Hallo everyone! I’m baaaaaccccck! I said I would post when I had something really juicy to write about after my first year of weekly posts was up. And now I do have something I think would be of interest so I’m here to share!
Just to recap quickly since it’s been several months since I stopped writing weekly. At 58 years old I had the vertical sleeve surgery; this was the end of October 2011 and I wrote each Sunday until the end of 2012. My highest weight was 223 lbs when we lived in Hawaii; when we retired in 2011 and started traveling for a year, I managed to lose almost 20 lbs but at 5’3″ I was still seriously overweight and my knees, feet and hip were all going haywire on me. If you want to know more, take a look at my ABOUT ME page.
The first year after my surgery was truly an adventure of the mind, the soul, the body and many countries! How many people have this surgery in a foreign country (for me it was Germany) then travel for the next six months? As the weight came off, I logged many miles through many different countries and states in the US as we made our way back to Hawaii to get organized for our move to Amsterdam!
Most of you who have followed my posts from the beginning know that my weight loss journey (as well as my traveling journey) was a positive one and that I told very few people about my surgery. The summary of that first year was that I lost over 85 lbs, reaching my goal weight of the mid-130s at about one year after surgery, and I have maintained that weight for the last nine months. Right about that time, we moved from Hawaii to Europe, bought a house in Amsterdam, and spent the winter moving in and getting settled in our new home. The best parts, though, were that not only did I drop the weight, my health issues went away and my husband and I became closer than we had ever been. Life indeed has been great and we love living here and enjoying our retirement and each other!
EXCEPT FOR MY BREASTS. No story is perfect, and even though all was going like clockwork for me, my poor boobs kept getting more and more deflated all the time; they were like party balloons… a week after the party! Wrinkled, deflated, and definitely pointing DUE SOUTH!!!! And for some reason, one breast was twice the size of the other. They felt awful to touch (even by me!) and how do you buy a bra with two different sized cups?
So as I mentioned in my entry last January, I went to a plastic surgeon nearby (as in two blocks from our new house!) and in his very fancy office discussed having implants done. I thought that was what I needed, but for a second opinion I decided to go to a surgeon back in Germany who was recommended to me by the doctor who did my WLS. So off my husband I went for two days to meet with him in Frankfurt. He spent two hours with us (and never charged us anything!) and educated us on my options. He suggested that I have a breast reduction in the larger breast and a breast lift in both, but no implants. As he said, “You have enough material to work with!” That sounded like a much better plan to me, but even though he spent a lot of time with us, I didn’t feel like I wanted him to do the surgery. One reason is that he was far away, and I just didn’t like his style. He spent much of the time showing us pictures of the surgery with all the blood and guts and gore, and when I asked him for some “after” photos he looked at me like it was the first time he ever heard a question like that. Imagine if you were having your kitchen remodeled and all the contractor could tell you was what a mess things were going to be during the project — tools, dirt, dust, wires, crap everywhere — and you said… but what will my kitchen look like when you’re done? And he just gave you a blank look… so, we decided to go back to Dr. #1.
So back to the fancy office in Amsterdam we went, explaining that I didn’t want implants, but the reduction/lift. The appointment lasted long enough to convince both my husband and me that this was the right place and the right doctor, so we signed up!
Two weeks and € 4800 later, I now have matching 25-year-old B-cup breasts! I had my surgery done a week ago today and it was a very pleasant experience. He removed 9 grams of tissue from one breast and 150 from the other… so what does THAT TELL YOU??? The private hospital was less than a mile from our house, the doctor and staff very efficient and kind. I went in on a Tuesday morning, the surgery lasted 2.5 hours, after I came out of the anesthesia about noon I had a cracker and some cheese, around 3:00 I had my usual coffee and a cookie, and that night I had a small slice of quiche and a chocolate tarte! I slept well and went home the next morning.
We are both thrilled with the results! For the first time in my adult life, I have very nice looking breasts with nipples that point forward (and as far as I can tell, still have a lot of sensation). I have to wear a sports bra for the next month (night and day) and there is still tape on them for another week and there is a small amount of bruising. But they are really really nice and a much better fit for my body than the appendages that were dangling and bordering on being a deformity! And hey, not bad for an almost 60-year-old. I am so happy not to have had implants.
So 19 months after surgery this is what my life looks like:
- I am maintaining a healthy weight with very few food issues: I don’t eat much, but I eat plenty. I don’t count calories or look at food labels and I always have desert every day!
Food really is a non-issue for the most part. My husband and I often share when we go out; he’s happy about that because then he doesn’t overeat either. We still have a salad every day for lunch and we eat very few carbs by choice. (We save our carbs for deserts!) I can eat almost anything but rice.
- Even though I can eat anything, I do recognize that my tummy is more sensitive than before so I have to be careful not to overeat. But it just comes naturally now.
- I don’t get enough protein in and I don’t drink enough water, but my blood work is textbook perfect.
- I still get a monthly B-12 shot and I take vitamins but no prescription medications.
- Living in Amsterdam means I walk or bike organically; I’m not currently going to the gym, but I do use 3-kilo weights several times a week.
- I have some excess skin on my upper arms and upper legs, but I’m going to live with it; it’s not a huge amount and it’s too cold here for sleeveless tops and shorts anyway!
- I have half the clothes now than I had when I was heavy, but it’s so much easier (and fun!) to get dressed now that clothes look so much better on me. Interestingly enough, I don’t have a big desire to go out and buy a lot of new clothes; I’m so happy dressing in basic things.
- As time has gone by, I have become less concerned about people knowing about my surgery. I have told other close friends (and often felt guilty that I didn’t tell them earlier). It took me a year to fully grasp that I could never have reached a healthy weight traditionally; as the daughter of one of our dearest friends says, “I just ended up on the wrong side of the gene pool!” So even though I’m not telling everyone (and our new friends here never knew me heavy), I feel much more comfortable letting those I love know.
- My wonderful husband has continued to be unwavering in his support and love for me through all of the changes. Our relationship is a true love story; it keeps growing and he continues to keep our life interesting and full of surprises.
I have nothing to complain about at all… OK, the weather is so damn cold I’m sick of it!!!! As my Irish friends would say, “It’s Feckin’ Fraizin!!!” It’s the middle of May and we’re still wearing thermal shirts, scarves and boots here. BUT, the trees are finally green, the flowers are blooming, and I have two boobs that look like each other!
To all of you who have followed my blog, dank u wel! For those of you who are just starting your journey and have decided to read A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF A SLEEVER, start HERE and enjoy your own journey!
QUEEN OF CROP
Cindy HellsternMay 14, 2013
I must be connected to you insome strange way!!! Yesterday I was driving down the tollway and thinking” I really miss the blog from the queen of the crop” and I wonder how she is? And voila!! today I open my mailbox and there you are! God is good!
My life continues to change and has been very difficult. My husband of 34 years, as I told you before, indeed insisted we file for divorce. He is being extremely difficult. To make things almost impossible for my self and our friends and family, he has been having an affair with my little sister, and will not give her up. She is also divorcing her husband of 28 years. I have seen the dragon of emotional eating raise it’s nasty head as he continues a mental barrage and refuses to stop communicting with me, and go through the lawyers. thank God, I have only gained five or six pounds and am finished with the major paperwork for me as of yesterday afternoon. It was an 18 hr a day job for months and just killed my time for exercize. So today back to the gym, and boy do I miss it. So long story is, please keep encouraging those of us, that have not had the support and love of our husbands, and are finding our own way back into the world after so many years of being a prominant Mrs. i am holding it together, but now 2.5 years form my sleeve, I have 20 lbs still to loose, not the fifteen, and going I was at. I know I’ll make it, andsomehow get the breast revisions i need, but facing it all on my own, will be a different and scary proposition. So , again, keep the happy tales forthcoming, and god bless you in your joy and success. Cindy
DebMay 14, 2013
Yay Queen! So glad to read that you are doing so well! Great post about the boobies and it does suck, but well worth it! I am 11 months out, reached and PASSED my goal and some days I still can’t believe it. Thank you for your inspiring blog!
CatheyMay 14, 2013
Thanks for the update. Glad you are still doing well and your new boobs are beautiful! I’ve now lost 54lbs since Jan and feeling so much better. Only 25-30 more to go and I’m not in a rush. Looking forward to your next post.
BrendaMay 14, 2013
It was so great hearing from you again. I have thought of you often and wondered how your journey is going. The last I wrote you I had told you I had decided to have the surgery. Well I did have it Feb 12th is year and I started at 5’6′ and 217 pds. and I weigh 180 now. I’m wearing size 12 and 14 now. I am losing slowing compared to some people but as my doctor explained to me I didn’t have as high BMI as some people so do not expect to lose as fast. I am still thrilled at my weight loss and can’t wait to continue losing more. This is the best decision I have made and I wish I had done it sooner. It is an adjustment to your life but a good adjustment for your health. I glad you are doing great!!!
RobinMay 14, 2013
Congratulations!!! You have done amazing and have been an inspiration to me….now you have me thinking i would also love some new perky boobs… thanks for the update, glad you are doing so well….
ElanaMay 14, 2013
Thanks so much for doing an update. I have been waiting for one. You have been a true inspiration for me and reading your blog have motivated me to also have WLS. I am a South African, living in Switzerland, and my gastric bypass surgery is scheduled for the 4th of June in Switzerland. I am having a get together with friends in Amsterdam from 23 to 25 May and would love to meet you for a coffee if you are available – it would be very special to meet you just before my operation. Please let me know if any of the dates will suite you. Elana
swizzlyMay 15, 2013
So happy your surgery turned out so well! And lovely to see another new post from you. 🙂
MichelleMay 15, 2013
Congrats! Your breasts are spectacular! What a wonderful way to finish off your transformation, inside and out.
Thank you so much for writing your blog. I’m going in for VSG next week (revision from a lap band) and I’m really nervous. Reading the details of your journey (I’ve read every post, from beginning to end) has given me courage and comfort in that I know what to expect because I read about your experiences. Our situations are very similar (I’m 57 y/o and also have been absolutely unable to lose weight regardless of how little I eat or how much I exercise) so you have become my weight loss mentor! I hope you don’t mind! Congrats again on your new breasts and your amazing transformation over these past 19 months. You look like the beautiful younger sister of your former self. Please keep writing! You are making a difference. P.S. Amsterdam looks beautiful–even when it’s cold!
queenofcropMay 16, 2013
Thank you for your very nice post; much appreciated. Being nervous is normal, but try to think about what you are nervous about and then ask some questions in that area (to me, the forum, your doctor) and hopefully that will calm you. Is the surgery? What you can and cannot eat after? Like I said in my blog, I look at like remodeling a house….I know it will be messy for a while but I am more interested in what it will look like when it’s done!
Would love to hear how things go for you; and at 57 you have many miles to go in a new self! (Tried to email you but the email didn’t go through).
All the best,
Q of C
MaryMay 16, 2013
I am so glad to see a new entry. I am 52, considering a sleeve, and read your entire blog over the course of a week, it helped me so much! Most of the things you can find online are much younger women, and your story helped me decide this is the right thing for me. Thank you.
Penny RobinsonDecember 2, 2013
So glad to see this post, even if it’s late! I was finishing chemo around the time you posted and I am finally getting my surgery on 12/11!! I am having RNY, due to the amount of weight I need to lose, and due to my diabetes. I am so excited to finally start this next chapter!
Your reduction was a shining success and you must be thrilled!
queenofcropDecember 3, 2013
HI Penny! So happy to hear from you….wow, only a week away and you will FINALLY be on the road you have only dreamed about for so long. Boy, you sure a different path that the rest of us, but I am hoping it will be a straight shot for you the rest of the way. Please let me know how your surgery goes and I am so happy to hear from you! I have been meaning to write a 2 year update for over a month. Now that I have heard from you and a couple of others, I am more encouraged. I need to get back on the forum as it was always a good support for me and I hope you are still there as well.
Again, thank you for getting back in touch.
Queen of Crop
AnnDecember 3, 2013
I read it all. Today. Between conference calls. You rock!
You DO know you have a book here, don’t you?
queenofcropDecember 4, 2013
Thanks for the encouragement…..if you liked the first year, I really should write about year 2!!!!