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Reply to "Lump INSIDE Tongue"

A couple days ago (unless it was there earlier and I didn't notice) I became aware of a lump a little to the right of the middle of my tongue about a half inch from the tip (if that matters?). About the size of a pea, like most people have been describing, but it was more oblong than round. It was less painful than it was annoying!
My teeth haven't been able to leave it alone for a few days now and it's gotten more sore, but it feels mostly numb. It seems to have gotten larger over the course of today.

I bought some canker sore patch sort of things that adhere to the sore and are supposed to protect and numb the area. But it was much too bulky to have on my tongue and I needed to talk! so I peeled the patch off. This seemed to take off a good chunk of my little taste buds with it. It didn't hurt but it made the sore much more sensitive to hot foods or liquids. The taste buds have seemed to crop back up over the spot already but they're whitish and odd looking, and the lump is still there with a vengeance.
I've also had a mild sore throat for a while and a very dry mouth. Dry mouth is a side effect of a new medicine I've been taking though. Can dry mouth lead to an inflamed gland or anything? I also have a smooth red strip, on the same side of my tongue, with no taste buds at all. It can get sore sometimes.
I hardly ever drink. I do smoke but I literally go through about a pack in 1-2 months and half that pack is usually bummed to friends that smoke regularly. I guess it would serve me right to get tongue cancer! my parents would be so sad to know I smoke at all. I feel a twinge of guilt every time I light up. But I'm hardly a regular.
I'm 3 years in to college, and in my chosen career path it is vital for me to be able to speak. I'm horrified at the prospect of losing my tongue and ability to speak well. I don't know what I'd do with myself. It's my life.

I'm sorry to ramble, I'm just very scared and can't sleep. Thank you. It's comforting to hear other people's experiences.