A woman who was given two-and-a-half years to live walked out on her husband so she could be "free" to enjoy her final days.

Annabel Nnochiri, 56, from North London, left her husband of 28 years when doctors found a tumour in her hip in 2012.

Believing she was going to die soon, she decided she didn't want to be 'just a housewife' making dinner for her two teenage children every night.

So she left her old life behind, took up salsa dancing and went travelling.


Ms Nnochiri said: "I made a bucket list and the first thing was to leave my husband. I had a good life but just felt completely trapped and wanted to break free.

"Knowing I had a short time to go I knew I couldn't live the rest of my life just being a housewife.

"I thought I've got two-and-a-half years left and I don't want to be in this house. I don't want to be cooking dinner every night... I want to be free!

"I asked my 19-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter and they both agreed I would be happier if I went and did my own thing."

After securing her children's permission, art teacher Ms Nnochiri meticulously planned her new life without telling her husband.

Five years later Annabel's still alive and enjoying a
Five years later Annabel's still alive and enjoying a "very happy" love life. Photo / Facebook

She even secretly used inheritance money to buy her own flat before leaving him and touring the world.

Five years later she's still alive and enjoying a "very happy" love life.

Ms Nnochiri said: "I didn't leave to be with someone else but I have had a very happy love life since then - and he has found someone else and is happy too."

The 56-year-old had beaten breast cancer in 2010. Two years later both her parents were killed in a crash and her bone cancer reached stage four.

Her leg was in so much pain that she "couldn't bear it".

She said: "The breast cancer had metastasised into my bones. I'd talked with others for a long while about ending my marriage.

"Right at the beginning I told my children what I wanted to do. If they had not agreed I wouldn't have done it, but they both said I would be happier if I left.

"When I told my husband he thought it was just a phase and that I would go back to him."

But she didn't go back and hasn't looked back since.

Ms Nnochiri says her decision has changed her personality: "I used to be anxious, worrying what people thought of me.

"If I hadn't had the cancer I would have been a dull person. But because of it I've become a much braver, naughty older woman," she said.

Ms Nnochiri's story will be told on a BBC Two documentary called A Time to Live on Wednesday.

It also features 11 other cancer survivors, telling how their terminal diagnosis has changed their lives.

Among them are a man who ran world's toughest marathon two years in a row, a mother-of-two who reunited with her mother after decades apart and a sixty-nine year-old man who says he and his wife have had some of the best times of their life since his diagnosis.