Cathy Arsenault's Patient Story
A Woman Determined to Make a Difference
I had Bariatric surgery on March 21, 2012. That was the day I started my life over. Here is my before and my after photo. I have suffered with obesity my entire life. When that photo was taken I weight 309lbs. It was the morning of my youngest daughter’s wedding. There are not a lot of photos because I would not let anyone take them. I have done a lot of things in my life and usually when I set my mind to it…I do it. But my weight has always been the one area that no matter how hard I tried (and believe me I tried everything) I just could not win. After years of swollen feet, ankles, legs, sleep apnea, skin infections, dozens of visits to my primary care physician that never once mentioned Weight Loss Surgery – I decided I could not handle it anymore. Basically I hit rock bottom. I thought that Weigh Loss Surgery was the end of the road. For losers. Well you don’t know what you don’t know!!! Was I wrong. But it got worse before it got better. I needed help and my insurance did not pay for Weight Loss Surgery of any kind for any reason. My husband said “It doesn’t’ matter – we have the money and it is of no use if you are not here to retire with so let’s start to find the right team.” So we searched – Duke, UNC Chapel Hill, and other practices but like when you are buying a car and you see it all the time,the name Dr. Lindsey Sharp kept coming up. So Danny and I decided to go to the Seminar at Dr. Sharp’s office. We met Dr. Sharp and Dr. Ng and their program gave me exactly my criteria and in the order of necessity that I wanted. Surgeon (Dr. Sharp was my main Surgeon and Dr. Ng assisted), Support and Education. My life has changed in more ways than I can ever express to you. I was given the gift of a second chance which is something I never really even dared to dream of. So condensing a lot of information – my passion in life now is to give back to others feeling trapped in their bodies with morbid obesity. The Fund’s purpose is not to pay for surgery (although that would be a dream of mine) but having to pay every dime for my surgery I understand that there is lot that goes into preparing for surgery and the first 12 months after. I wanted to help people that really need the surgery for a better quality of life to be able to buy vitamins, get rides to their appointments, and get what is essential to their recovery. I want the practice to have great speakers come to Support, guest Chefs, celebration events, etc, and the monies can help with all this. I got with Dr. Sharp 2 years ago and he got Dr. Ng and after a LOT of talking the REX Bariatric Fund was created. I have big dreams with this Fund and it is very hard work. Everyone is so busy. But for me it is a top priority and I want to see it give people what they really need so I find the time. The doctors have just begun using the money. My mind is on raising money so they can decide how it is best spent. I trust their judgement as I have now worked with these Surgeons for almost 4 years – first on me and then on the Fund. They understand and they truly do love their patients. My husband has been my rock through this entire process and he is still today. Our home is a “Bariatric Home” meaning there is nothing here that is not safe for me to eat and he eats like I do. His emotional support has been unbreakable and he is as interested in the Fund as I am. I hope my short version will help you understand my passion and devotion to this practice but most to the people walking in their front door.