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True love stories: Doctor diagnoses tumor, marries patient

One woman's tragedy turned into a lifetime of happiness.

By Kristin Wong Dec 26, 2012 5:57PM

The Heart Beat is excited to introduce our new weekly feature, "True love stories." Each week, a couple with a truly amazing love story will be profiled. If you know a couple with a story worth sharing, please email us at msnlivingmail@micros​oft.com for a chance to be featured.

Sixteen years ago, Caryn McAllister was dealt a tragic blow. After suffering from severe headaches for three days straight, she made a doctor's appointment only to discover she had a brain tumor. Caryn's life would be forever changed, but thanks to an unexpected twist of fate, it was actually changed for the better.

Photo: Courtesy of Caryn McAllisterOn her father's 50th birthday, Caryn had an appointment with "the best neurologist in the area" to undergo a brain scan. Upon being diagnosed with a tumor, Caryn had to tell her parents the gut-wrenching news . She described the experience to MSN's The Heart Beat:

"I slept in my mother's arms that night and we cried ourselves to sleep."

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The next day, Caryn returned to the neurologist's office with a full list of questions.

"He answered each one intelligently, compassionately and kindly.  I knew then that I needed to know this man who shared my concern and passion for caring for others."

A week after her tumor was diagnosed, Caryn underwent surgery. Fortunately, it was a success. Two months later, she began dating her neurologist, Peter McAllister. That, too, was a success.

"Our first date was at Cafe Christina, in the center of Westport, [Connecticut], which was my favorite area at the time.  It's quaint, by the water and very romantic."

A month after their first date, Caryn married the man who discovered and helped remove her brain tumor.

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"Quick? Definitely. Risky? Yes, I don't recommend this for everyone," Caryn tells us. "Would I do it again? In a heartbeat! There's nothing like falling in love with the person who saved your life."

Three kids and nearly two decades later, Caryn and Peter are still going strong.

"Although Peter diagnosed me with my brain tumor and facilitated its removal, I showed him love like he had never experienced and saved him as well, so he says.  We knew very quickly that we would share our lives together."

Her secret to a happy marriage?

"Treat each other as your best friend, share lots of interests together, compromise, travel together, love one another unconditionally and laugh a lot."

And for any disheartened or downtrodden folks out there, Caryn has some powerful words of experience:

"When things seem overwhelmingly terrible, they can often lead to better things in life than you ever imagined."

Here's wishing Caryn and Peter a lifetime of happiness in their beautiful marriage.

Photo: Courtesy of Caryn McAllister

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