Issue #225 October / November 2012

In This Issue

Help for Deb - The Responses

Back on Track with Barbara
Are All Proteins Created Equal?

Inspiration to Lose Weight

A New Remedy for Thinning Hair

Help for Pamela

Recipe: Leftover Turkey Pot Pie

Help for Deb - The Responses

In September I printed an email from Deb who has been suffering with severe abdominal pain. These are pains that come on for seemingly no reason and feel like her intestines are being twisted and stabbed. The pain is extremely intense and comes in waves. She has tried to find out what the problem is and has gone to the point of being hospitalized and having exploratory surgery to discover the cause.  Here is a link to the September newsletter in which is Debís original email

I asked for people to respond if they are experiencing the same problem and especially if they knew the cause. I received many emails from people who are going through the same pain as Deb. Unfortunately, no one has a solution. Here are a few of the responses that I received.

Hi Barbara,
I had  lap band surgery in 2004. I have had lots of abdominal pain, and twisting, kinking etc.  I had various tests and exploratory surgery. My doctor found that I had a lot of adhesions and scar tissue. My pain was so bad that I had my lap- band removed in February  2012. It is now eight months later and I am in even more pain.  I have difficulty swallowing,  food gets stuck in my throat and it is getting worse every day. 

The doctor that took the band out, just took it out, and that's it. He wanted nothing more to do with it.  He is the one that said, "This might not solve  your problem," so, I guess he  was right. Next week again I will be going for a scope of my throat, but I fear it will show nothing, then nothing more will be done. No one is addressing the abdomen.

Dear Barbara,
I hope I can help as I also need help.  I had RNY gastric bypass surgery in 2010 and have lost 127 pounds. In the past year or so I have been having the same problem.  I was in the hospital twice, and they could not find anything.  The pain and muscle spasms are so intense.  The pain comes and goes. I was on vacation when I was rushed to the hospital because the pain was unbearable.  I had to be transferred to another hospital where the doctor was a gastric bypass surgeon.  He found that I had a hernia, and my intestines were wrapped around it with scar tissue bending my intestines in half.

I had a nice long six-day stay.  I have been feeling great until this Sunday that just passed.  The original pain is back.  It starts feeling like it's in my stomach and travels into my shoulder and into my lower abdomen.  It hurts so bad, it makes me cry. It feels like someone is grabbing my stomach, twisting it, and stabbing it with a knife.  I almost went to the hospital today but it sort of subsided.  I hope I was helpful to you. as I hope someone can help me.

Hi Barbara,
Ironically, my name is Deborah too, and I still experience those unbearable severe abdominal stabbing pains since my RNY in 2004.  Two months after I had my surgery, I was visiting my daughter who'd just delivered my grandson, when I experienced my first pain.  I was alone in their home when the stabbing first occurred. I thought I needed to call 911!!  I'm an experienced registered nurse so calling 911 would have been a good professional call!  I thought I was dying.

The stabbing pain was, and has always been on my right upper abdominal area. I had my gallbladder removed when I had my RNY, so we ruled that out as a cause of the pain.  I've described it as a twisting of the intestines with something trying to go through but can't and the circulation is blocked off.  The pain starts off slowly and I know when it is happening. It tightens,  and tightens, and tightens, until it actual reaches the stabbing point.  Whatever I'm doing, I have to stop.  The pain completely takes over, even when I'm driving.  It usually lasts about a minute to a minute and a half.  Just as the pain starts in a crescendo, it does the same as it eases, then I'm OK.  They would occur 1 to 5 times a day, even when I was sleeping.

I told my surgeons that this pain is barely tolerable now, but it will take me out when I'm 85 years old!! I've had several tests to include an exploratory lap. They only found adhesions and a hernia.  I was sent to a pain management MD and was put on Topiramate (Topamax).  I'm taking 100 mg in the morning and 200 mg at bedtime. I still have the sharp stabbing pains in my abdomen, however, they are not as frequent, not as long and thank God, not as severe! The stabbings were 12/10, now they are about 7/10.  My prayer is that these stabbings would stop completely!!

Good luck to Deb!  If anyone else knows what causes these stabbing pains or what stops them, please share! These pains are life changing, especially when they occur in public.

I have the exact type of pain.  I have had numerous tests that show nothing to mild irritation.  Once a doctor said to me, "Honey, you have constipation!"   OMG, I'm 54; I know the difference between constipation discomfort and this double over pain directly in the stomach.  The pain is very specific and not in the abdomen at all.  Deb's pain sounds very similar.  It is very tough to live with, and I ask myself often if this daily pain is worth the weight loss.  I have to admit that it is, but still hard to live with.  Unfortunately, I don't have suggestions for Deb, but I can offer support and acknowledge that this pain is VERY real.  I hope you will publish the suggestions so that we can all use it.  I am going to look into the possible cause that you describe in your newsletter.  Thank you.

These people desperately need help. I have formed an email group so they can stay in touch and share if one is able to find relief.

Back on Track with Barbara

Internet Mentoring Program

The Back on Track with Barbara Internet Mentoring Program really concentrates on lifestyle changes. Join our group and receive lessons via the internet and the support of others who are struggling just like you are.

Are you suffering from emotional eating and canít stop?
Are you grazing on carbohydrates and canít control it?
Are you lacking inspiration to lose the weight you have regained?
Do you feel that you donít know what to do now that you have had surgery?
Are you dying to be in better shape?

My Back on Track Internet Mentoring Program is just what you
need to start your plan to get your weight under control.

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

Are All Proteins Created Equal?

I was asked recently in my Back on Track with Barbara program which protein is better, whey, casein or soy. Whey and casein proteins are by-products of milk and soy protein is from soy beans. According to WedMD:

Whey protein is:

A protein found in milk


In your body for a shorter time

A good supplement after an intense workout

Casein protein is:

The main protein in milk


In your body for a longer time

A good supplement for meal replacements or to take before bed

Soy protein is as effective as most animal sources of protein.

Some women may take soy protein shakes in the hopes of curbing menopausal symptoms, but research results have been mixed.

Soy protein is:

A plant-based source of protein

As digestible as other sources of protein

Known for its antioxidant capabilities

A good supplement for meal replacements

If you suffer from lactose intolerance following surgery as some people do, you want to use soy protein. However, whey protein is very commonly found in the protein supplements that are available to weight loss surgery patients.

In selecting a protein supplement, consider your tolerance and the taste of the supplement. If you dislike the taste or it makes you sick, you will not use it.  Then you should consider the grams of protein you are getting for the number of calories and grams of carbohydrates and fat. For instance, a good protein powder is Unjury. For 20 grams of protein, you will consume 100 calories, .5 grams of fat and 4 grams of carbohydrates. In whatever you select, try to get as close to these numbers as possible.

You should not have to be relying on protein supplements for the rest of your life. After a year or two you should be able to consume enough protein so that you do not have to rely on protein supplements. On the other hand, there are thousands of weight loss surgery patients who find that they can best control their weight by consuming a protein drink sometime during their day.

There are no rules for protein supplements because there are so many variables to consider. You just have to find what works best for you.

Barbara Thompson's

Inspiration to Lose Weight

Weekly Email Messages that Will Keep
You Motivated to Lose Weight and Stay Healthy

Staying in the proper frame of mind to continue losing weight can be hard when life's challenges always lead you astray.  Weekly messages will keep you on a steady track to lose weight.

Start receiving weekly motivational messages today
to stay on track with your weight loss.

Click for more information

Here is a sample inspirational message:

#19  Listening to Your Body

Pay attention. You can hear it if you just listen. It is the messages that your body sends you. And those messages are very important.

If you overeat, doesn't your body tell you that what you put in your body didn't agree with you? You feel a little sluggish, or your digestion is a little off. There's a message there.

If you haven't exercised for awhile, do you feel that you are lacking some energy, and then when you start again you don't have the stamina that you had before? There's a message there.

If you aren't getting enough sleep because you want to watch just one more TV program, or you are too busy or stressed to sleep properly, are you dragging yourself through your days? There's a message there.

If you are lacking energy and your health is affected because you aren't paying attention to the vitamins you need to take, are you feeling the difference? There's a message there.

Your body sends you a lot of wisdom. Just learn to listen.


A New Remedy for Thinning Hair

I have always considered the loss of hair following weight loss surgery to be one of the cruelest side effects. It happens about three or four months after surgery. We are still feeling bad about ourselves because we haven't lost very much weight, and added to our negative body image is thinning hair.

It doesn't happen to everybody. It didn't happen to me, and I was very grateful. Prior to my surgery, there were 2 things I liked about myself; my blue eyes and my big hair. I have always liked big hair.  If I had lost my big hair, I don't know how I would have coped. I might have stayed hidden until it grew back in.

I have always believed that hair loss is tied to the amount of protein you eat, and I ate a lot of it following my surgery. I ate plenty of cold cooked shrimp, like the shrimp in shrimp cocktail.

Apart from eating a lot of protein, I have heard of a few other remedies for thinning hair, but I heard one recently that was new to me. It was black currant. The only thing I ever associated black currant with is cassis which is a yummy liqueur. I heard this on the Dr. Oz show. Apparently black currant contains gamma-linolenic acid (GLA).GLA is a fat which will block the hormonal breaking down so your hair will not thin and fall out. It also adds extra moisture to your hair. The recommended dosage is 500 mg twice per day. They did warn that it takes six to eight weeks to work. 

Losing your hair is a traumatic experience, so this is a remedy that you might want to try. It just might work for you. But you may not want to wait until your hair is falling out to try it. By then it is too late. If you are concerned, get a head start on it. Eat lots of protein, but you may want to try the black currant as well.

Help for Pamela

I received the following email from Pamela who really needs our help. Please respond directly to her and cc me so I can share your responses. Here is Pamela's dilemma:

Dear Barbara,
I wanted to share my story with your readers.  I am 7 years into my new life as a ďthinnerĒ person and recently have gained weight (21 pounds).

My father was diagnosed with Alzheimerís Disease about 15 months ago and recently, my parents have moved in with me in order for my mother to have support for my fatherís condition.  I am a single lady with no kids and it was easier for them to move in with me over my other siblings who are married with kids and no extra room.  I enjoy having them with me after not living at home since I was 18 years old however, it is causing weight gains that I had not experienced in the last 7 years.  Iíve maintained my weight loss of 130 pounds until they moved in.  Mom cooks dinner for us every night or we go out to dinner which I am not used to.  I generally eat my big meal at lunch time in order to burn off the calories by the time I am home in the evening.  I do not want to disappoint my mother by turning down the dinner she has prepared for me but I do not want to fall into the ďeating everythingĒ on my plate syndrome again either.  I tell her not to fix my dinner but she does it anyway and I feel obligated to eat it (even in moderation it is not what Iíve been used to).  I feel awful and donít know what to do.

They returned home (NC) for the last two weeks to get their home ready to close up and move to my house.  I have lost 6 pounds since they left and am deathly afraid the weight will all be put back on when they return.  What can I do to maintain my weight when they return? 

Thank you for your help or suggestions!

Pamela A.Kreinest

Leftover Turkey Tip

Turkey is one of my least favorite meats, so I always have a lot left over after Thanksgiving. I hate to throw out food, so I am always in a quandary as to what to do with it.  Here is something to try:

Leftover Turkey Pot Pie

Take leftover turkey, sliced cooked mushrooms, cooked green beans, cooked carrots, and canned peas (vegetables can vary depending upon what you have on hand). Mix this with a can of cream of mushroom or cream of chicken condensed soup -low fat. If you need more moisture, add some milk.   Top this with a low fat biscuit - there is a low fat version of Bisquick. Bake at 350į until the biscuit is browned.

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

Chew Your Vitamins

The OAC is the ONLY non profit organization whose sole focus is helping those affected by obesity.  The OAC is a great place to turn if you are looking for a way to get involved and give back to the cause of obesity.

There are a variety of ways you can make a difference, but the first step is to become an OAC Member.  The great thing about OAC Membership is that you can be as involved as you would like.  Simply being a member contributes to the cause of obesity.


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