Smith Made a Wise Decision with Mammogram

by | Oct 23, 2021 | Darke County News, Features, Health, Union City

Erika Smith, left, is shown here with Mary Ann Rickert and Erika's husband of 57 years, Charles L. Smith.

Erika Smith never had any symptoms at the time she underwent a mammogram in April.

Nonetheless, she had to do what she called a do-over two days later, and in May was told she had Stage 1 Cancer.

“That was a bummer,” said the 80-year-old Union City resident. “I never had any symptoms. I felt great. On the mammogram. You have an option of having a mammogram when you get to be 80. i opted to have it for the last time. It was the right choice.”

She went on, “I thought they would tell you right away that you have this dreaded disease. I thought no news is good news. Waiting was the hardest part. After that shock, I was in disbelief. Is this really happening to me at this age? You just accept it and go on. There were no complications.”

“You just accept it and go on.”

Smith said she decided she was not going to let this get the best of her, so she stayed positive and kept busy, walking a lot and exercising.
Smith said her family immigrated to America in 1952 under the Displaced Person program.

“Our mother passed away the following year. The three youngest, Heinz, Annemarie and I were sent to the Wernle Children’s Home in Richmond, Ind.,” she said.

“Families would place the children there until they were able to take them back and take care of them. We stayed there for seven years. It was not a good time. We were separated from our siblings. We couldn’t speak English so one learns how to speak a different language real fast, but that is another story. I graduated high school, passed my test and became a citizen of the United States. I got a job and got married and had two children. Rae and Erik. I had some wonderful people come into my life. I could not have done a lot of things without them. God is good.”

Her secret to getting through breast cancer was to stay positive and as active as she could.

Who was her biggest supporter?

“I didn’t really have one person; it takes your family and  friends,” she replied.

Her advice to women that have breast cancer is: “Stay active…try not to think about your condition. That, I think, is the hardest part. It’s easy for someone to say that if they are not going through it.”

Erika said her sister,  Annemarie, had breast cancer in her mid-30s.

“It was worse than mine,” she said. “She is doing well keeping busy.

As for herself, “I had radiation and am free of cancer but have to take a pill for the next five years!”

She concluded, “The people of Darke County have such a wonderful opportunity to get help from the Cancer Association of Darke County, I know they have helped me a lot. I want to thank the golfers of the Union City Country Club for their generosity. It means a lot when people go out of their way to help someone. Thanks so much everyone.”

Erika Smith, left, is shown here with Mary Ann Rickert and Erika's husband of 57 years, Charles L. Smith.

I am a Darke County native living in the Ansonia area with my son. I have been in journalism 50+ years and enjoy what I do.

Contact Darke County Now Media Correspondent Linda Moody @ lmoody@darkecountynow.com or 937-337-1955.

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