Oral Cancer Takes Another Life

In Memory of Mike Collins   May 30th 1948 – February 29th 2012 

I met Mike’s sister, Robin Morrison, through a LinkedIn conversation about oral cancer. The best way Robin could help her brother was find information about surviving and learning to live with the devastating effects of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation for oral cancer.

‘If only his symptoms were recognized as signs of oral cancer sooner,  his quality of life, especially these last two years, may have been more humane. He had been under the care of both a general dentist and a periodontist but the oral cancer had gone undiagnosed for a good 6 months or more.’

Mike a couple of months before passing away

 

Mike and I set up a time to chat. He asked me a few questions about being more comfortable….I recommended massaging his gums and his neck.  I praised Waterpik for keeping the oral cavity healthy, especially with reduced saliva.  I mentioned the spill-proof water bottle I kept behind my pillow.  I encouraged him to do things everyday that would bring him a modicum of joy and comfort.  Mike wanted to get reconstructive dental work to repair the damage caused by surgery and radiation but like most people with oral cancer, his medical insurance did not cover dental.

Mike was so happy to talk to someone who had been through it.  I validated his feelings.  His partner Christina told me how much our talk meant to him.  However, deep down I sensed he knew he wasn’t going to live much longer.

On March 5th, I received this email from Robin:

Hello Eva
I wanted to let you know that Mike passed peacefully last Wednesday. My family and I flew up to Maine on Sunday and spent three days with him. He was able to respond to us and mouth “I love you.” The cancer had spread to his brain and caused brain damage. I am so sad, but so relieved that he is out of that battered body. I knew you would want to know. Your calls meant so much to him. You made him feel so special. I am very grateful for the work you are doing. I tell everyone about you and your message, and I hope I get to meet you soon.  Much love – Robin

Robin,
My sympathies.  Together let’s make his memory meaningful by saving other’s lives through education and early detection.   With love, Eva

Mike with his children and granddaughter in 2010

Eva,
Thank you.  Absolutely – I want to do everything that I possibly can to save lives. I would love to help you in your efforts. You are a Godsend.  ~Robin

Robin has made it her mission to spread the word about early detection.  As President of RLM Healthcare Marketing & Consulting and founder of the Dental Consultant Connection, she is in a good position to do that.

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