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Weight Loss Surgery:
Finding the Thin Person Hiding Inside You.
are many things to rejoice over when it comes to weight loss surgery. When
we are approved for insurance coverage we are incredibly excited. Then the
pounds start falling off after surgery and we feel wonderful. When our
friends don’t recognize us and our clothes are falling off, our heads are
in the clouds. But 100 or 150 pounds later, panic may set in. We reach
our goal weight and may have a bounce back of some pounds. We forget how
far we have come and seem to zero in on those few pounds. Are we headed
down that same path to morbid obesity? That seems to be the overwhelming
fear of almost everyone who is more than 18 months post-op. I deal with
what to expect and what others have gone through in the article that
In This Issue
* Determining Our Destiny
* Father’s Day Special
* See You in Orlando
* Research Article: State Mandates for Obesity Treatment and Its
* Recipe: Cottage Cheese Mousse
Success Story: Lori Weaver
* Abdominoplasty Revisited
Are we destined to regain weight? I receive more questions
about this than about anything. There is so much fear around
this issue, and it is understandable. All of us have
experienced dieting, losing weight and regaining even more
weight. This is one of the criteria set by the National
Institutes of Health in order for us to qualify for surgery. We
have to have dieted and failed.
So is it any wonder that when the
Window of Opportunity closes and we hit our lowest weight and
then bounce up a few pounds, that we see this as the first step
toward the climb back to morbid obesity?
One of the problems is that there is insufficient research
around this issue. In my book, “Weight Loss Surgery; Finding
the Thin Person Hiding Inside You,” I reported on a study
published in the journal “Obesity Research,” August 1997 issue.
In a 4-year study of Roux en-Y patients, the study found:
||% Excess Weight Lost
There are several ways that you can
look at this study. First of all, the study was done in 1997
when there were few if any support groups and on the whole,
patients were left on their own to succeed or fail. But, I think
what is interesting is that between the 1st and 4th year, there
was an 11% weight regain.
An unscientific but very
interesting study was done by someone 2 days ago on the
ObesityHelp Main Message Board. What Lei decided to do was to
spend some time tracking down profiles of people she had
“angeled” who were 2 or more years post-op, or people whose
profiles were her "guiding light" as she was researching weight
loss surgery in the early stages.
There were 31 names, of those, 16
profiles had been updated on ObesityHelp within the last 90 days
- so those are the ones she pursued. This is what she found:
3 - At goal for a year, healthy,
happy, no regain.
4 - At goal, bounced back 20 to 40 lbs within 12 months.
2 - At goal, bounced back 50+ lbs within 12 months.
1 - At goal, bounced back 100 lbs in 2 yrs. - REVISION scheduled
1 - Reached goal, bounced back 90 lbs in 2 yrs - REVISION done.
1 - Severe medical problems due to vitamin deficiencies, 50 lb
2 - Severe medical problems due to vitamin deficiencies, no
2 - Surpassed goal, trying to gain the weight.
were due to SLD (Staple Line Disruption)
Again, this is unscientific. My
overall impression of this study is
that of the 16 people, almost half are at or below goal weight.
Furthermore 11 people or 68% are at least within 40 pounds of
goal. That means 32% have somewhat lost control. These numbers
may be scary, or they may encourage you. If you concentrate on
the 32% who have lost control you can look at that as a 32%
chance of failure. However, if you consider that without
surgery your chance of being out of control would be 95%
(because that is the accepted number of people who regain weight
after dieting) than 32% looks very good.
What is clear is that we determine
our own destiny. And having the surgery is no guarantee that we
will remain of normal weight for the rest of our lives. We have
to learn new eating habits and exercise. It is hard work, but
it is worth it.
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
Father’s Day Special
Father’s Day is right around the corner.
Now is the time to ask for a gift of health for your special
day. Forget the usual ties, shirts and
pajamas and ask for something that will truly help you on
your weight loss surgery journey. And if you are a wife or
daughter, then there is no better gift to your Dad than your
As my Father’s Day gift to you, all of our
special book/CD packages are on sale. Each of the packages
already offers great savings. But in addition, from now until
Father’s Day, each package will be an additional 10% off if you
enter the code DAD on the shopping cart just as you check out.
For instance, my book plus the accompanying “A Thinner Way of
Life” CD if priced separately is $38.90. Normally the package
is $29.90. With this sale, the package is $26.91. So you are
saving $13.99! Now that’s a bargain.
This special will expire on midnight
Eastern time June 30th
To see all of the other packages, click
I hope you enjoy your very special day!!
See You in Orlando
If you are in the Orlando area, I hope you
can join me at the Orlando ObesityHelp Regional Event on
Saturday June 25th. I will be the keynote speaker and will be
available most of the day to talk with you. I will have my
books and CD’s with me, but if you have already bought my book,
please bring it along for me to autograph.
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.
State Mandates for
Obesity Treatment and Its
I received the following email and was
very disheartened, until I read the article that follows this
Just wanted to let you know, I was at a ball game last night with
Health America/Assurance. The rep was mentioning to me how
wonderful the insurance is etc. She then brought up to me that
they are no longer paying for gastric
bypass surgery, no matter what. She said companies can buy riders
for their contracts, but who is going to do that. She went on
about how the long term effects have not been researched enough
and people are having too many complications. She tried to tell me
more people have died on the table from gastric bypass then heart
bypass. Of course I did not mention that I had the surgery,
because of the situation I was in, it was a work event. Have you
heard anything about this?
This is an article that I feel
contradicts what that insurance rep tried to tell Tracey.
Fitch, Kate, et al, “State Mandates
for Obesity Treatment and Its Cost.” Business Journal (Central New
York), 11/5/2004, Vol. 18 Issue 45, Special Section p10b, 3p.
While insurance companies and HMO’s
in some respects decide what they will cover and what they won’t
cover, these companies are regulated by the States (with the
exception of self-insured programs). And if an individual State
decides that insurance companies will provide coverage for morbid
obesity, then insurance companies must comply.
Most States follow what Medicare
does, and with Medicare now covering weight loss surgery, and with
the introduction of Centers of Excellence, insurance coverage may
become easier rather than harder.
This article also looks at insurance
coverage from a purely business standpoint so you have a better
understanding of how the “other side” thinks.
For the full text of the article,
Click Here for Adobe Reader file.
(Allow extra time to download with dial-up connection)
Cottage Cheese Mousse
Many thanks to Donna and the members of
the Simply Support group in Cleveland for sharing this recipe.
Isn’t this yummy!!!
This recipe has been used by many of us in our Simply Support
group and is a real great way to get in your protein in a
Ginny’s Famous Cottage Cheese
1 large container cottage cheese
1 8 oz. Cool Whip
1 small package s/f Jello, or s/f
Put cottage cheese in a blender, and
blend until smooth. Pour into a bowl, and add the s/f
Jello, or s/f pudding. Stir until mixed
well. Fold in Cool Whip. Add fruit or nuts if desired, refrigerate
for 1 hour.
(Use mandarin oranges w/ orange Jello,
strawberries w/strawberry Jello, etc.
Can use chopped walnuts with chocolate pudding, etc....whatever
you would like)
This is a very tasty way to get your protein in. A 1/2 c
serving has approximately 19 - 20 grams of protein.
If you have a recipe that you would like
to share in future issues of this
newsletter, please send it to me at
I want to offer a special thanks to Lori
Weaver. Here is her story:
It began when I was in high school. I was a junior in high school
getting ready for the prom in 1990. I weighed 210 pounds and finding
a decent dress in a size 20/22 was not easy. I found a dress but had
to have it altered. The alterations were bad. So in order to get the
dress looking back to normal, I had to lose weight. I stopped eating
school lunches and basically starved myself, but I managed to get
the dress back into the size 18 that it claimed to be. I continued
to lose weight until I graduated the next year losing a total of 60
pounds. Thanks to college, all you can eat meals in the cafeteria,
Dominoes delivering during late night cram sessions and just not
taking care of myself, the weight came back and then some. Ever
since then I would lose 30 to 40 pounds only to gain it back and
then some; the same routine that most everyone dieting goes through.
Finally, I had enough of the yo-yo dieting.
I watched my aunt have gastric bypass surgery and how well she
was succeeding and knew that was the only option for me. I had high
blood pressure, high cholesterol, aching joints, borderline sleep
apnea, and was slowly becoming a diabetic. July 1, 2003, was not
only my brother’s 24th birthday; it became my
"re-birthday." I had gastric bypass surgery at Marshall Medical
Center in Boaz, Alabama with Dr. John Groves. The surgery went
without a hitch.
Things were going fine until around four or five weeks out. I
started having problems keeping soft foods down and even some
liquids. Dr. Groves was on vacation the week I had just had enough
of the vomiting and having no energy. His associate scheduled me for
an X-ray the next day on a Tuesday. That night I ended up going to
the ER just drained. The ER doctor was not well informed as to
possible complications that may arise with weight loss surgery.
Strictures can be common. That is when the opening from the "new"
stomach to the small intestine tends to heal tighter than normal.
The ER doctor was not going to do anything except give me medicine
to calm my stomach. A lot of good that did since NOTHING would stay
down. He would not get me in touch with a GI doctor to see if it was
a stricture and dilate it. He flatly refused. He said I wasn’t
dehydrated despite that I was pale as a ghost and they had me hooked
up to an IV. Go figure that one out.
I had my regularly scheduled appointment the following Tuesday
with Dr. Groves. By then I was worse than ghostly pale. My friends
said I looked gray. I felt like the walking dead. Dr. Groves sent me
to a GI doctor then told me to go to outpatient to get an IV. I was
dehydrated. This was a week later after the trip to the ER. By now
not even water or my own spit would stay down. That Thursday, the GI
doctor tried to dilate the stricture, but he couldn’t find the
opening to dilate it. He sent me to a different GI doctor, Dr.
Philpott, at Baptist Medical Center Montclair in Birmingham. Dr.
Philpott was supposed to be "slick" but even he could not find the
opening to dilate it. I had totally scarred shut and it would
require surgery to repair this problem. Dr. Pennington at Montclair
did my revision. He cut off the scar tissue, placed in a stint, and
sewed around it. After recuperating from that ordeal, I did fine and
have been fine ever since.
I went into surgery on July 1, 2003 weighing 258 pounds. Since
then I’ve lost 117 pounds. I’ve gone from a 24/26 to around a size
12. I feel great! It is so nice to be able to shop and say, "Oops,
it is too big! I need a smaller size!" Not only have I lost weight,
but also I have gained the self-confidence I never had.
By the way, Lori will be getting married on June 22nd!!! Best
wishes from all of us, Lori!
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.
Following my article in the last issue of the
newsletter in which I said that an abdominoplasty is never covered
by insurance, I heard from someone whose abdominoplasty was covered
and another whose surgery was covered because it also involved a
hernia. Their point was well taken, that abdominoplasties are in
some cases covered. I ended my article with “Insurance companies
vary in how lenient or strict they are with covering plastic
surgery,” so it is always a good idea to submit your claim and if
denied, fight it. But as weight loss surgery patients, we are
accustomed to fighting, aren’t we!
You may reprint any items from this newsletter in your own print or
electronic newsletter. But please include the following paragraph:
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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