In This Issue
* Hormone Replacement Therapy for Men
* Back on Track with Barbara: Internet Mentoring
* DUI Warning
* Your Help Urgently Needed
* Recipe: Crustless Pumpkin Pie
Story: Debbie Sturdevant
Hormone Replacement Therapy for
Following the recent articles in this
newsletter regarding hormone replacement therapy for women, I
received the following email from one of our male readers. My
husband Frank felt compelled to answer this email offering his
perspective. Please read each perspective carefully, and remember to get the
advice of your doctor.
I would encourage you to discuss hormone replacement therapy for
men. I began testosterone therapy about a year before surgery,
using a gel which was applied to the chest. I later switched to
pellet implant therapy where small rice-size pellets of
testosterone are implanted under the skin of the hip area. The
results have been great, and have countered the loss of energy
and muscle strength I was experiencing before. The therapy may
have also helped me manage my weight loss. Although I
was 61 when I had surgery, I recovered, healed, and lost
weight without much difficulty. I lost 150 pounds in the first
12 months after surgery. The testosterone also helped to
counter the buildup of weight which occurs naturally as a man's
hormone level drops. Best wishes.
Larry Jones, Sr.
I am Barbara's husband, Frank. I wanted to respond to you about
the testosterone issue. I did not have weight loss surgery, but
I did use the same gel treatment that you are using. I did not
use the small rice pellets that you also describe. I was about
57 when I started the treatments, and am 62 now.
To make a long story short, I am cautioning you that
testosterone treatments, while definitely giving you the energy
and vitality of a younger person, can have bad side effects.
About 3 years after I started using the treatments, I was
diagnosed with prostate cancer which eventually led to the
removal of my prostate. As soon as I was diagnosed, I was
instructed to stop the treatments. I was told that testosterone
treatments do not cause cancer of the prostate, but that the
treatments can rapidly increase the spread of the cancer once it
appears. I have my suspicion about that statement. I feel that
the treatments may have caused the cancer. I must say that I am
not a doctor, but I am an experienced patient.
If you continue your testosterone treatments, I would highly
suggest that you have your prostate checked by digital
examination at least semi-annually. The PSA test, at least for
me, did not alert to the forming of the cancer. I had slowly
rising readings, but the doctors felt this was the normal
advancement for a man of my age.
As far as recommending it for weight loss surgery patients, I
would not. While the treatments gave me a wonderful reprieve
the hazards of growing old, the resulting cost was way too much,
in my opinion.
I hope that this helped you.
Back on Track with Barbara:
Internet Mentoring Program
I had my original surgery in 2000, and went from 285 pounds to 167
pounds. In 2007 my weight was close to 200 again and I was very
ashamed of myself.
The doctor who took over for my original surgeon said I could obsess
about the fact that I gained back 35 pounds, or focus on the 85 I had
kept off. She had your Back on Track brochures in her office, and your
program was such a big help. The lessons helped me get back to
basics, get over the guilt and shame, stop feeling sorry for myself,
and start again.
Last month I went back for a checkup, got on the scale, and guess
what? I was back to exactly 167 which was my lowest post-op weight. This
month, I'm down to 158, lower than I've ever been in my adult life.
Those who say weight loss surgery is the "easy way out" don't know
what I've been through. I've lost all this weight on my own, at age 42,
after having had a baby. I had two choices, to gain it all back and
say the surgery "didn't work" and feel like a failure again, or try a
different way. That's what I did-with your help! So THANK YOU, THANK
YOU, THANK YOU!!!!
I told my surgeon I highly recommend your program to anyone who
either never reached goal weight, or had regained or both. Thanks so
much for all you do to help this community! You really made the
difference for me!
information on the Back on Track with Barbara Internet Mentoring
Program, and to start seeing the results that Stephanie had, click
I had gastric bypass surgery about six years ago and lost 130 pounds,
and have kept 120 pounds off. I had a great experience having gastric
bypass surgery and, fortunately, have not had any major problems.
Unfortunately, 2 years ago, I got a Driving Under
the Influence (DUI) citation. I had 2 glasses of wine that resulted in
a very high blood alcohol level. Thankfully, no one was injured, but I
flipped my car several times. Since then, I
have been doing research on alcohol and gastric bypass, and see that
there are many other people that have had this happen to them.
I hope that my experience with this DUI will
reach someone who may think they can drink and drive as a gastric
bypass patient. They should not--not even after 1 or 2 glasses of
I hope that you will consider printing this in
your newsletter because it is important to me to get the message about
drinking and driving out to others that have had this surgery. Perhaps
this will provide support to someone else if they have experienced a DUI.
I want them to know that they are not alone I felt like
I was alone for a very long time.
I hope that you will help me turn this negative
experience into a positive one, and help others.
Thank you for the continued wonderful
newsletter. They are a true source of inspiration.
Following surgery, especially gastric bypass surgery, we are very
susceptible to alcohol affecting us quite differently than before
surgery. We absorb alcohol differently, and considering that we are
eating less food, we don’t have food to help absorb the alcohol that
we are drinking.
According to a study reported in a 2002 issue of
the British Journal of Pharmacology, we are quite
susceptible to a much faster buzz following surgery, and our blood
alcohol level is much higher with far less alcohol. The study found
* Lower blood alcohol level.
* Blood alcohol level peaked in 30 minutes
* 50% higher alcohol level
* Blood alcohol level peaked in 10 minutes
* 90% of patients reported being more sensitive to alcohol post-op
* 5% received a DUI after only one drink
Thank you for this reminder that drinking alcohol
and driving after having had weight loss surgery is an extremely
Your Help Urgently Needed
the OAC's Petition to the FDA Urging a Fair and Balanced Decision on
the Medical Treatments For Obesity
Prior to our surgery, it would have been so important to us to have
had an entire effective tool box of strategies to help us to get our
weight under control. We needed counseling, we needed an understanding
that diets don’t work, and gradual lifestyle changes do. We needed easy
access to affordable exercise, and we needed effective medication.
The FDA currently is considering 3 medications to treat obesity.
And while we do not want to repeat the disaster that we had with the
Fen Phen drugs, we do want and desperately need medications that will
help fight obesity.
The problem is that the FDA, that is normally very cautious in
approving medications, is being even more cautious with these diet
drugs, and is applying an even more strict standard to the point that
no drug could ever pass their road blocks.
Considering this, I as Chairman of the Board of the Obesity Action
Coalition (OAC), along with Joe Nadglowski, the CEO of the OAC, wrote
an open letter to the FDA which appeared as a full page advertisement
in the October 12th issue of the Washington Post.
All we are asking is that the FDA use the same standards when looking
at these obesity drugs as any other drug, no more lenient and no more
You can help. Please sign the petition to ask the
FDA to use the same standards for approving these obesity drugs as
approving any other drug. Click here to sign the petition
http://www.obesityaction.org/fda.php and add your voice to those
concerned about getting the obesity epidemic under control.
Many thanks to Alida Turner for this holiday
CRUSTLESS PUMPKIN PIE:
2 cups of canned skimmed evaporated milk
1/4 to ½ cup of sugar, can substitute or add Splenda
1 standard size can of plain packed pumpkin
½ cup egg substitute (equal to 2 eggs)
1 tsp vanilla
2 envelopes Knox unflavored gelatin
Spices to your liking, such as 2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice.
Bake at 325° if using a dark baking pan or 350° if
glass one. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour depending on your oven. Cool
well before refrigerating.
If you have a recipe that you would like to share in future issues of
this newsletter, please send it to me at
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.
weekly motivational messages today
to stay on track with your weight loss.
for more information
My supply of success stories is EMPTY.
Please support this newsletter by sending your
If you have reached your goal weight (or close to
it), you have a success story to tell. But you also
have a story to tell even if you aren’t at goal
weight. You may not think of yourself as a “success,”
but if you are able to do things that you couldn’t
before, if you are able to play on the floor with your
children or grandchildren, or if you have thrown away
medications, then YOU ARE A SUCCESS. Let us rejoice
with you. Be proud of your wonderful achievement and
let the world celebrate with you.
If you are one of the many support group leaders
who use my newsletters in your discussion groups,
please encourage your members to submit their stories.
Send your success story with before and after
photo files to me at
Barbara@WLScenter.com and I will include your
story in a future newsletter.
I want to offer a special thanks to Debbie Sturdevant.
Here is her story:
I have been enjoying your newsletters and have also used both of your books to
help with the many situations that come up through this life altering process.
I read them before my surgery, kept them by my side during those first few weeks
of post-op uncertainty, and continue to refer to them.
As far back as my memory goes, I
have been fat. Actually, I was over ten pounds at birth and my mother
continually told anyone that would listen. I am the stereotypical person that
gained and lost a thousand pounds over the years and tried any diet that came
along. Each time I would lose motivation, or something would happen and the
weight would come back, plus more. Eventually, I found myself weighing 365
pounds and wearing just about the biggest size you could get - 5X top and size
34 pants. Intellectually, I knew about nutrition, exercise, emotional eating and
what needed to be done. Actually making it happen was a different matter
entirely. While I seemed to have control in other areas of my life I had no
control over my food addiction.
Many unusual circumstances have
happened to me over the years that I could easily blame my weight on. I could
write a book and no one would believe it. In the end, I know it is in my brain,
and I, to this day, am unable to change it. In 2002 I fell and did serious
damage to my spine and hip. I ended up having spinal fusion surgery on four
levels of my lower spine. Again more strange circumstances made my recovery
extremely painful and very slow. I was in a clamshell brace for eight months and
gained fifty pounds that got me to my all time highest weight.
There was physical therapy for
more than a year and constant pain continues for me daily. I was headed for a
wheelchair and knew it was only a matter of time before I would be entirely
bed-bound. The surgeon told my husband that if I didn’t lose weight I would die.
I started doing an in-pool exercise program at the YMCA. It actually seemed to
help me more than anything I had tried to that point. I also credit Cranio-Sacral
Therapy for keeping me out of a wheelchair.
I had been thinking about
gastric bypass surgery for years, but was too scared to do anything about it.
The failure of the spinal fusion surgery was the final straw and I started
studying to find out more about the surgery. I knew it would be a life changing
event and what if I failed at this, too? I honestly like food too much and
didn’t know if I could really give it up to save my life. The program at the
Bariatric Center in Syracuse, NY accepted me and they have a fairly strict
protocol pre-surgery. That is a good thing, and I would tell anyone to not rush
into this. Do the training before surgery. It is so important.
Two years ago I finally went for
my bypass surgery. It went fine and they took out my gallbladder at the same
time. I knew it had been full of stones for at least the last ten years. My
primary doctor had told me that one of these days it needed to come out, but
they wouldn’t touch me at my weight.
I came home a day and a half
later. I did everything I was told, get up and walk, etc. My second day home I
had excruciating pain and ended up calling my doctor at 4:30 in the morning when
I couldn’t stand it anymore. He said I had to make the hour drive back to the
hospital. After spending twelve hours in the emergency room in horrible pain I
was admitted. They did all kinds of tests and discovered that the clips used to
seal off the gallbladder surgery had somehow slipped and residual bile was
pouring into the abdominal cavity. The short story is I spent another five days
in the hospital. The gastric bypass surgery was perfect, but the gallbladder
surgery really got messed up.
The weight started coming off
and I continued to follow the program faithfully. It was truly easy at first. I
recognize that I am still an emotional eater and was trying to deal with that,
My fourth month out the
unthinkable happened. My mother-in-law died and ten days later my only son died
just after his 28th birthday. While that is truly another story, it
is important that I somehow found the strength to continue to take care of
myself in my unbelievable grief. There was no choice, it was too late to go back
and I could literally no longer use food as my emotional crutch. The first week
I could not make myself eat, but somehow got liquids into me and protein. The
grief of losing him continues to be crushing and I do the best that I can. Today
I am physically healthy, still in pain, as the surgery did not help my back, and
have lost 200 pounds. I wear a size 10 for the first time in my life. I believe
I skipped over those little sizes completely as an adolescent.
The new me becomes real when I
am folding laundry and wonder whose little jeans I am folding. I have to remind
myself that, “Oh yeah, they are mine.” I actually fit into those.
I continue to go to the pool, but have graduated from the
water walking class for arthritics to the deep water jogging aerobic class that
is high intensity. I have even taught that class several times when the
instructor was unavailable. Who would have ever in their wildest dreams believe
that I, the person that hates exercise, could teach an aerobics class?
My husband of 37 years has stuck
with me throughout everything. It didn’t matter to him if I was fat or thin. He
accepted me through all the ups and downs. My only regret is that I waited until
I was fifty-two years old to get my new life. I wish I had been smart enough to
have the surgery twenty years ago. In all honesty, now that the honeymoon phase
is over and hunger has come back, I do struggle every day. The difference is
this wonderful tool gives me that extra edge to not give up or give in. I have
maintained at my size 10 for a whole year now. Having this surgery saved my life
and I try to appreciate it every day.
|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
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.
Permission to Reprint
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Barbara Thompson’s free newsletter featuring helpful information and
research material to help patients succeed following weight loss
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