I first saw Dr. Jeff Dugas in August of 2006 after my Allograft Oats procedure had failed after 2 years. I was only 26 at the time; had already endured 4 knee surgeries and couldn't find help in Southwest Florida.
On April 26, 2007, I had an ACI to insert my own lab grown cartilage into my knee. My mother and I stayed in Birmingham for weeks after the operation and I was treated with amazing care by the doctors and therapist. About a week after the surgery, I knew something just wasn't right. Six months after the ACI, Dr. Dugas tried to shave down the cartilage but my body was rejecting my own cartilage.
Dr. Dugas sent me to Dr. G in Atlanta; who performed another OATS procedure (basically transplant). I will forever be grateful to Dr. Dugas for sending me to Atlanta; where I found much needed help. I'm convinced Dr. G has the hands of God :) Yet; his office staff and Dr. G himself just didn't match the service and friendliness I received in Birmingham. Dr. Dugas never hesitated to call me in the evenings if I was in pain or struggling. Gisela was ALWAYS available to help me. They both helped me receive Social Security Disability; which has saved my life. Dr. Dugas has performed two more operations on my knees in the last couple years, bringing my total to 10 knee surgeries.
I will always be disabled. You can't have 10 knee surgeries; including three "transplants" and be normal again. Yet, I'm convinced if I didn't go to Birmingham, I wouldn't be walking today. I cannot work full time anymore but I've started my own business from home. I work with a girl with Down's Syndrome three days a week and I've coached boys high school basketball for years.
In January I drove to Atlanta and marched over 2 miles in the Women's March with my service dog. It was tough! By about the 1 mile mark my knees were burning. Yet, I could've never marched or participated without the help of Dr. Dugas and his staff. For that I will forever be grateful! I've traveled the country and visited places like Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Las Vegas, San Antonio, Chicago and New Orleans. My knees even allow me to sit in the window seat now! I could never travel before Dr. Dugas helped me. I even climbed the Rocky steps in Philadelphia a few weeks ago!
Dr. Dugas and his staff always make me feel like I'm home. They welcome me. They protect me. They advocate on my behalf. Thank you! It means the world to me and my family.