State senator leads simple life as she battles cancer | NevadaAppeal.com

State senator leads simple life as she battles cancer

The Associated Press
Nevada Sen. Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, center, is recognized on the Senate floor at the Legislative Building in Carson City, Nev., on Wednesday, April 8, 2015. Smith returned to work Wednesday, two months after having a malignant brain tumor removed. Her daughter Erin Marlon, on her right, and husband Greg, on her left, both shaved their heads with her. (AP Photo/Cathleen Allison)
AP | Nevada Photo Source

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.”