Barbara Thompson

Weight Loss Surgery


A FREE publication from


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

Issue #140

May 1, 2008


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In This Issue


* Look Who's on the Cover of WLS Lifestyles Magazine
* Walk on the Capitol
* Long Term Effects
* 10 Years After
* Recipe: Fish Steaks with Orange-Curry Sauce
* Success Story: Maureen Abramson

Look Whoís on the Cover of

WLS Lifestyles Magazine

OK I admit it. I am really excited! Iím on the cover of WLS Lifestyles Magazine. If you arenít familiar with the magazine, it has been publishing for many years and is a quarterly magazine dedicated to inspiring, educating and supporting life after weight loss surgery. I have been a frequent contributor to it. I am very proud to have been selected for their cover which will also be distributed at the annual meeting of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery in June.

Click here for more information and to
to subscribe to the magazine

I know raising awareness of obesity is important to you. And, that is why we need your help and your voice on June 17th for an historic and first of its kind event Ė the Walk from Obesity Ė Walk on the Capitol.  

On June 17th at 6:30 pm, the Obesity Action Coalition and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Foundation will host this National event to send a strong message to the public and government that obesity needs to be prevented and treated. The Walk on the Capitol will be held on the National Mall in Washington, DC, where thousands of individuals will gather. We encourage and invite you, your family members and friends, healthcare professionals, industry leaders and any individual concerned about obesity to take part in this historical event. For more information, visit

I am very excited about this. I hope you can join me and thousands of others. I have received so many emails from people saying, ďHow can I help?Ē Well this is it.  I hope to see YOU in Washington, DC! Iíll be there!

Long Term Effects

I recently received this email in which the reader asks a question that I have been asked many times before. I thought I would address her questiont here for everyoneís benefit.

Hello Barbara! 
I have just started to receive your newsletter and find it very beneficial. It is almost like a support group.  I am preparing to have RNY weight loss surgery.  I am 35 years old, my BMI is 42, my weight is 234 pounds and I am 5'2".  I have been told I will have diabetes if I do not do something.  I already have PCOS, gallstones, and periodic acid reflux.  As I begin to tell people that I am considering weight loss surgery, they say they are scared for me because there is not enough research to support the long-term results at 15, 20, or 40 years or more after surgery.  Could you point me in the direction of such research if you know where it might exist?  Thank You!  

Renee from Michigan

Hi Renee,
Welcome to the group!!! You have a very common concern and I am happy to have the opportunity to address it. There are no long term studies that are 40 years old because the surgery in its present state was not done 40 years ago. The New England Journal of Medicine in their August 2007 issue published a long term study that compared weight loss surgery patients who had surgery from 1984 to 2002, with people who are morbidly obese. Nearly 8,000 of them were matched according to BMI, age and sex.  What they found is that those who had surgery had a 40% lower death rate than those who didnít have surgery.

So I guess what you might say to those people who are saying that there are no long term studies is that you donít want to wait 20 more years for a longer term study and die in the meantime.  Say that you want a chance at a better quality of life.

I also wonder if the people who are saying that there are no long term studies are themselves candidates for surgery. They may be discouraging you because they will feel bad about themselves when you are thin and they are still large because they havenít had the courage to have surgery.  I am one to believe in the basic goodness of people, but I have seen this many times.  I donít think people realize what they are doing. They donít intend to be intentionally mean. They do it not knowing what they are doing.

This is a decision that only you can make.  It has to feel right for you. But you need to read, do research and talk to people at your support group who have had surgery. Yes, there are definitely things that can go wrong, but your chance of a good quality of life is much higher having had surgery.

Good luck to you!

Back on Track 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 coming?

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

For More Information and to Join

10 Years After

I called a bariatric doctor on a radio talk show and she said that successful weight loss is measured at the 10 year mark.  Any and all bariatric weight loss surgery has failed before the 10 year mark. I am now about 6-7 years out. She said to call her back at 10 years and she could bet I wouldn't stay the weight I was.  What are your thoughts about this?


Dear Ellen,
I canít print my real thoughts on this because too many expletives would have to be deleted!!  That was a very irresponsible thing for this doctor to say.

My surgery was 8 Ĺ years ago, but having surgery was actually recommended to me in 1998 Ė 10 years ago. My surgical option 10 years ago was the Vertical Banded Gastroplasty (VBG) which was the common surgery at the time. The RNY was being done, but it was much rarer than the VBG. I delayed my surgery until January 2000 and by then I had the RNY as another option.

The VBG is almost never done anymore because so many of them failed. There was no bypass of the intestines and the banding between the upper and lower stomach was just sutured and the sutures would open up so your stomach would revert to its original size and you would regain all the weight you had lost. 

So yes, she is correct that if you had surgery 10 years ago chances are you regained your weight because your VBG failed. Is she not aware that the 10 year failures are due to a surgery that you didnít even have? And how about me? I have maintained my weight for 8 Ĺ years.  So in 1 Ĺ years she expects that I will suddenly balloon to my original size?

The success rate of patients is increasing all the time.  Pouches are being made much smaller than they were when I had my surgery and the Centers of Excellence are offering so much more support in terms of counseling services and support groups.

As a doctor, she is challenging you to fail. I call that a self-fulfilling prophesy. A doctor tells you that you will regain weight, and we tend to respect doctors and it ends up happening. Well donít listen to her.  She sounds like the Howard Stern of University radio. Pure shock jock!

If you have had surgery 7 or more years ago, drop me an email and tell me:

  • How much weight you have lost
  • If you are regaining your weight
  • When your surgery was

Fish Steaks with Orange-Curry Sauce

I am a real fish fan.  I live in Pittsburgh with no access to really fresh fish and I always tired to buy it fresh, get it home quickly and prepare it immediately.  It never worked.  It always tasted fishy.  So I gave up on fresh fish and started to buy frozen fish.  That was the secret. The freshest fish that you can get if you donít live next to the ocean is frozen fish. It never has a fishy taste.  The taste is very mild and delicate. I hope you enjoy this dish.

Fish Steaks with Orange-Curry Sauce

  • 4 halibut, salmon, or other firm fish steaks (3/4 inch thick)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup reduced-calorie mayonnaise  
  • ľ cup ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated Sunkistģ orange peel
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed Sunkist orange juice
  • ľ teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 Sunkist orange, cut into wedges or half-cartwheel slices
  • Cilantro sprigs (optional)

Brush the fish lightly with oil; then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Barbecue on a grill or broil 4 to 5 inches from heat for 5 to 7 minutes on each side, or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Brush occasionally with additional oil. Meanwhile, to make sauce, combine the mayonnaise, ketchup, orange peel, orange juice, and curry powder. Serve the sauce with the fish. Garnish with orange wedges and cilantro sprigs.

Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional information per serving:

306 calories, 18 g. fat, 7.5 g. carbohydrates, 26 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:
    Maureen Abramson

I had a lot of people come through for me when I announced in the last newsletter issue that I was down to my final success story. So many people responded and I want to thank you.  Your stories will appear in future newsletters.  Bless your hearts!!

I want to offer a special thanks to Maureen Abramson. Here is her story:

Dear Barbara,
When I read that the weight loss success stories were coming to an end in your newsletter I knew it was time to tell you my story. My name is Maureen Abramson I live in Tamarac, Florida I'm 51 and 5'4" tall. I had gastric bypass surgery on July 18th, 2005 when I was 49 years old. I went into surgery weighing 290 pounds. That was my highest weight. I now weigh 120 pounds. I have lost 170 pounds, and I feel so terrific. I'm thankful everyday for this surgery, my new found self-control, and my good health. I, like many others, had researched weight loss surgery, went to the seminars and came away thinking, 'This isn't for me. I can do it on my own.' But I couldn't, not really.

Eventually my bottom came. I was depressed, lethargic, bitter, and sedentary. In February 2005 I looked at my primary doctor and said, "You have to help me." He asked me if I had thought about gastric bypass surgery. I started to cry right there in his office. Yes, I had thought about it. I had done some research and I had even started the paper work with a doctor a few years prior who never found the time to submit it for me as he was beginning his own journey with gastric bypass surgery and he was then a little caught up in his own thing.

I needed someone in my corner that would help me do this. And here was this new doctor willing to help me. That May 2005, I attended a new seminar at Coral Springs Medical center in Florida with Dr. Paul Wizman. He changed my life that night. I went home determined to do this and turn my life around. And that is just what I did.

By July of 2005 I had the surgery. I have had NO complications, other than some vomiting after eating too fast. That has passed now. I was then and remain a compliant patient. I eat protein first, I don't drink after eating for at least 30 minutes, I get out and walk the dog and walk myself. I took up bike riding again, I can swim, move, and clean the freakiní house! And I can bend, jump, run, and most of all I don't huff and puff and cry about everything. My transformation is ongoing everyday and it will be for the rest of my life. I make a point to stay involved with online groups, or read about health and good eating every day. I try in my own way to give back.

I wasn't always fat and miserable. The last 20 years of my life I gained weight, and I vowed that by the time I was fifty I would lose my extra weight and I did. My weight loss didn't  stop at 6 months or a year. It took me a full 2 years or more to lose all the weight and find my own set weight. I find that about 120 to 125 works for me. I do weigh myself every day. It keeps me on track. My weight is now something that I CAN control and I do.

I love to cook, have dinner parties, and most of all I am just  happy with me. I have a loving husband, Gary, who has been there for me every step of the way. And I would also like to thank an email group of friends (the Candied Yams) who are now defunct. They were my rock for over 3 years. And I would like to thank you, Barbara, for your continued support for this “thing” of ours. And to all who think it can't be done and to all who know it can. Follow your heart to a new life. It will lead you places that you only dream of now. Dreams do come true, it can happen to you.

Maureen 'Mo' Abramson

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 Maureen

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 have sponsorship that your hospital may qualify for.


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ďReprinted from Barbara Thompsonís free e-newsletter featuring helpful information and research material to help patients succeed following weight loss surgery.
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