Aloha and Goeiedag!
Thanks for visiting my ABOUT ME page on my blog. Each Sunday I have chronicled what life was like for the first year after WLS. This is MY story of course, and everyone has a different journey. I’m not a model patient by any means, but I have been successful with this and extremely happy I made the decision.
Please read this page first. Then, if you are interested, you can either start at the beginning back in October 2011 or read the most current post. You can choose which option you prefer at the bottom of this page.
Just to let you know the short story: I started at 223 lbs, had the surgery in Oct 2011 at 204 lbs, and by September of 2012, I reached my goal weight of 141 lbs. I now ‘bounce’ around in the 130 lb range.
MY STORY: In 2011, when I was 57, my husband and I sold our home in Hawaii and our business and embarked on an extraordinary year of traveling throughout the US, Canada and Europe and living in a number of wonderful places.
We learned so much during this time about other cultures and different ways of looking at life, and we learned a lot about ourselves individually and our relationship to each other. Most of it was amazing and fantastic and incredible, a remarkable and marvelous year in our lives. We saw historic sites, incredible art, stayed in some of the most picturesque places in the world, and we spent priceless time with over 150 friends and family who have been part of our lives. We made many new friends — and on top of all that, along the way discovered Amsterdam, where we are now living.
Sounds like a dream come true, right? It was! Except for one thing: my weight. At only 5 foot 3, I was over 200 lbs (223 at my highest) and was always the heaviest person in the room (and once we got to Europe, I was convinced I was the fattest person on the entire continent!). Once I started walking regularly on our trip (instead of sitting at a computer) I lost about 20 lbs over the course of 8 months… but then my hip went out, after that my feet started hurting, and if that wasn’t bad enough, my knees started giving out! So I was short, fat, and limping around in Amsterdam, where everyone is tall, thin, and very fit (not to mention naturally gorgeous). My husband is tall and slender and has done a great job keeping himself in good shape over the years. My once self-confident nature was taking a real beating and I was not feeling very good…
Still, what to do? I knew the only way I could lose any weight, based on my past failures, was to eat less than 1000 calories a day… and who can do that for any sustained period of time, and while they are traveling? I wasn’t even in one place long enough to do anything serious and we were entertaining all the time. So I just lived with it.
Until one day my husband (who has been a wonderful partner and friend for over 20 years and rarely said anything about my weight) basically had a meltdown and said we had to do something even if it meant going back to the US before our year was over so we could figure it out. He was more upset than I had ever seen him. It had been building for years as it turns out; my weight had bothered him much more than he ever let on. I was pretty pissed that he had kept this inside for so long, and so began a roller coaster of emotional days. It wasn’t a pretty time in our little Amsterdam apartment; we had never opened up so fully to each other so lots of stuff came pouring out for days on end. Like the book says, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times” (weeks!) but at last we were talking about the monster in the closet.
That was in early October 2011. After some research and discussion, we decided that surgery was an option. With help from Tim Vicknair of European Medical Tourist, I learned of the Vertical Sleeve and found out I could have it done in Frankfurt, Germany, at a place called Krankenhaus Sachsenhausen.
I also need to say that one of the big influences in giving me the comfort and encouragement to do this was reading a blog I found on LapBandTalk.com (now part of BariatricPal.com) written by a woman in her 30s who opted for surgery to help with her lifelong weight issue. After talking with Dr. Weiner, the surgeon at Krankenhaus Sachsenhausen, he convinced me that due to my age and history, the Vertical Sleeve was a better option. I immediately went on to VerticalSleeveTalk.com (also now part of BariatricPal.com) and learned as much as I could. Since I was self-pay, I showed up for the surgery without a lot of red tape or approvals from insurance. So in a few short weeks I went from not even considering doing this, to the operating table! I had no one to guide me (before or after) except the online forum, so I was so grateful to have found such a resource!
My life has not been the same since. Our year of travel became an adventure of amazing places in the world and an internal journey of the mind and body for both me and my husband. The surgery was successful beyond my wildest dreams and I now manage my weight with little effort. I feel better about myself than I have in over 25 years. And because my husband has been the most incredible support person and cheerleader along the way, it has brought us closer than we have ever been. I finally feel that I am a normal person for the first time in my life.
I am absolutely convinced that weight loss cannot be achieved or maintained by traditional diets for many people and I was one of them. I have been chubby or fat all my life (including the photo of me at the top when I was 3!). I am grateful every day that this surgery made it possible for me to have a healthier, happier life in my late 50s and beyond. If my blog helps someone else, older or younger, to consider this surgery, then the time I put into it will all be worth it.
I enjoy writing this blog every Sunday and decided to continue for a little while after my one year completed. I guess my story is a little different in that I am not staying in one place for very long so you get a little tour of new places as well… a travel weight-loss blog!!!
I hope you enjoy reading the different twists and turns that happen along the way and perhaps you might learn something new, or it might mirror your own experience.
- To start at the beginning, Click Here: Queen of Crop Pre-Surgery
- To read the most current post and work back, Click Here: Queen Of Crop Home Page
Mahalo for reading this and as we say in Hawaii, A Hui Hou! (until next time!)
Queen of Crop