I had a tumor removed from my tongue!

A significant event took place last week. I had a tumor removed from my tongue. Gross, huh?! Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. I was almost embarrassed to tell people. What! Your tongue? I could see the cringing faces. If only it was on any other part of my body. Maybe then the recovery would not have been as hard as it was too.

I discovered it about 11 years ago. Actually, I noticed it not too long after my first kiss. About 5 months later I felt something in my mouth. I looked in the mirror and there was a purple bump on the top of my tongue, kinda on the right and in the front. My first thought was that my boyfriend had given me something weird (since I had just recently started kissing). I called him and he didn’t have anything like that in his mouth. I went to see a dermatologist. She diagnosed it as a hemangioma. It was a filled blood and that is what gave it its purple color. I also saw an oral surgeon, an ENT, and my dentist measured it every six months. The consensus was that due to the nature of the tumor it was best to leave it unless it was growing or giving me problems. The risk of it hemorrhaging or growing back after being removed kept doctors from wanting to do anything with it. So there it sat for years. It was my silent little buddy. 

This last year things changed. It started to become noticeably bigger and was beginning to give me problems. It would swell and feel like a marble in my mouth. It bled a couple of times and other times would have a gray murky color to it. It was time. It needed to go. Getting better could cause more problems. So, I saw an ENT, also considered a head and neck surgeon. She was confident that removal would be easy and didn’t expect there to be any problems afterwards. So, plans were set in motion.

My breakup with my boyfriend will have its 10 year anniversary this August. In my mind, my tumor is a marker of the beginning of our relationship. The relationship has been over nearly a decade and my heart has more than healed from the event. Though, that breakup was a significant event in my life and propelled movement in life that took me to places I would never have gone and have made me more into the “Alina” that God wanted me to be. Yet, I still carry some of that heartache. Especially as the years go on and I remain single. I believe in a BIG God and have seen him answer big prayers. I want a job in Washington: Bam, Kindergarten Teacher! I want a home of my own: Bam, a home rent free! I want a man: Dial tone! I know God hears me and yet I wait. 

Like my breakup, the recovery of my surgery was rough. My tongue was SUPER swollen for about 5 days. I couldn’t eat or talk, barely. My tongue was so big that I couldn’t close my mouth. This made sleeping a challenge because I couldn’t swallow and my spit had nowhere to go but out; I drooled a lot. As that went down things got easy but were still difficult. The incision bled a couple of times when it should not have. Even after the swelling was gone, I still struggled speaking normally. I had to take more time off from work. I’m a teacher. Talking is my job. I need to sound normal. By day 9 things were looking up. It was a short season of suffering but not one that I would even wish on my enemies. 

My breakup was a lot like that recovery. There was the removal of something that had become a part or my life. My heart bled. I couldn’t eat. Many are familiar with pains such as these. Moving forward, I will no longer have my little hemangioma. Instead, I will have a scar across the top of my tongue. I’m almost considering naming it. It marks a new beginning. It marks a new decade. I love what God has done in me. The good work he has done in my life, he continues to do. I praise him for this and eagerly await for the man I hope he has for me and maybe the removal of my tumor will mark the beginning of a new relationship like the appearance of it marked the old.


Over a year ago I met a man online and dated him for a brief time, five dates total. I ended the relationship for several reasons but since then have regretted the decision. I have a short list of qualities that I filter men through to see if they are someone I would want a relationship with. I call these things “My Five F’s” (Faith: serious about Jesus, Finances: responsible with money, Family: similar values, Fitness: values a healthy lifestyle, and Fun: similar interest). Online guy, Nathan, I discovered had them all. He was also kind and respectful.  Yet, during the time I was dating him I was overwhelmed and fearful of the thought of letting things move into a committed dating relationship. 

I don’t know why. I can’t seem to sort my emotions out any better today than I could at that time. Why did I let him go?  Was it my pride? I struggled with the fact that I met him online and had preached openly that I would never do the online dating thing. Was it out of fear of embarrassment? I didn’t want him to meet my friends and have them ask how we met. Was it out of fear? Fear that if I committed to dating him I would have regret? I was interested in a guy from church, Jeremy, (Jeremy doesn’t even meet 3 of my 5 F’s) but that wasn’t going anywhere. However, I thought that if I entered into a relationship with Nathan I might always wonder what could have been with Jeremy. As if, somehow Jeremy might come around if I just waited long enough. Well, he didn’t! 

As we dated I began to fear that I was going in too deep and started to back off. I wouldn’t reply to text and would tell him I was busy if he wanted to hang out. I texted him and told him that all of this overwhelmed me and that I had feelings for someone but wasn’t dating him. He was very gracious in his response and recommended taking things slow and even taking a break for a while. We went out one more time. We talked a little bit more after that and then I blocked his number from my phone and removed him from my contacts. At the time it was a relief. I brought my life back to the state it was in before I meet him. However, memories cannot be blocked as easily as one blocks a number in a phone. 

For a brief moment, after this, I thought things with Jeremy were finally going to move forward. I was wrong. It didn’t work out. Friends of mine even told him that I was, “head over heels for him.” He did nothing. He’s silence was my answer. 

When I made the decision to end things with Nathan I had hoped that something would work out with Jeremy. However, I was more convinced that I would just end up with neither. I knew that if things with Jeremy didn’t work out, it wouldn’t be fair to return to Nathan. He shouldn’t be treated like a plan B. 

Last summer, months after I stopped talking Nathan, I looked him up on Facebook. To my surprise he had a girlfriend. Never in the scenarios that ran through my mind did I imagine him with someone else. This is where my heart was sinful with pride. Did I think so highly of myself that I thought I would be in a relationship before he found someone new? I thought surely I would have more opportunities and options for that to happen for me than for Nathan. Well, I was wrong and not only wrong but alone. I prayed that they would break up. I would deactivate my Facebook for a couple of months and then check back. Still they were together. Now they are engaged and getting married on the 19th of July.

Now, I regret the choice I made and wish I responded differently. I wish I could go back and change what I did and just go for it. There is no shame in meeting a great guy online. There is no embarrassment in it either. I wouldn’t need to regret meeting a great guy. But no, I turned down a great guy, a sure thing, someone who really liked me and expressed his interest and intentions in a godly way, for the dream of something that left me disappointed. I’m comforted in the truth that God can take broken things and fix them. That even if I made a mistake, it doesn’t mess up God’s plan for my life. God is the same even when I am fickle. The best I can do now is commit all these things to prayer and trust and obey. I can’t make choices that will change the past but I can do my best today to make choices that are good and honoring to the Lord. 

Maybe I just want my situation right now to be different as I am still single and didn’t think I would be. Also, I am facing a move and do not know where I will live. If I was the one that was getting married this summer, that problem would be solved. Or would it? When I think like that, where is my trust that the Lord is the one that solves my problems? I think I just want right now to be different and I think if I did things differently back then, they would be. However, the Lord may still have someone for me and a home for me but it’s not time yet. I think I made a mistake because I can’t see now how things are going to work out later.