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 #119

June 15, 2007

Barbara Thompson
The Voice of Obesity

Hello Everyone,
This week I have been having a terrific time in San Diego as I have been attending the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Bariatric Surgery.  I am meeting with all the surgeons and support group leaders from around the world and it is always an invigorating experience.  I have a report regarding this below.

The cruise which is getting closer. This will be incredibly fun for everyone whether you are just considering surgery, are newly post-op, or are many years post-op.  And the law has just been changed.  No passport will be required for cruises this summer.  I am looking forward to meeting you and making new friends.

In This Issue


* What Do You Say When?
* ASBS Annual Meeting
* Getting Creative with Plastic Surgery Finance
* Recipe: Grilled Vegetables
* Success Story: Betsy Hallatt

What Do You Say When?

I had an experience today and I would bet that most of you have had similar experiences.  Someone complained to me about a woman who is morbidly obese.  About a month ago, this person asked me if I would take a call from this woman. The obese woman finally called me and I was happy to talk with her about weight loss surgery.  Ever since then, the complaining person has continued to remark to me about this poor woman.

“She just keeps eating and eating,” she says. “She can hardly make it up the stairs, and it’s all her fault. She won’t do anything about it. My son keeps talking to her about the surgery, but she hasn’t done anything about that either.” Sound familiar?

The complaining woman is someone who is close to me.  She forgets that was me 8 years ago. There were some points that I made that may help you when people say the same thing to you.

·        It is not the obese woman's fault.  This is something that she is unable to control.  More than 300 studies have shown our genes affect our appetite, metabolism and how we store fat. It is not her fault.

·        If she had asthma, would you tell her to just breathe better? If she had MS would you tell her to just walk better? And would you be resentful when she didn’t? She has a disease.

·        She already knows about weight loss surgery. If she is going to have it, she will have it in her own time.

It is very hard for people to love and respect the morbidly obese.  But when we are no longer there, we need to provide a voice for them. They often have such low self-esteem that they won’t speak up for themselves. Let’s never forget.

ASBS Annual Meeting

June 11th to 16th, the American Society for Bariatric Surgery is holding their annual meeting in San Diego. This is an opportunity for surgeons, support group leaders, nurses, nutritionists and psychologists to gather for educational sessions, workshops and lots of receptions.  I have been exhibiting at this meeting since 2001. Every year there seems to be a different controversy or hot topic.  This year is no exception. Except this year there are 2 hot topics.

Of primary importance is consideration of the name of the association from the American Society for Bariatric Surgery to something that reflects new developments in the field.  Members recognize that when patients have weight loss surgery, many patients improve their health. Those who are diabetic often leave the hospital never needing insulin again, or at least need far less.  Those with heart and respiratory disease see considerable improvement.  Insurance companies do not want to pay for surgery for weight loss; however they are much more likely to pay for surgery for the improvement of specific health issues. To this end there are suggestions to rename the association to something like the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. There has been a lot of discussion regarding this during the week.  The "metabolic" would signify that the surgery is for the improvement of those health concerns.

Another topic of discussion is revision surgery. Now that the number of patients who are a few years post-op is increasing, the need for effective and easy revision surgery is needed.  In FDA trials at the moment is the endoscopic surgery for revision.  Surgeons can make the stoma (the opening from the pouch to the small intestines) smaller by going down the patient’s throat.  There is no incision, the procedure can be done in the office of the practice and the anesthesia is far less. There will be more information regarding this as the trials end and the procedure is performed more generally.

By the way, I am speaking at this meeting this year.  I am doing 2 back to back sessions called, “7 Mistakes You Never Want to Make in Front of an Audience; Speaking Skills for Health Care Professionals.” Should be fun!

For those of you attending the meeting, I am at Booth 525.

I hope to meet you there.

Getting Creative with
  Plastic Surgery Finance

Here is an email that I received recently from a patient who is looking for some creative ways to finance plastic surgery.  If you have any suggestions, please email them to me at Barbara@WLScenter.com and I will report them in a future newsletter.

Hi Barbara,
I had gastric bypass surgery in 2004. I read your book prior to the surgery and have reviewed it since. It was very helpful. My question now is do you know of any financial assistance possibly out there for plastic surgery following gastric bypass. I met with a surgeon who told me my condition was not "bad enough" to even submit to the insurance company.

I feel so good that I am much healthier now but the constant reminder of the weight and not being able to wear shorts and tank tops is driving me a little crazy. It has been three years and I work hard in the gym but have major skin/flab on my inner thighs.

If you know of any information that could help, I would appreciate it. Thank you so much for the book, your newsletter, and all the helpful information. This surgery was the answer for me after a battle with weight that started as a child. Also, could you address this issue at some point in the newsletter? It is helpful to hear tips others have tried. I know some say with time it can improve. I was 26 when I had my surgery and am only 29 now so I thought being younger was going to be a positive. I am where the doctor wants me to be and I have maintained my loss.


Grilled Vegetables

Have you ever tried grilling fresh vegetables? They are delicious and very good for you. Try this simple Receipe.

 1 red pepper cut into quarters and cleaned
1 zucchini cut into 2 inch slices
1 ear of corn cut into 2 inch slices
Whole mushrooms
1 red onion cut into wedges
Diet Italian dressing

Clean and cut vegetables and marinate in diet Italian dressing in a zip lock bag for an hour. Preheat a grill to medium temperature. Place the marinated vegetables on the grill. Grill for about 10 minutes. Turn and brush the vegetables and grill for an additional 10 minutes. Enjoy!

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:
  Betsy Hallatt

I want to offer a special thanks to Betsy Hallatt.  Here is her story:

Hi Barbara, 
I just want to share my story as it may be a little unique. I am a 60-year old grandmother who had her surgery 20 months ago.

I was born at a normal weight, but by the age of 7 was a chubby child. My mother placated me with cookies and milk and almost everything we ate was fried!

In elementary school, I went through the humiliation of having to shop for the "chubby" sizes. Then during my fat teen years, the boys made fun of me instead of making passes at me. However, I was married at the age of 18 and in a few years had 5 children.

When my weight reached 250 pounds, I went to Weight Watchers for the first time. I lost almost a hundred pounds, only to gain it back and then some. I tried everything from Physicians Weight Loss Clinics to the Atkins diet. Yes, I would lose, but I couldn’t maintain the loss. I always regained, and more besides.

Finally, in the spring of 2005 I talked to a friend who had gastric bypass surgery and I secretly began to research it for myself. I saw Carnie Wilson’s story on the internet and my husband came into the computer room and saw me there with tears running down my face. When he asked what was wrong, I simply said "l want this surgery so badly!" He replied, "Well then, let's see about it. I love you the way you are, but I hate to see you so unhappy. Let's look into it and see what the doctor says."

At the time, I was in very poor health. I had been hospitalized with congestive heart failure several times, was suffering from edema in my extremities, was borderline diabetic, suffered extreme joint pain and high blood pressure. I had surgery on both feet because of the pressure from the weight. I weighed 325 pounds and was slowly dying. I had become a virtual recluse. I hated to go out because I was so ashamed, and I was so exhausted and in pain all the time.

I couldn’t sit in a bathtub because I couldn’t get out. I could barely walk, my legs constantly chafed, and my ankles were always swollen to the point the only shoes I could wear were ugly sandals or loafers. I never felt sexy or pretty, and I wanted to die. 

In March of 2005 at the age of 58, I met with Dr. Gerardo Gomez of the Clarian Bariatric Clinic. He told me I was a good candidate for the surgery. I had laparoscopic RNY on September 14, 2005 weighing 325 pounds and wearing a size 28-30 clothing. I had no complications whatsoever.

Today, 20 months later, I weigh 192 pounds and am about fifteen pounds from my goal. I wear a size 12-14 and am off all medications. I can walk for miles, ride a bike, sit in a bathtub and get out easily. I can once again kneel to pray, cross my legs, buy clothes off the rack, work in my yard and clean my house. Life is better than it has ever been!!

I told my doctor once that he was my hero. His answer to me was, “If you built a home, you wouldn’t call the man who sold you the hammer, the hero. You did the work, you deserve the credit, and all I did was to provide the tool.”

I am so thankful for this second chance at life. I rejoice every day in the joy of it!  Thanks for letting me share my story!

Betsy Hallatt

Congratulations Betsy

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.

Attention Nurses

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.


Permission to Reprint
You may reprint any items from this newsletter in your own print or electronic newsletter. But please include the following paragraph:

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  ”

Subscription Corner

Did someone forward this newsletter to you? Would you like to receive a personal notification  when it is ready for you to read? It's simple! Just go to http://www.barbarathompsonnewsletter.com  and scroll down to the subscription form. After filling out the form and submitting it, watch for an email that asks you to CONFIRM your subscription. 

Your subscription is not complete until we get this confirmation back!

If you like this newsletter, please pass it on to your friends and family and have them signup for our notification service.

Do you want to unsubscribe? Go to the bottom of your newsletter notification email message and click the unsubscribe link.  You will be automatically deleted.

If you have any problems with this process,
call our office toll free at (877) 440-1518.



Copyright © 2000-2013 Barbara Thompson All Rights Reserved