Longtime Greenbank resident Janet Russell says she was shocked when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“But I knew it wasn’t a death sentence and that I would keep an optimistic outlook,” Russell says of her first days getting acclimated to the diagnosis. When she met WhidbeyHealth general surgeon Dr. Allison Alberton, she was encouraged even more.
“My experience with Dr. Alberton was wonderful because her care was so personal; she was so clear,” Russell says.
“She gave me all the necessary information and treated me like a person, not a number. She took the time to find out who I was and not just what my diagnosis was. She listened to me.”
As a proud island homesteader for more than 40 years, Russell says she and her late husband, Glen Russell, have always been champions of the island’s rural healthcare system. It was artisan woodworker Glen who created the Tree of Life donors’ sculptures that still hang in the lobby of the medical center today.
“So many people told me I needed to go to Seattle or somewhere else, but I got to stay here on Whidbey for my treatment,” Russell says.
“That means so much to me as I have mobility issues and I don’t want to have to deal with strangers off-island.”
After a bi-lateral mastectomy, Russell says she needed a fair amount of after-care. WhidbeyHealth coordinated Russell’s home health services and physical therapy, along with providing financial advice from Patient Financial Services.
She is also very grateful for the help she received from Senior Services of Island County and the Meals on Wheels program.
“Even though I am on a fixed income, I am able to pay my bill in increments, thanks to the advice I received. That was important to me,” Russell says.
Thanks to her positive attitude and the excellent care she received, Russell’s prognosis is good.
“Whidbey Island is an amazing place to be a senior citizen. We’ll see what happens on the next leg of my journey. None of us knows, but I’m glad I have good care in my community.”
At right, Allison Alberton, MD