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Week 8 – Venice and Rome – Dec 11, 2011 – In the 170s

Venice, with canals and more tall, beautiful women

Venice, with canals and more tall, beautiful women

No pizza, no pasta, and no wine! This may not have been the wisest choice in places to visit nine weeks after WLS. There are 100 Italian restaurants to one of any other type; Italians don’t quite get the concept of diversity when it comes to eating. I think I am the only tourist in the history of Italy who visited and ate mostly soup!

Venice … just as gorgeous as you can imagine, but check out the blonde on the left who has legs that go on forever, and of course her thighs have probably never touched! (What does she eat???)

Our first night in Venice we went to a very charming, local, small, family-owned Italian (what else?) restaurant. Watching the people who worked there and the locals who came in was like watching a scene out of the movie The Godfather. Attention all casting agents: just have a cappuccino here and you will have all the characters you need for your next project! Another thing about restaurants here, if you don’t order vino with your meal, they look at you suspiciously. So when I ordered a pizza (scraping off the top again) and nothing to drink, and we didn’t eat the bread they brought, and I only ate one slice of this huge pizza, I’m sure they thought we were odd indeed. The proprietor asked (looking genuinely concerned) in his heavy Italian accent, “Wassamatta? You no-a like-a my pizza?” So another lie to just say I wasn’t feeling well.

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).