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Surgeon TestimonialRobert G. Martindale, M.D., Ph.D.
I recently emailed Dr. Martindale to see how he's doing. He was so nice as always. This man is amazing. I can't even imagine someone so thoughtful and passionate about a field like this, but he his truly devoted to helping those people like myself who have lost all hope of living anymore. I just hope he know's what a difference he's made in so many people's lives.
I went to see Dr. Martindale for the last time before he leaves for his new job in Oregon. I will miss him so much. I gave him a heart shaped box filled with Hersey kisses. I told him at this point I had lost 250 pounds. I had counted out the kisses and give him one for each pound I had lost. This man is amazing. He's been such an inspiration in all that he does for other. He took on my case when no one else would do it and for that I can't thank him enough. He's saved my life and my husbands. I can't ever repay someone for doing something so special for me. Dr. Martindale will be grately missed at MCG. What a shame to lose such a special surgeon.
I will have to tell you. I've been to now going on my fourth surgeon. Up to this point I was not 100% impressed with the ones that I had gone to. There was something about each one of them that held me back from wanting them to do surgery. I feel extremely BLESSED to have Dr. Martindale as my soon to be surgeon. This man is HIGHLY educated in this field. When we came in to meet me he was very friendly and kind. I felt like he was concerned about me. You could tell from the way that he talked about this that it was a passion for him to help people. He gave time for me to ask questions and did so very wonderfully. He made me feel very good knowing he deals with many patients that are over 500 pounds and has a true concern for those super obese. There are NOT many in this field that will even do surgery on someone these sizes, yet he takes the chance and helps us. What a man! Just to tell you some pluses. He takes the gallbladder out during surgery, he said it only take 3 minutes while your there. I said what about insurance, he said he doesn't charge them for it. He's done over 500 bariatric surgeries dealing with mostly high risk patients. He said to keep in mind he also does other surgeries such as hernia repairs, and other gastrointestinal surgeries, as well as be a professor, and he goes to other countries donating his time to help the less fortunate. He's done maybe 50 patients under 500 pounds the rest where over 500 pounds. He said the average BMI is 60, whereas most are around 45. I felt a huge relief that he's so experienced with high weights. The highest weight he did was over 900 pounds. I asked him about deaths. He has not had a patient die on the OR table. He has however lost 7 patients and he went into full details of each one, he said that patients had died anywhere between 8weeks to a year for various reason. He's only had 3 leaks. I asked him about certain patients and he remembered each one of them. That said a lot. Anyway I spent an hour and a half with him. He also knows and understands about my lymphedema. He felt that I would lose a good bit of weight from therapy. I could tell how he spoke that this was a passion. He said he does this surgery to save people's lives and give them life back. I fell in love with him. While he was talking to me I could see a glow around him. It was the most amazing experience, when we left I KNEW it was right and had major relief. I fully trust him and would put my life in his hands.
I orginally went to Dr. Gooden in Augusta. He said that he didn't have an OR table big enough for me. Dr. Goodens staff was fine, I just wish someone there would have asked prior about my weight instead of waisting my time and the surgeons time. I was disappointed. This is just my opinion I would not recommend some to go to this surgeon. I was not impressed with his office or how his program was set up for the obese. I am now going to see Dr Burrowes in Atlanta on the 29th of October.
I went to a Siminar for Dr. Duncan. I will say that I was quite impressed with this man. He is very smart, and had great dry humor! I would recommend him to anyone. His program is very well set up and he took the time after the siminar to talk with me personally. He only now does the Lap RNY. He does however have associates that do the open percedure too. I sent my packet to them and I'm suppose to go see him on November 20th. Provided I pick him to do the surgery.
Dr. Burrowes was a very informative, and smart man. The longer I sat and spoke to him the more I understood that he does this surgery for the soul reason to give someone their life back. His office was very nice. You can park on the 3rd level in the parking garage and go across the cross walk into the office building. Take the elevators to the 5th floor. It's not very far to walk. His office had chair with and with out arms. As a very comfortable couch. His staff was very kind and took their time with me. Once I got in the office I didn't wait to long. I was then taken back to get weighed and also they take your picture with some measurements. They had no problems with my husband accompanying me back there. We then watched a couple of videos. Dr. Burrowes is a huge fan of the Fobi pouch, which was designed by a surgeon in California (Mathias A. L. Fobi). (http://www.cstobesity.com) I knew going in that he was liked this percedure over the others. If you want to have that done you will have to pay out of pocket $4500. I told him that I could not get the funding for that and would prefer just the RNY without the Fobi. He had NO PROBLEM doing that. Infact he does SIX percedures. RNY, VBG, LAP-BAND, D/S DUODENAL SWITCH, and FOBI POUCH. He said that most insurance will only pay or allow the VBG and RNY. Any other would be out of pocket expense involved. My overall view of Dr. Burrowes was very impressed. He's definately on the HIGH end of the scale. His death rate is very low and he had done over 1000 of this surgery. He took the time to answer all my questions. He doesn't want an answer that day. He told me again all the risks involved. I got a very thick aftercare booklet that explained what I will be able to eat, things to expect, a long list of potential problems that can be resolved by the patient to cut down on calls to his office. It listed ideas for meals. I was extremely impressed. It also described what to expect 1-4 days. I guess what I most impressed about is how he does the percedure. He does it open with an incision of 2-3 inches long!! I know that he is a very skilled surgeon and feel this will be the one for me.
Well, I decided to go see Dr. Duncan today. Just wanted to feel him out too. I was very disappointed. I knew before I went that he doesn't want you to gain weight, but he wants you to do that for 90 days supervised BEFORE he will do surgery. I understand him wanting to shink the liver, but when I've been trying to diet since May this made me somewhat upset. I've been doing all I can. Not to meantion I was told on the phone that Dr. Duncan would be there. NOPE! He had an associate take a look at all of us. I was told one on one and I'm very upset that I went 150 miles to not ever see the surgeon. Total waste of my time. The staff is friendly, but people need to be told before hand the truth.
Amy Williams's JourneyClick Here To View
Describe your behavioral and emotional battle with weight control before learning about bariatric surgery.
It's been a very hard time all my life. It started from the day I was in 1st grade. I was always a tall child. I was picked on from then until the day I graduated high school. The kids were so cruel and it was very hard for me to get thru somethings. I wanted to kill my self. I was not happy with my self. I didn't seem to have many friends. The friends that I did have they are not around anymore. Most of then have not even attempted to talk to me. It had been very hard to deal with no friends. I didn't start feeling better about my self until I met my husband. He was the best thing that has ever happened to me.
September 26 2003 on September 26, 2003 12:00 am
Back in July I had an echocardiogram. The initial report said nothing bad, which I was greatly relieve. Today, I go in to talk with my pcp about my blood pressure, which is still not better. Anyhow, I told her I needed the final report on that echocardiogram, she went thru my file and found it. Then she said hmm. I said what? She said according to this and I don't know how I over looked it you have "mild" chamber enlargement of the heart. I'm like freaking out here. I don't consider anything with my heart MILD. I realize people live with enlarge hearts all the time. So she went to make me a copy and also rewrite my letter to my surgeon. She comes back and says we need to up your blood pressure meds. I just kind of was like OH. So now I am on 320 mg of Diovan. So then she proceeded to tell me, look I have to up this med because with seeing that report you are really in a high risk of congestive heart failure, which upset me even more cause both my parent have had that. She said you HAVE TO HAVE this surgery. When she rewrote my letter she wrote this time. Amy REQUIRES weight loss surgery to sustain life. Those are very strong words and personally extremely scary to me. I don't ask this much from people because I really am not the type to place myself before anyone else, but I need prayers that this surgery will happen soon. I am truly fearful that I'm not going to make it til then. I know with God on my side if he wants me here I'm going to make it.
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September 17 2003 on September 17, 2003 12:00 am
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Guess What?!! Yesterday my prayers were answered again. I got a call around noon that my wheelchair was in. WOW! It's a miracle, I didn't want to get my hopes up til I SAW and felt it! HAHA! Anyhow, my wonderful husband went at 2pm to get the chair. I was so excited when he brought it in the house. I knew that I would be able to go to my support group meeting! I have been waiting to do that. Another step of "coming out"! All I have to say is that support groups for pre-ops are SO important. It was the best experience I had ever had. I never in my ENTIRE life felt excepted. All my life I had been torn down and made fun of. To actually feel "excepted", I didn't know how to act. I was late getting to the meeting, but my husband wheeled me in and I wasn't ashamed! Those of you that are pre-op I can't stress enough that these support groups can open up getting new friends and be true support! For once in my life I spoke open about my weight and I had never been able to do that. It's like an alcoholic going to AA for the first time...LOL HELLO, MY NAME IS AMY.....I'M OBESE.....LOL!
Nah, it wasn't like that, but I did speak and I WASN'T NERVOUS. In the past when I get in front of people I get to shaking from being nervous and my voice will crack. That didn't happen. I have FINALLY at peace. I know some may not understand what I mean. It was the best feeling in the world!
I made new friends and I felt so good about me for once in a LONG TIME! Top it all off I weighed yesterday before the meeting. My weight has been going up and down because of my thyroid. I was happy to see it went from 574 to 565. Of course that is still 15 pound from where I was at 550, but my thryroid meds are helping! I got reassurance last night that the 3 surgeons I am set out to see are 3 of the best here in GA. I sure got renewed confidence!
September 16 2003 on September 16, 2003 12:00 am
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Well over the past couple of months I've had lots of comments about I don't look 574 pounds! Well, I'm swallowing my shyness and opening my self up here. I've had this picture for about 1 months and to be quite honest this to me is a step to "come out" of my little four wall world. I never thought I would be able to except who I am, but I actually am beginning to. I think it's part of the process I am trying to work on before WLS. If I don't make peace with my self now, how will I ever. So here goes nothing! I hope this inspires other pre-op not to be scared to come out. We have all been there or are still there. We have to except who we are now as well as who we are later. Like I have realized we are still the same.
September 12 2003 on September 12, 2003 12:00 am
You know sometimes in life you can't help but just sit back and laugh cause that's about the only thing you can do! LOL! Anyway, Today I waited all day for word on my wheelchair, nothing heard all morning, so I call. I get the lady I had been dealing with on the phone, she said well it looks like your chair is not going to be here today. Which I'm ok with that, as long as it's here by next Wednesday (support group meeting). Anyhow, she said she was going to do some calling and call me back. Well, she calls me back and guess what. "DUE TO THE BLACKOUT in the northeast, the manufacturer is behind". I'm like ok, so she then tells me that my chair MIGHT be here by next Thursday or Friday. I'm not mad at the lady I have been dealing with cause she's been upfront and honest about everything. She said the manufacturer PROMISED them it would be here. So she jumped all over them. Needless to say I won't make that support group meeting again :( ! It's a little upsetting, but I'm still happy to just get a chair at all! I'm crossing my fingers and praying they or someone will get me my chair by OCTOBER 29th...LMAO!
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September 8 2003 on September 8, 2003 12:00 am
Well, been waiting all weekend for Monday to get here for my wheelchair. I could hardly sleep last night. I get up this morning to a phone call that my chair was ready for pick up. The man was going to deliver it, but hubby said he would just go get it. So he gets up and drives over. Comes back and of course I had to check it out. When he brought it in it looked new. So I sat down and everything was great. Well hubby went to pushing on it and something wasn't quite right. So I got up and he was going to adjust the foot rest. Well in doing so he noticed the front right caster was not sitting right. In looking at it where it had been welded it was causing the wheel to not sit straight. So he called the chair company back and they said no problem bring it back and let's look at it. Hubby loaded it back in the truck and took off. By this time I am getting a little neverous about my appointment. Well in going back they found that the wheel was going to have to be replaced which would take a couple of days to order. Then in going back thru some notes on the chair they find out it was only rated for 500 pounds and the man that had it before me was around 700. I've had so many problems with other companies about this chair they just said we are going to order you a new one. It won't be here til Thursday or Friday. I was upset, cause I feared I might not be able to walk to my Phys Eval. My husband called and found out that it's not very far to walk. Maybe 50 feet. Thank goodness! I was like ok I can do this. I get to the office and waited. The therapist was excellent. I didn't have any test to take or questions to fill out. He just wanted my basic information about childhood and my eating habits. He was very personable and resposive to me. He said he would like me to come back to him as a post-op because being my weight I might have a lot of emotional issues later on that I might find hard to weed thru later. It only took 30 minutes and it was over. He said well you have done a lot of research as I can tell. You have even looked at this emotionally and I would say your mind is made up. So I asked then are you saying to have this surgery. He said well the choice is not mine, but I do back you in this. I was so happy! Boy which ever surgeon I do end up with they are going to be shocked when I go in with all my insurance requirements in hand! LOL! Come on surgeon I'm ready for you!
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September 5 2003 on September 5, 2003 12:00 am
Thanks to a wonderful friend I met named CarolAnn, She called who she got her scooter from and was able to get them to locate me a wheelchair! Trust me this is just in time too! I got a call back from the wheelchair company and they said BCBS of Georgia approved it for the full amount! This was done within 1 hour! CarolAnn, I hope you know how important you are. I could never have met you if it was not for this wonderful group. I wanted to think everyone that helped me with advice and prayers. It means so much, this is just one more testimony that this is what is meant to happen. I will be getting my chair Monday, just in time for my Phys. Eval! I can also go to my Support Group meeting this next Wednesday. I have tears of joy, I know some people might not understand why I am crying, but it's because I have not been able to go out for 2 years. My husband does all the shopping. It's one step closer to getting some type of freedom from these four walls. Thank you Lord!
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