Marsha Porter

Image of Parkinson's care and sleep care patient Marsha Porter at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland, WADiagnosis:  Sleep issues due to Parkinson's disease

Treatment:  CPAP

Specialist Teams Collaborate to Provide a Personal Touch

For Redmond resident Marsha Porter, living with psoriatic arthritis and Parkinson’s disease requires managing several medications, following multiple treatment plans, and working with teams of specialists who collaborate on her care.

Though her health care is complex, Marsha explains that it’s the personal touch of her providers that has helped lead to the biggest breakthroughs to help her live her healthiest best—particularly in keeping up with 17 grandchildren.


Marsha says her life changed when she began working with Ann Zylstra, a physical therapist with EvergreenHealth’s Rehabilitation Services. Immediately their relationship was about more than physical rehabilitation —she received the compassion of a friend who understands the importance of comprehensive care.

It was Zylstra’s thoughtful questions and their personal connection that helped uncover a growing problem with the quality of Marsha’s sleep.

A referral to EvergreenHealth Sleep Services revealed that Marsha’s Parkinson’s disease and its required medications were indeed interrupting her sleep. Randi Leonetti, ARNP, was part of the team that helped diagnose Porter with sleep apnea.

To address her symptoms, the team provided immediate treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy and counseled Porter on how her medications interact with each other and impact her sleep.

“By better understanding all of the factors impacting Marsha’s health—both physical and emotional— we can ensure we are aligning the best care for her. That requires taking the time to learn more about her personal life, along with knowing all the moving parts of the care she receives across our system. Beyond treatment and diagnosis, this comprehensive understanding of our patients helps us be their best partner every step of the way,” Leonetti said.

Now, Leonetti continues to work with Marsha to safely moderate the medications she takes for sleep assistance, and counsels Marsha on how to look for ways that managing her chronic illness may be impacting unexpected aspects of her life.


“I've been so impressed by these women. Both Randi and Ann always go the extra mile to discuss my health care and the services I’m receiving from different specialists across the health system,” Marsha said. “It is their willingness to collaborate with me directly, to discuss all aspects of my care, and their impact on my personal life that makes the biggest difference. They have held me together at times when I couldn't hold myself together. They are the reason I continue to come back to EvergreenHealth for my care.”

Most of all, Marsha Porter says she is thankful that when the weight of her illnesses is too heavy to bear and she needs an outlet to vent, or to just brag about her grandkids—she can count on them just the same.

For More Information on these services at EvergreenHealth

Learn about Rehabilitation Services at EvergreenHealth

Learn about Sleep Services at EvergreenHealth

Learn about Parkinson's Care at EvergreenHealth