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