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).
Even though I’ve always been heavy, I’ve had a wonderful adult life: fulfilling and challenging jobs, great friends, wonderful husband of more than 20 years, no children by choice, and financial security. (Could be I am okay financially because I have no kids!) I was always active and in great health. My husband and I retired last February; we left our home in Hawaii and have been on an incredible year of travel throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe.
Life has been good to me, but in fact I’ve gotten away with murder – almost my own. I have always been self-confident, competent in my career choices, with lots of friends, and I managed to be happy and successful without being thin.
Of course I tried losing weight over the years – who hasn’t? Weight Watchers®, Jenny Craig®, Nutrisystem®, Atkins™, Slimfast®, all the usual suspects. But I simply could not lose more than a half a pound a week (if that!) and I would get discouraged and give up. I am not a binge or closet eater, I don’t eat at night, and I tried to eat healthy, so I was frustrated when I saw thin people around me eating more than I did. But as Dr. Phil would point out, “How’s that plan workin’ for ya?”
Truth is, I didn’t move much. I walked regularly, but it was really just a stroll. I never pushed myself physically and the weight crept on, two or three pounds a year for 25 years, and I had been overweight to begin with. Then at age 57, my feet, knees, and hip started going out on me. The red flags everywhere were telling me, “It’s your weight, stupid!” Immobility can be a great motivator. So here I am.
There were several factors in deciding to have the surgery now. My failing mobility certainly was a large factor. But there is more, a most interesting and unusual story I’m not sure I’m ready to tell at this point. But I made the decision, felt good about it, and went about figuring it all out.
We were living in Amsterdam at the time, and Amsterdam is not the place to feel good about yourself if you are short and fat. The women here are the most gorgeous of any place we have ever been. So even though I have a strong sense of self, the pity parties were coming on strong! Now, not only was I short and fat, but I also couldn’t walk without limping, and at one point could not even ride my bike.
My surgery would be self-pay (there was almost no chance my insurance would have covered it, and I didn’t have the time to wait), so it was a matter of finding a surgeon with a good reputation. We found a website called European Medical Tourist, and through them we found Dr. Rudolf Weiner (they call him Professor) in Frankfurt, Germany. My web research showed that Dr. Weiner was a very well-respected surgeon in this field, so after a bit of paperwork, a few phone conversations, and wiring $18,000 to the hospital, I scheduled the surgery. A few weeks later, with my husband by my side, I was on my way to Krankenhaus Sachsenhausen.
joniNovember 21, 2011
Hello – Just registered at Gastric Sleeve Talk and stumbled onto your blog. I’ve been trying to decide between lapband and sleeve. Surgery will probably be in March 2012. I’ve pretty much decided on the sleeve and really enjoyed reading about your journey. Thanks for sharing yourself and I look forward to continued reading of your blog. Thanks! Joni
queenofcropNovember 21, 2011
Good for you for doing your research! I thought I was going for the lap band until the Dr. strongly recommended the Vertical Sleeve. I am very grateful for that guidance because once I started doing research on this procedure, I realized it was the best for me. And I have read many posts from people who had the lap band and are now getting sleeved. You need to pick the right one for you but this one seems to be the best option out there for people without really super high BMI numbers. Good luck and thanks for registering!
Cathey AubinDecember 30, 2012
Hi, I just wanted you to know I love reading your blog. I just found it about a month ago and I think you were the first person I could relate to with the sleeve. I am 62, 5’3 highest weight 211 I am now at 198! Will be sleeved on Jan 9. Like you I have always had a weight problem. Funny even in high school when I weighed about 120 I always thought I was fat. My husband has been majorly upset over my weight for some time. I think I have been in denial for years. Glad you got sleeved before you had to have a knee replacement like me. Or hip! We love travel also but we will not be going anywhere until I get this sleeve under control. Thanks for your blog I love it and will look forward to the occasional one you write. They are a big help. Cathey
queenofcropJanuary 2, 2013
Thank you for your nice comment Cathey….we are very similar and yes, I am so thankful that I lost the weight before I had to have knee or hip surgery; I know I was very close to having to have those done! Regarding the travel, keep in mind, I had my surgery while we were traveling; rested for 3 weeks and then we were on the road for 4 months! So don’t wait too long to start your travel journey! Best of luck and write any time! QofC
AndreaJanuary 8, 2014
Hello, I am 5 months out from the sleeve and just found your blog, I have a question how do I view the weekly entries? I went to your very first one then it jumps a month. I found this very interesting and helpful. Thank you
queenofcropJanuary 8, 2014
Thank you for reading my blog and congratulations on your surgery! Hope it has gone well for you.
Best thing to do is start with http://www.queenofcrop/com/about
Then Week 1 starts in October 2011 (I was sleeved the last week in October so there is only one week in that month)
Week 2-7 is in November. When you click into it, go to the very bottom of the page to see Week 2 and read up.
Same with every other month.
Happy reading and let me know how you are doing!
Queen of Crop