PAMF Health Blog

Be Well, Be Well Informed

Patient Story – Loving Life Again

Posted on Jul 10, 2012

Carrie Rasmussen after weight loss surgery.

At 250 pounds, paddling in a canoe was the last thing Carrie Rasmussen would have added to her bucket list – in fact, due to debilitating health problems and her ballooning weight she had lost all will to live.

Rasmussen’s weight gain started after giving birth to her second child. The pregnancy had been traumatic – she was on bed rest for five months and nearly lost the baby twice. Her miracle baby, Emily, was born healthy and thrived, but Rasmussen never bounced back from the experience. For the next 12 years she struggled with one frightening health issue after the other – temporarily losing all feeling in her legs, suffering from throat closures, breathing problems, chest pain, depression, anxiety and panic attacks.

“I never had problems with my weight until after my pregnancy with Emily,” says Rasmussen. “But the medication I was taking for all my different health issues caused me to put on 85 pounds. I went from doctor to doctor trying to find out what was wrong with my health.”

Through this ordeal Rasmussen became severely depressed and suffered several nervous breakdowns.

“The only thing that kept me going was the support of my husband, Don, and my children, Emily and Patrick,” says Rasmussen. “I could barely get through the days.”

Eventually, one of the doctors Rasmussen consulted suggested weight loss surgery to get her life back on track.

“I started researching weight loss surgery, decided it was right for me and thought I was ready to take this step,” says Rasmussen. “But 10 minutes before my scheduled surgery at University of California, Davis Medical Center I had a panic attack and couldn’t go through with the procedure.”

A couple of days later when her panic had subsided and she was back to considering her options, her father-in-law, Fred, who lives in the Bay Area and is a PAMF patient, recommended she look into weight loss surgery options at PAMF.

Rasmussen took Fred’s advice and immediately felt she was in good hands when she met with PAMF weight loss surgeon John Feng, M.D.

Rasmussen before choosing weight loss surgery and losing 90 pounds.

“Dr. Feng spent over an hour with me, carefully and clearly going over all the weight loss surgery options,” says Rasmussen. “With all the medical issues I’d had and the many, many doctors I had seen, I’d never had a doctor spend this much time with me, caring about my health. I walked away from the appointment knowing that I had found the right weight loss surgery choice and surgeon for me.”

Rasmussen opted for sleeve gastrectomy surgery. During this procedure, the surgeon isolates a small sleeve-shaped section of the stomach for processing food, drastically limiting its capacity and restricting the amount of food a person can eat before feeling full.

Thanks to the weight loss surgery in September 2010 and sticking to a very strict diet combined with regular exercise, Rasmussen succeeded in losing 90 pounds.

Now she is busy doing all the things she feels like she missed out on due to ill health, weight problems and depression.

“I feel like a whole new person,” says Rasmussen, who has just fulfilled her dream of going on a Caribbean cruise. “Having the surgery and losing weight cured all my health problems. Now I love spending time outdoors – hiking through the beautiful El Dorado Hills area where I live and camping in Bodega Bay,” says Rasmussen. She has also added getting a canoe and paddling on her local lake to the top of her bucket list.

“Before my weight loss surgery, although I was just 40, I was just waiting to die,” says Rasmussen. “Dr. Feng saved my life.”