Just 17 days after her cancer-free diagnosis, Amanda Buchan was told she had less than six months to live.
The 39-year-old from Dyce had been celebrating the news she’d beaten triple-negative breast cancer, when a sudden seizure last month turned her life upside down once more.
But undeterred, she has moved her milestone 40th birthday forward to this month, and has been planning a dream wedding to celebrate her “happy ever after” in style.
Mum-of-one Amanda was first diagnosed with rare triple-negative breast cancer in October 2020, with the news coming as a shock to her and her family.
At the time, they had been caring for her father, David, who had been diagnosed with mesothelioma at 60.
She underwent six gruelling sessions of chemotherapy which made her very ill, but family members said she “battled through every single session”.
Amanda said: “It was very hard, and it was very tough because I’m young.
“I wasn’t expecting it. Obviously, at the time, the family was going through a terminal ordeal because of my dad.
“He passed away on December 7.
“So our family was already in upheaval and then I dropped my bombshell, that I had this cancer.
“It really kind of hit the rollercoaster of emotions that we were in. So we were all being pulled in so many different directions.”
Celebrations after ‘all-clear’
After a surgery that removed part of her left breast and all lymph nodes, doctors informed Amanda they had managed to get all of the cancer and she got the all-clear from her surgeon.
She said: “I went through chemo and I’ve had surgery.
“I got part of my breast removed and I got full lymph nodes clearance in my left side because of tumours within lymph nodes.
“I had a large mass and tiny mass in my breasts.
“And then I was five weeks out of surgery. I got told by my surgeon that I was cancer-free. They got rid of all the cancer.
“The whole time through my cancer. I had to inject myself every single day, tablets – I was very very poorly.
“The surgery knocked me for six. I had to have a lot help from my boyfriend, from my son.
“My son’s girlfriend Kelsea has moved in with us to give us a helping hand, as I can’t be on my own because I can be prone to having seizures.”
Amanda’s family celebrated the news she was cancer-free, and decided to bring her 40th birthday party forward from January 2022 to this month to mark the occasion.
In the days which followed, her spirits lifted and she began to feel she was “getting the old Amanda back”.
But things changed once more just over a fortnight later, when she headed out to meet her stepmum for lunch.
It was just 17 days. That’s all we got.
“I felt absolutely brilliant,” she said.
“I was looking well, I felt like I was getting my old me back again. It was exciting.
“And then I came home, that night I had a bit of a sore head. And then I took a really bad seizure.
“I got admitted into hospital and it was the very next day they broke the news that it was secondary breast cancer to the brain.
“The prognosis was three to six months to live, terminal.”
“It was just 17 days. That’s all we got.
“It’s just been, I don’t think it all actually still sunk in yet, it’s still very surreal.
“Since I got told I went and started radiotherapy to try and prolong things. I went straight onto medication.”
Wedding to be ‘bigger than the dream’
With the prognosis of just three to six months to live, Amanda proposed to her fiance Daniel Bullock, 29, and her escalated birthday celebration turned into planning a wedding.
During a conversation at 3am between Amanda and her stepsister Melissa Mowatt, the pair decided to just “go for it”.
Amanda said: “Melissa started going on about the wedding.
“It’s three o’clock in the morning and we’re messaging each other back and forth in bed and was like ‘so just go for it’.”
Melissa took the story to social media groups in search of help to plan a wedding at such short notice, and Amanda has been “completely blown away” by the generous responses.
On the back of the appeal, dozens of businesses and individuals have come forward with generous donations to make her dream wedding a reality.
They have had offers of cars for the bride and groom, a discounted hall at Palm Court and decorations including 4ft letters spelling out “love”.
Amanda said: “We just can’t believe that folk managed to pull it out of the bag for us it’s just, it’s so touching.
“I think I’ve cried a river it’s been so overwhelming. The generosity of everyone.
“This is going to definitely be my dream wedding.
“It’s going to be bigger than the dream.
“I think it’s bigger than I could ever imagine.
“I’m getting the wedding I always wanted – and my happily ever after.”
Her secondary cancer nurse Vikki Bone has arranged for the soon-to-be newlyweds to have a honeymoon in Piperdam, near Dundee, saying she “came out to bat” for the couple when she heard Amanda had been “robbed of time”.
‘Completely blown away’
Amanda added: “We’re so overwhelmed with emotions, just with how many folks have just gone above and beyond.
“We’re completely blown away by how much everyone cares, loves and supports us.
“That there’s still a lot of good people in the world. It shows that there’s still so much kindness out there, after the whole pandemic, that we’re still pulling together as a community.”
She also thanked her stepsister Melissa, who she called “Superwoman” for having a part in making her happily ever after a reality.
“She’s definitely got my back 100%,” Amanda added.
“I can’t put it into words. I mean she’s juggling her business, juggling three boys, juggling this and the loss of our dad as well.
“She’s like Superwoman, there are no other words for her.”
Amanda and Daniel will tie the knot on June 25, and the couple have extended their thanks to the following individuals and businesses:
- Papeterie Crafts, for providing a table planner, place names and menus.
- Party Supplies, for the selfie post box.
- Little Lovies Little Parties for the kids’ corner.
- Alba Bagpipes.
- Tall & Small Entertainment, for the 4ft letters.
- Lala Events, for the backdrop.
- Candy Corner, for the sweets table, chair bows and centrepieces.
- Big Bow Company, for the door bow.
- Bonita Events, for the large balloon arch.
- Show Equip, for providing lighting
- Diamond Wedding cars, for providing the car for the bride and best man.
- GMT Autos, for providing the second wedding car.
- Live Love Bake, for biscuit favours for the children.
- The Melt Room, for providing wax melt favours.
- FM by Laura Emslie, for gifting a bottle of Amanda’s favourite perfume.
- Enhance Cosmetics, for the facial the night before the wedding.
- Palm Court, for offering a room for Amanda and Daniel, and another room for her son Krisstoffer and girlfriend Kelsea, plus free hire of the hall.
- Aberdeen Nursing Agency, for paying for first drinks for the guests.
- The Aberdeen Wedding shop, for providing lanterns for decoration.
- Photographer Sandy Ritchie
- Audstar, for providing a 20% discount.
- Shambles25.com, for Amanda’s ring.
- Charlene Meier from Ohhh Crumbs, for providing the wedding cake and cup cakes.
To contribute to Amanda and Daniel’s wedding visit their JustGiving page.