author of The Step Diet Book, reported in USA Today, Thursday Nov. 18, 2004.

Please Pass the Olive Oil

The South Beach Diet newsletter reports that as of November 1st, olive oil will have a new FDA health claim on the label on olive oil bottles. It will read:

ďLimited and not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that eating about 2 tablespoons (23 grams) of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to the monounsaturated fat in olive oil. To achieve this possible benefit, olive oil is to replace a similar amount of saturated fat and not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day.Ē

Thatís significant! I know Iíll be replacing all of the oil I use at home!

Dummies Book: More Help Needed

(Will be Published in June 2005)

The Weight Loss Surgery for Dummies book is coming right along. I want to thank everyone who submitted material to me to be included.  Unfortunately many of you wrote on the same topics or wrote general narratives.  They were interesting and heart warming for me to read, but not useable in the book.  So I still need some very specific submissions of a paragraph or two on:
If you had the Lap Band done and are happy with it
If your marriage didnít survive weight loss surgery
How someone other than a spouse helped you deal with housework or your children in the days right after your surgery
An experience you had when you first returned to work
Something about when your Window of Opportunity closed
Something about eating in restaurants
Something about your exercise routine
The importance of your support group

If you submitted something and havenít heard from me, I may still use your material. I am just still working through everything. Thank you all very much!!

Medicare Coverage Advisory Committee
I am pleased to report that the Medicare Coverage Advisory Committee (MCAC) concluded that there is significant scientific evidence supporting the safety and effectiveness of open and laparoscopic weight loss surgery and its ability to improve a number of life-threatening obesity related conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol in the general adult population. Hopefully this will have a positive impact on insurance coverage.

They added that more research is needed, however, in people 65 and older.  They will be receiving help from the American Society for Bariatric Surgery (ASBS) to gather data on this population.

The MCAC recommendations will not affect current Medicare policy, which covers weight loss surgery for morbidly obese patients with a co-morbid condition. A change in Medicare coverage criteria requires a request for a new National Coverage Decision, which the ASBS will be submitting to help expand coverage.

All of these pronouncements are positive steps forward.  Hopefully we will see a day when insurance coverage of weight loss surgery will be routine!

Recipe: Seafood Gumbo
Last year I spoke 3 times in Louisiana and loved it. The people are so nice and the food is wonderful. I found this low fat gumbo recipe that I bet even someone from Louisiana would love! 

Seafood Gumbo

1 cup chopped green bell peppers
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 can (14.5) ounce stewed tomatoes (do not drain)
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1 can hot and spicy tomato juice (6 ounces)
1 cup frozen cut okra
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 ounces frozen imitation crab (about 1 cup)
3/4 cup quick cooking rice
1 1/4 cups water

In oil, saute onion and green pepper in a Dutch oven until tender. Add cornstarch and stir. Add tomatoes, Cajun seasoning, and tomato juice.  Heat until bubbly. Stir occasionally. When bubbling, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Stir in shrimp and cooked until shrimp is cooked (about 2 or 3 minutes). Add crab, rice and water.  Heat until boiling. Take off heat and let stand, covered for 5 minutes.

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

Success Story: Brenda Duenas  

I want to offer a special thanks to Brenda Duenas. Here is her story:

My name is Brenda. I am 40 years old and feel like Iíve been given a new lease on life.

I come from an obese family. When I was growing up, every family gathering was spent discussing my weight even though I was not yet obese. My obese grandmother, aunts, and mother would tell me that if I continued eating like my brothers, I would weigh 300 pounds. I was very thin at the time!  The boys got huge servings of dessert, while I only got a very small serving. Thus began my feeling of being deprived and punished. My grandfather and hero would tell them to leave me alone, and lose their own weight! How I loved my grandfather. But none the less, the words hurt and I began to believe that something was wrong with me!

I married and became a mother at the age of 17. I went on to have 5 children and with each child the weight piled on. I led a very inactive life, the only exercise I got was chasing after my children. I lived up to my relatives prophecy, I topped out at 315 pounds.

Iíve tried every diet I could. Weight Watchers, Atkins, pills, Richard Simmons, Kaiser Medical Program....everything. I would lose up to 60 pounds at a time and then just give up!! It was like the weight had become so massive it was like climbing a mountain without a rope. I could get so far and then slip back down.

In September 2001, my husband became disabled by two heart attacks and my brother who later died of obesity at more than 400 pounds, spurred me to do something! If I didnít do something about my weight I would die too and my children could be faced with losing both parents. My youngest child was only 3.

I began researching weight loss surgery. My primary care physician was not cooperative and required that I go through the weight loss program offered by my insurance carrier, Kaiser. I did and lost about 40 pounds and then regained 60! I pushed for him to begin the process to allow me to have weight loss surgery. He reluctantly scheduled me for appointments with the nutritionist, the clinic behaviorist and the psychologist. All of them agreed I was a perfect candidate for the surgery. My BMI was 65 (I am only 4 foot 11 inches tall). I had sleep apnea, and a strong family history of heart disease and diabetes.

My PCP reluctantly sent in my first referral. Life got busy and I didnít stay on top of it. Six months went by and I hadnít heard anything. I began calling everywhere to find out where I was in the process only to find that they had never received my paperwork!! I called my PCP who told me that since it had been so long I would have to re do my appointments with the nutritionist and psychologist. I did even though I felt it highly unfair since it was his fault. I called and tracked down the correct fax number he was supposed to send it to and finally confirmed that the approval department had received it. I waited 6 agonizing weeks and found I had been approved!!

Three months later I had my orientation and consult with Dr Fisher in Richmond, California. I had my gastric bypass surgery on August 19, 2003 almost two years after initially going to my PCP wanting it!  I had no complications at all. I am very fortunate to have gone through a program that really stresses education and support.

I am now 15 months post op and am down to 148 pounds. I have gone from a 30/32 jeans to a 12, a 3XL top to a medium, and can go into any store and shop!!  My BMI is down to 31 and my sleep apnea is gone! I feel normal for the first time in my life. I had my apron and bat wings removed on September 1, 2004 and love my new body.

My whole life has changed. I donít worry about if I will fit into chairs. I exercise everyday. I smile more. I laugh and I love each new day. I love to shop!!

This surgery gave me the rope I needed to climb the mountain!! I have 13 more pounds to go to get to my personally set goal and I know I will get there. I am worth this journey!! I would do it again in an instant.

Brenda Duenas
Bay Point, California

Before After

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.  

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Reprinted from Barbara Thompsonís 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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