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A Cancer Doctor and YA Novelist Find the Right Words for Each Other | tnewst.com Press "Enter" to skip to content

A Cancer Doctor and YA Novelist Find the Right Words for Each Other

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As two people widely recognized for their prose, Bianca Turetsky and Peter Bach perhaps unsurprisingly each found themselves drawn to the other’s way with words when they first communicated through the dating app Hinge in August 2017.

Ms. Turetsky, 42, is an author whose works include the series “The Time Traveling Fashionista.” Dr. Bach, 57, is a pulmonary and critical care physician at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York; he wrote a series in The New York Times 10 years ago from the perspective of a clinician about the illness of his previous wife, Ruth Mazzoni, who died in 2012.

“He’s such a great writer and he’s so smart and funny and it just comes through in his initial emails,” said Ms. Turetsky, who graduated from Tufts and is a regional manager and instructor in Brooklyn for Writopia Lab, an organization that provides creative writing programs for young people. “I thought he was cute from the app, and once he started writing to me, I knew I wanted to meet him.”

“I think it was more this sort of breezy, intelligent way that she interacted with me and the richness of her references,” said Dr. Bach, who graduated from Harvard, has a medical degree from the University of Minnesota and received a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Chicago.

“We’d have back and forth on one day, and she would unearth some reference to a conversation from a few days earlier. She was clearly present and paying attention to our conversation, and it had substance and meaning, and that made me want to meet her and spend time with her.”

When Ms. Turetsky and Dr. Bach met for a first date in September 2017, both broke their early-night rules and went from cocktails to dinner to doughnuts to rooftop conversation without regrets.

[Click here to binge read this week’s featured couples.]

“It was probably one o’clock in the morning,” Ms. Turetsky said. “We had our first kiss the first night that we met, on the roof of his apartment.”

He had a place in Sag Harbor, on Long Island, and it was on a trip there that she realized she was falling in love.

“One time we went out, the whole ceiling of the first floor collapsed,” she said. “It didn’t faze him at all. He made a joke and went down to the basement to get a wet vac and just cleaned it up. I thought he was going to freak out and instead he just took care of everything.

At that moment, Ms. Turetsky said, “I realized he was somebody who could take care of me. He wouldn’t sweat the small stuff.”

It was during the pandemic, however, when the two and Dr. Bach’s teenage son quarantined together at the Sag Harbor house, that the couple decided to make their relationship permanent.

“A lot of marriages and divorces came out of quarantine — we’re in the former category,” said Dr. Bach, who is also the chief medical officer of Delfi Diagnostics, a company in Baltimore that is developing a blood-based screening test for cancers. “We were really, really together continuously, like it was for everybody. Time together, no time apart, and it was terrific in every respect.”

The two married Sept. 18 on the rooftop of the Beekman Hotel, where they had their first date. Patricia Bellinger, who was the maid of honor at the groom’s previous marriage, officiated, having been ordained as a Universal Life minister. There were almost 70 guests in attendance, all fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, and tested again just before the event.

Reflecting on their joint quarantine, Dr. Bach said, “It was fun, it felt safe, it was silly, we played games together. Somewhere in the middle of that, we both decided, we want to keep doing this.”


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