In This Issue
* Weight Loss Surgery: Ten Years After
* Your Weight Matters
* Victoria, BC Conference
* Colonoscopy: Perspectives of a Bypass Patient
* Recipe: Chicken Vegetable Chowder
Story: Joshua Doroen
Weight Loss Surgery: Ten Years After
It is hard to believe that it has been
10 years since I had my weight loss surgery. And it is hard to
believe how much my life has really changed. Every day, there
are still surprising realizations that pop up that I canít help
thinking, ĎThis would not be possible if I hadnít had surgery.í I
could fill a book with all the changes, but let me share just a few
1. Physically Ė The summer
before I had surgery, I had to use a wheel chair when visiting
Disney World. My back hurt unbearably under the pressure of my
extra weight pressing down on the discs in my back. I lived with a
great deal of pain. Now I bicycle, I hike, and I thoroughly enjoy
the outdoors. My life is so much fuller with the hobbies that I have
been able to enjoy. I have fun with my husband and my little dog. I
can take my daughter shopping. I feel freed from my body.
Weight loss surgery has not cured my back problems, but my back is
so much better that I am able to be functional.
2. Self-esteem Ė I feel
good about myself. I know Iím not perfect, and the years show, but I
also know that I look pretty good. Before surgery, I would refuse
to go to weddings, reunions, family parties and even funerals,
because I hated for anyone to see me. I was so embarrassed about how
I looked. I would see it in the eyes of family and friends as they
would evaluate my weight. I knew they were noticing that I kept
gaining weight, because that was what was happening. Now when I go
to these functions, everyone makes such a fuss about how good I
look. And it feels wonderful.
3. My clothes Ė For the
first time in my life I am able to throw away clothes because I am
tired of them. It still surprises me when I switch from my summer to
winter clothes and back again, and my clothes still fit. That never
happened to me before. I was forever growing out of clothes. Yet it
still surprises me that they fit. Just the other day, I pulled out a
jacket that I wanted to wear. I hadnít worn it in a few years, and I
was afraid to even try it on. When I did, it fit perfectly. I was
4. My business Ė My books
and speaking have put me in touch with thousands of people that
hopefully, I have been able to inspire. I know that each and every
one of the people I have met has enriched my life tremendously. I
have had touching moments as people have shared their experiences
with me. I have laughed with people, and I have hugged them, and
cried with them. This has been the greatest gift that I have
received from my surgery.
My life has improved so much, which is
why I work so hard to ensure that weight loss surgery is available
to all who need it. That is why I am a member of, and now
Chairman of the Board of the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC).
Access to care is one of the cornerstones of this great
Itís been an amazing journey, and I
have been able to share so much with you over the 8 years that I
have been writing this newsletter. I always refer to you as 10,000
of my best friends. Thatís how I feel about you.
Your Weight Matters
|I want to share with you a national
campaign presented by the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) called "Your
Weight Matters." The Campaign challenges you to do 2 simple
things. They are to 1) start to think about your weight, and 2)
talk to your doctor about your weight. If you have any concerns
about your weight, this is a wonderful way to start.
Take this simple challenge and receive a free e-tool kit which includes
a free food log, health tips and more. Just fill out the form at
Do it because your weight really does matter.
Victoria, BC Conference
On Saturday March 28th, I will be
speaking in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada for the British
Columbia Association of Bariatric Advocates. Go to
http://www.bcaba.net/ for more information about this conference
and to register.
Hope to see you there.
Calling All Long Term Post-Ops
your surgery 9 or more years ago?
If so please drop me an email.
Perspectives of a Bypass Patient
Have you had a colonoscopy recently? If you are
50 years of age or older, you should have one every 10 years.
I had mine last week. The day prior to the
procedure, I was on a clear liquid diet. Then starting about 5:00 pm,
I had to drink a bowel prep, 8 ounces every 10 to 20 minutes until the
gallon container was empty. Actually consuming all of that liquid
helps with any hunger you may feel.
Because we donít normally eat large quantities of
food, the effects of the bowel prep were not severe. I spent 3 or 4
hours running to the bathroom with some frequency, but all in all, it
wasnít that bad.
The day of the colonoscopy, I felt terrific. It
reminded me that I should go on a liquid protein diet at least one day
a month. It is an effective way to stop carb cravings, and to get a
renewed sense of the size of your pouch. Having been on a liquid
diet, I felt great!
During the colonoscopy, a thin flexible tube
(about the diameter of a pencil) is inserted into your rectum and into
your large intestines. The tube has a camera on the end so the
gastroenterologist can see the walls of your colon, looking for any
polyps, inflammation or irregularity in the colon walls indicating
diverticulitis and taking biopsies to check for colon cancer. During
the procedure, you are under anesthesia and do not feel or remember
Before the procedure, I mentioned to the
gastroenterologist that I had chronic diarrhea. He said that 9 out of
10 gastric bypass patients he sees, has diarrhea. I did point out to
him that it was better that I had diarrhea rather than lying on his
table weighing at least 350 pounds. I did manage to get him to admit
that diarrhea was healthier.
Iíve received my report and am happy to say that
I donít need another colonoscopy for another 10 years! If you are due
for a colonoscopy, why not make the call today. It really is not that
bad at all.
Chicken Vegetable Chowder
14 ounce can of chicken broth, defatted
ĺ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ĺ inch cubes
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Ĺ teaspoon dried rosemary
ľ teaspoon salt
ĺ pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into ĺ inch chunks
2 cups coarsely chopped broccoli florets
6 tablespoons slivered Canadian bacon (2 ounces)
14 ĺ ounce can creamed corn
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1/3 cup reduced fat sour cream
1. In a Dutch oven or flameproof casserole, combine the broth, a
cup of water, the sweet potatoes, thyme, rosemary, and salt. Bring to a
boil over high heat, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook until the
sweet potatoes are firm-tender, about six minutes. Add the chicken and
broccoli and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about three
2. Stir in the Canadian bacon, creamed corn, and frozen corn.
Return to a simmer and cook until the sweet potatoes are tender and the
corn is heated through, about two minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in
the sour cream, and serve.
Note: The chowder should be quite thick, but if youíd like it
thinner, stir in a cup of water or additional chicken broth at the end
of step 1, until it is the consistency you want.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional Information for each serving:
353 calories, 32 grams of protein, 48 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams fat.
If you have a recipe that you would like to share in future issues of
this newsletter, please send it to me at
I want to offer Joshua Doroen a special
thanks for sharing his success with us and for his work
defending our country. Here is his story:
My name is Joshua Doroen and I am a gastric bypass
survivor. My story starts as a child when I was always
"hefty." I grew to control it as much as I could, and did
with limited success. My mother struggled with her weight
growing up, and to fast forward a little, she had a gastric
bypass in 2002. I think she is the most successful post-op
story I've yet seen. I think she must be a size 0.
So back to
me, at eighteen I decided to enlist in the Army. I had to
work really hard, and run really far to drop enough weight
to enlist. At 19, I made the weight goals I needed. They
were restrictive to say the least, but I made it and never
felt as good as I did on my graduation from Army Basic
Training. At 185 pounds and 5'8", I was on top of the
world. Little did I know that my six year enlistment would
be riddled with struggles to keep off the weight, and be
small enough to run two miles in under 16 minutes.
I left the
Army in 2005, at the end of my first enlistment,
disheartened and overweight. I was able to do my
Intelligence job as well as, if not better than, the next guy.
But being awesome at your job doesn't always mean being an
awesome soldier by Army standards. I left feeling that they
cared more about how fast I could run, than what I could do,
and my job wasn't to run, it was to fight, right?
don't get me wrong, fighting two wars, the Army must ensure
their soldiersí fitness. Physical fitness is important not
only to a soldier's physical state, but the mental stress
put on by long hours, combat stress and separation from
family. I think you will see by the end of my story that I
know this, love this, and live it.
"swelled" in the year after leaving the Army to over 300
pounds. I was depressed and was bringing my family down.
My wife said I "checked out," and was not there as a husband
or father of two. She didn't want to look at me, much less
touch me. Our relationship was in trouble, and I worried
about divorce. I had my mother as an inspiration, but was
too tired after working all day to do much more than play
video games! I realized I was trapped and saw my mother's
success as my escape. I read your book and thought, "work?
Yeah right!" Well, for the record, you were right! I
decided to have weight loss surgery.
I hate to
try and fail, so I put my efforts into working on what the
Eastern Maine Medical Center's Center of Excellence told me
I had to. I was driving almost three hours to make my
appointments, but not eating as well as I should have. I
actually gained more weight while in the program, and
couldn't get my eating under control. But on December 21st,
2006, the world's greatest surgeon, my personal hero, Dr.
Michelle Toder, took me into her operating room to perform
my laparoscopic Roux En-Y procedure! I honestly worried that
I wouldn't wake up after surgery. When I did, my outlook on
I was told
I would recover quicker, the sooner I got up and walked. I
walked a mile that night, and nearly three the next day.
Four years ago, I began the rest of my life. I dropped over
100 pounds in that year, with only one complication; the
rapid shedding of my waistline led to low blood pressure!
Also, in a controversial call which may or may not have been
in the regulations, in March of 2007, the Army let me back
I am still
there, in the US Army Reserve today. They made me a reserve
basic training instructor, and I flew through my PT tests
and the schools. In May of 2008 I volunteered for a
year-long Combat Adviser mission to Afghanistan. I spent a
year in Kabul serving alongside and mentoring Afghan Army
Drill Sergeants, and working towards a day when Afghan women
can walk their streets un-veiled, unashamed, and knowing
that they can raise their children without fear.
is not all roses; my wife moved onto another man while I was
overseas, and left me. Finding out what she was doing
caused a loss of focus, and I got hurt while not paying
attention on a mission. I impacted my small intestine on
that mission, and upon return, my hero (Dr. Toder) went back
in and repaired it this past October. I am fighting and
losing a custody battle for my daughter, in large part
because my decision to serve my country was not well
received as being in my daughter's best interests. The
court system in Maine never ceases to amaze me, but you know
what? Right now I have 50-50 custody, and when I have her
we play, we swim, we walk to the park, and we do everything
that I allowed my weight to be an excuse not to do.
At 30, I still don't think I'll ever be rid of the
excess skin around my waist that remains, but you can't see
it under my clothes or uniform, so it probably isn't as bad
as I feel it is. I have a great girlfriend for whom I cook every night. We fight (in play) to do the laundry, dishes,
and snow-blowing; usually to the incessant giggles of my
daughter and girlfriend's son. I am alive, I am serving, and I am as
happy as I can be; happiness I couldn't find in 52" pants!
Thank you for all you do to inspire those of us that have a
thin person hiding inside us!!!
Yours in experience,
Joshua K. Doroen, Sergeant, United States Army Reserve
Doroen, Joshua K SGT RES USAR USARC
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