Some say everything happens for a reason.
For an Argentinian man and woman, the idea that "everything happens for a reason" meant a dreadful cancer diagnosis for both of them, but that led to their meeting each other and becoming a couple.
Bryan, 30, and Candela (Cande), 23, were both diagnosed and had to undergo chemotherapy treatments in the same hospital. Upon learning of their cancer, they knew their lives would be forever changed, but neither of them expected cancer to lead them to the love of their life.
Before his diagnosis, Bryan was finishing his medical engineering studies and working as a race car engineer 40 kilometers (approx. 25 miles) south of the capital. When he developed a nasty cough, his mother insisted that he go to the hospital.
What the doctors found was shocking. "I had a huge mass in my chest, which had started to interfere with my lungs,” Bryan told The Epoch Times.
Cande, then 19, had just begun her university studies at the time of her diagnosis. She had a similar experience; at first, her cancer went undetected, too.
“I was with my family in Punta Cana when I discovered a swollen lymph node,” she recalled.
It wasn’t until Cande realized the lymph node had not shrunk that she knew something was wrong.
“It was a stage II, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma," she said. "At that time, I felt that my world fell apart.”
Both Bryan and Cande had been leading healthy lives; in fact, Bryan says he had never smoked or drunk too much. So, the diagnosis came as a surprise to them both.
The support of family and friends was instrumental to both in facing their battles head-on. At the time they started chemotherapy, they hadn’t yet met one another.
The worst part was the side effects of going through chemo, he says, losing his hair and dealing with his "new shape.”
Bryan shared, “Instead of thinking, ‘Why me?’ I used to think, ‘Why not me?’ which really helped me to cope better with everything.”
Cande also struggled with the life changes brought on by her illness. When her "extremely difficult" first round of chemo did not work, she went through three more rounds, plus a stem-cell autotransplant.
“During that, I had to set aside university and outings with friends to be at home taking care of myself," she said. "Suddenly, all ‘my friends’ disappeared from my life. My family was always by my side, they were my strength to overcome the illness.”
Unbeknownst to the couple, they were both being treated by the same doctor. When a fellow patient invited them to a Whatsapp group for hospital patients, Bryan and Cande started chatting.
Soon, it became apparent that they were the only two patients using the group chat. And not only did they talk all the time, they sometimes even stayed up until 4 a.m. talking.
Even though Cande was self-conscious about the shape of her body after treatment, she eventually agreed to meet Bryan for a date.
“I met Cande [and] I realized that everything happens for a reason, and maybe that reason was meeting the love of my life," said Bryan.
Cande agreed, saying, “When I met Bryan, I started to see and live things differently. It had all been worth it, even though there was a long way to go, but this time with him by my side.”
After becoming a couple, their relationship took off, with Cande waking up early to text Bryan in the mornings before he had to go in for radiotherapy. And as they supported one another, they both recovered.
Unfortunately, Cande suffered a relapse later on, yet Bryan was by her side every step of the way.
Bryan says, “Knowing of Cande’s relapse was way worse than when I was diagnosed myself.”
His support was, perhaps, the nonmedical treatment she needed to pull through a second time.
“Having Bryan by my side made everything better,” Cande shared.
With Bryan by her side, Cande finally recovered from her relapse.
“Not only was Bryan always by my side," she added, "but he also made me smile and feel loved and beautiful throughout the difficult path I walked. Although my family was always there for me, he would understand me in a different way since he had also been there.”
Now, the couple are cancer-free and living their lives together, appreciating the important things in life. While they would like to get married and start a family, they also share a goal of helping to inspire other cancer patients.
“We love sharing our story,” the couple said. “We think it might inspire some to overcome the difficult moments in life. Always remember the darkness of night finishes with light!”
More than anything, they are grateful to have found each other.
“Now I understand, everything happens for a reason,” Cande said. “There is no coincidence, there are people who leave from your life and people who come into your life for the better.”