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Weight Loss Surgery:
Finding the Thin Person Hiding Inside You.
The Voice of Obesity
Do people ever say to you something like, “Gee, weight loss
surgery is becoming so popular. I know 3 people who just had it.”
It does seem that weight loss surgery is popular. However,
consider that only between 1% and 2% of people who qualify for
weight loss surgery actually have it. One of the reasons that the
percentage is so low is because of barriers to coverage that
insurance companies put up so that people will not have surgery.
In an article below, I report on a huge victory by the Obesity
Action Coalition vs the Tennessee Blue Cross/Blue Shield.
The retreat in Charlotte was wonderful. If
you can possibly make one of the retreats, you will be thrilled. I
am starting something new that I am announcing below. I will be
doing my first cruise this August. You will receive a separate
email survey getting your input regarding this.
In This Issue
* Back on Track
* Research Article: Recommendations on the Use of Alcohol after
* Cruise News
* A Victory for All of Us
* Recipe: Tarascan Soup
* Success Story: Jamie Volner
* Spreading the Word in Allentown, New York, Park Rapids, and
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
Back On Track with Barbara is a 6-month
membership program that provides an
internet mentorship for those
who are struggling with weight regain after weight loss
surgery. It also benefits those who have never reached their
goal weight after surgery
Here is a recent
comment from a new member:
“I sure wish I had come here when my eating started slipping.
But we are all on our own journeys--even though we have so much
in common. I highly recommend listening to some of the audio
seminars. I just joined last week and already I have a ray of
hope I haven't had in quite some time.”
information or to join the Program, go
Use of Alcohol after Surgery
Many thanks to Dr. Cynthia Buffington
for allowing us to reprint her article on the use of alcohol. I
think you will find it very interesting.
A 32-year old male 5 months out from
gastric bypass surgery was issued a DUI after attending his
brother’s wedding reception. According to the patient, he had
only consumed 2 glasses of champagne, although his blood alcohol
levels were above the legal limit to operate a motor vehicle.
A female patient 50 years of age and
one-year post-gastric bypass hit and killed a pedestrian with
her automobile after having less than 2 glasses of wine. When
police arrived she had difficulty with her coordination, slurred
her words and seemed somewhat confused, although her alcohol
test suggested that her blood alcohol levels were shy of the
Were these patients telling the truth about
the amount of alcohol they had consumed or did their surgery
affect the way the body absorbs or metabolizes alcohol?
A recent study reported in the British
Journal of Clinical Pharmacology found that the gastric
bypass procedure significantly affects alcohol absorption and
its inebriating influence. According to the study protocol, a
group of gastric bypass patients, three years post-surgery, and
their non-surgical controls consumed an alcoholic drink after an
overnight fast, and blood alcohol levels were examined over a
period of time. The data showed that blood alcohol levels of the
gastric bypass patients were higher and required much less time
to peak than those of the non-surgical controls.
The more rapid absorption of
alcohol and heightened blood alcohol levels would cause the
bariatric patient to have a more pronounced feeling of
inebriation during and shortly after drinking. And, such effects
could have serious ramifications with regard to driving an
automobile or performing other skilled tasks such as operating
heavy machinery, piloting a plane or any other task that may
influence the safety of the individual or that of others.
I have been asked many times when I am
going to have a cruise. Well I finally got the message!! I am
planning one for August on the Carnival Cruise Line ship,
Imagination (Actual ship photo above).
And I can’t wait!!
I will be sending out a survey with some
choices in August of some cruises dates and destinations, so
look for the survey in your email. I want to select the cruise
that the greatest number of you want.
You will be able to cruise with fellow weight loss surgery
patients and family members with food that we are able to eat
as well as regular cruise cuisine and special events just for
our group. When at sea, there will be sessions available on
nutrition, emotional eating and exercise that you will love.
Remember, look for the survey in your email
A Victory for All of Us
The Obesity Action Coalition scored an
important victory for all of us recently concerning a
condition of coverage that Tennessee residents who
have Blue Cross/Blue
Shield insurance were required to meet in order to qualify for
weight loss surgery. The requirement was that candidates for
weight loss surgery pass an IQ test!
The Obesity Action Coalition took
Tennessee Blue Cross/Blue Shield on and issued a press release
concerning this. Fox News picked it up and had it as their
lead story. Blue Cross/Blue Shield has subsequently dropped
the requirement. That was a huge victory!
The OAC would like to call on you to provide them with some of
your unusual experiences with accessing treatment. Does your
insurance provider's policy contain an unusual requirement? If
so, please send a copy of the policy with the requirement
highlighted to the OAC National Office. The contact
information for the OAC is:
4511 North Himes Avenue, Suite 250
Tampa, Florida 33614(800) 717-3117
Fax: (813) 873-7838
Also, the OAC needs your help to continue doing good work like
this. Please consider joining. An annual membership is
I want to offer a special thanks to
Suellen Manning from the Charlotte retreat for contributing this
Tarascan Soup from Suellen Manning
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 ( 28 ounce ) can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 ( 15 ounce ) cans pinto beans, undrained
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp hot sauce
¼ tsp salt
1 (16 ounce) can fat free, less sodium chicken broth
1 cup (8 ounces) shredded reduced fat Monterey jack cheese
16 baked tortilla chips, crushed (about 1 cup)
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium
high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in
tomatoes; cook 5 minutes. Place beans in a blender or food
processor; process until smooth. Add beans, chili powder, cumin,
hot sauce, salt and broth to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to
medium low and cook for 18 minutes. Serve with cheese and chips.
Yield 8 servings ( serving size: 1 cup soup,
2 Tbsp cheese, and about 2 Tbsp chips)
Calories 266, Protein 15.4 G, Carb 40.2 G
If you have a recipe that you would like to share in future issues
of this newsletter, please send it to me
I want to offer a special thanks to Jamie
Volner. Here is her story:
Well, like most of us
that suffer or suffered from obesity my story is not much different
than most. However, I wanted to share with others just like myself.
I was not an
overweight child but did struggle with an emotional eating
disorder. I was an abused child, therefore I learned to comfort
myself with food. I was able to keep the weight at bay with sports
and activities for the time being.
When one talks about
eating disorders the first thing that comes to mind is Anorexia or
Bulimia and as I grew older I found out that over-eating for
emotional issues was not one that was addressed or really known how
to address. Basically I was told to “deal” with it.
At the age of 19
after the birth of my first child my weight really started to
increase. I had several miscarriages before my second child was
born which added to the “emotional issues” and well, you get it,
food was my source for coping.
By the age of 32 I
had a stroke and my health issues were just out of control. I had
tried every diet known and just about every pill there was. Someone
had mentioned having weight loss surgery and I was
adamant that I was not going to go that route. I was definitely not
taking the easy way out. Little did I know!
Several more years
went by and I was now 37 years old and couldn’t keep up with my
youngest child. I was depressed, my eating was out of control and
my health was failing. I was up to 285 pounds and I am only 5’5’.
I started reconsidering weight loss surgery in a serious way. I
knew I was going to die if I kept this up.
I researched for a
year and did my homework. My insurance covered the procedure fully
and my PCP was behind me 100%. There were no surgeons in my area
that were certified through the American Society of Bariatric
Surgery so I opted to go out-of-network. It was a fight to get
approved out-of-network, but once I stated my case with facts it was
I went to The Wish
Center in Tempe, Arizona, which is a 2-hour drive from where I
live. I went through education classes, psychological counseling
and medical testing and on November 12th, 2003 I had open
gastric bypass surgery.
I was at my goal weight
of 145 pounds within my first year and I am now almost 3 years out
and my weight is stabilized between 141 to 145 pounds. I was a size
26/28 and now I am a size 6! Who would have thought?
I am happy and
healthy. I have had a few glitches along the way but nothing that
could not or has not been remedied and I have no regrets. Was this
the easy way out? I laugh out loud now when I hear that. This has
been a tough road to travel and no, it doesn’t “fix” the emotional
issues. It is a “tool” and one has to work at it every single day.
The surgery may not
be for everyone but it was right for me. It saved my life and gave
me a life that I didn’t even imagine I could have. I may be at goal
but I never forget where I came from and always jump at the chance
to help other's considering this procedure and helping to educate
them as best as I can.
Thank you for
allowing me to share my success story. Barbara, thank you for all
your hard work in educating people and giving them the encouragement
they need to succeed and stay on track to a healthier and happier
You achieved your
goal, be proud and tell the world.
I am running low on success stories. 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
Park Rapids and Milwaukee
I have several engagements coming up
which you will be able to attend.
Wednesday Feb. 14th, 7:00 PM
to 9:00 PM, Sacred Heart Hospital Auditorium, Allentown, PA.
Call Karen Nisky, 610-776-4928, for reservations.
Wednesday March 7th, 7
PM to 8:30
PM, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Whitney 117,
525 East 68th Street, between York Avenue and the East
River. Call Liz Goldenberg, 212-746-5294 for information.
Saturday April 14th, 10
AM to 11:15 AM, sponsored by Dakota Clinic, Park Rapids, MN.
Call Laurie Hanson, 218-732-2829 for information.
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.
You may reprint any items from this newsletter in your own print or
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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.
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