Rocking out through a diagnosis: An Upstate woman’s medical battle

Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 9:14 AM EST
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Clementine Smith has been singing for longer than she could talk.

“Music is the most important thing to me in this life,” Smith said.

“She’ll play and sing for one person the way she would for a thousand people,” Chris Matlock, Smith’s bandmate reflected.

She’s the lead singer of the Upstate’s own Streeting September. The band splits their time between playing covers and originals written by Smith.

“You can express pain, convey any emotion that you would like [in your songs],” Smith explained.

She says she draws her inspiration from her real-life love story with bandmate Patrick, her mental health struggles, overcoming addiction and her medical battle.

In 2018, Clementine started feeling off.

“Nobody could find anything that was wrong with me,” Smith said. “We had spent thousands and thousands of dollars with insurance.”

She says her vision started getting blurry and she was tired.

“The next thing that came with it is whenever I would sing, I would have pain, excessive thirst and lack of appetite,” Smith mentioned.

Doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong, many misdiagnosing it as anxiety.

“In a time when you feel the most grim and everything is dark and unattainable that’s when you’re on the verge of a tremendous break through,” Smith said.

That break through came when a CT Scan finally gave an answer. Smith had a pituitary tumor, something that can’t be removed.

“I have developed kind of a lisp, stutter and I’m already clumsy and it puts you very much off balance,” Smith said of her symptoms.

She also has a pre-cancerous parathyroid mass, asthma, a hernia, and lupus. Despite the list of diagnosis, Smith keeps on rocking no matter how hard it gets.

She credits her bandmates for keeping her going.

“They’ve never let me down and I can’t let them down,” Smith said.

However, it’s her bandmates that say she is the one inspiring them.

“I would hope that I could be that strong,” Matlock mentioned.

In the next few months she’ll have several operations, including one to remove the parathyroid mass.

“It will take some of the pressure off my chest and I’ll be able to breathe better and reach from my diaphragm and sing,” Smith said.

For anyone experiencing a struggle, Smith has a message.

“You may think ‘I’m too sick for this.’ No-- you were made for this; you were built for this and you can do it,” Smith said.

As for those original songs she writes, others are relating to them.

“I had two people tell me that [verbal carnage] saved their lives, it’s really emotional for me,” Smith reflected.

Clementine jokes that she lives at Prisma Health needing her blood drawn every week and a CT scan every two weeks. She’s excited for it to get easier to sing her heart out following these next few surgeries.

She credits her entire story as a testament to her faith in God.

To learn more about Streeting September, click here.