Barbara Thompson

Weight Loss Surgery


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Weight Loss Surgery:
Finding the Thin Person Hiding Inside You.


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Issue #160

Feb 15, 2009


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In This Issue


* Surviving Chubby with Gastric Bypass, StomaPhyx, and Behavior Change, One Reader’s Experience
* The Economy and Weight Loss Surgery
* Recipe: Free Soup
* Work Place Discrimination
* Success Story: Sue Burns

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Surviving Chubby with Gastric Bypass,
  StomaPhyx, and Behavior Change.

One Reader’s Experience

I have had many requests recently for information on the StomaPhyx procedure.  One of our readers has had the procedure and has been kind enough to share her experience with us. She prefers to stay anonymous and be referred to as Hooper’s Judge.

Surviving Chubby with Gastric Bypass, StomaPhyx, and Behavior Change, One Reader’s Experience by Hooper’s Judge

September... When I was a grade-schooler, this month always signaled the start of the school year and was ushered in by the purchasing of school clothes. While my classmates went shopping at the local hot spot known as "The Mall" -- the place to see and be seen -- Mom and I always would schlepp our way to the girl's department at Sears, specifically to the Chubby section or "Chubbies." Here, as the name suggests, was a selection of "charming chubby-sized clothes" for girls too chubby to fit into regular sizes. With all due respect to Sears’ marketing department's friendly euphemism, shopping here was sheer embarrassment. My goal was to get in and get out as quickly as possible.

Well, it took thirty-something years for me to get out of the Chubby section.

In 2003, I made a decision that would forever change my life when I underwent laparoscopic RNY gastric bypass surgery. Since that time, I have been following a program of lifetime disease management to maintain long term weight loss. My program began with a safe and appropriate operative procedure followed by changing the way I eat forever, incorporating mild exercise into my life forever, and attending Overeater's Anonymous meetings for the rest of my life.

On August 26, 2008, I supplemented my program with the StomaPhyx procedure, a new weight loss option for gastric bypass patients who 1) have regained some weight across the years or 2) may want to lose additional weight.

I looked into the StomaPhyx surgery because I had regained 20 lbs. and had not been able to lose it. In July 2003 I had my gastric bypass surgery and lost 85 lbs. In Spring 2006, I lost another 5l lbs. This may not sound significant, but it was. My BMI moved from obese to overweight, and my belly was much smaller so that I was physically more comfortable and attractive and clothes fit properly. I felt very, very good about myself.

Everyone knows someone who has had weight loss surgery and lost a lot of weight, and subsequently regained some or all of it back. Moderate fluctuations are normal, but some patients regain a great deal of weight. Unfortunately, there is no operation that a bariatric surgeon can perform that is foolproof. I'd be overjoyed if my surgeon would perform such an operation that allowed me to lose a great deal of weight that stays off no matter what I do. I'd never have to change the way I eat, exercise regularly, or attend OA support groups.

Obesity is a multi-faceted disease involving both the physical and the psyche. I have maintained long term weight loss using a multidisciplinary approach that combines surgical intervention with behavior change. It's concerning to me that so few programs take this approach, but rather seem to focus either on the physical (surgery) or on the psyche (counseling).

With the StomaPhyx procedure, my surgeon said that I could easily take off 20 lbs. and that I could take off 30 lbs., maybe 40 lbs, which would bring me down to my 160-170 lb. goal. I would be overjoyed with that! My nutritionist and I graphed this weight loss over 6 months and she said it would be easy to achieve as the line graph was almost a "straight" line -- as long as I stay with the program of diet, exercise, and behavior change.

StomachPhyx accomplished for me in 3 ½  weeks what I could not do on my own in 9 months. I reached 185 lbs. in September, 25 days after my StomaPhyx procedure, losing the 20 lbs. I had regained around Christmas the year prior. In spite of my previous efforts to lose those extra pounds, I was unsuccessful in reaching my goal until I had the StomaPhyx surgery. My weight loss continued and I reached 178 lbs. near the end of October – that’s a 27 lb. weight loss in 2 months. I had not weighed that since I was 21 years old!

At first I could eat very little following the StomaPhyx procedure but today my intake has normalized. Below are typical meal plans that represent the foods I ate shortly after the StomaPhyx procedure and what I eat today. I plan my food every day, using a free online tool, to ensure that I meet the nutritional guidelines established by my StomaPhyx surgeon’s nutritionist.

July 7, 2008:
Breakfast: 1 scoop Syntrax whey nectar lemon blenderized with ice and water, 3 tsp magnesium citrate lemon, 1/3 c raspberries
Lunch: 1 scoop Optimum Nutrition (ON) gold standard whey chocolate blenderized with ice and water. ½ c cream of mushroom soup prepared with soy milk and ½  c frozen cooked cauliflower pureed together.
Dinner: ½ c cream of chicken soup prepared with soy milk and ½ c frozen cooked broccoli pureed together. 1 Profect protein bullet
Metabolic Snack: 1 tbs natural creamy peanut butter blenderized with ½  c soy milk and ½  scoop ON gold standard whey chocolate
This meal provides 845 calories, 27 g fat, 51g carbs, 106 g protein

Feb 10, 2009:
Breakfast: protein drink
Metabolic Snack: hard boiled egg
Lunch: 3 oz roast turkey, home-made green bean salad, 2 oz home-made eggplant dip, 2 oz home-made hummus
Dinner: 4 oz baked salmon with jerk seasoning, fresh steamed ½ c broccoli and ½ c cauliflower, 1 pat butter
Metabolic Snack: 3 oz roast turkey, 1 c salad, 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
This provides 1,122 calories, 46 g fat, 55 g carbs, 123 g protein

It took more than 30 years for me to get out of the Chubby section. Today, at 173 lbs., I am a size medium and living larger than ever. My new goal is to reach 158 lbs. by my 45th birthday. That will be within 6-months post StomaPhyx and also more of a stretch goal than I had originally planned. My mantra is to shoot for the stars so if you fall you’ll land on a cloud. I strive to reach 158 lbs. at 5’7” because I wish to be of normal weight as indicated by a healthy BMI of 24.9.

Please send me your prayers of strength, hope, and persistence in meeting my goal. I wish many blessings to you all in your successful weight loss journeys.

My invitation to you: I maintain a blog on Gastric Bypass, StomaPhyx, and Behavior Change, and the clinical data I have gathered, so as to present a resource center for lifetime obesity management for WLS patients and those contemplating StomaPhyx surgery. My blog is free from any advertising and no one will solicit you:

Written by Hooper’s Judge

The Economy
  and Weight Loss Surgery

The United States is in a time of economic recession.  We are all feeling everything from a pinch to complete financial disaster. Companies and State Governments are as well and are looking at ways to trim their budgets. As an example:

Virginia - The legislature is looking to cut weight loss surgery as a benefit to State employees.

Collin County, Texas - Elimination of surgery benefits for their employees.

In both cases and in so many others, the Obesity Action Coalition is there, fighting for access to care. They have been very successful in the past but are fighting an uphill battle in these tough economic times. 

To find out more about the Obesity Action Coalition, go to 

  Free Soup

If you are having problems with hunger, then be sure to have this soup always available.  You can make a pot and then freeze it. It counts towards your 5 servings of vegetables per day, but is so low in calories that a cup is considered “free.” For additional flavor, substitute low sodium chicken or beef broth for the water.

Free Vegetable Soup

5 med. carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch slices
3 med. stalks celery, sliced
3 lg. onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (28 ounce) can tomatoes with juice
1/2 med. cauliflower, cut into bite size pieces
12 oz frozen green beans or fresh cut green beans
3 med. zucchini, cut into 1 inch slices
2 (5 oz) packages spinach leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 chicken or vegetable bouillon cubes or substitute the water with beef or chicken broth
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
12 cups water

Combines all ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until vegetables are tender.

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


Work Place Discrimination

If you have experienced (in the past or currently) discrimination at work or in your career because of your weight, please email me at I would like to talk with you about an article that I am writing for WLS Lifestyles Magazine. If you request, I can keep your identity anonymous.


Success Story:
  Sue Burns

I am still low on success stories.  If you haven’t done so already, please send me yours along with your before and after pictures. It is how you can give back for what you gain from this newsletter.

If I used your story in one of my past newsletters, your updated story and new photos are welcome.

Send your story and pictures to me at

I want to thank  Sue Burns for sharing her success with us. Here is her story:

My surgery date was scheduled for August 17, 2004.  I had completed all of the insurance hoops and I was on my way.  My insurance plan turned me down the first time in 2003.  I did not take the time and effort required by me and my physicians to make sure that I had all of my i’s dotted and t’s crossed.  My second attempt with my insurance company was very successful.  I had very good insurance, so good in fact, my plan paid for all but about $200!

I remember the morning of my surgery, lying on the table and being very scared.  I swore that they reminded me about 100 times that I could die during this procedure.  I thought about my two young girls and wondered what I was putting myself thru and why?  I almost jumped up off of the table.  But I stayed, and it has been a wonderful journey.

As a young girl, I was always heavier and taller than most girls in my class.  I remember on Halloween when I was in 4th grade and people handed out treats to my friends and gave me literature, because they thought I was too old and probably too heavy!

I weighed 165 pounds in my 8th grade of school.  I got the flu at the end of the school year and saw how easy it was to drop some weight.  I dropped 63 pounds in less than 3 months!   I was very thin and continued to be thin until I started college.  Then it was bring on the popcorn with butter and pizza and anything else that anyone was having!  I probably put on 20 pounds the first year!

I was married at the age of 21 and added about 20 pounds with each baby that I was never really able to get rid of.  Two babies later, I weighed about 175 pounds.  I had two wonderful babies and felt pretty “fat and happy.” 

After my divorce, I literally put 50 pounds on in 3 months time.  I was so tired and just could not get myself going!  Finally, I was diagnosed with a thyroid condition, my weight gain quit, but I had an extremely hard time losing the weight. 

The day of my weight loss surgery, I weighed 248 pounds.  I was having urinary incontinence, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and could not sleep for a full night.  Not very long after my surgery, I was finally sleeping for a full 6-8 hours per night, no more incontinence problems and my cholesterol was down to the very low range of normal.  My only medical problem that was not corrected was the high blood pressure and my physician told me that it was probably a genetic problem and not a direct problem related to my weight. 

I did extremely well after surgery and had minimal problems.  My worst immediate post-op problem was caffeine headaches.  I did not realize that I needed to wean myself from caffeine prior to my surgery.

I rarely have any problems with food.   I was eating pizza at 10 days post-op, not very much, and it took me a very long time to consume it.   Many people will tell you they have a hard time tolerating breads and pasta; they do not seem to bother me.  I remember one time picking up some broasted chicken at the store and the smell was so good!  When I got home, I ripped the box of chicken open and gulped a very large piece.  It did get caught, You sometimes learn your eating habits the hard way. 

Eating out was a challenge; I can still make about 3 meals out of one dinner out.  There was a point that I ate so little, it was not even worth the effort of going out to dinner.  I always ask at restaurants and most will allow me to order from the children’s menu.  I hate to go to buffets but if we do, they will usually allow me to pay the highest children’s rate.

Clothing can be a problem as your weight is coming off.  I would be wearing a size 14 on Monday and by Friday a size 12 would be hanging very loosely on me.  I bought a lot of clothes at 2nd hand shops.  When I got to a size 10, I weighed 165 pounds and thought I was done losing weight.  I went out and bought a bunch of new clothes in my new size!  They only fit me for about 2 weeks!  It was a good problem.  My weight has now stabilized and I had most of my 129 pounds off in 9 months!  In all of my hopes and dreams I never dreamt I would lose that much weight.  I now try to keep my weight between 125-130 pounds.  It is the weight that I feel the best at.

I am very determined to never be heavy again, and I have walked for exercise since the day I got home from the hospital.  I walk about 8-10 miles per day.  I usually get 5-7 miles about 4AM before work and try to make up the rest in the evening.  I monitor my weight very closely and will not let it get past the 5 pound mark of where I want to be.  My husband will laugh at me and say 2 pounds up?  But I do not ever want to be heavy again.

People treat you differently as a thin person vs. a heavy person.  I can be at a counter in a convenience store and someone will always move away from the counter and open the door for me when I leave.  That never happened to me before.

I literally had no problems post-op until last June.  I woke up in the middle of the night with the worst stomach pains.  My husband immediately put his clothes on and said we were going to the ER.  He said that I never complain about anything and it must be something serious.  The pain was absolutely horrible.  After many tests, Dr. Vollstedt determined that I had a bowel obstruction.  I was taken to the OR and when I woke up, the pain was almost immediately gone.

I love where I am at today and Dr. Vollstedt and his staff  have been wonderful.  If someone told me tomorrow that I needed to do it all over again, I would do it in a heart beat!  Gastric bypass saved my life!

Sue Burns

Congratulations Sue


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