Upon learning she was dying of cancer not long after turning 50, Annabel Nnochiri immediately resolved to leave her husband of 20 years.
First, she declined to accompany her husband and their two children on their usual Easter holiday to Tenerife, saying she didn’t need a break. Then, as soon as they were gone, she moved her belongings out of the family home near Edgware, North London, into a flat six miles away in Whetstone, which she had secretly rented.
As she packed her possessions, she sang Queen’s I Want To Break Free to give herself the courage to see her plan through.
Once released from the role of wife, she took off — to Thailand, America and Colombia, among other far-flung locations. She started salsa dancing and painting.
Pictured above are: Annabel, left, and right, with her children Stella and Christian and her ex-husband at Christian’s graduation ceremony.
Do you think her act was courageous or selfish?Today, though, more than five years after her terminal diagnosis — so far, two-and-a-half years longer than she expected to live — comes a most unexpected twist.
Annabel, now 56, has begun a new romance with an old flame, who, she reveals, also has cancer. They started seeing each other in August.
Annabel first met Keith, a 54-year-old chemist, as a teenager when she lived with her family in Salisbury, Wiltshire. They had a brief romance, but Keith never forgot her.
She says she’s with someone who fully understands what she’s going through; they can support one another and, she admits, living in the disease’s shadow gives an impetus to their relationship — a determination to enjoy every single second they have together.