I knew as soon as he walked into the room. He's usually quick to make eye contact and shake hands, but on that day, he greeted me and looked away. My oral surgeon had removed a suspicious lesion from the side of my tongue a week earlier. I love how we describe lesions as "suspicious" - like they have a brain that guides their devious, destructive plan for each day. Seems strange, but fitting, especially for this one that was slowly eating away at my tongue like it was dessert - something to be savored not devoured. Anyway, he asked how I was feeling, and I let him know that my mouth actually felt better than it had in a year. He responded, "I'm glad to hear that, but unfortunately, you have squamous cell cancer."
I don't think I even blinked. I couldn't feel emotion yet. It was like my intuition that I was about to hear something really bad had made me eerily calm. He began explaining what might lie ahead for me concerning further diagnostics and treatment, but I could tell he was uncomfortable. It was obvious that he doesn't hand out cancer diagnoses every day. Isn't it funny how we often end up comforting those who are charged with comforting us? I felt so bad for him. He couldn't stop talking. To be fair, I asked plenty of questions, but he kept talking even after the questions were sufficiently answered. He wanted to be able to do more, to call it a mistake, to close up the wound neatly as surgeons do. Instead, he felt like he was opening a nasty one. I found myself trying to reassure him with, "It's okay ... someone had to do it." But, I have cancer. He can't fix that, and I can't make him feel better about it.
There is One who is able to fix it, though. "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him." -Job 13:15