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Week 52 – ONE YEAR! – Amsterdam – 63 kilos – October 14, 2012

Two passport photos, the left one taken in Oct 2011, the right one in Oct 2012!

Wow, Week 52. A year ago I started writing this blog and have faithfully written it every Sunday.

In the past year I have been in 7 different countries, lived in 9 different places, lost 83 lbs, reached my goal weight, and have been living a new, healthier life. WHAT A YEAR!!!

Two passport photos taken EXACTLY ONE YEAR APART, one last October, one last week... need I even say more???

When I started this blog last year I didn’t know what to expect. Unlike many people I have met on the forum, I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about weight loss surgery before I had it. In 4 weeks, I went from learning about WLS, thinking I would get the band, changing to the Vertical Sleeve, reading the forum every day, to having the surgery and then BOOM! My life changed week by week after that. I was self-pay so there were no pre-approvals needed. I paid the money and off I went!

Is it any wonder we want to live here? One of the many canals of Amsterdam.

It all started here in Amsterdam exactly a year ago, and although I wasn’t at my highest weight of 223 lbs, I might as well have been; I was 203 lbs and the fattest person in the room everywhere we went. Worse, my hips, knees and feet hurt all the time, which doesn’t work well in a city of tall, thin beautiful people and a place where you walk, bike or run to catch the tram. Then there were the pity parties of wondering why I was so fat when I was eating like all these thin healthy-looking people??? I was happy to be on a European adventure but conflicted at the same time.

Feeling much better about myself this time around in beautiful Amsterdam!

Fast forward one year. After being ‘sleeved’ in Germany on October 25, 5 days after my 58th birthday,  we then spent a couple of months traveling through Europe, then to the US mainland traveling there for another couple of months, then back to Hawaii for the last 6 months. Now here we have relocated to the Netherlands… but this time, I can MOVE!!! We walk or bike everywhere. It’s great because I can tell already that being here is going to help me keep my weight off; I even lost another lb. this week! What a difference this surgery has made in my life. Now when I see a steep flight of stairs? No problem! We walk to dinner, to shop, to anywhere… and it’s FINE; it feels great to walk at a nice clip and even in shoes with heels that look good (read: not ugly tennis shoes!). The best part is my self-confidence is strong again and my husband is happier to have me so much healthier as well. I’ll never be tall, but at least I’m not the big self-concious blob I was last year.

Week 51 – Amsterdam – 64 kilos – October 7, 2012

Beautiful canals and bikes everywhere!

Goedemorgen from Holland! Last Sunday we left Hawaii and spent the next 2 days traveling to our new home in Amsterdam, landing here on Tuesday morning. We had two long flights, a long layover and a hiccup on this end getting into our apartment, but after an afternoon nap and dinner with a friend, we were pretty much on the European time zone by Wednesday. I’m not sure my stomach was in agreement with that, but my brain was doing OK.

Toasting our first night in town with our Dutch friend Frank!

I’m so surprised I didn’t gain any weight this week because all I did on the trip over was snack; I felt I was snacking or drinking coffee all the time. And of course I haven’t exercised once yet and I can really feel it. (It feels good that I am eager to get back out there in a routine!) Actually, I’m feeling like a fat person again… could be the tall, gorgeous Dutch women (this sure messed with my mind last year!) or it could be just that I am so much more aware of my body and what I’m capable of doing to it, good and bad!

So here we are in the land of kilos, grams, liters, kilometers, Celsius, the euro and a foreign language! I put my weight in kilos at the top because that’s the standard here and I need to get used to it (it converts to 141 lbs). It’s not a difficult conversion: take your weight in lbs. and divide it by 2.2. I’m thinking that a personal long-term goal for me would be 59 kilos or 132 lbs. I like the sound of being under 60 kilos, but also I am now seeing that indeed, I really should lose a little more weight and that seems like the right number.

Week 50 – Honolulu – 141 lbs – September 30, 2012

Not sure when we’ll be back, but I know we will…a hui hou for now Hawaii….

This is it. Today is our last day of living in Hawaii; we most likely won’t be back for quite some time. We’ve lived here for the last 11 years and tonight we head off into the sunset and board a flight that will take us exactly half-way ’round the world to our new home in The Netherlands. All week people have been asking us if we’re excited, and the honest truth is yes, but nervous as well about making such a huge, life-changing decision… HMMM, sounds a little like weight loss surgery! That turned out well, so we’re hoping this does too!

Moving to a foreign country is a big decision. It’s taken us 6 months to downsize, organize, throw out, give away, sell or pass on to family half of our accumulated items. In one way it feels great to be so organized and streamlined and in other ways, it’s sad to see things that mean a lot to you go away. Like anyone who moves to another country, I’ve been going through everything I own and making a decision on whether or not it makes sense to ship it 9,000 miles t the other side of the world. But unlike most people, I have also had to go through every item of clothing I had and make a decision on each item. In the past year, I’ve gotten a whole new wardrobe and have given away or donated most all of my old clothes. But there are some things I just can’t seem to part with; some I’ve been able to have tailored and others I’m keeping for a while. It’s been many months of making a hundred decisions every day for items that only mean something to me, no one else.

Week 49 – Honolulu – September 23, 2012 – 141 lbs AT GOAL!!

Two Important Things Happened This Morning.

First, I stepped on the scale and it said 141 lbs, a number that says to the world I am no longer Morbidly Obese, Obese, or even Overweight! I am officially a Normal weight for the first time since I was born! Because I was unsuccessful at any and every diet I tried throughout my lifetime, this is monumental for me.

Second, I logged onto my computer and got a Happy Anniversary message from Alex, founder of the Gastric Sleeve Surgery Forum on, noting that it was exactly a year ago today that I signed up. That began one of the most interesting and transformational years of my life. It was almost as if I had planned this: reaching goal weight one year from the day I signed up for the forum.

The view of the River Amstel was much calmer than what was going on inside!

The view of the River Amstel was much calmer than what was going on inside!

Even though this past year has been exciting, wonderful, introspective, and a true life-changing experience, this time last year sucked – big time! My feet hurt, my hip hurt, my knees went out on me, and then my normally strong self-confidence got beat to a pulp and then stomped on by my normally loving and supportive husband.

This is the story I mentioned in my first entry about my final moment of truth. No I didn’t sit on a chair that broke in a room full of friends, no I didn’t get asked, “When are you due?” by a stranger; mine was much more personal.

I say final, because how many red flags do you see before you say once and for all “Enough Already!” But it wasn’t me saying it – I was too embarrassed to talk about it because I felt like such a failure. It was my husband who finally said he couldn’t take it any more. We fell in love in 1987 when I weighed in the 160s (which was more than he weighs) but he had hopes that I would lose some of that weight. Hah! Not only did I not lose it, over the next 24 years I gained 60 more pounds. Difficult for me, sure, but for him it was like “a thousand paper cuts” until he was finally screaming in pain.

Week 48 – Honolulu – Waikiki – 142 lbs – September 16, 2012

Kapena playing in front of the historic Moana Surfrider Hotel last night.

Last year at this time we were in Amsterdam, listening to classical music at the Concertgebouw (one of the world’s finest symphony halls that dates back to 1888). Fast forward one year and we are listening to wonderful Hawaiian music on Kalakaua Avenue, the main street along Waikiki Beach, which was closed off for the annual Aloha Festival. One of the bandstands was right in front of another historic structure, the Moana Surfrider; the first hotel in

The amazing Uncle Willie K – check him out at

Waikiki that opened her doors in 1901. The skies were clear, the tropical breezes balmy, the locals and visitors were having fun and the musicians and hula dancers were fantastic. A wonderful night in Waikiki. No one put on a better show, though, than the multitalented, legendary performer known as Uncle Willie K. If you ever have a chance to hear this talented musician, run, don’t walk to see him!

We had a perfect dinner at PF Chang’s before the show; if you haven’t had their chicken lettuce wraps, then give them a try. Perfect for us sleevers looking for a tasty dinner and keeping it light at the same time. We shared that and another appetizer and it was still too much food!

My daily cocktail of vitamins keeps me healthy, but now I have added one prescription pill to my pile……

Before all the fun started in Waikiki, I went to the doctor this week for my annual pap, blood work, and to have her check out my hip problem. The good news is that my blood work is PERFECT! Because my (and if you are reading this probably yours too!) diet is so restricted, I’m very concerned that my lab results are where they should be; yes the scale is important, but for me, the blood test pinpoints what I need to be doing more of, less of, or better. I’m not a model food person by any means at all…I never get all my water or protein in, I drink 2-3 cups of coffee with cream in it each day, and I have chocolate of some sort every day. I make sure I have protein at every meal, but I’ve never come close to 60 grams; I’m lucky if I get half of it in. BUT! I am faithful about my supplements, getting my requisite annual tests done including my blood tests, and for the last 6 months I have exercised regularly. So I was thrilled when she called and told me that everything from my Bilirubin level to my Hemoglobin levels were AOK!

That was the good news…..

Week 47 – Kihei & Kahakuloa, Maui – 142 lbs – September 12, 2012

Just one of the beautiful Maui beaches

We just got back from 4 days on magical Maui, where everyone there — visitors and kama’aina (locals) alike — are very laid back and seem like they are on one long vacation. Tanned bodies, surfer dudes, beach bums, tropical clothes, and drinks with umbrellas in them are everywhere. People are happy and having fun. It’s one of the things we love about the islands; they are all so different, and on each island the leeward (sunny) and the windward (wet-tropical) sides are as different as San Francisco is from Los Angeles.

Shave Ice and cribbage at Lorraine’s!

We had a great time (and I managed to lose ANOTHER lb!!!). I am now within ONE LB of not being overweight… hard to imagine. But, I digress… back to Maui! We went to Lahaina and had lunch at the new restaurant owned by Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac (great!) and then traveled around West Maui to a very rural part of the island and our favorite shave ice place called Lorraine’s. We try to get there when we can, not just for the shave ice but to visit Lorraine and Guy and have them beat me at cribbage. Such a simple life they have; they live in this little tiny village called Kahakuloa and greet those who venture out of the resorts to explore the island with goodies and a game of cribbage (don’t ever plan to win; they are masters). We also bought some homemade banana bread and a fresh

Breakfast Maui Style!

pineapple so we were set for breakfast, Maui style, for the next few days. Eating banana bread is something I am just able to do now, 11 months out. Happy to have just one slice….it’s enough!




View from my daily walk on Maui.

I managed to get my daily 3-mile walk in (which I’m sure helped with that last pound). The bad news is that my hip still hurts… damn it! You would think that losing 81 lbs — the weight of a child for God’s sake — that my hip would have stopped hurting, but sadly it hasn’t. (My feet and knees are good though!) So off to the doctor today to see what the scoop is on that.