For about 4 months now, Enugu State has had its Governor in absentia. Diverse rumors of his health status culminating in speculations of his death graced both tabloids and daily newspapers. The deafening silence of his whereabouts and mounting political opposition was fast spiraling the situation into a de’ javu of the then President Umar Yaradua. This air was cleared with the grand return of the State Governor, Gov. Sullivan Iheanacho Chime last week on the 8th of February 2013. He called for a press conference with the state journalists 2 days ago where he made this information public that he was diagnosed and treated for Nasopharyngeal Cancer.
According to the Governor’s speech, he visited London for a routine medical check-up and was given a clean bill of health. But his insistence for the doctors to specifically check a growth (lump) he had noticed on his neck brought on the discovery.
“They did biopsies and all that. So, in the process it was discovered that it was cancerous. The growth was cancerous.” Further investigation revealed the main tumour, because this (neck lump) actually turned out to be the lymph node; but the main tumour was behind my nose. It actually turned out to be what they called nasopharyngeal cancer- that is cancer of the nose. At that stage when you hear cancer, you will declare yourself dead before any further examination. Then I asked them what should be done, they told me straight away that they will subject me to further screening to know if it had spread. So luckily it hadn’t spread, it is just only in those two places. They said the good news is that it was curable and not manageable. It was curable, that was when I became interested. And they said as soon as I was ready, they would commence treatment.”
In his words “I don’t think any of you has had an experience. Cancer is a deadly disease and the cure is also deadly, the cure for cancer is not Panadol, the cure for cancer is not these drugs you buy off the counter. By the time you go through Chemotherapy and radiotherapy, you will be a changed person”.
As he was already on a scheduled trip to Germany as one of the delegates representing the South-eastern Zone among the Nigeria Governor’s Forum, he cancelled out on subsequent travel arrangements and briefly came back to Nigeria before returning to London to commence his treatment. He says his 12-weeks course of treatment was completed on the 10th of December and his doctors were astonished at his speedy recovery when they reviewed him in the first week of January. He puts it this way: “And I won’t like to use the expression that they have declared me cancer free, but that was exactly what happened. Cancer is cancer and one will be required to go there from time to time for check up to make sure it does not raise its ugly head again. But as things are now, they have succeeded in curing that disease that was detected in September last year.”
Apparently, this journey on his cancer fight has been a remarkable incident. In his words “I don’t think any of you has had an experience. Cancer is a deadly disease and the cure is also deadly, the cure for cancer is not Panadol, the cure for cancer is not these drugs you buy off the counter. By the time you go through Chemotherapy and radiotherapy, you will be a changed person”.
Welcome home Gov. Sullivan Iheanacho Chime! May God grant you speedy recovery!