Dr. Robert Smotherman

In August 2017, Dr. Robert Smotherman and his wife Janice were eating breakfast when Dr. Smotherman realized something was wrong.

He was starving, but he wasn’t able to swallow the food. Each bite was getting stuck in his throat.

Worried, Dr. Smotherman, a retired Bardstown City Schools Superintendent, made an appointment with his friend Dr. Mickey Anderson, a surgeon at Flaget Memorial Hospital. That appointment included a scope that revealed a tumor in Dr. Smotherman’s esophagus.

That day was the start of more than a year of cancer treatment and surgery. Dr. and Mrs. Smotherman and their four kids met with Dr. Kristie Paris and Dr. Monte Martin at the CHI Saint Joseph Health – Cancer Care Center at Flaget Memorial Hospital, and they walked away confident in his treatment plan.

“They were all so supportive,” Mrs. Smotherman remembers.

Dr. Smotherman received five chemotherapy treatments and 25 radiation treatments. That was capped off with a nine-hour surgery in February 2018 to remove what remained of the tumor.

Dr. Smotherman is now cancer-free and is recovering from a whirlwind year and a half. He said he can’t say enough about the care he received at Flaget Memorial Hospital. Dr. Paris would bring him protein packs and other foods to help him stay nourished. The nurses would encourage him, and celebrated with big cheers and gifts when he finished his treatment.

“I have no regrets about choosing Flaget,” Dr. Smotherman said. “They were great.”