Nnamdi's Story

Nnamdi's story

- Prostate cancer

Father-of-three Nnamdi, from Ilford, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2017 and sadly died in 2020 aged 69.  His daughter Ifeoma, from Romford, spoke about his diagnosis and the family’s desire to help raise awareness.   
“In late 2016, Dad was not feeling too well and thought he had the flu. He went to the doctor and he was given some treatment for those symptoms but he could not shake it. This continued into 2017 but it was not until August/September that prostate cancer was suspected.  
He had further tests including an MRI scan, and the stage 4 diagnosis was confirmed in October 2017. It had spread to the lymph nodes and it was aggressive and it was terminal.”
Nnamdi was told that surgery was not an option, but that his cancer could be kept dormant with hormone therapy.  
“This worked for most of 2018 and his PSA level came down to 6.5. It seemed to be under control but he was bleeding every time he went to the loo because of a tumour that had ruptured the rectal wall.  
In late 2018, Nnamdi had six weeks of radiotherapy to help with the bleeding.
“The radiotherapy did shrink the tumour and the bleeding stopped for a while. However, he was in a lot of pain over Christmas and New Year. He had to go to A&E and was given some tablets to help with nerve pain.  
“Things went downhill from there. There were lots of issues, he had infections and transfusions. During those months, he had sepsis too. He was offered a stoma but he really did not want that. He also found a lump in his neck as the cancer had started to spread further.”
By November 2019, Nnamdi had returned to hospital. 
“He was really unwell by Christmas 2019 and this all just continued from there - he was going into hospital a lot. We decided we were going to do some voice recordings of my dad talking about himself and his life and we are so glad he got to do this.  
“We as a family had never been exposed to a journey like this - it was shocking. Seeing someone you love and so full of life, seeing that sucked out of them is awful. I would not wish it on anybody."


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“He had always been a really happy guy, so strong and he used to race us up the road. He was a proud man, who came over to the UK in the 1970s as a young man, having fought in the army back in Nigeria, and he became a successful accountant in the UK. 
“The constant pain over these years really took it out of him and he was a shell of himself. He would try to spread joy and make the nurses laugh, but he was not the same person. He had lost weight and would just burst into tears. Seeing him like that was difficult for us all” 
“He fought incredibly hard. More than once, we even called the priest to read the last rites, but he sat up and started talking. At that time, around New Year of 2020, I was eight months’ pregnant too, and it was a very tough time. Then COVID came and we were all terrified he would have to go to hospital. We were so worried but he never did get COVID. However, he did get an infection and had to go in.
“COVID restricted us being there with him – we couldn’t be there to hold his hand. The last time we saw him, it was on video on a Portal. He wasn’t looking too good and he kept saying there was an elevator and he needed to get on it.  
“We had to say goodnight to him and I am so thankful that we were all able to tell him how much we all loved him.”  
Nnamdi sadly died on 11 May 2020.   
“Cancer is like a huge earthquake; it’s something that really rocks you. Having that empty chair damages that family unit. Cancer just really takes everything and it took away a really good person.  
“We all have a copy of those audio recordings of him talking about his life on our phones. After he passed away, I listened to this every day – they are like air to me. It is just so special that we have those and it means I can still hear his voice.  
“My dad was just a really happy, kind person. He was very much a family man. Everything he did was for us. He used to work very hard, from early morning to late night and still make sure he came to give us hugs.  
“After what happened, my brother Emeka will have early checks on his health but, along with our sister Ngozi, we knew we wanted to help raise awareness about prostate cancer in the black community. We have set up a support group called ‘Prostate Cancer Black Men’, to share our story and inform families how to advocate for prostate health care. 
“We want to do what we can to stop other families going through what we went through and doing all we can to help campaigns like Stand Up To Cancer have as big an impact as possible.”  

“We had to say goodnight to him and I am so thankful that we were all able to tell him how much we all loved him.” - Ifeoma, Nnamdi's daughter

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