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Week 53 – Amsterdam – ONE YEAR SURGIVERSARY! – 63 kilos – At Goal – October 21, 2012

Taken at Vondelpark on my daily walk… it’s nice to experience autumn after 10 years in Hawaii!

It was exactly a year ago this week that we left Amsterdam for Frankfurt after deciding that the only way I would ever get my weight problem solved is to go the route of weight loss surgery. I was going through a million different emotions this time last year. My marriage was going through a weird time… we were talking more than we ever had in 24+ years of being together; it was good but awful at the same time. I was having this huge internal conflict with myself because my personality always projected a lot of confidence; if you put me in a room with a lot of people, I would always be one of the more social people there. I liked being the leader, boss, ‘traffic director’ in most situations. But being in Europe where people are tall and thin and fit, not to mention fascinating and multilingual, my normal self-confidence took a total nose-dive as I limped along on my bad knees, feet and hip! I didn’t want to go places, I just wanted to stay in, sit in a corner and not be noticed for the first time in my life. But we were finally retired! We were traveling for a year and I was in Europe! We were seeing friends!  How could I not be happy?

My inner conflict about my life is gone! I love my life! (especially after my spa day!)

So I fought with myself: I loved my life. Wait, no, I hated my life! One moment I felt like the luckiest person in the world, the next I was having a pity party for myself. So, it was time to say “enough already!!!!” I signed on the dotted line, had the surgery, and now, I love my life ALL THE TIME.

Yesterday I celebrated my 59th birthday and for the first time in my entire life I ate some birthday cake without feeling guilty and had my first birthday as a thin person. (It still feels weird to say that!) My husband gave me the most amazing gift: a hamam massage! Long-time readers will remember I did this once before in Berlin last November… well today, I am going to try to explain in detail just how heavenly this is.

Beautiful, classy, elegant, and affordable spa!

I went to a place called Spa Zuiver, a beautiful spa here in Amsterdam, very chic and contemporary and makes you say “aahhh” when you walk in the front door! Now this is Europe, so people here are NOT shy when it comes to bodies… so the dressing rooms are shared by men and women, and people just walk around naked (or in a robe) or you see them shower and IT’S NO BIG DEAL… I love that attitude. But of course, most people here are pretty fit and I didn’t see any huge people there at all, so a year ago I would have felt a little uncomfortable (the old “I’m the fattest person in the room” feeling…). This time, I just undressed in the communal dressing room, put my robe and slippers on and went downstairs passing Asian water falls and orchids everywhere and never feeling self-concious.

If you have a hamam place near you, go and treat yourself to a slice of heaven!

My masseur was named Joost; he welcomed me into this beautiful area with a steam room, shower area and the massage area. Asked me to take my robe off and to sit in the steam room, which I did. No one else was in the steam room with me but there could have been. I was in there for 5-10 minutes; I have not liked steam rooms in the past but this time I did. Was it because I felt better about my body? Maybe… not sure, but it felt great.

After the steam room, we walked over to one of the hamam tables, which is a stone table on a stone floor; it’s unlike a massage table as it gets very wet. Joost is wearing what looks like a dishcloth wrapped around his waist, that’s it. You can see others getting their massages as well; it’s a large room with open bookcase-style dividers. The lighting is soft and there’s some background instrumental music playing.

I lie on my back and he places a small dishcloth over my lower private parts only. The next part is something that happens over and over during this massage and there is no way to explain how incredible this feels. It’s something that has to be experienced and I never wanted it to end… they take these bowls of very warm water and pour them over your body. It’s like sheets of soft warm water caressing you and it’s one of the most sensual touches possible.

This is followed by a body scrub with a semi-rough cloth. Then more water… AHHHH! When you think all you want is the water over you, he then takes this pillowcase-type thing and fluffs it up somehow (it’s filled with soap bubbles) and massages you with it. Trust me, it is the softest thing you will ever feel, yes, even softer than a baby’s skin. Once he does that, he then squeezes the bubbles all over you and gives you a full massage using the soapy bubbles instead of oil.

Warm water being poured over your body cannot be described… it needs to be experienced.

Of course this is followed by MORE WARM WATER… then you turn over and he does it all again!!!! Water is amazing; I love to look at it, be in it, and having it poured over you in this ancient Moroccan way is very special.

As a last sweet touch, he washes your hair and your face and gives you a head and face massage. At this point you are one wet noodle and are on the verge of ‘falling in love’ with Joost, your masseur, and wondering if your husband would mind if you brought him home… “LOOK WHAT I FOUND, HONEY!!!”

Sadly, after an hour and 45 minutes, it’s over. He helps you up and makes sure you can walk, then leads you over to the shower area, which is this large round room with no knobs anywhere. You step inside and a hundred shower heads turn on automatically from the ceiling at the exact right warm temperature… at that point I was wondering how I got so lucky to be living this life!!!

After putting your robe back on, you then walk up the stairs where a cup of tea and a little fruit is waiting for you so you can figure out how to re-enter the real world slowly.

By the way, all this cost only 89 euros (about 115 USD) and they don’t take tips. Plus you have use of the rest of the spa as well — workout facility, etc. And to all my readers, if you make it to Amsterdam… I would be most happy to accompany you there and show you around!

Would I have this surgery all over again? Do I think the money I spent on the surgery was the best money I have ever spent in my life? Was the pain of going through a difficult period last year worth it? Did my weight problems carry over into other areas of my life but I didn’t want to see it? Was I headed for more medical problems as I got older if I didn’t get the surgery and become healthy? And finally, would I have gone to the spa if I were still 200+ lbs? I think the answer to all but the last one is an obvious YES!

As you can see, it’s been a wonderful week here in Amsterdam. We’re settling in nicely but it’s a good thing we didn’t come for the weather! It’s been cold and cloudy with a little rain but we have had a few bouts of sunshine here and there. I’m still walking in the park regularly but next week I’ll join the health club and start working out there, weather wimp that I am!

Celebrating my 59th birthday yesterday with my husband and a dear friend… we had cake and coffee and I didn’t feel the least bit guilty!

Thanks to everyone for the encouragement to continue the blog… it means a lot to me to have the support of others out there. Since I will be continuing this for a while, I would love to highlight some other success stories! If you have an interesting story to contribute, please send it to me using the comment form below. I may feature your story in a future post.

 

 

 

Tot die tijd!  (Until then)

Queen of Crop

(Click on photos to enlarge)

17 Responses
  • Cindy Hellstern
    October 21, 2012

    Your story gives me hope. Please keep writing. I had my surgery almost two years ago and have lost almost 80 lbs. my goal is twenty more. My life is a mess right now after 33 years of marriage, and like you I feel better than I have in years physically , but could not be more heartbroken. I enjoy hearing of your adventures. I had them regularly and don’t know what is ahead for my family.

    • queenofcrop
      October 21, 2012

      Thank you for writing Cindy…happy for your weight loss but I feel sad you are going through a tough time. Please stay in touch; I happen to be a total optimist (married to a bit of a pessimist) but I believe that you can choose to make a happy life (or not). You chose this to get healthier and you have; so now you need to make other good choices for yourself as well. I’ll look forward to hearing how things go for you. Maybe a trip to Amsterdam and to the spa might do you good??? We will have always have a guest room!

  • Carla
    October 21, 2012

    A hamam… I’ll have to remember that so when I finally get to Europe I can try that. At first I thought u were talking about a Turkish bath (can’t remember what that’s called). It sounds similar, yet much more gentle.

    Wow! To be living a new life in a new (old) country!! At 59, your are awesome!! Happy Birthday and Surgiversary!

    • queenofcrop
      October 21, 2012

      HI Carla! I think it is similar to a Turkish bath…but this was SO luxurious! I am living an amazing life right now. No complaints….are you still in love? Still planning your trip?

  • swizzly
    October 21, 2012

    OMG I WANT THAT SPA!!!! Sounds totally heavenly.

    • queenofcrop
      October 21, 2012

      Come visit! We have a guest room; we’ll go together!!!

  • WestTexasGal
    October 21, 2012

    What an incredible treat to find your blog! When I found it a couple of weeks ago, I was immediately hooked. You see, your story (at least the pre-surgery part), is mine–and with some incredible similarities. For example, my current weight is 203 (202.6 this morning), I’m 5’3″, I have an October birthday, and I just turned 57.

    And there’s more…I too, have a supportive, wonderful hubby who has put up with my weight struggles for many, many years. He’s watched over the years as I’ve become withdrawn and miserable over my ever-increasing weight. He’s supported me through many(!!) attempts at Weight Watchers, as well as pretty much everything else out there. Intitial success was always followed by failure (and usually a few additional pounds), that eventually got me to the point of just plain hopelessness.

    Despite my innumerable complaints about how miserable I was (both emotionally and physically–knees, back, neck), hubby never once said a negative or an unkind word. But about a month ago, he brought up the possibility of WLS. That was all I needed. I had thought about it before, but hesitated as I knew that I’d be self-pay and was reluctant to spend so much money.

    Together we went to the consultation appointment and together we made the decision. My sleeve surgery is scheduled for October 31st.

    So you see, I read your blog as if it were the foretelling of my story. I hope it is.

    Thank you for your candor and for taking the time to share your journey with so many people.

    WestTexasGal

    PS I love the name of your blog, “Queen of Crop.” That too, could be my story. While my husband and I are not planning a year-long travel adventure, he and I travel extensively–but like you, there are plenty of pictures of him, but none of me. Great Wall of China? Been there, done that, but no picture of me to prove it. Rio, India, Paris, Salzburg, Tokyo, London, Hawaii (many times), Germany, Turkey, Greece, Italy, etc. etc….yep..but always too ashamed to have my picture taken.

    • queenofcrop
      October 21, 2012

      An amazing coincidence between our lives…..loved reading your comment. You will not only have a new life in the next year, but photos to prove it! Can’t wait to follow your progress. Happy for you that your husband is so supportive as well; this absolutely has been a joint decision and adventure for both of us; not just me; and it will be for you as a couple as well. A completely new chapter in your lives! Please keep me posted.

  • sally
    October 21, 2012

    How wonderful a new season – a new city, a new you! and another year to live as the whole new you! I am thrilled for you- I too am about to celebrate 55! next week and am loving being relocated to England for 3 years! I do so love Hawaii- but what a treat you have for the next leg of your journey! Sally

    • queenofcrop
      October 21, 2012

      Hi Sally! If you are on the forum, please join my new group of European sleevers…there are only two of us right now (I just started it) but as you know, things ARE different here. Seems also there are a lot of 50 somethings that read my blog; thrilled about that!

  • Pam Branch
    October 21, 2012

    I think any spa experience is better when you are happy with your body, of course, but it’s also about being good to yourself mentally and spiritually. I am approaching my one-year sleeve anniversary (November 13th) and I am within 4 pounds of my goal weight and being officially “normal” weight after loosing almost 100 pounds. When I had lost 60 pounds last spring, I was on a business trip and decided to go to a luxury spa in San Diego for the first time in my life. I always viewed spas and massages as being a “waste of money” or for “wealthy people.” I was there for 4 days. Each evening I tried a different type of massage and tratment, including a fabulous “Hydro Massage”. It was the best thing I could ever have done for myself. It was expensive but to this day I am sooooo happy I did this. It’s hard to explain, but the experience allowed me to accept my new, skinny self and move forward with confidence in my life.

    • queenofcrop
      October 21, 2012

      Great comment Pam…thanks for posting. I agree completely that it’s harder to treat yourself well when you are heavy; and so much more enjoyable when you’re not. Congratulations on your upcoming anniversary and for your 100 lb loss! And if you are ever near a hammam; give it a go!!!

  • Carla
    October 21, 2012

    Yep, still in love. I am still traveling starting next month but only for a couple of months instead of long term like I originally planned. I’m planning to travel more next summer, with my sweetie. Life is good! And getting better and better! 🙂

    • queenofcrop
      October 21, 2012

      Happy to hear all is well! Thanks for the support as always!

  • suzy
    October 21, 2012

    Hi I am a new follower to your blog, I am drawn to you because we have so much in common. Today is my 1 year anniversary I have lost almost the excact same amount as you. Our starting out weight was within a few pounds. I will be celebrating my birthday in three days as a skinny person. I lived in Hawaii for the first 5 years of my marriage and would love to move back some day. This has been the best decision of my life. I have enjoyed reading about your experiences and look forward to your posts.

    • queenofcrop
      October 21, 2012

      Hi Suzy! And welcome! How interesting about our similarities! What part of Hawaii did you live and where do you live now? Maybe I should write a column about 50 somethings who start out at about 200-225 lbs for a column…seems there are a lot of us wanting to turn back the clock…and we have! Thanks again for your post.

  • suzy
    October 28, 2012

    I lived on Oahu north shore. I get to go back at least once a year. Sure do miss the life style, I now live in Salt Lake City Utah. I enjoy reading your blog, I don’t really get on the wls forums anymore, So its nice to read about your progress and have someone to relate to. I think my body is done losing weight now. Now I just have to worry about keeping it off. Aloha Suzy

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