I can remember it as if it was yesterday, although more time than I can account for has passed since that telling moment. My voice had been persistently hoarse, a feature I’d made peace with due to my rigorous teaching schedule. However, given that it seemed a little worse than usual, I made an appointment to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist.
The doctor’s office had the same smell as every doctor’s office I’d ever visited, and walking in to it made me want to walk out of it at first whiff. But, at this point, I knew that wasn’t an option. So, after waiting the usual thirty to forty minutes, I was led to another, smaller room, where I waited again for the doctor who, as it turned out, was very kind.
After he used some special equipment to capture detailed images of my vocal cords, my wife and I waited for him to review the results. It was one of those moments when you know – just by looking at him – that he would rather not have to tell you what comes next. Sure enough: I was diagnosed with an early stage of cancer. Shock gave way to devastation.