PRIME MINISTER DAVID THOMPSON’S illness has been “tearing away” at his mother’s soul, but she has faith that he will be healed.
Margaret Knight revealed her innermost thoughts in an exclusive interview with the WEEKEND NATION yesterday evening, hours after Thompson’s personal physician told Barbadians that her son had been suffering from pancreatic cancer, oftentimes a fatal sickness.
She has put on a brave face during the day and has tried to keep smiling, but she admitted that going to bed at night with thoughts of her son have been hard.
“Life has been tough at times but God has brought me through everything and I know that he is going to bring David through this. I just have that faith that I know that God will bring him through,” she said.
Over the past three months, Barbadians all around the world have been praying for the recovery of Prime Minister Thompson who is currently in the United States receiving treatment for a cancerous and thus far inoperable tumour in the pancreas.
Just after 11 a.m. yesterday, Thompson’s personal physician Dr Richard Ishmael told reporters that a third biopsy done by doctors in New York in May had confirmed that Thompson had “carcinoma of the pancreas”.
The medical practitioner said that normally the treatment for such a condition entailed the removal of the tumour and part of the pancreas, along with a portion of the intestine with “re-implantation of the pancreatic duct” into the small intestine.
However, Ishmael, who has been Thompson’s doctor for the past 20 years and had given him a clean bill of health as recent as July 2009, said the position of the tumour was problematic.
“Because of the position of the tumour [it was surrounded by several important blood vessels which made its removal technically difficult] surgery was not feasible and after consultations with three world renown pancreatic surgeons, it was decided that the best course of action was for him to undergo intense chemotherapy to try to shrink the tumour first, to enable its safe removal,” he said.
Ishmael revealed that Thompson has had four rounds of chemotherapy followed by repeat abdominal CAT scans which had shown moderate shrinkage of the tumour with no new spread.
He said that after feeling quite well for an entire week and resuming his prime ministerial responsibilities, Thompson developed intense abdominal pain and vomiting last Sunday fortnight and was forced to return to the New York Presbyterian Hospital for further treatment.
Dr Ishmael said the illness meant Thompson needed to “rest more than usual”, but that he remained sharp in mind and should be able to resume his duties as Prime Minister – a statement that has given his mum, relatives and close friends hope.
“I am very pleased that Dr Richard Ishmael was able to say categorically that the Prime Minister is still in his faculties and is capable of thinking and acting,” said Branford Taitt, President of the Senate.
Meanwhile Opposition Leader Mia Mottley joined with thousands of others across the world, region and at home in encouraging prayer for the island’s leader.
“I urge all Barbadians to continue to pray for the Prime Minister, for his family and indeed the country. We must always remember that our humanity is more important than anything that divides us.”
In St John, the constituency represented by the Prime Minister, residents remained hopeful. “Yes he may have a tumour in his pancreas, but that is not the end. I will only believe it is the end when he announces it himself,” said Michael Barrow, a Martin’s Bay resident. (CG)