PM Says Ailing Wife Suffered "Heart Failure"
Prime Minister Dean Barrow returned home today after 10 days away. As has been widely reported, he was in Miami, at his wife's bedside.
Kim Barrow was rushed to the emergency room on Monday May 28th with heart failure. She was placed in the intensive care unit for three days, and released from the hospital over the weekend.
And even though she has been stabilized, today, the Prime Minister explained that the worry about the cancer has receded into the background - because her heart has been seriously damaged. Here's how he explained the series of difficulties:..
Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"It's been a rough week but certainly once she got out the hospital and started looking and feeling much better, naturally my spirits also rose, but it's going to be tough going forward. As you know she sustain heart failure - severe damage to the heart and that we've been told by the doctors is incurable, so it's a matter of trying to manage things as best we can and as best the doctors can. But she is feeling well enough at the moment and I am certainly grateful for one again the tremendous out pour of support from people here at home."
"Of course this is serious business - this heat failure and the radiation for the cancer has had to be discontinued because of her heart and the condition that it's in, she can't take anymore radiation. In fact the feeling is that it's the radiation together with one of the chemotherapy drugs Adermicina that cause the damage to the heart. But she has been started on a drug called Tamoxifen to try to help to keep the cancer from recurring even as she takes four other drugs to deal with the effort to regulate her heart."
"The heart failure means that the heart is not pumping blood as it should - 10-15% and to try to compensate the heart beats very fast resulting Tachycardia. The long term prospects are not encouraging. What was indicated to us was that we manage heart failure in people of an advance stage. It's hard to think about managing heart failure for somebody who is 40 years old, if that person expects to live the normal life span. So it's rough but she is as usual extremely optimistic, extremely determine, in good spirits and so it's just a matter of one day at a time hoping for the best."
"When the matters of state and the matters of one's personal are both so fraught. Is there any point that you say "I don't need this, I need to take care of my wife."?"
Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"If there is such a point I don't think that it has yet been reach. I believe that certainly for the moment and as far as I can see into the foreseeable future, I am able to handle both things. Being away from home this time for almost 10 days is not in the normal circumstances desirable but as I said it's so easy to communicate, it's so easy to keep in touch, it's so easy to make decisions from abroad that I don't believe that people ought to be unduly concern about the absence."
"Now, in terms of my frame of mind, well with Kim being in the ICU did throw me for a loop but that is something that after a couple of days you accustom yourself to and you try to deal with and as it turns out she is in fact release from the hospital and as I said doing very well in terms of the immediate circumstances although longer term the prospects are daunting."
"Long story short I think I fact I am sure that I am able to do the juggling act that the circumstances require right at this time and I don't expect those circumstances to continue for very much longer."
The PM says he expects some ease when his wife comes home in another two weeks - proving that she continues to be stable.
And, in lieu of the chemotherapy, she is now on a new drug to keep the cancer from recurring. That is in addition to four other drugs to stabilize her heart.
As for the damage to her heart muscle, Doctors say it is reversible to a degree where she could get restored up to 30% of capacity - two to three times the current capacity.
She is presently being tended to by her mother.
P.M. speaks candidly about wife’s heart
Prime Minister Dean Barrow returned on Thursday from Miami where his wife is recovering from heart complications related to her breast cancer treatment. On arrival, the PM spoke at length with the media at the Philip Goldson International Airport about the condition of Kim Simplis Barrow. While she has been released from the hospital, Simplis Barrow’s heart is still functioning at only ten to fifteen percent capacity and radiation therapy has been discontinued. According to the Prime Minister, while he is in Belize, his mother-in-law will be at her side. However, he said the doctors explained the difficulty of the situation that his family must now endure.
“While there is no cure for heart failure, we are told that the damage to the heart muscle—which is what the combination of the chemotherapy and the radiation caused—is possibly reversible to a degree. And the doctors are saying look; if she’s lucky and the heart function can get up from the ten to fifteen percent of capacity—where it now is—to about thirty percent; that makes things far more manageable. So that’s the hope that being young and in the normal course fairly strong; that that together with medication and time will help to at least reverse to some degree the damage which, I repeat, unfortunately can’t ever be cured. So that’s what we’re looking at.”
“Who does she have there with her in terms of to give her support?”
“Well her mother came in on Monday. I was to come on Tuesday, but we needed to see the doctors on Tuesday and Wednesday and I wanted to know what the immediate, what the short-term prognosis would be. The chemotherapy doctor or the cancer doctor saw her yesterday morning and started her on this tamoxifen which as I said hopefully would keep the cancer at bay. The heart specialist saw her yesterday at about noon and he said that he is very pleased at home the medications are working and as I said, she looks extremely well. Still a little bit of fatigue, but the shortness of breath, the gasping for air is gone. And as I said, when they checked and did their soundings, it appears that the water is completely removed from the lungs and from around the heart. So that’s where we stand.”
It is planned that Simplis Barrow will return to Belize in the next few weeks for treatment by Doctor Adrian Coye.