Life on Whidbey: Best way to fight is to know your foe

By Eileen Brown

To women who have a family history of breast cancer, the disease is like the proverbial elephant in the living room. It’s not really there if you don’t acknowledge it.

But face it you must. Thankfully, the Whidbey General Hospital Foundation is bringing a group of professionals together in a half-day symposium Saturday, May 17.

The Foundation received a grant award from the Puget Sound Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure to co-sponsor an education program on breast cancer for daughters of women diagnosed with the disease. Women who have family members with breast cancer or ovarian cancer or who feel they may be at increased risk by their family history are invited to attend. A similar program offered in January 2001 got rave reviews and many requests to repeat it.

“Local and regional experts in the field will give women a personalized risk assessment, help women understand their risk and learn about state-of-the-art breast cancer screening and treatment,” said Renee Yanke, manager of the WGH Oncology Program.

Pre-registration is requested and highly encouraged. A risk assessment will be mailed to you when you register. Fill it out and bring it with you. This will help you refer to your own information during the symposium where you will meet these medical experts:

• Dr. Neubauer, medical director for Radia Medical Imaging, will discuss stages of development of cancer, the role and controversies of mammograms and new MRI recommendations.

• Joy Knox, Nurse Practitioner at Providence Breast Center in Everett will discuss estimated risk, how to use the results of the Gail model for predicting risk, current trends and thoughts about gene testing, and addressing the concerns of hormone replacement therapy.

• Renee Yanke ARNP, MN, AOCN Oncology Advanced Practice Nurse and manager, Oncology Program, Whidbey General Hospital, will give an overview of current treatments including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or some combination of the three, plus rapid advancements in approaches and future trends.

• Carla Jolley ARNP, MN, AOCN, CHPN Oncology Advanced Practice Nurse, Whidbey General Hospital, will discuss what is and isn’t in your control in the prevention of breast cancer or recurrence. Get motivated and make positive lifestyle changes.

A breast cancer survivor will give an inspiring talk at lunch.

Call Whidbey General Hospital at 678-5151, ext. 4005.

They’ll keep an eye out

If you get in trouble on the water, members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary are trained to help.

During the week, DIANE SMOTHERS works for the Whidbey News-Times. She enjoys her job in circulation, delivering papers twice a week up and down the island. On the weekend, she spends many hours “on duty” with the CG Auxiliary Flotilla 11 out of Bellingham.

She recalls the time a few years ago when they spotted a kayaker out of Bellingham. She was exhausted and suffering from hypothermia. “We got her onboard, loaded her kayak and piled on blankets to warm her. She was then taken ashore and met up with her group.”

Smothers has received a commendation letter and a new ribbon to wear on her uniform for her role as part of the July 2007 Columbia Cup Safety Zone Enforcement Team. Her team and law enforcement recovered 15 people from the water during the three-day event attended by more than 60,000 spectators.

Capt. Patrick Gerrity, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Portland, said CG Auxiliarists maintained a five-boat presence, educated hundreds of boaters on safety zone restrictions and towed a number of vessels in distress.

Been to Boeing lately?

The Boeing Tour, located at the Future of Flight Aviation Center in Mukilteo, will have a special promotion March 24 to 28. To celebrate production of the 777 Freighter, the Boeing Tour is handing out free commemorative pins to every paying customer. The pin is the first in a collector’s set that will be issued over the next few months, as long as supplies last, and will not be sold at the Boeing Store or on the Boeing Web site.

For the same five days, the Boeing Tour will be offering a discounted ticket price of $7.50 for adults and children. Please use the special code: 777 Freighter when purchasing tickets. No advanced reservations. The discount is only available the day of the tour. Tours are offered on the hour beginning at 9 a.m. daily with the last tour at 3 p.m. Children must be 48 inches (122 cm) tall to visit the factory.

Balconies have been extended to include The Future of Flight Aviation Center, the 747 and 777/787. In addition, the balcony overlooking the 777 and 787 production lines has been upgraded and now includes plasma screens, airplane models, and informational kiosks. See for more information.

Call me at 675-6611 or write to See you back here on March 19.