State senator leads simple life as she battles cancer
RENO — State Sen. Debbie Smith is leading a simpler life as she battles cancer.
The Democrat from Sparks was busy preparing for the 2015 legislative session 10 months ago when it was discovered that she had a cancerous brain tumor. After a successful surgery, she was back in the legislature for the session’s final six weeks.
Smith told the Reno Gazette-Journal in an exclusive interview that a recent visit to a Houston hospital found no tumor present.
“It doesn’t mean they can’t come back, but it is very good news because what I have is very aggressive,” she said.
She told the newspaper that her once-hectic life now involves one daily activity, usually related to the Legislature. She’s undergoing a year of chemotherapy and the treatments leave her fatigued.
“I try to plan for them (committee meetings) and plan not to overburden myself,” Smith told the Gazette-Journal. “My family doesn’t let me do that.”
She recently attended a Washoe school funding committee meeting.
“This morning was tough,” Smith said that day. “It’s tough getting out of the house by a certain time in the morning. That is hard because I like to sleep. I am tired.
Some of her colleagues say she has become an inspiration for the Senate Democratic caucus.
“She’s bounced back,” said Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas. “She has a lot of fight in her and we believe in her.
Smith said she’ll continue her role in the senate for the 2017 session. She won re-election in 2014 in a landslide victory while other Democratic colleagues lost in the Assembly and Senate.
“I’m absolutely coming back,” Smith said. “I made a commitment to the voters in my district. And even though I was not sick when they elected me the last time, I still made a commitment to them and I am going to fill it.”