Bardos looked down at his blue-colored sneakers and then looked for Cerata in the woods of the crowd. He felt a tap on his shoulder. Bardos turned around, and there was Cerato, just like a photo on her dating profile – dark dark hair and brown eyes sharpened by angular glasses. Even better, unlike many of her previous dates, she was taller than her.
"Briefly," Bardos said. – But I'm short too. And that's not what I was thinking. "
Bardos had to say something about it, because the two of them continued to speak until the coffee shop closed. They decided to bite at a nearby restaurant and close the house again. Then Bardos realized that he was late on his own birthday celebration, so he hurried back to his apartment to take care of his guests with disappointed parties who spent the night listening to him wild about the woman he just met.
Like Cerato, the 33-year-old, who was with Bardos, knew there was no time to lose the dead end connection. So on their second day they decided to give up the "bomb".
Knowing that Bardos was a fan of comics, Cerato tried to soften the blow by appealing to his superhero. "I'm not a stranger," she said, "but I'm a mutant."
For Bardos' disappointment, Cerato admitted that he was not a member of X-Men. However, she was exposed to a large part of the radiation in the treatment of lung cancer that was triggered by genetic mutation.
After two years in remission, Cerato has recently learned that cancer has spread, and chances are that it will not be in five years.
This is Bardos' chance to run for the hills, Cerato said. Bardos took a moment to think about his dilemma: how to fall in love knowing that loss was inevitable?
When you face a life-threatening or death-related illness, heart problems may seem like secondary concern. But cancer can serve as a "light test" for the connection – and many are lost, said Dr. Robert Rutledge, Halifax's radiation oncologist.
He said it was not uncommon for people to break up relationships, even marriages, with partners instead of facing the possibility of losing a loved one of cancer, and being faced with their own mortality through a lawyer.
But while some couples die under the auspices of the disease, Rutledge said, for others it can boost emotional ties. People who stay with their partners when the end is close are usually those who are worth the time the patients left, he said.
Sitting opposite the "mutant" he fell, Bardos decided to be such a partner for Cerata.
It was in the fall of 2011. Seven years later, Bardos and Cerato are married, owning a home, traveling around the world, and even celebrating their 25th anniversary, adjusting their romantic moments of love for a short time.
Before meeting with Cerat, Bardos said that he would crawl between reflecting on the past and worrying about the future. Now, Bardos has said he can immerse himself in a moment so he can spend it with her.
"She made me a better person, very quickly, just by herself," he said.
At age 40, Cerato said she had defied survival statistics thanks to the recent development of targeted gene therapy. But knowing that her time was limited, she was forced to decide without which she could live and who she could not.
"I feel, in a way, the gift I've come to understand in 30, and not in the 60's."
For Morgan McNeely in Edmonton, this discovery came a month before she was 25 when she discovered she had a terminal colon cancer.
After her diagnosis in 2015, McNeely found no study, research and job at the restaurant, and the short links she thought she could count on.
Suddenly she had plenty of free time in her hands, so she and her friend decided to have fun running through Tinder.
McNeely rejected a series of proposals, including one lottery that offered her help in removing items from her "list of sexual cans."
He did not explicitly seek love – the last man he was worried about because of her "cancer drama" – but one of her ties with Tinder proved to be persistent and began to emerge.
Losing so much, McNeely feared to drop. But he told her, "I see you out of cancer." And soon he helped McNeely to see it.
"I feel happy every day for it," she said. "I'm not happy to have cancer, but I'm still grateful for what brought me."
Still, McNeely said the disease could complicate the relationship. When she and her boyfriend together got the cat, McNeely said they had to consider whether she could take care of a pet without her. When they talk about getting married, she is concerned about whether the debts associated with her illness will be transferred to him after she dies.
This is the case for many patients with terminal cancer: Their biggest concern is not their own death, but the impact they will have on loved ones who leave them.
Julie Easley is too familiar with this tension, not just as a social scientist whose research focused on young people with cancer, but also as a survivor of a person who had suffered loss.
When Easley met Randy's Cable at Fredericton's 2004 bar, she sensed the current surge of recognition. At age 28, Easley's life has recently been restored after being beaten by Phase 2 of Hodgkin's lymphoma. Kabel, then 29, has been diagnosed with colon cancer and said he has three months of life – that day has expired.
Since then, it was love for lending.
Easley knew the isolation that could come up with the fight against cancer. She had been researching at a hospital where Cable was treated, and she started to visit her after work.
One night, Cable feared too much to fall asleep, because they told him she could go to a heart failure at any time. Easley offered to stay supervised by his breathing. She was in bed with her and put her hand on her chest, feeling her rising and falling as they both ran away. After that he used to sleep more often, holding hands for the night.
From time to time, she almost felt like a "normal" couple. To have fun, it would turn out that the reflection on the TV screen revealed another room in their fictional flat.
"There is something to see that power of character and the beauty of the human spirit when you are besieged to its most vulnerable state," she said. "I fell in love with it."
Easley said that Kabela needed some time to realize that she was more of a "girl with whom she slept." When Easley first told him to love him, he was silent. He told his mother that he was most sorry that Easley had never fallen in love, but he proved to be wrong. "And I love you," he said, his eyes filled with tears.
In the fall of 2005, just over a year after they met, it became clear that the end was near. Cable's friends and relatives gathered around his bed and asked Easley to come up with him. This time, instead of holding it in his hand, he held her in his arms while he died in 31st.
Thirteen years later, Easley continues to pay tribute to Kablo's memory through her work in the youth community for cancer and feels grateful for the memories she has given her.
"If you really want to know the value of life, spend time with someone who fights for every single piece of it," Easley said. – I knew it was gonna end. The part I did not know was the unexpected beauty that took place within it. "