Back on the road again… we are practically retracing our steps from last year… Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Prague, and we just arrived in Berlin. Part of it is coincidence that exactly a year later we’re traveling to the same places. This year, though, is a huge difference as now I can walk without my hip and knee hurting, I have a lot more energy, and I can eat almost anything! So this trip I just need to be sure I don’t gain a few pounds, like people tend to do when they go on a holiday!
I’ll start with our trip to Frankfurt. Our first stop was Krankenhaus Sachsenhausen, the place of my surgery and 8-day recovery in late October of 2011. I had my one-year checkup with Dr. Chandra, who was very pleased with my 83-lb loss, my blood work, and the results of my ultrasound. It was so interesting walking into the hospital where I began one of the most fascinating years of my life. I looked around at all the obese
people in the waiting room and I wanted to look each one of them in the eye, congratulate them on making the decision to do this, and tell them that this time next year they will feel healthy and so much more confident and in control of their lives than they do now. I wanted to tell them not to be scared; it’s a little weird at first, but like so many things, you’ll get used to the changes. I want to inspire them, to let them know they are about to transform into a healthier person without the constant pressure of dieting, and that it all happens so fast that every day has a new surprise waiting for them!
I was disappointed not to talk with Dr. Weiner (known as the ‘rock star’ of gastric surgery in Europe). He was called into surgery but I wanted to thank him personally for the work he has done on all of the weight loss surgery options. Dr. Chandra told me of a huge WLS conference that Dr. Weiner is in charge of; it happens next weekend in Frankfurt. I’d love to go and learn more about this fascinating subject because I truly believe we are in the infancy of what this surgery can do to reverse the obesity problem of so many people. Still thinking about whether or not to attend so stay tuned.
After two days in Frankfurt, we hopped back on the train to Prague! What a charming train… probably built in the ’50s complete with a dining car. Traveling by train is such a pleasure compared to flying. You arrive 10 minutes (or less) before your train departs, walk to the platform — no TSA security, no weight limits on bags, no extra fees for luggage, no long safety announcements — it’s so civil. Once you are settled into your comfortable seat, someone will come by and ask if you want a cappucino… and the views from the train are always interesting. It’s a lovely way to travel and turns transportation back into part of the fun of the trip, something that has been lost in the days since 9-11.
We met our friend Sarah from Switzerland in Prague, one of the world’s most beautiful cities. We are very close to her and we consider her daughters our adopted daughters, but I decided early on not to let her know about the surgery. I know she would be very supportive and non-judgmental, and her highest priority would always be for my health. But something held me back from telling her; I think it’s just one of those personal decisions and I have no regrets. I do have to say that I feel a little guilty when she (or others) start heaping me with praise about how disciplined I am and how they’ve never known anyone that has been able to lose so much weight at our age. So I feel a bit deceptive at times and I need to figure out how to reconcile that in my mind.
I love the fact that I can now go out to dinner and socialize without anyone questioning how little I eat; another difference from last year. I usually always have wine and a little desert and I order something small or something to share for dinner, and people just think it’s normal that I am eating such small portions because I want to keep my weight off… and they’re right! But this is much different than a year ago. I remember not being able to eat much in Prague… the food is heavy and rich and even when I would try to eat a little, I would end up running to the ladies room to throw it up. This trip was much more fun!
We had a great time exploring Prague; if you travel to Europe I hope you will put this amazing city on your list of places to visit. Although it has had more than its share of wars and political upheaval, Prague managed to survive major destruction and has some of the most beautiful architecture in all of Europe, from 15th-century castles to amazing art deco buildings. In fact, we had a very elegant lunch at the Art Deco Restaurant, a very special treat. We also went to a very special dinner in a neo-baroque ballroom where we were served a fancy meal and listened to Mozart. I just ate a little of what they set in front of me (the menu had something about a ‘knee’ on it so who knows what I was eating!). But it was just nice to not have to fuss about what I can or cannot eat; this was the biggest change from one year ago when there were so few things I could eat (or keep down).
I do want to share the highlight of the trip. Besides the castles, the architecture, the Charles Bridge, the museums, and music everywhere, Prague is able to attract first-rate talent. We went to see Tommy Emmanuel, in the opinion of many he is the world’s most talented guitar player (in fact, he was the real reason for the trip). Both Sarah and my husband had seen him perform before but this was my first time… all I can say is please, please take a few minutes and watch this YouTube clip: TOMMY EMMANUEL and look at the touring schedule on his website; he travels constantly and if he is coming to a theater near you, run, don’t walk to see this amazingly talented performer. I promise you will not be disappointed.
Yesterday, Sarah (my personal fashion consultant) helped me buy my first pair of boots in over 20 years! (Not just because I was fat, but I didn’t exactly need boots in Hawaii the last 10 years….) For the first time in my life, I had fun shoe-shopping! I had on heavy socks, leggings and jeans, and even with all of that, every boot I tried on zipped up without a problem and it was nice to be able to be flexible enough to take them on and off (I know you all know what I’m talking about here…). So I am now the proud owner of a new pair of boots!
We celebrated our last night in Prague with a wonderful dinner at charming little Italian restaurant, and although I’m still not eating pasta, we had a nice salad, and I had a slice of pizza and a wonderful glass of red wine. What’s not to love about that? Today we boarded our train and had a nice ride to Berlin where we will spend the next few days exploring. Once again, I know it will be a much different visit here this year than last year.
Thanks everyone for coming along for the ride… no matter where you are in your weight loss journey (or any journey) it’s always more fun to share the moments.
Až příště (Until next time in Czech!)
Queen of Crop