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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.
Dad came home on October 21, 2007 12:00 am
After getting 6 pints of blood, they have allowed my dad to come home again. He's still very tired, but the blood did seem to help him feel better. Thanks for all the prayers.
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Thank you on October 18, 2007 4:50 pm
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Thanks for all the messages of support and prayers.
My dad is still at the hospital. They did labs and as expected his hemaglobin was 6! They are going to have to give him 4 pints of blood. He has already got 2 pints and feeling so much better. They mentioned doing some tests to find out the source of bleeding that is has been coming out of the colostomy bag. We assumed they thought it was from the fistula to the bladder or that was the understanding. I guess now they are going to check that with some type of scan and see what the source of bleeding has been. It just seems to be a cycle over and over, in and out of the hospital. We hope he will be able to come back home by the weekend.
Dad update on October 17, 2007 11:58 pm
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My mom called me this morning at 2am. They have taken my dad to the ER. He is having issues with being dizzy. We think he is low on blood again. He's been passing a lot of large clots from the bladder again. They had to take his catheter out a few days ago because the clots were clogging the tubes even after trying to flush it out. They will probably want to put another catheter back in. I feel so bad for him, he's so worried and scared about things. I would be too, not knowing what will happen from day to day. My mom said to just stay home since it really isn't a matter of an emergency and she will call me back with some results. I hate this for my mom and dad. When will they ever just have some relief from all this stress. So here is it now past 3am and I can't sleep worried sick about this. Sometimes it is like life is just not fair. To watch a person suffer so much, it just blows my mind on WHY.... WHY??? Cancer is a horrible thing.
I'm going to try to make myself go back to sleep. I have a hard enough time most nights and this makes it so much harder.
I just don't know what to say... on October 17, 2007 12:54 pm
When I was originally on MTV they didn't show the end results of how things turned out, so it wasn't often that people would recognize me when I was out in public. Since being on the update show my life is different. I cannot go anywhere without someone recognizing me. It is very weird. I don't even know how to explain how I feel about it. People look at me as some type of celebrity. I was standing in line a few days ago and the cashier didn't say anything to me. I hate those types that don't even say a simple "hello". The next thing I know she is screaming... I am like what the heck? She's screaming out... I KNOW YOU. Oh my gosh.... Just over and over. By this time I've got a very puzzled look on my face. She then says I've seen you on MTV. You are amazing....Inspirational... There was two boys in front of me still picking up their bags and they looked around wondering what all this screaming and yelling was about. I'm sure by this time I'm turning all shades of red. I told her it was nice meeting her, she came running around the checkout line to hug me. We talked for several minutes. It is just very awkward now. Those that have met me know I am pretty shy in person, so this is really out of my comfort zone. I am just a normal person like everyone else. I am happy the show has helped people know more about weight loss surgery and that good results can come with it, but I'm not sure if I was ready for this. It is too late now to go backwards and take it all back. I enjoy helping others, I just don't know how I am suppose to act when people start screaming like that. I think the hardest part for me remains hearing someone tell you, you have inspired them. That is still hard for me to hear and many times I just don't know what to say. I just needed to put this out there, I don't expect anyone to have an answer for me. I'm just still trying to take all this in.... I hate that I may come off to people as being snobby or something, sometimes I am so taken back I get lost for words when this happens.
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I did a bad thing, well kind of... on October 16, 2007 11:20 am
Well last night as you know I was pretty down after finding out the results to my blood test. It seems that I have low protein s, which can mean I have inherited a possible blood clotting problem. I'm remaining positive that it may have been an issue with having been on the coumadin and will be going to get re-tested before getting upset about it. Either way I have to keep living. So I was thinking last night I wanted to do something for myself. What a better way than to go shopping! It wasn't my normal shopping. I've been wanting for a long time to get a different exercise bike. The one I had many times I'll stop a lot sooner than I want because the seat is uncomfortable. With my padding pretty much gone, the seat is even more uncomfortable. I started looking at the recumbent bikes. They have a back support, which is part of my problem also because the other bike felt sometimes like my back was not aligned right. SO.... LATE last night I went out to get a new bike. This has a lot of bells and whistles that I've been wanting with the heart monitor, different tension levels, and 8 different personal trainer workouts. I tried it out last night and again this morning. It is really comfortable and smooth to ride. Right now we have it in the living room so I can watch some TV while riding. It was no time at all I had done 5 miles and my back was not hurting. It makes it easier when you are doing an exercise you enjoy! I'm at a stage now that I am maintaining my weight and I want to tone my body up even more. I'm so excited.
Here's the closest photo I could find online
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It wasn't what I wanted to hear... on October 15, 2007 4:24 pm
As many of you know I had a blood clot a few weeks after my reconstructive surgery and was placed on blood thinners. They stopped the blood thinner about 2 months ago and my PCP wanted to do a test to determine if I happen to have inherited a condition called thrombophilia. I had the test done a few weeks ago. This is not a normal test they did, so even the lab tech had to look up what color blood vial to send to the lab. This morning my PCP called and said that I am showing a protein S deficiency. However some of the other tests done came up fine. She said that it is likely I will have to go back on blood thinners for life. Needless to say I've been in denial all day. She did give some HOPE. She would like me to have the test done again and also will be referring me out to a hemotogist to further testing. It is possible, but unlikely that I still have traces of coumadin that are making the test low, She said that really based on my family history of blood clots that it probably is a matter of being inherited. I'm upset right now because this makes things so much harder if this is the case. I didn't want to be on blood thinner the rest of my life, and having to do that makes pregnancy something that will probably never happen now. Being there is a 50/50 chance I'd pass this along to them. I know adoption is an option, but it is just not the same. I'm just taking the news a lot harder than I thought I might. I am just hoping the test is wrong.
You can read more about protein s deficiency here
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More about Alice on October 12, 2007 11:22 am
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You might have remembered I wrote about Alice in a blog entry a few weeks back. I wanted to do a follow up. This was in the paper today:
Spread the word! Breast Cancer Survivors needed in... on October 9, 2007 9:28 pm
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In light of this being breast cancer awareness I wanted to post this. I know we have several members who either have had breast cancer or know someone who has. They may also have lymphedema from the breast cancer. Please pass this along to others.
This article is very important. This is for a study for breast cancer survivors with lymphedema. I think the most important part of this article is also this:
Most medical schools don't teach the lymphatic system at all. A national survey conducted by Rockson showed that the average time spent on teaching the lymphatic system during a four-year medical education is 15 minutes.
That is so sad! We need more education on this! 15 minutes being spent on such a vast part of our bodies is just unimaginable.
Here's a link to the article:
Where do I begin??? on October 8, 2007 3:19 pm
Wow, what an amazing weekend I just had. It was a weekend I'll never forget. I met some people who have changed my life in the years I've been knowing them, and I never met one who didn't know they had changed my life. Let me explain.
First, thanks everyone who sent me birthday wishes! I had a wonderful birthday! Sarah made this cute birthday card for me and I had to share. Thanks Sarah!
Ummmm yes we did have cake!
It is hard for me to believe I am now 31 years old. I use to feel 85 before my surgery and now I feel like a teenager again. The difference is amazing. I celebrated my birthday in Atlanta this weekend. I was away from Kenneth and missed him. He did got me lots of things with butterflies, some beautiful gold earrings and pendant. He got me some flowers when I came home yesterday and made me dinner. He is truly a special man!
Over the weekend I met some people who have saved my life in so many ways. Pat O'Connor many years ago started a website called www.lymphedemapeople.com I had joined a yahoo group when I was first looking for information about lymphedema and he was one of the first to respond to me and helped me get help. I am thankful to him. I had the pleasure of getting a photo with him. Pat has been suffering with lymphedema for many many years, they have traced lymphedema back in his family since 1890. You can read more about Pat on his site.
Then there is Joan White, the founder of LightHouse Lymphedema Network who organized the event weekend. She has an amazing drive and has really been key in spreading the word about lymphedema to the professionals and getting those suffering from LE the support they need.
Probably the most emotional part of this weekend was a class I attended. It was a open forum to talk with Dr. Paula Stewart & Kathleen Francis. I had asked a question during the forum about plastic surgery & lymphedema. During the meeting I kept looking around the room, this lady behind me looked familiar, but I couldn't place where I had known her. So low and behold after the meeting she came up to me and said you had a question about plastic surgery and I said yes, she told me she had some done on her arm. I said oh I've had that done and also the tummy tuck from all the weight I've lost. So somehow we got on the subject of surgery. She told me she had surgery too. Then I said... What is your name. I looked down at her name tag. It was Teresa!! Anyone who has read my story in the OH magazine knows the part I talk of about finding out about lymphedema. It was a lady at a support group for weight loss surgery who told me I must have it and how to look up more information about it. I got tears in my eyes and she looked at me weird. I said.... Do you know you probably saved my life? She said... HUH? Your surgeon saves your life. I said I know, but do you know who I am. She was so lost. So I got my photo book out from when I was in a wheelchair, that was when I saw her 4 years ago! She said. OH MY GOSH. That is YOU. I remember you. I cannot believe it. I told her that she is the reason I searched out lymphedema, she is the reason I figured out what I had. It was a moment I'll never forget and I'm so upset I wasn't able to catch her to get a photo before she left! UGH. However, I have her information from the sheet they passed out to be able to contact attendees!
I then attended a meeting about lymphedema & obesity. I talked with so many professionals this weekend who have told me the rise of patients who are obese that have lymphedema is a large portion. They are not all super obese like I was, but they are seeing more and more. There appears to be a link there, but no studies have been done as of yet. They really need more information about this. In fact the message from this weekend is clear. The word about lymphedema is not getting out enough still. So many people are suffering without any knowledge of the condition and medical professionals especially if you are obese are telling them they have edema or that they are "fat". I heard so many stories about people who have been misdiagnosed. I saw people like I once was in wheelchairs, immobile from this condition. I reached out to each one of them with my story, just letting them know they are not alone and can do this! It is so real and I wish I could help them all. My next plans are to continue to attend any meetings I can about lymphedema in the future. They have the large meeting in San Diego next year. I am going to see what I can do to make that meeting. I really want to attend it. Registration alone is $500! Plus the fight out, but this really is a mission for me to help others and learn ways to advocate to the government the need to cover treatments/bandages/compression hose for those with Medicare/Medicaid. The treatments are often cut off for people because of the clause in their plan for "physical therapy" and also the bandages are classified as durable medical supplies even though they are a MUST in having the wrapping done. It is such a sad situation.
I went away with a re-newed spirit that I must continue to educate others about lymphedema and support others suffering from it. My journey is far from being over.
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On Canvas on October 3, 2007 10:51 pm
My friend Marta made this for me today. I love it.
Kenneth & I on canvas.
Thank you Marta!
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