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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.
December 26 2003 on December 26, 2003 12:00 am
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This past year has been a very big struggle for me. It had started out with my husband's foot, finding out that I have a thyroid problem, my husband's surgery, my 15 year old cousin's death from MD, my aunt and grandma's passing to getting passed from one surgeon to another for WLS and lastly finding out that I have lymphedema. I promise there is a point to all of this. Right now I have decided that even though I am going thru all of these things that I am still going to feel better about my self. It really should not matter who we are on the outside. It's just an outward appearance. What makes us who we are is our heart. This year during all of my hardships and worries I have really realized that I am important and if no one ever knows that I will. I think that's all that matters most is when you look your self in the mirror whether you are obese or overweight or thin to see a person that is happy with who they are really. So I challenge those that think they are ugly or not worth anything to find that inner beauty, it's there. It's been waiting on you to find it. Even as an "super" obese person, I'm not going to live my life in a shell anymore. I want to live and be free like everyone else. Thanks to my wonderful husband he arranged for a pampering for me for Christmas. It's the best thing ANY of us can do for our self. We deserve it. So that's my true challenge, go out and do something for your self. Get a hair cut, get a make over, go have fun. We only have one life and don't sit to wait for life to pass even as that pre-op. Let's make 2004 the best year ever.
December 15 2003 on December 15, 2003 12:00 am
Well I usually don't wait so long to update my profile, but so much has been going on. Hi Group!
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After doing all my researching on lymphedema, I decided to in a way hold off on surgery. Things were not going so well with the surgeons. The good news is now though that Dr. Martindale here in AUGUSTA emailed me personally back. I had not been able to go to him in the first place because they were not excepting consults. When I called them about 2 weeks ago they still were not taking consult appointments nor putting people on a waiting list. I was looking at some things about lymphedema on the MCG (Medical College of Georgia) website and it just so happen to list Dr. Martinedale. He's also a professor for surgery at the college. It listed an email address for him. I thought what the heck. So I emailed him. I told him all about my situation and that I didn't want to have to go all the way to Atlanta with a perfectly qualified surgeon right here in my area. The next day I got a response back. To my surprise it was directly from Dr. Martindale himself. He said that he didn't see why he couldn't get me in to see him. Needless to say that in itself impressed me about this man. He took the time to respond to me and he didn't have to. He is a busy man.
I feel in my heart that this is part of the reason the other 3 surgeon I have seen have not worked out. The last surgeon I just found out does not transect his RNY patients. He is an avid believer in the Fobi pouch. I have no qualms about the Fobi, but he requires $4500 up front to do it. If you can't afford it then he will do the RNY, but doesn't transect. My status as of today is my pcp is sending the referral to Dr. Martindale's office. I spoke to Dr. Martindale's secretary and she will be scheduling me either by end of this month or for sure by January for my consult. Also my pcp is referring me over to Physical Therapy for my legs, I'm very certain I have lymphedema. Which to my surprise occurs in many obese people and is very frequently misdiagnosed as simple edema. Many people have had great success with the physical therapy, in fact the ones I have seen that where my size, after therapy lost a large amount of weight. Honestly, if I didn't have the issues with my legs I could walk instead of relying so much on a wheelchair. I pray that this therapy does work for me. Even though I will more than likely still have to have Gastric Bypass atleast I may after therapy be going in weighing a lot less. I can only pray that I will continue to be guided by God, it's so apparent to me that he does have a plan and like so many have said it will happen in his time. I just didn't want to except that, but now I have a better understanding of what that means.
Also hubbies foot is almost healed.. Praise God. He should be able to return to work around the first part of January and he's not going to have to have a second surgery as first thought.
December 4 2003 on December 4, 2003 12:00 am
I wanted to thank the ones that were so nice to have been concerned about me. It meant a lot to me. My grandma passed today. I know that she was welcomed by my aunt. They were so close and I knew when my aunt died that she would soon follow. It's just that feeling you know.
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I did go to my PCP about chest pain, and shortness of breath. It was very scary. She didn't see any heart problems, but is still referring me to a cardiologist. She said I would need to see one anyway. She said that she thought it maybe reflux, but I have since ruled that out and believe I've been having stress/panic attacks. I've turned into a worry wart lately about everything. I've noticed like today that when I start really thinking about stressful things my heart will start racing and I get tightness in the chest. So I'm trying to just sit around and relax.
I'd been reading on the net about Lymphedema. Not many doctors are versed with this problem. After I found out that my heart was fine I decided to ask her about it. She pulled my pants up and said that she truly believes that I do have it or it may be Lipedema. It's not what I wanted to hear, but helps me to know. I'm going to have to see someone that specializes in this for help. There is no cure just physical therapy. I've always felt there was something wrong with my legs. They almost look deformed. I was surprised while reading how many people have this and it's misdiagnosed as simple edema and obesity. I hope that more will read up about it, especially if your legs, thighs, & butt area are quite larger than your top area or if one leg is larger than the other.
December 2 2003 on December 2, 2003 12:00 am
Well, just when I thought things could not get any worse. The worse has happened. My hubby and I went up to his job yesterday to pay the premium for his life insurance and disability. He went in and paid. The women in Human Resources said oh you must have that $5 check. Ken (Hubby) said What $5 check? She said OH didn't I tell you, or maybe I forgot. Ken said you must have forgot. She said when you came in on the 13th of Nov to pay the premium for your health insurance, you were suppose to also pay an administrative fee for processing. Ken said well I wish I had known that. So Ken just wrote the check no problem and asked her is this going to effect my coverage. She assured him NO. So we didn't think anymore about it. Got home checked the mail and there's this letter. It was sent on the 25th to tell us our policy would cancel on the 30th of Nov for NON PAYMENT! We got the letter yesterday, go figure with the holiday. So Ken called HR and she assured him again that everything was fine and that she had spoke to someone in Atlanta. Well about 2 hours later I got a call from our primary about Ken's sleep study last night. She told me he could not go because our insurance was cancelled effective 12:01 on the 1st. I had a fit. I told her what HR said and she said I spoke to BCBS and they said it's cancelled. I said let me call BCBS. I called and they told me the same thing. I then called HR and told them what all had happened. The same woman said OH it must have been because he didn't pay the $5 fee. I got sooooo mad. She never told us about the fee until it was too late and the cancellation notice was mail over a holiday. So as of right now no insurance. Ken's going up to talk with his job today and some heads are going to roll. I've been going nuts about all this stress. It's very hard to stay positive about things.
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Hubby must have talked with the right person finally. In one hours time we got a call from both insurance companies. The disability called and apologized. They said that their system was wrong on the start date it was June 1st. She said that they will be sending the check out today for back payment from the 13 of November to current. Praise God. His employer called us also said Atlanta sent our check back for health insurance, so they are overnighting our payment back to them with the $5 fee. They will be reinstating by end of week and said it will be like it was never canceled. Maybe this is a start of some good things to come. My grandma is still holding on, her kidney's have failed, but they are now saying she still has a chance to make it out of this. I hope surgery will be next good news.
December 1 2003 on December 1, 2003 12:00 am
My Grandma is still holding on. She's in a lot of pain. I know only God knows what is in store for her. I appreciate all the prayers.
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Lately I've been trying to adjust to my new c-pap. I have yet to sleep a whole night with the mask. It's been a pain. They just gave me a new mask to try and I haven't had much luck with that one either.
My hubby and I are still dealing with his disability insurance. It's extremely hard not having any money coming in. We hope that his disability insurance will get straight soon.. It's going to be a tough month. I've worried my self sick about things. I know it doesn't help to worry, but it's so hard not too. Most of all I've worried about all the meds I have to have every month. I know how seniors feel now about Medicare and having to buy prescriptions. All I can do now is sit back and pray my thyroid gets normal and I can get some help about my legs soon.