Barbara Thompson

Weight Loss Surgery


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Hosted by Barbara Thompson
Author of:
Weight Loss Surgery:
Finding the Thin Person Hiding Inside You.

Issue #146

August 1, 2008


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In This Issue


* Ask Barbara: Dental Problems Following Weight Loss Surgery
* Ask Barbara about "Adhesions"
* Recipe: Spaghetti Squash Slaw
* Success Story: Barbara Rolls

Ask Barbara:  
  Dental Problems Following
  Weight Loss Surgery

Hi Barbara,

Would you happen to have any research on or reason behind weight loss surgery patients' teeth deteriorating? A couple of friends of mine are really having a hard time. All I could find was other people suggesting upping calcium and vitamins.

Thank you!


Many people have emailed me complaining that they are having problems with their teeth post surgery when they never did before surgery.  So I decided to test this out.  In a survey that I included in the Sept. 16th, 2007 newsletter, 12.6% of people reported that their teeth had gotten worse since surgery.

There has been very little research in this area, but there has been some speculation.  Here are some points to consider:

  • We may suffer the effects now of problems that we have had in the past.  For instance, the enamel will be affected by the acid produced for those who had GERD (acid reflux) before surgery. The enamel may have been wearing away and only now has the problem been noticed.
  • If you had a history of binging and purging before surgery, then the enamel on your teeth will have been affected and is showing up as a problem now.
  • Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is definitely something that will cause dental problems because the acid in your mouth is not being washed away with saliva. Many weight loss surgery patients experience this after surgery. Also, many medications cause this. If this is a problem that you have, increase your water so your mouth does not stay dry.
  • Eating a lot of meat can cause the acidity of your saliva to increase.  This is very hard on your teeth.
  • It is accepted that dentures often do not fit after losing a lot of weight. Dentures become loose. In the same respect it is possible that spaces can open between your teeth and gums making you much more sensitive to heat and cold and increasing the possibility of periodontal problems.

Here are some things that you can do to help:

  • Keep your mouth moist
  • Since we donít eat and drink at the same time, it is possible that food stays on our teeth longer and is not washed away by liquid.  Brush your teeth or at least rinse your mouth following eating.
  • Whey protein acts as a buffer against tooth decay. Be sure you have whey protein in your diet.
  • Calcium is also extremely important to prevent tooth decay. Calcium is the most important mineral for protecting teeth.

Many people admitted that their problems with their teeth were increasing, but that it might be a normal part of the aging process. That may be true but the recommendations above are good to do regardless.

Bariatric Advantage Calcium Crystals, Stick Pack (60 servings), Lemon Lime

Our Calcium Crystals are a unique form of calcium that dissolves readily in water and most other liquids leaving minimal taste. This form, Calcium Lactate-Gluconate, has a bioavailability comparable to Calcium Citrate , but is neutral pH and has very high solubility in water making it perfect for a drink mix. In addition, each serving of Calcium Crystal contains a full 500 IU of vitamin D3 to support bone health. You can add this delicious product to plain water or another drink of your choice as an easy and effective way to meet your daily needs for calcium and vitamin D. Calcium Crystals are available in Tubs or convenient individual serving Packets in unflavored and Lemon-Lime.

Optimum Nutrition 100% ANY WHEY Protein is the perfect compliment to any meal or snack. This virtually tasteless powder is fat FREE with 17 grams of protein and only 1 gram of carbohydrates. 100% ANY WHEY Protein is the ideal protein supplement.

With the introduction of 100% ANY WHEY Protein, you can pump up the protein content of all of your favorite foods. 100% ANY WHEY Protein is a new type of protein supplement that can be added to almost ANY thing! Whether it's a complex recipe or a simple beverage, 100% ANY WHEY Protein fits the bill. This innovative, new product packs 17 grams of blended whey protein into each 20.5g scoop. That's a whopping 83% pure protein per serving! Numbers like that are hard to beat. Plus, this virtually tasteless protein powder is scientifically formulated to be bland in flavor, so you won't even notice that it's there.

Visit Our Nutrition Store
Click on “Calcium” in left column Click on “Protein” in left column

Ask Barbara about "Adhesions"

Dear Barbara,
I hope you can lend me some type of assistance or direction.  I had my gastric bypass surgery in January 1997.  I had several complications and had to have many follow up surgeries.

It was determined about 2 months ago after an MRI that I have a hernia and adhesions which are causing severe pain.  I have had the adhesions for several years and I have dealt with the pain.  The pain has now become unbearable. My surgery was scheduled and unfortunately, my insurance has denied my surgery. I am currently on pain medication and occasionally have to take muscle relaxers because the adhesions cause my back muscles to begin to spasm. What steps can I take to reverse this injustice.?


Dear Susan,
I recommend consulting with an attorney familiar with fighting insurance companies over weight loss surgery coverage.  Walter Lindstrom at the Obesity Law and Advocacy Center is an example.

For those who are not familiar with adhesions, you may not realize it, but 93% of people who have had abdominal surgery, develop adhesions. Adhesions are scar tissue that can look like sheets of plastic wrap or thick bands. Most often these adhesions donít cause any problems. Although they start forming within days of surgery, they may not show up as problems for months or even years after surgery. The adhesions can form a band around the small intestines and cause a blockage. Adhesions form because the body is trying to repair itself and will form the scar tissue between surfaces whether it is the same organ or another one.

Diagnosis of adhesions generally occurs only with surgery. Adhesions frequently improve without surgery, however if surgery is necessary, adhesions can be cut and released laparoscopically.

If you think you may be suffering from adhesions, here is an excellent patient guide on the topic from the International Adhesions Society

Attention Nurse Educators

Preparing for COE Status?

Would You Like to Have

Obesity Sensitivity Training for

Your Hospital Staff?

(Guess What - It May Be Free)

Speaking for Hospitals

If you are a bariatric coordinator or nurse educator and need obesity sensitivity training for your hospital staff, contact me at 877-440-1518 or  Obesity sensitivity training is a Center of Excellence requirement. I can help you find sponsorship that your hospital may qualify for.

Spaghetti Squash Slaw

This is a recipe sent in by Alida Turner, one of our readers.

Spaghetti Squash Slaw

One large spaghetti squash, split in half with the seeds scooped out. Lay the cut side down in a glass pie plate and add 3 tablespoons of water. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 10 minutes or until the shell is soft to the touch.

Place the cooked squash on a counter until it is completely cooled. Scoop out the squash into a bowl.  It will come out like strands of spaghetti. Add lots of very finely chopped onion, green pepper and red tomatoes or any other of your favorite vegetables such as green or black olives or beans. Put the squash strands in a large bowl.

Add about 1/2 cup of fat free and/or sugar free Italian dressing. The slaw should be well saturated without forming a puddle in the bottom of the bowl. Mix well and let sit overnight for the best taste. Keeps a long time in the refrigerator.

Alida Turner

If you have a recipe that you would like to share in future issues of this newsletter, please send it to me at

Back on Track with Barbara Program

Are you...

Suffering from emotional eating and canít stop?
Grazing on carbohydrates and canít control it?
Lacking inspiration to lose the weight you have regained?
Feel you donít know what to do now that you have had surgery?
Dying to be in better shape with warm weather here?

 Then you are in luck! My Back on Track Internet Mentoring Program is just what you need!

View a FREE Lesson and Listen to a FREE Telephone Seminar by
clicking here and scrolling down to the bottom of the page.

Success Story:
  Barbara Rolls

I want to offer a special thanks to Barbara Rolls for sharing her story with us. Here is her story:

My name is Barbara Rolls. I am a nurse at the Medical Center Hospital in Odessa, TX and have been for over 18 years. Those at the hospital that I have grown with that have retired and those that I still work with have seen a different me. I say the new and improved me; my husband says that Iím skin and bones. But I am me and feel great and if you see the person I lost, donít tell her where I am; I do not miss her at all.

I am glad that I took the leap into the world of bariatric surgery. I have never been smaller than a size x-large--even as a child. I grew up in several small towns where it was just everyoneís way to think I was too fat and needed to go on a diet. We did have in one town a very nice neighbor who was a seamstress and made me some very nice clothes from adult clothing that she had. I looked good but was still fat. I did almost every yoyo diet thatís been advertised; and would lose 20 pounds then gain 40 until nothing seemed normal. Then I would just give up and put up with the ridicule, laughing and people pointing. I just drew into my own little world and got the attitude that I didnít care if people didnít like the way I looked. A true friend would be OK with it.  I was determined to live the life I wanted.

My reason for surgery was my health; I have polycystic ovarian disease, asthma, reflux, and severe degenerative joint disease in my knees that has made walking and exercise a nightmare. I needed something and diets just were not helping. My highest weight was 289 pounds

I had researched weight loss surgery for more than 5 years and talked to doctors and participated in different support groups online. Then Dr. Davenport started doing the surgery and I came to his meeting and started going to the support group meetings. I knew this was going to be a challenge but I knew I had a wonderful husband and a great family to support me. So I decided that with my family and God to support me, I didnít have anything to lose but my extra weight. I filled out the paperwork and took it to the post office. I think I made the motion of putting it in the mail box about 20 times but I would take it back. Yes, I was scared! I finally took the plunge, dropped the envelope in the mail box, and left as fast as I could before I changed my mind.

The process was long, the staff was great, and the day finally came for me to have surgery. I was so scared. When I arrived at the hospital they put me in a room where I waited for my surgery. The time went so slowly. When they finally came to get me from the room, reality sunk in and I was terrified. I tried to be brave for my husband because I knew he was worried. I woke up from surgery and donít remember very much, but they said everything went fine, and I was happy.

Then the whirlwind of change started. The first three weeks went so fast. I wanted to go back to work and Dr. Davenport let me. I was excited I would be back in my normal routine of working, eating, sleeping, and so on. I was losing weight and feeling fine. Life was good; or so I thought.

At approximately 6 weeks post-op I was at work, I felt bad that morning but thought it would pass. I went on with my work and felt really woozy. I went back toward the bathroom and the next thing I remember I was in the floor passed out. When I came to, the only thing I was worried about was anyone seeing my less than graceful fall. To my amazement no one noticed. I managed to get up, went into the bathroom and knew I had to go to the Emergency Room. I knew that all that bright red blood was not normal. My time in ER was scary. Dr. Davenport was out of town. Not many doctors knew the specifics about weight loss surgery and I did not know if they would know what to do. However, we called the bariatric coordinator and she explained to them what I needed and they went to work.

I spent the next few days in ICU and was found to have a bleeding ulcer. The doctors there fixed me up and I went home feeling much better. I was off work another 3 weeks; but eventually came back to my normal self. That was about 3 months out. Now I feel great. I went for my one-year check up and was very excited at losing over 100 lbs and I was moving better.

I now weigh about 140 lbs and I am very comfortable at that weight. I pray daily that the weight never returns, but it is still an ongoing battle with hunger and the daily grind of doing exercises. As everyone knows those habits are easy to break but without those habits you can lose the battle that you fought so hard for. My support group has been very helpful and I will continue to go to it and I suggest that everyone do that if you donít do anything else.

Everyone asks me if I would do it again? I say yes, in a heart beat, because now I am who I should have always been, a much happier and lighter me.

I do want to say thank you to all those at Dr. Davenportís office: Dr. Daniels and Dr. Rao, my family, coworkers and friends who encouraged me and provided clothes for me for those first few smaller sizes. And most of all I want to thank my husband and my son, James, the food police.  I could not have done it without you. Thank You! 

I love good news.  If you have good news, a success story to share, or inspiration, please send it to me at so that I can include it in future issues.
Congratulations Barbara


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