The dental hygienist noticed his dry mouth; little did he know that this was being caused by cancer.

Back in 2017 I found out that I had a mild case of lymphoma (which is now in full remission [as of 2023]) — and it turns out that two of the symptoms I had (that I had no idea were symptomatic of anything) were dry mouth and some occasional night sweats.

I really had no other symptoms, and no pain, and nothing to tell me that anything was wrong, but my doctor noticed something wrong when he examined me for a regular checkup.

And six months earlier, my dental hygienist had noticed I had dry mouth.

He found some pain in my abdomen when he pressed on various parts of my abdomen, and he ordered some blood tests and a CT scan.

The CT scan showed swollen lymph glands, and then a biopsy was done to determine the kind of lymphoma I had.

When I met with the oncologist, he asked me about night sweats (which I had, but not very often, and not anything that I thought was unusual.)

He asked me about dry mouth. I explained that my dentist had noticed some “dry mouth” several months before, but it didn’t really bother me.

And then we discussed the nature and treatment of my lymphoma.

A self-portrait of Robert Barrows getting chemo.

There are many different kinds of lymphoma, and luckily, I had a mild form of it that could be easily treated with chemotherapy.

Specifically, I had a B-cell non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, grades 1-2.

Grades 1-2 are groin and abdomen; and grades 3-4 are chest and neck.

My chemo regimen was two sessions per month for six months.

Robert receiving chemo.

After six months of chemo my lymphoma was in full remission.

The chemo worked, and luckily, without much in the way of bad side effects, except for some fatigue.

You never know if the dry mouth may actually be symptomatic of something that you never even imagined.

Robert Barrows is the president of R.M. Barrows Advertising and Public Relations in San Mateo, California. In addition, he’s also an author, sculptor, painter, songwriter and inventor. The invention is a video tombstone, “The Video Enhanced Gravemarker” (U.S. Patent #7,089,495). You can see more about these items at


Top image: Shutterstock/Tyler Olson