LAWLS Bookstore

Monday, October 31, 2005


Our first four LEADER HELPERS are ready for you. If you are a leader, and need some topic ideas, outlines for your meetings, and just a little help - send Julie an email requesting one or all of our first ever LEADER HELPERS. The four units are:

Unit One: Snacking vs. grazing, learn the difference!

Unit Two: Panic After WLS: I’m Succeeding at Weight Loss: Now What?

Unit Three: What is “Back to Normal” After Gastric Bypass Surgery?

Unit Four: Vitamins and the Gastric Bypass Patient.

Our plan is to have four new units each quarter along with the quarterly review of the LivingAfterWLS Personal Self-Assesment worksheet. As this is our first try at LEADER HELPERS some feedback would be greatly appreciated so we can continue to improve this product. Email feedback to Julie. Thanks everyone and good luck at your next meeting.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Happy WLS Friendly Halloween!

Monday Message From Kaye:

Happy Halloween Everyone! I hope you are planning a terrific WLS friendly Halloween activity for this evening. Thanks to the participation of many community members we have posted great ideas and tips for having a WLS friendly Halloween. Take a moment to scroll through this blog and review some terrific ideas for fun and celebration this Halloween.

This week we have four LivingAfterWLS members undergoing WLS: Congratulations on their new lives to Cheryl, Donna, Nina and Sunie. We wish you each a speedy recovery and great success with WLS.

Self-Assessment Worksheet

Tuesday starts a new month and admittedly the beginning of the most challenging season of all for anyone who has ever struggled with weight – our community member Leah calls it “Holiday Eating Temptation Time from Hell”. Now is a good time to review your LivingAfterWLS Personal Self-Assessment worksheet. Use this tool to remind yourself of your goals, review your barriers and your action plan to manage barriers and honor the contract you made with yourself. Email me if you have not received the LAWLS Personal Self-Assessment Worksheet. I'll drop it in your e-mailbox.

Support Group Leaders

Are you a support group leader looking for meeting topics? Our new LAWLS Public Relations director, Julie Hullinger, has put together some “Leader Helpers” - - meeting agendas, topics and articles for use in your next support group discussion. Are you interested? Drop Julie a note and she will help make your next meeting a great success.

LAWLS Newsletter

Our November newsletter “You Have Arrived” will deliver to inboxes November 2. This month’s topic, “Eating Out After WLS” – I look forward to presenting this topic to you. The “You Have Arrived” newsletter is available to LivingAfterWLS subscribers only – Link to review the subscription & privacy policy.

Have a great week everyone – Welcome to your new life – You Have Arrived!

Best Wishes,

Blogging For WLS

We’ve added some terrific new blogs being written by our LivingAfterWLS community members who are sharing their WLS experience by way of online journals. Please take some time and visit them, leave a comment and let them know you care.

Sandi’s RNY Journey
Shrinking Chica
Who Moved My Cheese?
Shrinking Violet

Do we have other LivingAfterWLS members who are sharing their journey on a blog? I'd love to hear about it - so drop me an email.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Trick or Treat Safety

One of our community members, Donna Rodgers from Texas, said trick or treating is a great opportunity for parents to spend time with their children and get in a little walking exercising going from house to house knocking for treats. Great suggestion Donna!

Lot’s of our community members have children so here is a little refresher article on Trick or Treating Safety. Lance Winslow presents some new sound advice for Halloween night safety:

Trick or Treat Safety

By Lance Winslow

As parents we know how important it is to keep our kids safe during trick or treat excursions. It is important to chaperone kind under age 10 and perhaps up to age 12. The best way to do this and you have seen others do it this way is to allow the kids to travel about ten to twelve paces ahead of you to keep an eye on them. It is smart to carry a flashlight too and extra batteries or the special “Shake as you go” Flashlights or wind up versions that do not require batteries at all.

Look at your child and the silhouette and how that looks on a costume at different angles so you never lose site of them. Be sure to take jogging or tennis shoes not other types which will slow you down, as the kids want to go fast to get more candy you see? Take an extra pillowcase to hold the candy when they get too much. Do not mix the kids candy; they will get upset. By collecting the candy as they go, they will not become victims of candy thieves from older teenagers and bag snatchers.

Make sure to instruct your kids that there will be no littering of wrappers or that will end the trick or treating for the night. Do not let your kids run across people’s lawns because they can cut their ankles on sprinkler heads in the dark. Each year Hospital Emergency rooms fill up with minor injuries calling for stitches and you maybe there all night waiting. Think on these things and have a plan of where you are going in the neighborhoods.

"Lance Winslow" - If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance;

Article Source:

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Sugar-Free Halloween Candy:
Beware The Sugar Alcohol Content!

With Halloween just around the corner even WLS patients may feel like indulging in a little sugar-free candy treat. As with all things WLS related we must exercise moderation, even with sugar-free products. For a reminder, here is a previously published article about sugar alcohol found in most "sugar free" treats. Treat yourselves cautiously, my friends!

WLS Patients Feeling Gassy & Bloated?
Sugar Alcohol May Be To Blame

By Kaye Bailey

Sugar intake is a real concern for people who’ve had gastric bypass, in fact most patients fear sugar. The foremost fear isn’t weight gain, it’s dumping. Foods containing sugar pass too quickly through the small pouch, they are rapidly absorbed and cause insulin levels to drop resulting in dumping.

Very unpleasant. Instead of taking chances with sugar many of us reach for “sugar free” sweets or diabetic candy to satisfy our sweet tooth. Many of these products contain sugar alcohol, a natural sweetener derived from fruits and berries. Unlike artificial sweeteners that contain no calories, sugar alcohol has about half the calories of sugar. Diabetics are able to have food with sugar alcohol because it’s converted more slowly to glucose and require very little insulin to be metabolized.

While sugar alcohols are low in calories and slow to convert to glucose, the down side is they can cause gas, bloating and diarrhea. I learned this the hard way. One day that devil we call temptation seduced me into buying a bag of sugar-free jelly beans. Jelly beans are dangerous because they are little bites of soft food which means a gastric bypass patient can eat too much volume. I ate the entire bag in about an hour (true confessions of the closet snacker). I soon became uncomfortable with a small tummy ache. The tummy ache turned to bloating, cramping and gas. Extreme cases of all three symptoms. Painful “take me to the hospital I think I’m gonna explode” symptoms. It took a couple of days for my body to return to normal, a couple of stressful and uncomfortable days.

The jelly beans I ate contained Mannitol, a common sugar alcohol extracted from seaweed. I know they contained Mannitol because I read the package mid-way through the crisis. The package contained this warning, “Warning: excessive consumption can cause a laxative effect” Fine time to be reading labels I told myself! Mannitol is found naturally in pineapples, olives, asparagus, sweet potatoes and carrots. It’s about 60% as sweet as sugar, so more product is needed to replicate the sweetness of sugar. “Mannitol lingers in the intestines for a long time and therefore causes bloating and diarrhea.” Yup! That’s exactly what happens all right.

What other names are sugar alcohols called?

Sorbitol is found naturally in fruits and vegetables. It is manufactured from corn syrup. Sorbitol has only 50 percent of the relative sweetness of sugar which means twice as much must be used to deliver a similar amount of sweetness to a product. It has less of a tendency to cause diarrhea compared to mannitol. It is often an ingredient in sugar-free gums and candies.

Xylitol is also called “wood sugar” and occurs naturally in straw, corncobs, fruit, vegetables, cereals, mushrooms and some cereals. Xylitol has the same relative sweetness as sugar. It is found in chewing gums.

Lactitol has about 30-40 percent of sugar's sweetening power, but its taste and solubility profile resembles sugar so it is often found in sugar-free ice cream, chocolate, hard and soft candies, baked goods, sugar-reduced preserves and chewing gums.

Isomalt is 45 - 65 percent as sweet as sugar and does not tend to lose its sweetness or break down during the heating process. Isomalt absorbs little water, so it is often used in hard candies, toffee, cough drops and lollipops.

Maltitol is 75 percent as sweet as sugar. It is used in sugar-free hard candies, chewing gum, chocolate-flavored desserts, baked goods and ice cream because it gives a creamy texture to foods.

Hydrogenated starch hydrolysates (HSH) are produced by the partial hydrolysis of corn. HSH are nutritive sweeteners that provide 40 - 90 percent of the sweetness of sugar. HSH do not crystallize and are used extensively in confections, baked goods and mouthwashes.

Should Gastric Bypass Patients indulge their sweet tooth with sugar alcohol?

The American Diabetes Association claims that sugar alcohols are acceptable in a moderate amount but should not be eaten in excess. In addition, weight gain has been seen when these products are overeaten. Personally, I’m not dipping my sticky fingers into sugar-free candy again. For gastric bypass patients generally the key, as in all eating, must be moderation, not a full bag of jelly beans. And of course, we can always rely on the old advice of conventional dieters, “Hungry for something sweet? Reach for a piece of fruit.”

Kaye Bailey is a weight loss surgery success story having maintained her health and goal weight for 5+ years. An award winning journalist, she is the author and webmaster of and

LivingAfterWLS is a no-nonsense resource for people Living After Weight Loss Surgery. Our community is growing in numbers even as we are shrinking in pounds. Together we support one another in this lifestyle, that it turns out, is NOT the easy way out.

Fresh & insightful content is added daily, check in often. To subscribe to the LivingAfterWLS monthly newsletter "You Have Arrived" click on and enter your details in the subscription box.

Article Source:

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Halloween Week: Face Down the Candy!

We’ve collected some great tips from the LivingAfterWLS community members for dealing with Halloween – a Candy-Happy holiday. Today I present some of the best strategies for facing down the candy monster! Please add your own ideas in the comment section & Enjoy! Kaye

Kim Stover
Believe it or not, candy isn't a temptation for me. Now, if someone shows up at work with a Spooktacular Lasagna, I'll be in trouble.

However, I do hate that children are dealing with obesity. Last year, I had a bowl that the kids could choose it was a mixture of miniature candy bars, granola bars and little bags of nuts. At the end of the evening, I was left with the candy bars. It was apparent that when given the opportunity, children like a healthy snack. This year, I will not be purchasing any candy. My assortment will only consist of healthy snacks which will make ME feel better. Sure, the kids are going to eat the sweets, but I will feel good about not contributing to the obesity of a minor.

Donna Rodgers
Other ideas: Put the candy outside and put a note that each person should only take one. Believe it or not, most children are pretty honest.

My mom hands out pennies but her house always gets eggs thrown at it....hehehhe

I guess the last most desperate thing you could do is eat something that makes you dump and crawl in bed for the rest of the evening and hope that the night passes quickly....hehhehe

Dawn Smith
Well, this is my first post-op Halloween. But I sure had plenty of Halloween’s while trying to be “good”. My all time favorite tip is; don’t buy your old favorites! Buy candy you wouldn’t even THINK of eating. Here are some more tips:

Have one or two pieces of sugar free candy on hand. Just knowing it is there to have if you “want it” helps.

At home, instead of candy, you can pass out toys and trinkets like false teeth, super balls, “slime,” necklaces, temporary tattoos, etc.

Candy has a long shelf-life. You can keep some of your child’s favorites for him or her to enjoy at other times. Put some in the freezer.

Give out. Instead of candy treats, give shiny quarters. Kids may like to receive coins instead of chocolate.

Let the kids select a few of their favorite candies. The remainder of the candy can either get thrown away or bagged for the local soup kitchen. Don’t let candy just lie around the house, calling your name.

Julie Hullinger
What I'm doing this year is 1) I'm not buying candy ahead of time. I'm purchasing candy on Halloween day only. 2) I'm going to buy candy that I don't like. This way I'm not even tempted.

Lisa Williams
Some things that help me though the sweet spots are:

sugar free Popsicles, sugar free fudgesicles, rockin' rio protein bar, payday protein bar, sugar free dark chocolate almond bark if you can find it, stallone chocolate pudding, carnation low-carb instant breakfast (ready made) in chocolate, apples, ice breakers (sugar free hard candy in all sorts of flavors...I like the sours.)

Halloween Games for the Perfect Halloween Party!

By Nicole O'Reilly
With Halloween fast approaching it's time to dust off those dirty and cobwebbed Halloween games for the kids. Depending on the style of party you are throwing you may be looking for Halloween crafts, icky sticky food games, some races and team games. A good selection of Halloween games and activities will keep the group interested and the party running smoothly.

Just a little bit of organisation will go a long way, so be sure to have a few more games prepared than you think you will need. Games may finish quickly or if the children are not showing interest, a couple of back-ups can save you from any embarrassment. Prepare all of the music, props and prizes before the party and make sure that you understand all the rules.

When choosing Halloween games for children it is important to select games that are age appropriate for them. An older child may love the ghoul and fright of all the scariest Halloween themes and games whereas a careful selection needs to be made for preschoolers.

Toddlers will love games and themes that involve pumpkins, friendly ghosts, black cats and a smattering of not-so-spooky witches and scarecrows. Younger children prefer simple, short games, nothing that requires too much explaining or has numerous rules.
Many games for toddlers / preschoolers are variations of favorite party games that have been given a Halloween twist. Games like Marshmallow Bobbing (a gentler variation of Apple Bobbing), a Witch Hunt (based on a Scavenger Hunt) and a Monster Freeze Dance are all fun games for the littlies.

Halloween games for parties can be as diverse as crafts, gooey food games, racing games, team games or even some old-fashioned Halloween games.

Halloween crafts are a great option as they encourage imagination and creativity and the children will love being able to take home their own special Halloween creation. The crafts can be as varied as making and decorating cookies, producing your own Halloween decorations, Halloween face-painting, or pumpkin decorating.
Older kids will love a gooey, squishy games that can be played with food and they can even help you to think of ghouly names for spaghetti intestines, or cauliflower brains.
More traditional Halloween games are centred around Fall themes and the harvest. Many involve apples and craft ideas with Fall leaves.

Whatever Halloween games you choose, be flexible, and willing to improvise if you need to. Allow the children to set the pace in regards to the length of the games. If they are all enjoying a game then let it continue, if not move on.
And most importantly Happy Halloweening!

For more games, crafts, recipes and fun for Halloween check out Halloween Games Central at Kids Fun and Games.

The place to go for all your games needs for 0-8 year olds is Kids Fun and Games. Educational baby and toddler games, party games, crafts, indoor and outdoor games, festivals and more.

Article Source:

Monday, October 24, 2005

Sugar-Free Treats for Tricksters!

Candy is too tempting for me!
by Cynthia Plasek

Our community member, Cynthia Plasek, had her surgery in April. This is how she is prepared to face the candy-happy hoiday:

"This year my Trick-or-Treaters are getting colorful pencils and Sippy-Straws, animal shaped erasers and other small items that I stocked up on at the dollar store. When I figured out how much I usually spent for candy I will actually be money ahead this year! I won't be tempted and moms all over my neighborhood will probably be happy.

"Since I don't want to keep my mouth full by sucking on hard candy, and I hate sugar-free candy, I have short list of treats I allow myself. A few almonds or blanched peanuts have some protein and are satisfying. When I absolutely have to have something sweet I get some "Jelly Belly" jelly beans. They are only 4 calories each and come in many flavors. The best part is the flavor is so intense and rewarding that just a few satisfy me. Once in a while I enjoy good a mint and "Junior Mints" are less than 10 calories a piece, and are very good. Just a few ideas!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Welcome to Halloween Week!

Hello Everyone! Hope you had a great weekend!

This is an exciting week for seven of our community members who will undergo weight loss surgery. Please send your warm wishes to Melanie, Sherry, Tonya, Millie, Posey, Elaine and Cheryl.

Halloween Week:
Today we kick-off Halloween week here at the LivingAfterWLS Blog. Each day from now through next Monday we will post tips, tricks and treats for surviving this candy happy holiday after WLS. We begin the week with a terrific article by Marcy Rosenzweig, Psy.D and self-proclaimed Halloween Freak and a 2-year WLS success. Read Marcy’s A Happy & Magical Halloween!

Our community member Leah Oettinger calls this time of year “Holiday Eating Temptation Time From Hell”. I couldn’t have said it better myself! You’ll read more from Leah this week as she shares her Halloween strategies. In the meantime, how about reviewing your "LivingAfterWLS Quarterly Personal Self-Assessment" worksheet. Staying focused on our goals and objectives is one way to navigate the temptations associated with this time of year. If you missed the worksheet, drop me an email.

Have a great week, everyone!


A Happy and Magical Halloween

by Marcy Rosenzweig Leavitt, Psy.D and Halloween Freak
Hello and Happy Halloween to you all!

Halloween has always been my FAVORITE Holiday and NOT because of the candy! I love to dress up and throw a huge party each year. This year will be my 14th. I turn our entire apartment into a haunted house. Spiders, skulls, witches, and ghosts haunt our place each year.

Included in the celebration are delicious delights and witching wonders. Last year was my first Halloween as a WLS post-op. I struggled for weeks thinking about how I would handle the preparations for the evening. I am happy to say that last years party was one of the best ever. For one thing I felt great, full of energy and healthy. Another great thing was that I was able to wear ANY costume I wanted. I psychotic escapee from the local mental institution. It was a little joke on my chosen profession of psychologist.

So, what tips do I have for a successful and fun post-op Halloween?

First, have fun dressing up and feeling silly, wicked, beautiful, and sexy in your new body. This is the time to do something you wouldn't do everyday: be a sexy witch, a handsome vampire, a naughty nurse or a devilish doctor. It's your time to shine. Feel great about your ever changing body. You'll love it. If you have children they will delight in having Mommy or Daddy energetic and wanting to share their Halloween night with them.

Now that you have conquered the costume issue what about Halloween's greatest danger: THE FOOD AND CANDY!! I always serve a "spread" to die for at my parties and last years event was no different. I even made my chocolate fondue! I enlisted a few of my good friends and my husband (fiance at the time) to be my "tasters." Whenever I made something that was a wls no-no I would ask someone to taste it for me. Was it too sweet, salty, too much techilla or vodka? They would be my taste buds. I know that there are many post-ops who drink alchohol and eat a sweet or two but I choose not too. At least I didn't at one year out. I have to be honest and say at my wedding in June I had some champagne, which incidently went right to my head!! Yes, wls post-ops are total lightweights! Ironic huh? Finally, I am a LIGHTWEIGHT!

As I planned the menu I made sure to have plenty of healthy options for the post-ops in the groups and also for those who were watching their weight. I included things that I could snack on if I felt the urge. I ended up not eating a thing. I was having too much fun. When I did snack it was on a sugar free jello mold of a brain. It was the perfect decoration for the table and tasty too. Many seasonal receipes can be made with sugar free pudding and jello. Just make the appropriate substitute.

Well, my wicked friends, I wish you a happy and magical Halloween. Feel great and let go! Don't forget to take pictures!!! You'll want to remember your changing self.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

A BIG LivingAfterWLS Welcome to
Our Southern Hemisphere Friends

As our LivingAfterWLS community grows I am humbled and pleased to realize the Internet is truly world wide. In the last week we have welcomed many new subscribers from New Zealand and Australia. Hello to you folks down there!

Please welcome from New Zealand: Kirsty, Raewyn, Katherine-Mary, Jacqui, Linda, Esther, Browyn, Emma, Sally, Megan, Leanne, Royone, Kiti, Cristy, Ayleen and Helen (Ayleen has been with us for several months now!) From Australia let’s welcome Trina, Cassandra, Kel, Julie, Jane, Lorri, Dasha, Merol and Tina. We are glad you have found the LivingAfterWLS community.

I wanted to learn more about where these members come from so I did a little web searching. Here’s what I learned about our neighbors down under:

New Zealand, boasting a population just over 4 million, is part of the Oceania islands in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of Australia. Geographically it is about the size of my own American state, Wyoming. English and Maori are the official languages and most of the population are city dwellers. Primary industries include: food processing, wood and paper products, textiles, machinery, transportation equipment, banking and insurance, tourism and mining. The independent island nation has a strong agricultural segment including wheat, barley, potatoes, pulses, fruits, vegetables; wool, beef, lamb and mutton, dairy products; and fish. Not long ago our member Ayleen, who is originally from South Africa, told me, “New Zealand is as beautiful as the movies show!”

Australia was first inhabited 40,000 years ago Aboriginal settlers arrived on the continent from Southeast Asia. Today the population is over 20 million on the island commonwealth continent located in Oceania Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean. English is the primary language but Chinese and Italian are spoken by a small segment of the population. The government is a democratic, federal-state system recognizing the British monarch as sovereign and Queen of Australia Elizabeth II has reigned chief of state since 1952. Australia has seen a rapid growth in the cellular phone industry, in fact there are 14.4 million cell phones vs. 10.8 landline phones.

If you lovely members need a speaker at your next support group meeting give me a call! I’d love to meet you and visit your beautiful country. Best wishes to all of you in your life-long WLS journey!

For New Zealanders and Australians seeking information on weight loss surgery I highly recommend the site Obesity Surgery Society of Australia & New Zealand (OSSANZ) It includes a surgeon’s directory and great information about obesity and treatment with surgery. (LivingAfterWLS is not affiliated with this organization.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Three Great Guys – Three Great Sites

Today I am pleased to call your attention to three fine gentlemen who are dedicated to the lifelong success of WLS patients. All have achieved and sustained significant weight loss by way of surgery. All are compassionate and concerned individuals reaching out to the WLS community to share their experiences and nurture us along in our journeys. Please take a moment to visit their sites – I think you’ll enjoy what they have to offer.

Positive Coaching
Positive Coaching is Jeff Cadwell’s site. He is three-years post-op and down 165 pounds. He specializes in coaching individuals through the decision making process to have weight loss surgery. His approach is non-judgmental with emphasis on finding joy in life. Jeff conducts support groups and has worked closely with men teaching them to accept WLS as a positive step toward better health.

He recently told me, “In my experience, our society dictates that men should always be in control, and they are less of a man if they are not. During some confidential conversations, I have had more than one man say to me that it would appear that they were weak or more importantly, that they failed. I, then attempt to, reframe what the surgery is all about. People have the surgery to improve their health, which will then improve their confidence.”

Morbid Obesity: How I Dealt With It
Richard Varney has the site “Morbid Obesity: How I Dealt With It” – and he has dealt with it fabulously. He underwent gastric bypass in January 2002 when he weighed 514 pounds. He has since dropped 340 pounds: his pictures are remarkable. His site includes pre-op and post-op content and a particularly meaningful letter for WLS spouses. I am specifically impressed that he speaks about his abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) as few men are willing to talk about this skin removal procedure.

Richard is active in the WLS community. “I manage this site of mine plus one site for help and support for weight loss surgery with over 2,000 members all across the country. I go by the name of Rex on my MSN site. There's a link to it from my personal website. I also manage a site for the York, PA support group.”

Renewed Reflections: Loving the New You
Craig “Big T” Thompson focuses his site on life after weight loss surgery and the mental issues that go hand-in-hand with obesity, weight loss and weight gain. He has a thoughtful philosophy about him and a pragmatic sensibility without the coarseness of Dr. Phil. Be sure to take time to read his articles – I found a lot of me in his words and I think you will enjoy and identify with Craig as well.

After his surgery in 1997 Craig explains, “Within one year, I had lost nearly 200 pounds. But I had only treated the symptom. Like taking aspirin for the headache of a brain tumor, the problem seemed to go away, but the cause of my insanity was still lurking beneath the surface.” Visit his site for more of the story.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The WLS Blues: Sadness After Surgery

Hello LivingAfterWLS friends.

Ok, now is the time to fess-up and be honest. We have lots of pre-ops and newbies out there and it’s time to share our experience with them.

The question: How many of you suffered the “WLS Blues” in the early weeks following your surgery?

I remember sitting in a chair and just sobbing and not being able to explain my tears. Loss of food? Confusion at the weight loss? Frustration with not losing quickly enough? Exhaustion? I guess my tears were a complete package of all of the above. In the early weeks after surgery I was confused, lost and alone. To say it was a tough time is a huge understatement. Am I the only one?

What about you – did you suffer the WLS blues?

Please post your comment here or email me and share your story.

WLS Has Risks - Be Informed

At LivingAfterWLS we endeavor to present the full story about WLS. In the news today, a new study about the risks following WLS, particularly in the first year.

As reported by MSNBC today:

CHICAGO - Obesity surgery, which is fast becoming a popular way to battle the nation’s weight crisis, may be a lot riskier than most patients realize.

New research found a higher-than-expected risk of death in the year after surgery, even among young patients.

“It’s a reality check for those patients who are considering these operations,” said University of Washington surgeon Dr. David Flum, lead author of a Medicare study that analyzed the risks.

Please Link to the full story.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Blogging for WLS

We have a very talented member of our LivingAfterWLS who is pre-op and recording her WLS journey by way of the Blogsphere. You can read Sandi's thoughts at Sandi's RNY Journey. She is right on target with the emotional flow prior to surgery. Her writing is beautiful. Please take time to visit her site.

Do we have other LivingAfterWLS members who are sharing their jouney on a blog? I'd love to hear about it - so drop me an email. I think it would be great to create a list of community member blogs.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Monday Message from Kaye

Hello Everyone!

Warm Wishes

I hope you are doing well and LivingAfterWLS! We have eight community members “Arriving” this week – please send warm thoughts to Karen, Cherri, LisaMarie, Sandi, Melanie, Violet, Diane and Tawala: each will have WLS this week.

We welcomed over 120 new site subscribers since last Monday – so glad to have you here. As the LivingAfterWLS community continues to grow, I am continuing to work for better online features so we can interact as a community and work together for long-term living after weight loss surgery.

Special You Have Arrived: Fall Foods

Coming Monday – a special issue “You Have Arrived” all about fall foods and incorporating them in the LivingAfterWLS lifestyle – 12 great recipes! “You Have Arrived” is exclusive to subscribers only. In this special issue read an essay on the guilt-comfort connection. Are you guilty of loving food? Find out what Kaye has to write about this! Subscribe today.

Update: Kelly McCamey

Do you remember our community member Kelly McCamey? She elected to give conventional dieting one last try before having weight loss surgery, and she is doing fabulous! On Friday she wrote to me, “I can report to you today that I have lost a total of 42 pounds. I am still going strong, working out to "Walk away the pounds" 5 times a week, and I can finally tell in my body! I am getting noticed for the first time - and just feel wonderful.” Kelly is a wonderful example of someone giving it one last try before having weight loss surgery. I know the LivingAfterWLS joins me in wishing her tremendous success as she strives for a healthier life.

Quarterly Personal Self-Assessment

How are you doing with the first ever "LivingAfterWLS Quarterly Personal Self-Assessment" worksheet? We emailed this exclusive tool last Sunday to our subscriber list. This is a new tool devised to bring accountability and path-forward action to our lives LivingAfterWLS. I hope you find it an effective resource in making the most of your WLS. I know I’m looking forward to a clear path forward in meeting my WLS goals.

Subscription Form

Last Call! Future Topic: Sex, Obesity & WLS

In the recent reader survey a great and oft-ignored topic was addressed by one of our readers. In answer to the question what topics would you like to see at LAWLS she responded, "Do I dare say "sex"? One of my personal points is that weight gain has altered the physical relationship with my husband. He swears it isn't because I'm heavier, but face it, stuff doesn't fit together quite as efficiently as it did when we were both leaner. The reality is, if having the surgery doesn't improve intimacy with my husband, will it lead to more separation? What have WLS post-ops come to learn about this part of their lives? Did feeling better about yourself make you receive so much attention as to be flirting or tempted to? I hear of some marriages failing because of jealousy by the husband after his wife becomes more appealing to others."

This is a great topic I am excited to address, but I need your input. Please drop me an email me with your experience. Your privacy will be protected. Write to me!

Have a great week everybody! Thanks for joining me here at LivingAfterWLS!


Thursday, October 13, 2005

1 Dozen Egg-cellent Recipes for LAWLS

Have you ever grown so tired of a single food you couldn’t stand to see it? You didn’t want it in your kitchen, on your plate or in your mouth? That’s what happened with me and the egg. The harmless chicken egg: perfect bariatric food. Not long ago I felt if I ever saw another egg again I would certainly go egg-insane!

Such began my egg recipe odyssey. I needed new and improved healthful, flavorful ways to cook and eat eggs. I needed a break from my steady friend the hard-boiled egg and I needed new life for my eggs. I want them in my healthy weight maintaining diet and I need them. But I also want and need them to be different – a little more flavor and variety, a little more excitement. I went in search of “egg-cellent” egg recipes. My criteria: quick, simple, flavorful and healthy.

Today, my LivingAfterWLS friends, I present the twelve best recipes. One-Dozen. Enjoy them. Use them. Eat well my “egg-tra” special friends.

  • Oven-Scrambled Eggs

  • Seafood Scramble

  • Scrambled Eggs on Caramelized Onions

  • Harvest Omelet

  • Buenos Dias Squares

  • Take-Along Breakfast

  • CafĂ© Frittata

  • Egg-Broccoli Custard Bake

  • Turkey Tarragon Quiche

  • Corn Scrambled Pockets

  • Confetti Scramble

  • Ham and Vegetable Torta
  • Wednesday, October 12, 2005

    LAWLS Personal Self-Assessment Tool
    Is it working for you?

    Hello Everyone!

    Just a check-in to see how you are doing on the LivingAfterWLS Personal Self-Assessment Worksheet that delivered on Sunday. I must tell you, using the worksheet has made a difference in my week already as I have honored the commitments I made to myself. The worksheet helped me to realize I have been putting barriers in the way of my normal exercise routine and as a result was feeling lethargic. Using the worksheet I committed to 30 minutes of daily exercise and asked my husband to help me with this. So far so good and you know what? I feel better about honoring a promise to myself, I don’t feel so ashamed for making excuses, and I feel better physically.

    One of our community members, Joy, sent a note about the Personal Self-Assessment Worksheet. Joy said, “What a great idea! I am a consultant and use contracts on a regular basis to secure my livelihood. Why not use one to secure my life? I love it!”

    Perhaps one of the best parts of the worksheet is the chance to review all the positive things happening. Isn’t it true that as obese and formerly obese people we are very skilled at finding fault with ourselves. The worksheet is a great chance to take a moment and celebrate what we are doing right. Read what one community member found positive in her life:

    “My health is better. I can fit into the cutest clothes. My health is so much better. My energy level is so much higher. When I drop something on the floor I can reach down and pick it up without about falling on my head.”

    If you are new to LAWLS site and didn’t get the Personal Self-Assessment Worksheet drop me a note: and I’ll have it to you right away. This is a valuable tool for staying on track with our WLS. And if you have used the tool please post a comment here and share the community how it is helping you!

    Best wishes,

    Tuesday, October 11, 2005

    Calling On Memories
    Do you Remember the “War Zone?”

    We have community member, Beth, who is one week out of surgery. She wrote to tell me she is doing well and being doted upon by her husband and sons. Beth asked a really great question, something I have not thought about for a long time:

    “I want to find out more from the post-ops in the group regarding how their scars looked as time went on. I have seven "holes" from the laparoscopic surgery and countless other scrapes and weird skin bulges and folds. Please tell me that most of this stuff goes away!”

    Now, I can remember looking at my stomach and thinking “HOLY CRAP! WHAT HAPPENED??” - - But in time the surgical wounds healed and the bunching and puckering leveled out. That’s how it worked for me.

    What do you other post-ops remember about the “War Zone” on your stomach? Post your comments or drop me an email to

    Have a great day!

    Margo Is Improving

    Hello Everyone – We have good news from Margo, our community member who suffered the gastrogastric fistula about a month after her WLS surgery. Her TPN (Total Parenteral Nutrition) and PICC (Percutaneously Inserted Central Catheter) lines have been removed and she is now able to drink protein shakes.

    She suffered yet another setback last Tuesday when her temperature spiked and she had to return to the hospital. She said, “After five hours in the ER I finally got a bed, they filled me full of super antibiotics, gave me lots if IV fluids (I was dehydrated yet again because of the sweating) and sent me home that afternoon. Since then I am doing okay, concentrating on getting my protein drink and liquids in, and trying to recover from the totally wiped out feeling I get after each hospitalization, no matter how short.”

    True to her spirit of survival Margo said, “The other day our therapist asked me if I was sorry I had done the WLS, and I looked at her as if she had two heads. Of course not! I'd do it again, even knowing what was ahead. And so I am plowing ahead, planning to crawl back to my personal trainer next week, struggling to do laundry, trying to get out of the house each day, working very hard not to look skyward for the next shoe to drop on my head!”

    I know you will join me with continued prayers and warm wishes for Margo as she moves bravely forward. I am particularly appreciative of her for sharing this side of WLS as we all need to remember it is not always a bed of roses.

    Link to previous posts about Margo:

    9/13/05 - - Gastrogastric Fistula

    10/1/05 - - Margo Still Needs Our Prayers

    Sunday, October 09, 2005

    10/10: Monday Message from Kaye

    Hello Everyone!

    I hope you are doing well and LivingAfterWLS! We have three community members “Arriving” this week – please send warm thoughts to Debra, Sherry and Andy: each will have WLS this week. In addition, a warm welcome to Angie – she joined our community today and just had her surgery last week. We are glad to have all of you here.

    Special “Hello Mom”

    It is a great honor for me to send a special warm welcome to my mom, Janet, who is new to the community. My mom is in the “investigating” stage of surgery and no matter what her weight loss choice I love her for exactly who she is. I am glad to have her in the LivingAfterWLS community.

    Quarterly Personal Self-Assessment

    Today the LivingAfterWLS subscribers received the first ever "LivingAfterWLS Quarterly Personal Self-Assessment" worksheet. This is a new tool devised to bring accountability and path-forward action to our lives LivingAfterWLS. I hope you find it an effective resource in making the most of your WLS. I know I’m looking forward to a clear path forward in meeting my WLS goals.

    Subscription Form

    Future Topic: Sex, Obesity & WLS

    In the recent reader survey a great and oft-ignored topic was addressed by one of our readers. In answer to the question what topics would you like to see at LAWLS she responded, "Do I dare say "sex"? One of my personal points is that weight gain has altered the physical relationship with my husband. He swears it isn't because I'm heavier, but face it, stuff doesn't fit together quite as efficiently as it did when we were both leaner. The reality is, if having the surgery doesn't improve intimacy with my husband, will it lead to more separation? What have WLS post-ops come to learn about this part of their lives? Did feeling better about yourself make you receive so much attention as to be flirting or tempted to? I hear of some marriages failing because of jealousy by the husband after his wife becomes more appealing to others."

    This is a great topic I am excited to address, but I need your input. Please drop me an email me with your experience. Your privacy will be protected. Write to me!

    LAWLS Introduces PR Director

    I am pleased to introduce Julie Hullinger to you. She joins the LivingAfterWLS team as Public Relations Director. She has a solid background in theater and is a widely recognized radio personality in the greater Salt Lake City area. Her media expertise and enthusiasm bring energy to the LAWLS project. Julie is particularly sympathetic to the obese and has recently lost 50 pounds following the birth of her second child. She understands the daily struggle of living healthy and well in this world that makes it easy to be fat. Please contact Julie with any of your media or support group needs.

    In an open letter to the LAWLS community Julie wrote:

    Dear LivingAfterWLS Friends:

    My name is Julie Hullinger and I am thrilled to be on the team here at LAWLS. I hope you are all finding Kaye’s website as helpful and informative as I have found it. I have a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Weber State University. I am the mother of two children, Max who is 4 and a half and Charlotte who is almost 6 months old. I work very part time as a traffic and news reporter for Clear Channel Broadcasting and have directed and produced theatre for the stage. I am excited to bring my own expertise to this very special project. Only someone like Kaye could bring me back into the workforce after being mostly a stay at home mom for the last 5 years of my life.

    I know Kaye personally and can tell you that she is a true example of what we all can achieve. She has made eating healthy, staying fit and most of all, staying positive a part of her daily life. In this continual challenge of LivingAfterWLS, try to remember the immortal words of Winston Churchill, “Never, never, never give up.”

    Julie Hullinger

    You can look for Julie to present some great ideas for support group topics and LivingAfterWLS resources. Link to her page on the LivingAfterWLS site to subscribe to public relations upsdates.

    Brilliant Bagel Boats

    by Kim Stover

    I don’t know about you, but I have not had a bagel since having WLS. Bagels used to be one of my most favorite foods. Plain, garlic, cinnamon raisin…oh there are just so many varieties that can bring a smile to my face. Don’t even get me started on the spreads and other fillings!

    I was at my local bakery picking up my weekly loaf of whole grain bread and found myself looking at the bagels that were on display. It was eight o’clock in the morning and I had planned on having breakfast once I got home from picking up my bread. Now, I’m two years post-op, am at a normal BMI and feel that I'm very in control of my food intake. This morning, those bagels were calling my name. I knew that they were a forbidden food for the post-op patient. White flour, doughy center and buckets of carbs…not a smart choice for the WLS patient. Still, it was calling my name and I made the executive decision to purchase ONE bagel. I selected the “everything” bagel and had the counter person slice it for me. She put it in its own little bag, sliced my loaf of bread and off I headed for home.

    Now, this is when I realized that my brain had officially transformed from “Over Eater” to “Normal Eater”. While driving home, not once was I tempted to smell the bagel, peek at the bagel or taste the bagel. Not once did I feel any guilt. This was NEW! Pre-WLS Kim would have been feeling EXTREMELY guilty about purchasing a forbidden food. Pre-WLS Kim would have had consumed the bagel in the car on the way home, tossing the paper bag that it was in before entering the house. I’m single and live alone. Who was I hiding my food from? Clearly, Binge Kim would hide her food from Good Girl Kim. This came from many years of dieting as a child and trying to be Good Girl Kim for my parents.

    Once home, I was truly excited about my bagel, only because it was new. How could I manage this the best way? I took one look at the doughy center and knew that I would have issues with it, even if toasted. I ended up gutting my bagel. I pulled all of the soft part out and tossed it into the trash. Then I popped the two Bagel Boats into the toaster. Let me tell you, the smell was divine! I then scrambled an egg, warmed an ounce of deli turkey slices and placed a slice of low fat cheese on my Bagel Boat…HEAVEN! I had to chew forever, but every bite was delicious and satisfying. I then found myself plotting other fillings for my new find. Tuna, chicken or egg salad would be excellent!

    Bagel Boats…a great vessel for our much needed protein!

    Thursday, October 06, 2005

    Are You LivingAfterWLS?

    Coming Monday: October 10, 2005!!!

    The first ever LivingAfterWLS quarterly personal self-assessment tool. Find out where you are and where you are going with weight loss surgery. An honest private tool for ensuring your total success with weight loss surgery.

    Are you ready for the challenge? Watch your inbox!

    Exclusive to LivingAfterWLS subscribers

    Subscription Form

    Take Time to Stretch

    I became acquainted with one of our lovely readers this last week. Her name is Dawn and in 10 months since her surgery she has lost 110 lbs. What is more remarkable – she has done this while managing an extremely demanding lifestyle. She explained that for the last nine years she has had two daughters in college and graduate school. One just completed her medical degree, the other is in her second year. To help her daughters Dawn runs her own business by day and works a second full-time job at night. She literally does not have time to take care of herself.

    She wrote, ” This pace leaves NO time for cooking - and while I would love to exercise, I just don't know when I could do it.”

    It is perfectly understandable Dawn doesn’t have time to prepare meals or to exercise. As you know here at LivingAfterWLS we encourage commitment to the four rules. At the same time we do not judge one another for how we manage our lives. We all have different circumstances and I believe we are doing the best we can to make right our health with WLS.

    When I was considering Dawn’s situation I remembered an article from June titled “Shake the Wiggles Out.” Ahh-HA! Here is something even Dawn can fit into her schedule – some quick stress-busting stretches. So I’m pulling it forward today for Dawn and everyone else out there in the rat race! Next I’m going to stand up and give myself a little shake!

    Best wishes Dawn for your continued success with WLS! Thank you for sharing yourself and your story with us!

    Shake The Wiggles Out!

    Without any doubt, flexibility or stretching is my favorite part of the fitness triangle (strength, cardio, flexibility). It just feels so great to give the body a good stretch! Is there anything more sensualistic than watching a cat stretch after waking from an afternoon nap?

    Flexibility gives us a chance to breathe deeply and slowly oxygenating the muscles. It is an opportunity to clear the mind and release stress. At the same time it can give muscles a more elongated appearance; improve posture and range of motion. It is the finishing touch to building a beautiful healthy body.

    Stretching, like the cat, should be a soothing, sensual experience.

    The very first fitness activity we ever enjoyed was bending and stretching. As infants we were placed on blankets on the living room floor to bend and stretch and reach our toes to the oohs and coos of adoring family.

    In kindergarten our teachers asked us to stretch on tippy-toes and reach up to the sky. Then bend over and touch our toes. Maybe swing our arms overhead like a big tree in the wind. The teacher may have even asked us to shake all the wiggles out! Didn’t that feel good?

    And then life got serious and we quit moving.

    Well, it’s time to go back to basics and get stretching, bending and shake the wiggles out!

    Starting each day with the basic stretches we’ve known since childhood is an excellent thing to do for your body. The best way to improve flexibility is stretching. When you stretch, extend yourself to a comfortable point and hold it for eight to ten seconds. Let your body tell you how far you should stretch. Move slowly, breathe evenly and do not bounce.

    Don't worry who's watching - get up now and treat yourself to a good stretch! Your body and your mind will thank you.

    Tuesday, October 04, 2005

    Fat Absorption, Fat Substitutes After WLS

    Our friend Kabuki Dancer recently asked about fat absorption after gastric bypass weight loss surgery. She also asked about fat substitutes and how they work in our bodies. Here’s what I learned:

    Fat Absorption:
    In a gastric bypass the stomach size is reduced to about a cup and most of the small intestine is bypassed. The stomach outlet is attached to the jejunum (middle section) of the small intestine. Most food absorption occurs in this section. The specialized cells of the jejunum contain digestive enzymes, carrier proteins and other secretions. However, because the digestive tract has been significantly reduced in the bypass there is less time for foods to be absorbed. In the case of gastric bypass the body will absorb fats in limited amounts.

    Incidentally, most gastric bypass patients do not tolerate fats in the form of fried food. Eating fried foods can cause vomiting, diarrhea and weight gain. Monounsaturated good fats found in olives, nuts, avocados, olive oil and canola oil should be consumed sparingly. Polyunsaturated fats, the Omega-6 fats found in nuts, seeds, grains, leafy vegetables, soybeans, dairy products, corn oil, safflower oil and soybean oil, should also be consumed in limited quantity. Saturated (animal and dairy fat) and trans fats (hydrogenated oils) should be avoided.

    In a lap-banding procedure the small intestine is not shortened or disrupted so the opportunity for full-fat absorption exists as it did before the lap-band was installed. Most lap-band patients do not report the nausea associated with fat intake that a gastric bypass patient reports.

    Fat Substitutes:
    As you know, I turn to Dr David Katz often for general health information. In his book “The Way To Eat” page 219 he talks about fat substitutes. His final conclusion states “For now, limited use of products that use fat substitutes seems quite reasonable, but reliance on fat substitutes as a primary strategy to reduce fat or calorie intake cannot be recommended.” Applying his conclusion to the WLS lifestyle we must again use the word, moderation.

    Here is what he says about fat substitutes:

    - The principal reason for fat substitution is to reduce total fat and calorie intake

    - The available evidence suggests that fat substitutes are generally effective at reducing fat intake, but not necessarily at reducing calorie intake, because people often make up for the removed fat calories by eating more calories from other sources.

    - There are three basic categories of fat replacers: fat mimetics, fat substitutes, and low-calorie fats. Fat mimetics are nonfat food items that replace fats; mimic in the properties fats confer including effects on flavor and palatability, creaminess and mouth feel; and add fewer calories than the fats they replace. Examples include starches, cellulose, pectin, proteins, dextrins, polydextrose, and other products.

    - Fat mimetics are often useful in desserts and spreads, and are generally of less use in foods that require frying or other high-temperature preparation. Fat mimetics range from 0 to 4 kcal (kilocalorie) per gram.

    - Low-calorie fats are fat molecules (triglycerides) modified to deliver less than the 9 kcal per gram of most naturally occurring fats. Commercially produced low-calorie fats are poorly absorbed due to the attachment of fatty acids of varying chain lengths to glycerol; the calorie content of such products as Caprenin (Proctor & Gamble) and Salatrim (Nabisco) is approximately 5 kcal per gram.

    - Soluble fibers used as fat substitutes confer health benefits independent of fat replacement, such as cholesterol reduction and reduced insulin release. For some individuals, processed, fat-reduced foods could become a significant source of soluble fiber.

    - The most studied fat substitute to date is a sucrose polyester, Olestra, developed by Proctor & Gamble and marketed as Olean. Because it is essentially indigestible, Olestra passes through the gastrointestinal tract carrying fat-soluble micronutrients with it. Approved by the FDA for use in snack foods, Olestra is controversial because of the potential for both gastrointestinal upset and the leaching of these fat-soluble nutrients.

    Olestra decreases absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K, but this effect is at least partially compensated by the fortification of Olestra-containing foods with fat-soluble vitamins. Most evidence suggests that Olestra-containing snack foods, consumed under ordinary circumstances, do not produce any more gastrointestinal symptoms than standard products.

    - A variety of products derived from alteraions of fat molecules are under development.

    Introducing: LAWLS Community Hints

    The current issue “You Have Arrived” is all about dealing with the real world after weight loss surgery. I asked for reader hints in that newsletter and have received some great responses. For the benefit of all I will be presenting these hints in a column titled “Community Hints”. Please check in often for new hints and post your own hints right here to the comments. You can also email your hints to

    Let’s Keep On LivingAfterWLS!

    Kim Stover on Food Pushers:
    I am now the food pusher. I have everyone that I know, eat on my behalf. I enjoy every bite vicariously through them. I know who in the office is a "good eater" and who is a "bad eater". The good eater is either overweight or blessed with one of THOSE metabolisms. I can ask a good eater to try a cinnamon roll and literally taste it while they eat it because of the look on their face, the movement of their body and the sounds that come gurgling from their mouths.

    One of the best food eaters is Paula Dean on the Food Network. When she takes a bite of her bacon wrapped shrimp, I can feel the fat running out of the corner of my mouth. If something is particularly sinful, she'll bounce as she's chewing. That is enough for me. Perhaps it's because I can visualize things so clearly. Now the bad eaters will take a bite and say, "It's alright." and then proceed to toss the rest in the trash. Or they'll say, "It's not worth the calories. My gosh, look how many grams of fat are in this thing!". These folks are thin or are winning the battle of the bulge. Once identified, I scratch these people off of my list of approved tasters. Keep in mind, I work in an office that's in charge of buying food to sell in our stores. I'm surrounded by food, huge amounts of food in it's best form, for nine hours a day, five days a week. I used to be the chief taster, now...I take the advice of my nutritionist. She said that if there was something that I absolutely needed to taste, to take a small portion and save it for my lunch. Make it part of my meal. This has been the best for me. It has kept me from grazing all day!

    The Old Pepper Trick
    One of our friends from Texas said, “The only adjustment I still have to make is learning not to eat that one last bite that sends me to the bathroom to get rid of it! I seem to have this trouble the most when I really like the meal! I just want to keep getting that taste! So, the process of learning continues!”

    I think she can benefit from Kathy in San Diego’s advice:

    The only hint I have to share that I have been using is the same one I learned back when I was dieting and it works for me- if I have taken too much on my plate at a buffet or the serving size at a restaurant is too big (and I can't take it home for whatever reason) I douse the excess with pepper. That way no matter how long it sits there, I won't be tempted to keep picking away at it. I did this to some chocolate pie the other night and my daughter's friend was so shocked but soon she tried it too!

    What's for dinner? Meatballs!

    Kim Stover our Golden State Contributor, has a great recipe to share today. “Meatballs from Heaven” and it’s all about getting the most nutritional bang for your buck. One thing I like about this recipe is it is WLS friendly and family friendly. Not only that, Kim provides some great “left-over” suggestions. Give it a try and Enjoy!

    Sunday, October 02, 2005

    Monday Message from Kaye

    This is a big week for seven of our LivingAfterWLS community members. Please wish Joanne, Susanne, Dona, Diana, Beth. KC, and Sheryl well as they begin their weight loss surgery journey. Please remember Margo in your prayers too! She is having a tough-go since her weight loss surgery and can use all the support we have to offer.

    The October 3, 2005 issue “You Have Arrived” was delivered to subscribers Sunday. Did you miss it? Drop me an email or link to subscribe to this exclusive newsletter for the LivingAfterWLS community.

    Future Topic: Sex, Obesity & WLS

    In the recent reader survey a great and oft-ignored topic was addressed by one of our readers. In answer to the question what topics would you like to see at LAWLS she responded, "Do I dare say "sex"? One of my personal points is that weight gain has altered the physical relationship with my husband. He swears it isn't because I'm heavier, but face it, stuff doesn't fit together quite as efficiently as it did when we were both leaner. The reality is, if having the surgery doesn't improve intimacy with my husband, will it lead to more separation? What have WLS post-ops come to learn about this part of their lives? Did feeling better about yourself make you receive so much attention as to be flirting or tempted to? I hear of some marriages failing because of jealousy by the husband after his wife becomes more appealing to others."

    This is a great topic I would like to address, but I need your input. Please drop me an email me with your experience. Your privacy will be protected. Write to me!

    Success Story:
    Leah McCain Oettinger

    One of the best things about managing this website is hearing from so many inspiring people who are truly LivingAfterWLS. The next best thing is getting to share with the community some wonderful success stories. Leah McCain Oettinger is one of those success stories.

    Leah is two-years out from surgery and lost 110 pounds down to 140 pounds. She said, “In the past few months I have struggled with a stubborn five pounds that just won't go away. So I'm bouncing between 143-146 and haven't seen 140 in several months.”

    She asked my advice on incorporating exercise into one's busy schedule along with meal planning. “I think those are two things I could really benefit from. I have a tendency to tell myself that I don't have time to take care of myself. This is an old, bad habit. I'm in school right now at the Ph.D. level so the pressures are intense and it's super easy for me to fall into the trap. Any suggestions?”

    I was surprised by Leah’s email, that she saw herself as struggling. What I see in her is a solid success story. So I asked her to tell me what are the secrets to her success, I wanted Leah to recognize her accomplishment with WLS. She responded with a beautifully articulated 8-point outline of her success. I think you will see the same thing I see in Leah – An inspiring success. Please link to read Leah's 8-points for success.

    Congratulations Leah, keep up the great work and thank you for sharing with us at LivingAfterWLS.

    Saturday, October 01, 2005

    Margo Still Needs Our Prayers!

    Do you remember our community member Margo, the one who developed a gastrogastric fistula just one month after her gastric bypass? We introduced Margo to our community September 13.

    My good LivingAfterWLS friends, Margo is still struggling. In her sweet strong spirit she is keeping a firm determination to make the WLS work for her. In an email today she said, “Life is looking up a bit these days, thank goodness, for this has been one of the blackest periods I've gone through in a long time. Last week I finally hit the wall with sleep deprivation.” Due to the feeding tube she has been waking every one or two hours to use the bathroom. Our friend Margo is exhausted.

    To alleviate her sleep deprivation Margo’s surgeon cut her TPN (Total Parenteral Nutrition) feeding in half so she may get some quality sleep. The TPN has been used to feed directly into her bloodstream through a drip into a vein – she is not eating food. The TPN feeds don't go through the normal digestive system and is a commonly used method to treat patients who have a fistula, like Margo.

    After cutting the TPN dosage three days later Margo was on half rations. She said, “It was a struggle to get all the liquid in. My next goal is 30 grams of protein-which I am already approaching most days- and 48 oz of liquid, which seems impossible.” Margo needs to visit her ailing mother next week and hopes to be off the TPN completely. Of course the PICC (Percutaneously Inserted Central Catheter) will remain in place, as Margo’s condition is monitored. She may require future intravenous feeding.

    The good news: the last UGI (upper gastrointestinal contrast study) indicates Margo’s fistula has shrunk from 4 inches to a mere stub, which is very gratifying. But, she added, “Of course the hard work begins then, as I go back to ground zero and start to add smooshed food, and begin to exercise, something I wasn't doing much of before, and have done none of since the surgery July 11.”

    Please take a moment to post a comment for Margo, to send her warm wishes and thoughts and to consider the complications that can and do arise from weight loss surgery. Margo told me, “I very much appreciate your concern. The support and prayers of the LivingAfterWLS community mean a lot to me.” She needs us, and we need her too. We need to understand that sometimes things don’t work perfectly and as big of a blessing that WLS is, there are still serious concerns and complications to consider.

    Bless you, Margo for sharing with us. We wish you a full recovery.

    Yours in gratitude,