Barbara Thompson's

Life After Surgery News

A FREE publication from


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


Share this Newsletter
Issue #171

August 1, 2009

In This Issue


* Help! I’m Hungry
* Research Article: Those Painful Stones
* Recipe: Creamy Cucumber Soup
* Success Story: Marisette Edwards

Help! I’m Hungry!

Dear Barbara.
I am 6 years out and find that I am struggling with weight gain.  I exercise but find that I am hungry and crave foods all the time. 

Is it ever recommended that a bypass person has lap band?  What other options are there for me?

Thank you for any help and guidance you can give me.


Hi Lynn,
I am sure there are readers saying, “Hey, that sounds like me!” What you are describing is very common, especially the further from your surgery date you get. The pouch starts to stretch, the stoma stretches and we get away from the eating habits that we had right after surgery.

Let me answer your first question, which was, “Is it ever recommended that a bypass person have a lap band?” The answer is yes. This is a type of revision procedure that has been done very successfully.  A friend of mine, who had regained 70 pounds after his surgery, had a band placed around his pouch. He looks fabulous and is very happy with the procedure, and his is not an isolated case.

Surgeons are a little odd in the revision procedures that they do.  Some refuse to do any revisions believing that the original weight loss surgery should be enough and all you need to do is to control your eating. Others will only place the band around the pouch while others will do the Stomaphyx procedure. Do your research and decide what procedure you would like then interview surgeons for their perspective.

If you do not want to take a surgical route to the problem, then examine what you are eating.  Have a lot of carbs crept into your diet? I believe that those of us who have had the condition of morbid obesity are very sensitive to the effects of eating carbohydrates.  They cause us to be hungry more often and experience cravings. In the meantime while considering a surgical option, do the following:

1.      Up your protein.  Be especially careful of breakfast.  Combine protein with a whole grain.

2.      Remove all simple carbohydrates from your diet, no white sugar, no white bread, no white pasta or potatoes.

3.      Increase your fiber by eating fruits and vegetables

Constant hunger is not something that that you should live with. There are measures that you can take, both surgical and non-surgical.

Click here for more information about revisional surgery and
dealing with eating issues following surgery, buy Barbara’s book,
Weight Loss Surgery; Finding the Thin Person Hiding inside You.

Research Article:
  Those Painful Stones

A recent study from Johns Hopkins University found that people who have had gastric bypass surgery are likely to form kidney stones nearly 50% more often than those who are obese and have not had gastric bypass surgery.

Researchers studied 4,639 gastric bypass patients and found their risk to be 8 % while those of similar characteristics who had not had surgery had a 5% risk. The study is not critical of weight loss surgery, but it does suggest that patients should be counseled as to the increased risk. With the decrease in calcium absorption, patients may find that this contributes to the formation of kidney stones.  Patients are advised to drink plenty of water, take calcium supplements and avoid certain foods such as black tea, nuts and some leafy green vegetables.

Click here to read the entire article.

Summer is here! Get Back on Track!


Back on Track with Barbara

Internet Mentoring Program

Are you:

Suffering from emotional eating and can’t stop?
Grazing on carbohydrates and can’t control it?
Lacking inspiration to lose the weight you have regained?
Feel you don’t know what to do now that you have had surgery?
Dying to be in better shape this Summer?

 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.

  Creamy Cucumber Soup

As you know, I love soup, but traditional soup is a little less appealing when the weather is hot.  So during the summer I like to turn to cold soups like the one below. It is good for both those who have just had surgery or are years post-op.

Creamy Cucumber Soup

Makes 4 servings, about 1 cup each


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 cups peeled, seeded and thinly sliced cucumbers, divided
1 ½ cups vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 avocado, diced
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
½ cup low-fat plain yogurt

InstructionsCreamy Cucumber Soup

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 1 to 4 minutes. Add lemon juice and cook for 1 minute. Add 3 3/4 cups cucumber slices, broth, salt, pepper and cayenne; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and cook at a gentle simmer until the cucumbers are soft, 6 to 8 minutes.
2. Transfer the soup to a blender. Add avocado and parsley; blend on low speed until smooth. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Pour into a serving bowl and stir in yogurt. Chop the remaining 1/4 cup cucumber slices. Serve the soup warm or refrigerate and serve it chilled. Just before serving, garnish with the chopped cucumber and more chopped parsley, if desired.

Nutrition Information
Per serving: 173 calories; 12 g fat, 14 g carbohydrate; 5 g protein;

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

Success Story:
  Marisette Edwards

I want to offer a special thanks to Marisette Edwards for an update of her original weight loss surgery story. Here is her update:

Dear Barbara,
The last time I sent you my weight loss surgery journey story, it was roughly a year after my RNY procedure on April 9, 2003.  Now more than six years have passed and since you are looking for success stories, I thought I'd send you an update.  I hope you can put a link to my original story in this one.

People may wonder how easy it is to maintain the new lifestyle and eating habits in the long term.  I know when I was doing my original research for my surgery I was scouring for long-term information and it was not easy to find.  So I'm focusing on that in this update. 

In the second year after my surgery, I achieved my lowest weight in more than 20 years: 147 pounds (down from 266 and just in the normal weight range for my 5' 6” frame).  I stayed there for one day.  Since then it has been a struggle similar to my high school and college days, where I always want to eat more than I know I should.  I always track what I eat – I have a little program on my smart phone that tells me if I'm meeting my protein and calorie targets, and it adjusts those targets based on my exercise levels.  That's good, because my ability to exercise has been sporadic.  This is not due to lack of desire or commitment, but to life getting in the way: shoulder surgery (you don't realize how many great exercises involve shoulders until you can't use them), other injuries, work obligations, travel.  Sometimes my tracking only serves to show me that I am indeed eating more than I'm burning which explains gaining weight.  But other times it really is helpful to know where I am at the end of the day and show a little restraint to keep from going over the limit.  It's also helpful to learn the connections. If I have a day of eating refined carbohydrates, especially if alcohol is in the mix, I can expect to gain up to three pounds by the next day.  Now that I've noticed that, I don't panic so much if that happens, and just focus on eating by the rules again for a couple days to get the weight back off.

If I'm in a period of not exercising, I have to watch very carefully or I will gain weight.  I maintained a weight between 152-157 for several years, but in the last two years I've had more injuries and stress than normal, and I'm now bouncing between 165-170.  I'm back to the constant struggle.  Yet somehow this struggle feels more manageable.  After all, I am still 100 pounds lighter than I was 6 years ago (today, anyway).  I think about the new procedure that resizes the stoma (Stomaphyx), and I wonder if I should try to get that before things get out of hand.  Technically I'm still a success, but I can eat so much more now and sometimes I feel like I need to. 

Weight management has been the most successful when I have had the time and ability to combine weight training with my favorite sport of rowing.  Rowing by itself is the next most successful approach.  If I'm able, I row 2-4 days a week for 1-1.5 hours, as part of a team.  For me being part of a team makes it fun and gives me the incentive to leave work on time or get out of bed early on a Saturday (not my first inclination).  After I had shoulder surgery and couldn't row, I tried spinning and walking, but didn't have the same level of dedication.  It's really important to find something (or multiple somethings) that you like to do, or at least that motivates you.  I worked with a trainer on and off, and participated in a bootcamp last summer, and both of those were very motivating.  Right now I'm happy to be back to rowing, and hope to add in some weight training slowly as my shoulders become stronger.

As far as the other aspects of being roughly normal weight, my health is really good.  Any health problems I've had have been exercise related or "female problems".  My blood pressure remains in the low-normal range, my cholesterol is great, I only use my asthma inhaler once a month if that often, and my joints and back generally don't hurt.  I sleep well and feel energetic most days.

Many people don't know that I'm formerly obese and sometimes say things they wouldn't if they did know.  Sometimes they're funny, like how I should go ahead and eat that donut because I'm so skinny anyway.  But sometimes they're distressing, like a comment about someone else's obesity.  I usually will tell them the story of my surgery at that point.  I find that being “normal” feels normal these days.  In the first few years I would still go to the bigger size racks in stores and was sometimes shocked recognizing myself in a mirror.  That doesn't happen anymore.  I feel like I “am who I am” nowadays.

I did have plastic surgery in 2005.  I had a lot of loose skin on my arms and belly, I got rashes in my bellybutton and under the skin overhang, and my breasts were like tube socks.  I had all of that done in one surgery, spent one night in the hospital, and the pain was slightly worse than the RNY, but manageable,   Recovery took about 6 weeks, and I didn't take anything stronger than my best friend, Extra Strength Liquid Tylenol.  I had to pay for the surgery out of pocket, except for the panniculectomy which was covered by insurance due to the rashes.  I have mixed feelings about the results – they are not perfect, and I have an odd lack of feeling in my stomach that persists to this day.  There are a lot of scars (six feet of them), and on the arms they can only be hidden with elbow-length sleeves or keeping the arms down. On the other hand, my stomach is flat and my breasts are like before I had any children.  I would do it again, just with the knowledge that the results will never be perfect.  I didn't have my legs done and sometimes the contrast between the firm stomach and the flabby legs is a little distressing.  But I'm done with cosmetic surgeries.

I still take all the vitamins the surgeon prescribed and mostly follow the eating rules by eating protein first and eating 4-5 small meals a day.  I don't dump and my sweet tooth is still a problem.  I do notice that I just don't feel good if I have too much sugar, but I can certainly get away with some.  I wish that weren't the case, because often my desire for sugar overrides the knowledge that I will not feel good after I eat it.  At least I have gotten better at eating just 1/4-1/2 of a serving, and once I have had the taste I can throw out the rest (sometimes).

The one side effect from the bypass surgery is episodes of hypoglycemia.  If I eat too many carbohydrates or exercise too much, I'll get dizzy and light-headed and may even feel like I'm going to faint.  The surgeon explained to me that it's an insulin rebound effect.  The sugar in my system causes insulin to be released and my pancreas overshoots the necessary amount, using up all the sugar in my bloodstream.  Ironically, he suggested keeping candy on hand to combat those events!  I try to keep a mixture of raisins and nuts instead – the raisins give an instant sugar boost and the nuts level out the blood sugar for the longer term.  I've actually had to get up in the middle of the night to eat a couple of times.

All in all, six years after the RNY gastric bypass surgery I am healthy, happy, and focused on living my life more than on what's wrong with it.  As other people have said, losing weight does not make you happy, but it does take some barriers away from the pursuit of happiness.  It was one of the best decisions of my life.  And I still have to work on my eating/weight/exercise issues every single day.  It is not an easy solution, but it is a challenge worth facing.


This was Marisette's original Success Story:

Congratulations Marisette


  Search Barbara's Website
Custom Search
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  ”

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  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