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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.
Being misunderstood on November 22, 2006 3:50 pm
I posted the below on the message board, here's a link to the thread:
It's not often in my life I've ever taken much time for myself. Shoot even while I was waiting all my time for my insurance approval, finding a surgeon to do my surgery... I was still a very active member in the weigh loss surgery community. Even then I didn't ask for much in terms of support. Over the years I've been blessed with the support I've been given from so many various people. Many times I don't talk about things on the site because 1)I've never been one to burden others with my problems 2) I don't like to talk about my problems openly. It has come to a point in my life however that I need to be able to talk about my issues to. What sets me apart from so many of you here is I work for Obesityhelp. Yet on the other hand this IS my support place. I don't want to lose touch with that. Although I'm here giving of my time and many times more time than I'm technically "clocked" for that is who I am. If I had no OH tomorrow I'd be off finding other avenues to continue my passions. You might ask what are my passions. They are to help as many people as I can to know they are not alone in this battle and also that there is a place like Obesityhelp that can be your support and shoulder. Anyhow that being said....
Here is my issue. I'm having a tough time right now with my body image. I know in my mind that I look different, but I still see the old person. Lately the feelings I felt as a pre-op have returned. Sometimes I feel down, I feel unattractive. My husband is reassuring me that I'm a beautiful person, but then I think to myself... He's my husband. Then I don't know why but I wonder what do other men think about me. It's not that I want other men, that's not the issue, but I wonder am I a desireable person or is it something my husband has to say because he's my husband. In my mind I want for one day want to be desired. I don't know for many people if this even makes sense. Does anyone else feel this way or felt this way? I'm pretty sure it goes back to my self esteem and this has improved for the most part, but I still have feelings of my old self and this skin has become an image issue. I think I've began to realize my body will never be perfect and I think I believed it might eventually be one day... sigh...
Well anyhow don't judge me too harshly, I often get misunderstood, I am just a person like most of you here. Just working through my day and trying to make the most of life.
Have a wonderful holiday!
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Being thankful, My mind is playing tricks on me on November 19, 2006 4:26 pm
It's so crazy. I remember about 2 1/2 years ago when I'd think about going to do some house work that it would take me hours sometimes just to do the dishes. It was hard to get everything in order. I would have to use a stool to sit and wash dishes. My back would kill me from standing too long and with my weight I just couldn't handle standing up for any long amount of time. It was hard to get my arms up there even without being out of breath. In my mind I still believe that I'm tired. It's the weirdest thing. Then I'll get to doing the dishes and before I know it I'm done and off mopping the floor, folding clothes, cleaning the bathroom, etc. I'm still amazed today what I can do in such a short amount of time. It's wonderful the things in life I can now do again. I don't complain about cleaning anymore, I'm just thankful I can do it! MYSELF! Life's too short to not be thankful for what you can do today. Sometimes I'll be down about how my legs look and then I think to myself I could have no legs, so again I'm thankful each day that I'm living, I've got my legs and I don't have the fear of dying like I once did each night when I would close my eyes. Whenever I'm down I think back to what life was once like and I'm grateful for what I have!
This is a week to be thankful for what you have, I'm thankful everyday. So think about it... What are you most thankful for?
Photo's From Lexington
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I feel like dancing! on November 17, 2006 5:23 pm
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Well.... Not really.
When in Lexington Kenneth and I were sooo tired from the activities of the day Friday. One of the songs I love the most was playing. Called "Lady in Red". So Ken asked me to dance, I was sooo tired, but we got up there and slow danced. I just got a good photo from Frances of us dancing so I had to share. Kenneth is really a wonderful man. I'm luck to have him in my life.
Surgery soon! on November 14, 2006 9:30 pm
Well this is now the 3rd surgeon I've gone to see about my hernia and abdominoplasty. I didn't report on my blog about the 2nd surgeon as I quite honestly was very unhappy with his ummm bedside manner, but will say they are from MCG. If you don't feel a connection with the person you are putting your life in their hands...well then it's probably not a good choice to make. I was comfortable with the first surgeon Dr. Ewart, however his office is not very helpful when it comes to appeals or paperwork. I will likely be going back to him in the future though for other work, that will end up costing me, but I MIGHT do it. We shall see. I found out after the 3rd attempt for paperwork to be sent to my primary insurance BCBS of Ca that they wouldn't cover the reconstructive surgery portion (I believe because they ended up faxing the paperwork, and according to BCBS of CA, they will not accept just a fax on reconstructive surgery), however my secondary insurance would cover it. Now because the primary wouldn't cover it they don't want to do it or can't because the approval must be from the primary. Sounds like a headache to me. I just don't really have the energy to fight with my insurance company at this point about this, and they showed little help with assisting me. I need this hernia repaired. I don't want to end up with a bowel obstruction. You really never know when or if that might happen and I want to avoid it at all costs. It's become larger over the past few months and is starting to hurt on the incision line from the bypass.
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I'm happy to report I have found the surgeon for me to do this. Dr. Blaney, he is a bariatric surgeon, but does have experience with doing an abdominoplasty. I believe that Dr. Hill or Dr. Davis will be assisting with my surgery. The finals are not complete just yet. I will have to await insurance again, but I'm feeling very confident that I'll be having surgery here. I've also been very pleased with the hospital they do the surgery at. It's going to be at St Joe's. This is the same hospital that saved my mom's life and also my mother in law had two knee replacements there. Kenneth's dad also had the bypass there in 1992 by Dr. Engler, when no one else would take on his hard case. I've just always liked the hospital. I've been working with helping Dr. Blaney in running his support group. We had a meeting a few weeks ago and the turn out was great! He's a very personable surgeon. He took his time today to explain how he would cut and how he would close me up. I'll probably have 4 drains. I hope if all works out to have surgery in the middle of December. It's all pending on the date, but I really want to get this over with. I guess the even better part is I've found a surgeon who I highly believe has the best in mind for me. Dr. Martindale will always remain as the one who saved me. I'm happy to have found a new surgeon who will do this, but also have someone I would follow up with from my bypass. I've not been able to find a surgeon I trusted since Dr. Martindale left in this area... until now to follow up with my bypass. I've seen my share of surgeons from being in the bariatric field and there are many who I do have much respect for, Dr. Blaney is on that list. I really believe in his program and he impresses me. Maybe once I have my surgey I'll share some photos. I hope to be on the flat tummy side soon!
Lexington Obesityhelp event! on November 2, 2006 11:34 am
The Lexington event was nothing more than a fun filled weekend. I'm still trying to recoup from the whole thing. It was amazing meeting all the people that I did and I made many new friends and memories along the way. I'm happy to have been able to get as many photos as I did. I'm still working on naming them, but they are all uploaded. I must have almost 500.
Some of the highlights:
I was talked into getting on an exercise ball! I never thought that would happen, but Karen Donaldson who works with Excel was awesome, she is a huge motivator! She talked me into it and now I love it. Kenneth and I have a green ball rolling around our house now. I was scared to death to try it, but I'm glad I did. It's very comfortable!
Here's some photos.
Am I really going to do this????
Ok I'm doing it!
Wow it wasn't as bad as I thought!
The Ball at night was a blast, I had the best time just talking with people, watching people get up and shake their new bodies or ones that are just newly post-op like Kelle getting out of her power chair to dance, that brought a tear to my eye! You go girl.
Folks like Sally who dressed up even as pre-op and made the trip to be with us. Then you have people who just have these battery packs attached to them and could dance all night long! Like Darlene, Sharyn, Lei, Nat, Patty, Sarah Margaret, Charlie and Kathy S. I don't think Kathy S wants to be Richard Simmons again! LOL I'm also very proud of Miss Marty (Mardi) getting up on the dance floor to dance to her requested song "Fat Bottom Girls" and coming out of her shell to be with us. It was a treat to see some very inspirational people like Frances, Cathi, Dana Barr, Cyndi M, Vicki C, Val, Melissa Mermaid, gosh there are just soooo many to name. The energy that was felt to have all these folks in one location was powerful, inspiring and so much more than I could have imagined.
I love hanging out with the Men's group! I'm sad I missed the men's class, but we hope to be adding some video up for that sometime soon!
It was a pleasure meeting so many of you, Heidi, Loris, Cindee, Dave, Tim, Mike, geez the list is long. I'm just happy to have seen all of you. I had a great time and I hope that we can all meet up again at another national convention. I hope more of you can make it.
It was also great finally meeting my friend and co-worker Tooter after all this time (over 2 years) we've worked together and have talked online for a long time!
For photos you can visit my photo section on my profile and for all photos Over 400 of them go to this link:
I'll be adding some captions when I can, I just wanted to get the photos up.
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