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 #104

November 1, 2006

Barbara Thompson
The Voice of Obesity

Hello Everyone,
We are coming up on the most difficult eating time of the year – Halloween through Christmas, two months worth of solid emphasis on food. There seems to be food everywhere you turn. We start with the Halloween candy last night. Hopefully you have given it all away, or better yet gave non-candy treats. This is followed by Thanksgiving which is a day with far more emphasis on food than on “thanks,” holiday parties, Christmas and New Year’s. Yikes!

If you have just had surgery, this can be very depressing as you try to figure out how your new eating patterns will fit in and be managed.  You may want so much to be a part of the fun, especially since you are looking and feeling better. But there are so many dynamics going on over the holidays.  If you are a year or more post-op, you maybe struggling with weight regain. I will be talking about our relationship with food in the next 4 issues of this newsletter so stay tuned.

In This Issue


* Research Article: Age and Weight Loss Surgery
* Back on Track
* Oh my Aching Back: Back Problems Following Weight Loss Surgery
* Recipe: Pumpkin Pie
* Retreat News
* Success Story: Karen Andrews
* Spreading the Word in Orange, CA

Research Article:
  Age and Weight Loss Surgery

I am often asked what the age limit is for weight loss surgery, such as in the email below:

Hi Barbara,
What is the age limit on weight loss surgery? A friend of mine is in her 60’s and wants to have the surgery

Dear Pamela,
Technically there is no age limit for weight loss surgery. However the risk of surgery increases with age. The following article details research on this subject:

Flum, David, et al. “Early Mortality Among Medicare Beneficiaries Undergoing Bariatric Procedures.” Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 294: 15, Oct. 19, 2005: 1903-1908.

The study followed 16,155 Medicare patients who had weight loss surgery. Of those aged 65 to 74, 13% of men and 6% of women died within a year. Those aged 75 and above, 50% of men and 40% of women died within a year.

Most surgeons have an age limit, so your friend will have to check. But Centers of Excellence have more experienced surgeons and are better equipped to treat older patients.  For a current list of Centers of Excellence, go to http://www.surgicalreview.org/locate.aspx

It's time to get Back On Track

If you’re not happy with your weight loss, then join the
Back on Track with Barbara Internet Mentoring Program.

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.”


For more information or to join the Program, go to


Oh my Aching Back: Back Problems
  Following Weight Loss Surgery

Dear Barbara,
I had gastric bypass surgery in March 2004. Since then my T8-9 vertebrae herniated and I have had to have major back surgery. I have heard others say they also had back trouble after losing so much weight so fast. I also now have a disc bulge at T-10. .Do you think this could be the cause? Have you heard of this before?

Curious if anyone else had the same issues....

Summerville, SC

Dear Belinda,
Back problems are very common with people who are morbidly obese.  The pressure of carrying extra weight combined with gravity exerts a lot of pressure on joints and spinal disks. Generally, people experience pain relief following weight loss surgery because they are carrying less weight. However, when you are losing weight rapidly, your center of gravity shifts, so you are carrying your body weight differently. This has caused some people to experience back problems, even when they had none before surgery. I have not however heard of back problems as severe as yours as a result of losing weight rapidly.  It is always tough to determine if a problem would have emerged, even if you didn’t have weight loss surgery and perhaps been even worse, or if a problem occurred as a result of surgery.  But then that is what research uncovers.

If anyone has experience with back problems good or bad following surgery, let me hear from you and I will report it in the newsletter. Send your responses to Barbara@WLScenter.com.

I talk about this problem and so much more in my book, “Weight Loss Surgery; Finding the Thin Person Hiding inside You. Get your copy here http://www.wlscenter.com/Announce_Book.htm

“Barbara, your book has been my bible before during and after surgery.  Every time I ever have a question about anything, I can find the answer there. I could not have gotten through my surgery as well as I did without it.  You are a godsend!!”


Pumpkin Pie

If you really want to have pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, try this one. It is sugar free and low in calories.

Pumpkin Pie

Folded refrigerated unbaked pie crust (1 crust only)
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
2 Tbl. cornstarch
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. salt
16 oz. can pumpkin
12 oz can evaporated skim milk
1/2 cup egg substitute
16 packets or 5 tsp. Equal or Splenda

Bake one piecrust according to package directions; reserve remaining piecrust for garnish or another pie.

In a large saucepan combine gelatin, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt.  Stir in pumpkin and evaporated skim milk.  Let stand 5 minutes to soften gelatin.  Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture bubbles; cook and stir for 2 minutes more.  Remove from heat.

Gradually stir in one cup of hot mixture into egg substitute; return all egg mixture to saucepan.  Cook and stir over low heat for 2 minutes.  Do not boil.  Remove from heat.  Stir in Equal or Splenda.  Pour into baked piecrust.  Cover and chill for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight.  Makes 8 servings.

Nutritional information per serving:  237 calories, 8 grams protein, 28 grams 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

Retreat News

I am currently working on my retreat schedule for 2007. I am working with bariatric practices and their support groups to have retreats in Charlotte, NC in January; Milwaukee, WI. in April; and Kansas City, KS (date yet to be determined).

If you would like for me to have a retreat in your city, have your support group leader contact me at Barbara@WLScenter.com. It is a fabulous tool for educating and rejuvenating patients who are more than 1 year post op.

“This retreat has been such a wonderful and inspirational experience for me. I have met so many special and loving people that I will cherish for the rest of my life. You did such a wonderful job in covering the issues we all share.”

-Diana M.

Success Story:
  Karen Andrews

I want to offer a special thanks to Karen Andrews. Here is her story:

Dear Barbara,
I was the poster child for "Yo-Yo" dieting.  Since high school, I was always trying some new fad.  I would lose the weight then always gain it back, plus more.

In the Fall of 1999, I made the decision to become a mom.  I flew to China and adopted the most beautiful child!  I thought that being responsible for this precious life would inspire me to take better care of myself!  Unfortunately, it didn't. 

Finally, in the Fall of 2004, I decided to investigate gastric bypass surgery.  A good friend of mine had done it with wonderful results.  I contacted my Human Resources Office at work and they said the only plan we had that would cover it was Blue Cross HMO.  As a result, I switched to Blue Cross during open enrollment in November and by March of 2005, I was approved for surgery. 

When I went in for surgery April 13, 2005, I weighed 250 pounds. My surgery was done by Dr. Titus Duncan, the surgeon who supposedly did Starr Jones’ surgery.  

As of today, I am a constant 145!  This is the second best thing I have ever done in my life (second only to getting my sweet child)! I am off blood pressure medication for the first time in 20 years.  My sleep apnea has disappeared.  My joints rarely hurt from the arthritis and I'm playing tennis again!

I know I have been blessed in many ways.  But when people say this is a second chance at life, I know it's true.  Hopefully by doing this surgery, I can look forward to seeing my daughter graduate from college and make me a grandmother!

Karen Andrews
Kennesaw (Atlanta), Georgia

Congratulations Karen
  I Love Good News
If you have a success story to share along with before and after pictures, please send it to me at Barbara@WLScenter.com so that I can include it in future issues.

Spreading the Word in Orange, CA

Start the holidays off right! If you live near Orange, CA come join me just before Thanksgiving. Here are the details:

I will be speaking for Dr. Ninh Nguyen
When: Tuesday November 21st, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Where: University of California, Irvine
101 The City Drive
Building 53 Auditorium
Orange, CA

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.

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

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