Greg Baiden (Diagnosed at 28) Robotics Entrepreneur – Penguin Automated Systmes Inc.
It was June 1987. I was fresh out of Queen’s University having just completed my Master’s in Engineering. I was young, recently married, new job, playing hockey and ready to take on the world. My story starts with a round flat lump under my nipple that felt like a quarter. I figured it was nothing. I told my wife Sharon, a nurse, and we talked about getting it looked at. I almost didn’t bother, but there was a clinic in my office building, so I decided to pop in to see the doctor on a whim! What a fateful decision! Dr. Cox was great. He referred me to Dr. Flaherty for a lumpectomy to check it out. Following the surgery, Dr. Flaherty came in with Sister Aileen to talk to us. We were told….it was breast cancer. I remember being surprised, because men don’t get breast cancer.” Once we were over the shock, things accelerated. Treatment was a radical mastectomy and it was scheduled for the next day. I barely remember thinking or feeling anything other than fear and worry. I remember coming out of surgery; Sharon was waiting for me. I felt OK and we felt this was behind us. Discharged with drainage tubes, pain medication and follow-up appointments, we started on the journey to recovery together. Follow-up of routine scans revealed “dark spots” on my pelvis and skull. Possible metastasis to the bone? I remember thinking more surgery and treatment to survive. After speaking with the doctor, the solution was to go home and wait for three months, come back for scans and see if the size changes. The next three months were dreadful. All I could do was think about was what was going on. Was the cancer spreading all through me? After three months, no change. So, for the next five years every three months the scans were repeated to track the rate of change. Months passed, I worried and wondered. Sharon, although equally worried secretly, kept my spirits up and reassured me. After five very long years, there was no change in any of these markings – probably just a few scars from being bumped around in hockey. I needed no further treatment.I was fortunate. I wish everyone that luck! What one typically considers to be a “woman’s disease” is not. I am a lucky rare statistic. It happened to me and could happen to any one of you. Through the eyes of a man, the experience was just as terrifying and as horrible as anyone can imagine. This disease affects us all. Fathers, mothers, grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters are all vulnerable.
Thank you to Councillor Ron Dupuis and Fire Chief Dan Stack and our local Greater Sudbury Fire Fighters for this photo opportunity. We thank you for your support with Breast Cancer Awareness!