A brave woman has shared her miraculous story of survival after being told she only had “months, not years” left to live.
Amanda McDonald, 45 from Stoke, England, was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in November 2013. Eighteen months into her treatment, she felt that she was finally on the road to recovery when she was told devastating news.
Doctors revealed Ms McDonald had secondary breast cancer in the brain and needed risky surgery to remove the tumour.
After recovering from the operation, Ms McDonald was told the cancer had returned – and was forced to undergo a second round of invasive surgery.
“It was removed again, and shortly after that, in October 2015, I was told I was dying,” she told The Guardian.
“The doctors said there was no more they could do for me. I was given “months, not years” to live and began preparing for my last Christmas.”
Faced with the prospect of leaving behind her loved ones, Ms McDonald decided to organise a funeral for herself – one she could attend with her friends and family.
“I wanted to celebrate my life with the people I Ioved the most,” she told Yahoo7 News.
“I knew I was going to die soon and wanted to say goodbye properly. At your actual funeral you don’t get the chance to do that.”
Three weeks later, 250 people gathered at a restaurant to celebrate Ms McDonald’s life.
Friends wrote down their favourite memories and pinned them to a ‘Tree of Life’. Food and drinks were shared before Ms McDonald’s husband and closest companions read out eulogies.
“I found the event uplifting and a wonderful celebration. Most people found it very emotional and there were lots of tears. No one expected me to live, even the medical professionals,” Ms McDonald said.
Her onocologist had told her that she would start to sleep more and more, until she eventually would move to a hospice to die.
As she stopped treatment and prepared for the worst, Ms McDonald soon realised that her condition wasn’t worsening. In fact, she was told the unbelievable news that her tumour had not grown back.
Incredibly, she had defied almost unbeatable odds.
Five years on, Ms McDonald is thrilled to be cancer-free. Her oncologist told her he had only ever had one other patient in 28 years that had survived what she had been through.
“After coming face-to-face with death I have a new lifestyle and outlook,” she said.
“I treasure the people I love more. I don’t work long hours and travel all the time (I was a managing director of an advertising agency). I still work for them in a support role part time and work from home.”
On her blog, Ms McDonald said she is now craving an uneventful and “brilliantly ordinary” life beside her husband, Dean.
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