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 #87

February 15, 2006

Hello Everyone,
Brrrrr!!! It is cold outside. It’s time to fight off the tendency to want to just hibernate – to snuggle up in front of the TV with an afghan over you and just do nothing.

But your need to exercise hasn’t stopped just because the temperature has dipped. So look for alternative ways to get out there and move. If you normally walk outside, try mall walking. If you love biking, try a stationery bike. And for just plain fun try a DVD of Richard Simmon’s “Sweatin’ to the Oldies.”

In the meantime, I have included a recipe for French onion soup to warm you up.

Stay toasty!

In This Issue


* Research Article: Weight Loss Surgery Makes Life Better for the Obese
* Holiday Pounds? Get Back On Track
* Post-Op Babies
* Recipe: French Onion Soup
* Success Story: Gary Reno

Research Article:
  Weight Loss Surgery 
  Makes Life Better for the Obese

WebMD published a very interesting article on weight loss surgery a couple of months ago that looked at a number of studies on how weight loss surgery effects a person’s life. They also included information about complications after surgery.

The most interesting part of the article was the discussion about the future of weight loss surgery. Currently only about 1% of people who qualify for surgery have it, yet it is the only long lasting weight loss option available. This number is so low because of the negative perceptions people have of the surgery as it was done in the past. As the risks improve, especially with the Centers of Excellence, the numbers of surgeries are expected to increase substantially.

In the article, University of Chicago researcher, Dr. Heena Santry is quoted as saying, "There is still the widespread perception that instead of a disease, obesity is just people's misbehavior and they are not deserving of treatment. An unresolved question is to what extent does cost justify withholding access to a treatment. If it is the best treatment for a medical condition, the cost is a problem -- but we cannot deny patients just because it is expensive to give them the proper treatment for their condition. How to sort that out in the long term is a question."

We have a battle to get universal coverage of weight loss surgery for everyone who qualifies for it and wants it. But I know many of us are ready to help wage that battle.

For the full article, Click Here 

Holiday Pounds?
  Get Back on Track

Has winter taken its toll on your weight? Did the holidays do their damage? Are you ready to do something about it? Then join the internet mentoring program, Back on Track with Barbara. 

The Program is 26 weeks long and each week Lessons are emailed to you along with homework assignments. There are Message Board Forums and monthly teleseminars. The Program was designed for weight loss surgery patients who have started to regain weight or have never reached their goal weight.

Here are some of the benefits:

  • Stop regaining weight and start to lose weight again
  • Learn more about what to eat, how much to eat and what kinds of exercises are best
  • Learn how to control the emotional side of eating
  • Be part of a community that is struggling just like you are. Stop trying to do this on your own.
  • Get the support that you need to succeed

Click here for more information and to join http://www.backontrackwithbarbara.com/  

Post-Op Babies

From time to time, I receive questions regarding pregnancy after weight loss surgery. I just received such a question last week. So I thought I would run this article on pregnancy from the July 1, 2004 issue of this newsletter.         

If you had a baby after your surgery, please email me at Barbara@WLScenter.com and let me know how long after your surgery you got pregnant and if you had any complications so that I can share this with our readers.

Dear Barbara,
My husband and I have been married for 15 years.  I had RNY gastric bypass surgery on Sept. 26th, 2003. In the 15 years we have been married we had not used birth control and had undergone fertility treatments for 9 years.  I have never had a regular cycle in my life until the month of my surgery.  In 1998 we adopted twin boys at the age of 5.  They are now 11 and they are just the joy of our family’s lives. 

Just last week I decided that things were not right with me and my cycle.  I have not been regular but not only that, I’ve been spotting non-stop since April 15th. I just discovered that I am 3 months pregnant.  Now I understand how important it is to use birth control every single time.  We are overjoyed about this pregnancy but there is a lot of worry that comes with it.  I got pregnant 6 months after my surgery and for 3 months had no idea and so I also had no prenatal visits either.  So for those of you who think that getting pregnant is not possible for you, it can happen.  This is just a short note to stress the importance of birth control after surgery.

Kathleen Pritzlaff  

While I am sure that we all wish Kathleen well on her pregnancy, her message is an important one. The following is an excerpt on pregnancy from my book, “Weight Loss Surgery; Finding the Thin Person Hiding inside You.”


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?  It is recommended by surgeons across the country and has been dubbed the “unofficial bible of bypass patients” by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Order your copy at http://www.wlscenter.com/Announce_Book.htm#book


French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

8 cups of canned beef broth
3 cups onions, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. butter
8 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Melt the butter on low heat in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook stirring often until the onions are very soft and golden. Do not let them brown. Add the broth and simmer for 30 minutes. Sprinkle each serving with 2 Tbsp. of cheese.

Makes 4 servings. Each Serving:
111 calories, 8 grams of protein and 7 grams of carbohydrates

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:
  Gary Reno

I want to offer a special thanks to Gary Reno for sharing his story

Hi Barbara
I wanted to share my success story with you. I read your newsletter with great interest twice a month and find the information to be quite useful. I had the pleasure of meeting you in Denver in 2002 when Dr. Michael Snyder of Denver Bariatrics called me and asked me to attend your seminar. I have shared your book with others considering this life changing procedure. They too have found it to be very informative. You are truly an inspiration.

Now for my story:

I came into this world at just over 11 pounds in 1950. From that moment on, obesity would be my worst enemy. I remember not being able to do other things that the other kids were doing because of my weight. I was constantly ridiculed, teased, and made fun of.

This humiliation continued into my adult life until one day in mid June of 2002 while at work, I was on the internet and found an article with the headline that read "Woman loses over 100 pounds." This truly caught my attention, and I went to the site and this is where I first heard of weight loss surgery.

Up until this time I had been on Nutri-System on two different occasions and lost over 100 pounds both times only to gain back what I had lost plus. I have been on Jenny Craig also successfully, but again when I went off it, you guessed it, I gained it all back plus a little more. My personal physician put me on two different medically supervised diet plans both of which were not very successful. I have also tried Weight Watchers without much success.

After learning about weight loss surgery that day on the internet I went home that evening and told my wife that I was going to pursue getting this surgery done and her reply was, "No you are not.” Well after talking with her, I convinced her to at least look into it with me and learn more. She agreed. We spent a great deal of time researching this procedure on the internet and where ever else we could learn more.

After becoming more informed I contacted my personal doctor and informed him of my desire and asked him if he knew of any surgeons doing this procedure. He referred me to a surgeon and I later learned he did not accept our insurance program. We then conducted more research on our own and this is when we learned of Dr. Michael Snyder of  Denver Bariatrics. We called and made reservations to attend one of his lectures.

After attending his lecture and learning even more about this procedure I was ready to move forward to the next step as well as my wife. The very next day I called Dr Snyder's office to make my initial consultation appointment and was told that they were scheduling appointments for April of 2003. I was so disappointed but scheduled my appointment for then. This allowed me to do even further research on weight loss surgery.

In November of 2002, Dr Snyder's office called and informed me that you were going to be in Denver and invited me to attend your seminar. I found you not only very interesting but to be very inspiring and once again found myself overly anxious to get this surgery. It was at your seminar that I first met Dr. Snyder. I expressed my desire to him to have weight loss surgery and he suggested that I contact his office to get scheduled for an initial appointment. I told him that I was scheduled to meet with him in April 2003. I informed him that if he could see me anytime earlier I would be available. He told me to write him an e-mail the following day and remind him of our meeting and he would see what he might be able to work out.

The next day I wrote that e-mail and sure enough he followed through. In January of 2003 during the Super Bowl I received a phone call from Dr Snyder's office wanting to know if I could come in and meet with Dr. Snyder on Tuesday of that week. I was so stunned that I could hardly contain myself.

I met with Dr. Snyder that following Tuesday and was totally impressed with him and his staff. I knew that this was the doctor that was going to be the one to help me rid myself of this horrific problem I had been trying to overcome for the last 53 years of my life. Dr. Snyder informed me at this initial consultation that I was an excellent candidate for this surgery. I had no other health problems. I cannot put into words how I felt. My wife and I made it out to the car and I just broke down and cried. I know men are not supposed to cry but I finally felt there was hope and I was determined to make this work.

At the time of this initial consultation I weighed 517 pounds at 5' 10" tall with a BMI of 74.2. I could barely walk, had dislocated my knee while standing up months earlier and could do little of anything. My lovely wife never said a word about my weight and I could clearly see that my weight was taking a toll not only on me but more importantly on my wife and my family as they were the ones who had to do all the things that I could not.

The humility associated with being overweight is just beyond words. If we wanted to go out and eat my family would have to call the restaurant to find out if they had a table and chairs for us to sit at because I could not sit in a booth. I deprived my family from doing a lot of things that we should have been doing. Instead I was married for the most part to a recliner. Not much of a life and one I was very tired of.

I made it through all of my evaluations without any problems. I thought the major setback would be with the insurance company. Dr. Snyder's staff applied to my insurance company on a Tuesday and much to my surprise they received approval by Thursday of the same week. I attribute all this to my personal doctor as well as Dr. Snyder and his staff for preparing all of the necessary documentation for this procedure. Do your home work. It will make life a lot easier.

With all of that behind me I was now scheduled for surgery on April 14, 2003. I was so excited, however I still had one other problem. No one other than my wife, daughter and son-in-law knew anything about my surgery. I did not want any other family members or friends to know. I was afraid of failing yet again.  

On April 14, 2003 into the hospital I went for this life changing surgery. Dr. Snyder had told me prior to the surgery that he would try and do my surgery laparoscopically. But because of my size, Dr. Snyder had to do my surgery open which in turn meant a few more days in the hospital. All went well with no complications. I came out of the hospital 35 pounds lighter than I did when I went in. What a wonderful start for a new beginning.

In June of 2004, having lost 225 pounds, I was ready to have a tummy tuck as I had a very large apron. I first went to my personal doctor and consulted with him about a tummy tuck and he determined that it was medically necessary for me to have this procedure. I then met with Dr. Snyder and he too agreed that this was a necessary procedure. It was also determined that I had developed another hernia that needed to be repaired. I then met with a plastic surgeon recommended by Dr. Snyder. Her name is Dr. Tanya Atagi, another wonderful individual in my life. All three doctors wrote letters indicating that a tummy tuck was medically necessary and the paperwork was sent to my insurance company for approval.

I was first rejected and the first thing I did was write an appeal letter asking for another review of my case. A couple of weeks later I received a phone call from my advocate at my insurance company and he informed me that they were going to pay for my tummy tuck. I said, “You mean I won my appeal?” He told me; no I had not won my appeal. He had reviewed my case and based on my success he went directly to the medical review officer. The medical review officer approved me rather than a review panel. He felt that it would not be prudent for them to have paid for the surgery and not pick up the tab for the tummy tuck after all of my hard work and success. So on July 14, 2004 I had my tummy tuck and I look and feel so much better.

It wasn't until people starting noticing that I was getting smaller that I finally confessed to having had weight loss surgery. Unfortunately my dad became ill a couple of weeks after my surgery and passed away. He never knew what I had done. He was always concerned about my weight problem but never preached to me to do anything. My mom passed away in June of 2004. When she learned of the surgery she became one of my biggest supporters (next to my loving wife). My mom understood my frustrations and why I did some of the things the way I did. She was heavy during my growing up years, but managed to take the weight off herself and maintain her weight loss until her passing.

I am almost three years post-op and at one point weighed 165 pounds. My original goal was to get down to 220 pounds. As you can see I met and exceeded my goal to which I am very proud. I have however increased my intake of food because at 165 pounds neither my wife nor I was happy with the way I looked. I currently weigh 206 pounds and feel better than I have my entire life. I have managed to maintain that weight for the last 10 months. I am able to enjoy life and be a part of society. However the most important thing to me is that I have given my wife her life back. She no longer has to wait on me hand and foot as I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself.

God Bless her and all of those who have contributed to my well being.

Gary Reno

Congratulations Gary

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 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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