A mother is facing the heartbreaking prospect of having to plan her wedding and her funeral at the same time after receiving a devastating diagnosis.
Only 18 months ago, Natalie Sanders, from Scotland, was told by doctors she had terminal breast cancer.
Her son, Zeke, was two years old when Sanders felt a sharp pain in her breast after her son brushed up against her.
She visited the doctor as she had suspicions about there being a cyst but her tests came back clear.
But when the pain worsened, Sanders returned to her doctor.
Soon after, the worst was confirmed.
“It felt surreal, as though it was happening to somebody else when the consultant told me I had triple-negative breast cancer, the most aggressive type,” Sanders recalls in a piece for The Mirror.
“I had the BRCA gene, which made it much more likely I’d develop breast cancer.”
The 29-year-old was told she needed to have the lump removed, along with a double mastectomy and chemotherapy.
“It was terrifying but I stayed calm, reassured there was every reason to expect the treatment would be a success….I might have a bad year, but the prognosis was good.”
Months later, in January last year, her boyfriend Idrees proposed.
“Because the prognosis looked hopeful, we decided we’d save up and wait a few years to marry,” she explained.
But the sudden pandemic had a drastic effect on her treatment, postponing everything in the process.
Sanders was told her previous treatment had been enough and the cancer had not spread.
She was in the clear until the pain in her breast returned, and after a few more appointments, Sanders was told the cancer had returned, and the prognosis was not looking good.
She was given just six to 12 months to live.
“All I could think of was my son not having a mummy to look after him.”
So she and her fiancé began planning their wedding, for something to look forward to.
They will marry in front of friends and family on May 8.
“It’s so sad to think that my loved ones who’ll be dancing at my wedding will be wearing black just a short while later,” Sanders said.
“Amid the excitement of the wedding, I’ve had to be practical and plan for my funeral.”
A crowd-funding page has been set up by her family to help with their ongoing costs.