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Week 5 of 52 – Amsterdam – Nov 20, 2011 – 185 lbs

Just a quick note: I have changed my weekly blog update to Sunday instead of Wednesday. We also do our weekly update on our ‘year of travel’ newsletter on Sundays so I thought it would be easiest to do the updates on the same day.


Our last week in Amsterdam has been a good one although as you can see I only lost one lb. But I’ve lost 18 lbs since being sleeved on October 25, so who am I to complain! Remember to look at the big picture.


We have been in Amsterdam for 4 months living in 3 different furnished apartments, and it has been a life-changing event for both my husband and me. The city is unbelievably picturesque with all the canals, amazing architecture, world-class museums and cultural venues, and as I have mentioned, the most naturally gorgeous fit people we have ever seen. It’s also a city with a lot of sexual energy that just seamlessly fits into everyday life. People here are healthy and happy.


I wanted to be one of the happy, healthy, fit, beautiful people. But instead, I was 203 lbs, my feet hurt, my hip hurt, and then my knee went out (oh, and I got a disgusting cold sore on my lip). So, it was here in Amsterdam that we made the decision to get me back on the road to good health; that was late September.

Week 4 of 52 – Amsterdam – Nov 16 – 186 lbs

Well, Week 5 has been one of ups and downs emotionally, and down (in a good way!) physically. I’m down to 186 lbs. I’m going to start putting my weight in the title each week. I think it just helps to visualize the progress, even if it’s slow or stalled.


Seems that I am on the every-other-day plan. One day, I feel great, have some energy, seem focused, food goes down well. The next day I’m exhausted, I forget to eat, to drink my fluids and I can’t sleep because I have graphic images going through my brain, sort of like MTV that won’t turn off. I even threw up (the slimes) twice.


If you don’t know what the slimes are, here is the graphic description. You eat something your new tummy doesn’t like, or you eat too fast, or you eat too much. It feels like it’s just sitting in your esophagus. So for me, I just lay down and after about 30 seconds it all comes up. (Handy to have a bowl nearby.) It looks like eggwhites and although it’s not pleasant, it’s a lot better than normal barfing. And you feel much better after. The second time it happen to me, I was on a massage table. So steer clear of a massage within an hour after eating.


So this is my self-diagnosis: First of all, since I pretty much was on a free-for-all for so many years, I never let myself get hungry or thirsty because I was always grazing if not having a meal so I really didn’t have any hunger or thirst. Now, since I don’t have any hunger sensations, it’s very easy to not take care of yourself. I don’t like being so absorbed with myself, so I’m not paying as much attention as I should to eating or drinking.


So the message for Week 5 is to eat and drink! Seems odd to be saying that to myself and whomever is reading this, as we all want to lose weight. But for me, it’s been very easy to not pay attention. Yesterday was the worst. I was out all day and did not take anything to eat, so by the time I got back home at 2pm I was shaky and cranky. LESSON: Never leave home without a protein bar. 

Week 3 of 52 – Frankfurt and Amsterdam – Nov 9, 2011 – 189 lbs

The sights and smells can be overwhelming when you leave the hospital.









OK, so getting out of the hospital after weight loss surgery is a little like a drug addict leaving rehab. In the hospital you are very focused on the healing process; you are allowed to have very little liquids or foods, but you’re not tempted either because nothing is around. It’s very sanitized and I felt very much in control and thought I was going to breeze right through the next few weeks.

Once we left the hospital, we walked back to our little apartment and all of a sudden the real world hit me. Food everywhere, bakeries, people on the sidewalk eating and drinking, the colors, sights, smells were all magnified because this had not been part of my life for the last week.

It got worse as we got to the train station; every fast food chain in every direction, plus kiosk after kiosk of wonderful-looking food. I hadn’t really eaten in almost 10 days and it was overwhelming.

As we waited for our train, a young (thin of course) woman and her son came and put their hamburgers and french fries on the two seats next to me and then stood in front of the seats and ate as their fries were within inches of my hands. My husband was on the other side eating his lunch, and I stared straight ahead—into a Burger King ad!

So welcome to my first post-surgery pity party. I got a bit weepy (I don’t even like fast food!) but I wasn’t prepared for this and the reality that my world had changed hit me. Something to think about when you are ‘released’ and on your way home. Be sure to have some drinkable yogurt or something with you for the trip.

I reminded myself it was all a tradeoff and I am already a healthier person after one week. I went into the hospital at 203 lbs, I left at 194 lbs (and now I’m down to 189). I had a little talk with myself and the train ride back to Amsterdam was just fine.

Week 2 of 52 – Frankfurt – Nov 2, 2011 – 194 lbs

November 2010. My highest weight of 223lbs.

November 2011, 192 lbs (11 lbs lost since surgery on 25 October).

Here’s a photo of me taken in November of 2010 and one about a week after surgery. So now you know the reason I chose the title QUEEN OF CROP. I often would crop my body out of photos leaving just my face (although as you can see, my face is pretty fat too). But I was always the one to take photos in my circle so I could crop me out completely, delete a really bad photo, or crop part of me out.

I started 2011 at 223 lbs and managed to lose about 20 lbs by October. I wasn’t trying that hard, but I was finally more active now that we had retired.

Then, when my lower body started giving out on me and I couldn’t walk or bike any more, I knew I was in trouble. That, plus some drama between my husband and me, it was clear it was time to get the show on the road. I wasn’t getting any younger and now that I had these mobility issues, the weight would never come off unless I finally did something that had a high success rate.

Professor Weiner is known as the ‘Rock Star’ of Gastric Surgery in Europe!

My surgery experience overall was very positive. Even though I started research on the lap band, Dr. Weiner suggested the Vertical Sleeve because of my age (best not to have a foreign item in my body at an older age) and that this surgery had more benefits and a higher success rate. Not reversible? That was OK, so I signed up.

I ended up staying 7 nights in the hospital (wow, I’ve heard some people in the US go home after 1-3 days?).  I was in ICU the first night and back in a shared room the next day. I was so taken care of the entire time that I really can’t imagine going home after just a few days. Maybe this is one of the advantages of having this done in Europe, not the US.

Week 1 – Frankfurt, Germany – Oct 25, 2011 – 203 lbs

I think I am looking pretty chipper for someone about to be wheeled into surgery.

I think I am looking pretty chipper for someone about to be wheeled into surgery.

We left Amsterdam on 22 October. Most of the forums I had been reading required people to do 2–3 weeks of liquid diet before the surgery. I felt very lucky to have a surgeon who did not require that. I never wanted to post that on the forum because I didn’t want others to do something different from what their doctor required.

I just know that I would not have been able to do it, and I was so impressed with those who did. My body mass index (BMI) was 35, which is lower than most weight loss surgery candidates, but because I had these feet/hip/knee problems (and was also a self-pay) they accepted me.

But I did decide to do three days of liquids ahead of time, and that was hard enough. I was cranky and hungry, and when we got ourselves situated into a very small, funky apartment where my husband would stay while I was in the hospital, I had a bit of a meltdown. I guess mood swings are all part of this, and my husband has been extraordinarily patient, understanding, and supportive.

I had never had surgery before so didn’t know what to expect, but it’s clear they do things a bit differently in Europe than in the U.S. The admissions process left a lot to be desired, mainly because I was in unfamiliar territory – a hospital in a foreign country. (The advance information I received was not very good; I had to beg for nearly everything I got.)

Pre-Surgery – Amsterdam – Highest weight: 223 lbs, Nov. 2010

The women in Amsterdam are all tall, slim, gorgeous, and fit. I don’t know if they inspire or depress me!

The women in Amsterdam are all tall, slim, gorgeous, and fit. I don’t know if they inspire or depress me!

There are millions of us, millions of stories of how and why we have a weight problem, and what ultimately led us to the decision to have weight loss surgery.

My story is unique of course, just like yours. I have decided to keep a weekly journal of my own journey for three reasons. First, I don’t go to therapy (although some of my friends say they would be lost without it), and it helps me to put things down on paper. Second, I was inspired by another person’s blog about her lap band procedure, which convinced me to do my own research (and I ultimately chose the vertical sleeve). And last, outside of the forums (which were very helpful), I want to document this extraordinary year that I am about to embark upon.

My surgery was October 25, 2011, and I’ll chronicle what I went through each week. Maybe it can help someone else reach this very important decision; I am quite sure it will help me as I go through the process.

Anyone who has come to this point knows that the journey does not start on the day of surgery, and my journey was no exception. I was a fat baby, a fat kid, a fat cheerleader in high school, and a fat bride (twice). I have led my life as a fat adult – in fact, getting fatter every year. Until now – at 58 years old (I  turned 58 five days before my surgery) and 5 foot 3 – I checked into the hospital at 203 lbs (I weighed my highest a year ago at 223 lbs).