Issue #182 February 1, 2010

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In This Issue

* Weight Loss Surgery: Ten Years After
* Your Weight Matters
* Victoria, BC Conference
* Colonoscopy: Perspectives of a Bypass Patient
* Recipe: Chicken Vegetable Chowder
* Success Story: Joshua Doroen

Weight Loss Surgery: Ten Years After

It is hard to believe that it has been 10 years since I had my weight loss surgery. And it is hard to believe how much my life has really changed.  Every day, there are still surprising realizations that pop up that I canít help thinking, ĎThis would not be possible if I hadnít had surgery.í I could fill a book with all the changes, but let me share just a few with you.

1.  Physically Ė The summer before I had surgery, I had to use a wheel chair when visiting Disney World. My back hurt unbearably under the pressure of  my extra weight pressing down on the discs in my back. I lived with a great deal of pain. Now I bicycle, I hike, and I thoroughly enjoy the outdoors. My life is so much fuller with the hobbies that I have been able to enjoy. I have fun with my husband and my little dog.  I can take my daughter shopping. I feel freed from my body.  Weight loss surgery has not cured my back problems, but my back is so much better that I am able to be functional.

2.  Self-esteem Ė I feel good about myself. I know Iím not perfect, and the years show, but I also know that I look pretty good.  Before surgery, I would refuse to go to weddings, reunions, family parties and even funerals, because I hated for anyone to see me. I was so embarrassed about how I looked.  I would see it in the eyes of family and friends as they would evaluate my weight.  I knew they were noticing that I kept gaining weight, because that was what was happening. Now when I go to these functions, everyone makes such a fuss about how good I look. And it feels wonderful.

3.  My clothes Ė For the first time in my life I am able to throw away clothes because I am tired of them. It still surprises me when I switch from my summer to winter clothes and back again, and my clothes still fit.  That never happened to me before. I was forever growing out of clothes. Yet it still surprises me that they fit. Just the other day, I pulled out a jacket that I wanted to wear. I hadnít worn it in a few years, and I was afraid to even try it on.  When I did, it fit perfectly.  I was amazed. 

4.  My business Ė My books and speaking have put me in touch with thousands of people that hopefully, I have been able to inspire.  I know that each and every one of the people I have met has enriched my life tremendously.  I have had touching moments as people have shared their experiences with me.  I have laughed with people, and I have hugged them, and cried with them. This has been the greatest gift that I have received from my surgery.

My life has improved so much, which is why I work so hard to ensure that weight loss surgery is available to all who need it.  That is why I am a member of, and now Chairman of the Board of the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC).  Access to care is one of the cornerstones of this great organization.

Itís been an amazing journey, and I have been able to share so much with you over the 8 years that I have been writing this newsletter. I always refer to you as 10,000 of my best friends. Thatís how I feel about you. 

Back on Track with Barbara

Internet Mentoring 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`?

 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.

Your Weight Matters
I want to share with you a national campaign presented by the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) called "Your Weight Matters."  The Campaign challenges you to do 2 simple things.  They are to 1) start to think about your weight, and 2) talk to your doctor about your weight.  If you have any concerns about your weight, this is a wonderful way to start.

Take this simple challenge and receive a free e-tool kit which includes a free food log, health tips and more.  Just fill out the form at

Do it because your weight really does matter.

Victoria, BC Conference

On Saturday March 28th, I will be speaking in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada for the British Columbia Association of Bariatric Advocates. Go to for more information about this conference and to register.

Hope to see you there.


Calling All Long Term Post-Ops

Was your surgery 9 or more years ago?

If so please drop me an email.

Colonoscopy: Perspectives of a Bypass Patient

Have you had a colonoscopy recently? If you are 50 years of age or older, you should have one every 10 years.

I had mine last week.  The day prior to the procedure, I was on a clear liquid diet.  Then starting about 5:00 pm, I had to drink a bowel prep, 8 ounces every 10 to 20 minutes until the gallon container was empty. Actually consuming all of that liquid helps with any hunger you may feel.

Because we donít normally eat large quantities of food, the effects of the bowel prep were not severe.  I spent 3 or 4 hours running to the bathroom with some frequency, but all in all, it wasnít that bad.

The day of the colonoscopy, I felt terrific.  It reminded me that I should go on a liquid protein diet at least one day a month. It is an effective way to stop carb cravings, and to get a renewed sense of the size of your pouch.  Having been on a liquid diet, I felt great!

During the colonoscopy, a thin flexible tube (about the diameter of a pencil) is inserted into your rectum and into your large intestines. The tube has a camera on the end so the gastroenterologist can see the walls of your colon, looking for any polyps, inflammation or irregularity in the colon walls indicating diverticulitis and taking biopsies to check for colon cancer. During the procedure, you are under anesthesia and do not feel or remember anything.

Before the procedure, I mentioned to the gastroenterologist that I had chronic diarrhea. He said that 9 out of 10 gastric bypass patients he sees, has diarrhea. I did point out to him that it was better that I had diarrhea rather than lying on his table weighing at least 350 pounds. I did manage to get him to admit that diarrhea was healthier.

Iíve received my report and am happy to say that I donít need another colonoscopy for another 10 years! If you are due for a colonoscopy, why not make the call today.  It really is not that bad at all.

  Chicken Vegetable Chowder
Chicken Vegetable Chowder

14 ounce can of chicken broth, defatted
ĺ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ĺ inch cubes
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Ĺ teaspoon dried rosemary
ľ teaspoon salt
ĺ pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into ĺ inch chunks
2 cups coarsely chopped broccoli florets
6 tablespoons slivered Canadian bacon (2 ounces)
14 ĺ ounce can creamed corn
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1/3 cup reduced fat sour cream

1.  In a Dutch oven or flameproof casserole, combine the broth, a cup of water, the sweet potatoes, thyme, rosemary, and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook until the sweet potatoes are firm-tender, about six minutes. Add the chicken and broccoli and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about three minutes.

2.  Stir in the Canadian bacon, creamed corn, and frozen corn. Return to a simmer and cook until the sweet potatoes are tender and the corn is heated through, about two minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the sour cream, and serve.

Note: The chowder should be quite thick, but if youíd like it thinner, stir in a cup of water or additional chicken broth at the end of step 1, until it is the consistency you want.

Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional Information for each serving:
353 calories, 32 grams of protein, 48 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams fat.

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:
  Joshua Doroen

I want to offer Joshua Doroen a special thanks for sharing his success with us and for his work defending our country. Here is his story:

Dear Barbara,
My name is Joshua Doroen and I am a gastric bypass survivor.  My story starts as a child when I was always "hefty."  I grew to control it as much as I could, and did with limited success.  My mother struggled with her weight growing up, and to fast forward a little, she had a gastric bypass in 2002. I think she is the most successful post-op story I've yet seen.  I think she must be a size 0.

So back to me, at eighteen I decided to enlist in the Army. I had to work really hard, and run really far to drop enough weight to enlist.  At 19, I made the weight goals I needed.  They were restrictive to say the least, but I made it and never felt as good as I did on my graduation from Army Basic Training.  At 185 pounds and 5'8", I was on top of the world.  Little did I know that my six year enlistment would be riddled with struggles to keep off the weight, and be small enough to run two miles in under 16 minutes. 

I left the Army in 2005, at the end of my first enlistment, disheartened and overweight. I was able to do my Intelligence job as well as, if not better than, the next guy.  But being awesome at your job doesn't always mean being an awesome soldier by Army standards. I left feeling that they cared more about how fast I could run, than what I could do, and my job wasn't to run, it was to fight, right?

Please don't get me wrong, fighting two wars, the Army must ensure their soldiersí fitness.  Physical fitness is important not only to a soldier's physical state, but the mental stress put on by long hours, combat stress and separation from family.  I think you will see by the end of my story that I know this, love this, and live it.

I "swelled" in the year after leaving the Army to over 300 pounds.  I was depressed and was bringing my family down.  My wife said I "checked out," and was not there as a husband or father of two.  She didn't want to look at me, much less touch me.  Our relationship was in trouble, and I worried about divorce.  I had my mother as an inspiration, but was too tired after working all day to do much more than play video games!  I realized I was trapped and saw my mother's success as my escape.  I read your book and thought, "work?  Yeah right!"  Well, for the record, you were right! I decided to have weight loss surgery.

I hate to try and fail, so I put my efforts into working on what the Eastern Maine Medical Center's Center of Excellence told me I had to.  I was driving almost three hours to make my appointments, but not eating as well as I should have. I actually gained more weight while in the program, and couldn't get my eating under control.  But on December 21st, 2006, the world's greatest surgeon, my personal hero, Dr. Michelle Toder, took me into her operating room to perform my laparoscopic Roux En-Y procedure! I honestly worried that I wouldn't wake up after surgery. When I did, my outlook on everything changed. 

I was told I would recover quicker, the sooner I got up and walked. I walked a mile that night, and nearly three the next day.  Four years ago, I began the rest of my life.  I dropped over 100 pounds in that year, with only one complication; the rapid shedding of my waistline led to low blood pressure!  Also, in a controversial call which may or may not have been in the regulations, in March of 2007, the Army let me back in! 

I am still there, in the US Army Reserve today.  They made me a reserve basic training instructor, and I flew through my PT tests and the schools.  In May of 2008 I volunteered for a year-long Combat Adviser mission to Afghanistan.  I spent a year in Kabul serving alongside and mentoring Afghan Army Drill Sergeants, and working towards a day when Afghan women can walk their streets un-veiled, unashamed, and knowing that they can raise their children without fear.

My story is not all roses; my wife moved onto another man while I was overseas, and left me.  Finding out what she was doing caused a loss of focus, and I got hurt while not paying attention on a mission.  I impacted my small intestine on that mission, and upon return, my hero (Dr. Toder) went back in and repaired it this past October.  I am fighting and losing a custody battle for my daughter, in large part because my decision to serve my country was not well received as being in my daughter's best interests.  The court system in Maine never ceases to amaze me, but you know what?  Right now I have 50-50 custody, and when I have her we play, we swim, we walk to the park, and we do everything that I allowed my weight to be an excuse not to do. 

At 30, I still don't think I'll ever be rid of the excess skin around my waist that remains, but you can't see it under my clothes or uniform, so it probably isn't as bad as I feel it is.  I have a great girlfriend for whom I cook every night.  We fight (in play) to do the laundry, dishes, and snow-blowing; usually to the incessant giggles of my daughter and girlfriend's son.  I am alive, I am serving, and I am as happy as I can be; happiness I couldn't find in 52" pants!  Thank you for all you do to inspire those of us that have a thin person hiding inside us!!!

Yours in experience,
Joshua K. Doroen, Sergeant, United States Army Reserve

Congratulations Joshua


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