How many times do we say we shouldn’t put off our dreams because ‘we only live once’ and ‘life’s too short’? Many, right? But how many times do we actually, seriously think about it? Not so many – until something happens that forces us to confront our own mortality.


Hoping for the thumbs up!

I’ve just had one of those moments. About a year ago, I discovered a lump. On my thumb, of all places! I thought it was a callous. It grew. I thought it was a cyst. It grew some more. I went to my GP. I expected him to laugh at me for being such a fusspot, and throw me out of his surgery. Instead, he went all serious and referred me for an ultrasound. What?! He’d clearly ignored the reassuring script I’d devised for him!

The radiographer and radiologist then conspired to scare the crap out of me. It wasn’t a cyst, they said with grave certainty. It was a solid tumour. And not the sort of tumour they’d expect to see, either. No reason to assume anything frightening … but … get it out – ASAP. Aaarrghhhh! Not possible! I hadn’t planned for this. I still have all the time in the world to do what I want with my life … don’t I?

I made the mistake of consulting Dr Google and reading some horrific stories – arms being amputated, poor prognoses. Most websites informed me that nearly all hand tumours are benign. Don’t you just love that word ‘nearly’! It made me reassess my life – what I was doing, what I wanted to be doing, what mattered and what didn’t. Family, of course, was my number 1. But a close second was my writing career. I still have much to do, thanks very much! I don’t tend to be much of a procrastinator, but this gave me another push along. I would hate to get to the end and say ‘I wonder’.

Fortunately, the tumour turned out to be benign. Thank God! The experience has made me more determined to follow my dreams – and right now! All those little anxieties, the self-doubts, the rejections … they really don’t matter. Just keep doing what you enjoy. Unless you want your dreams to stick out like a sore thumb …

12 thoughts on “Follow your dreams – while you still can!

  1. I’m glad to hear the tumor was benign. I can relate to this post –I had a health scare years ago (turned out to be nothing of consequence), and it gave me a push to re-evaluate my choices. I’m looking forward to reading about your further adventures in life!

    1. Stella says:

      Thank you! I’m glad you can relate – and I’m glad you’re okay too!

  2. Hi Stella, relieved to hear it was benign! Quite a scare, being a writer. Yes, today my friend said to me on the phone “I think today is one more day I am closer to the end and besides being there for my son and husband, I truthfully cannot say I have fulfilled my dreams.” It jolted me, gave me food for thought and then an hour later I had forgotten UNTIL right now when I read your blog. If it is that important to me, I have to carve out the time and then protect the heck out of it!

    1. Stella says:

      It looks like the cosmos is trying to tell you something! We all need a nudge sometimes. Take the opportunity!

  3. annamayfair says:

    Oh my goodness. What a scary surprise. So glad it turned out to be benign and I guess awakening at the same time. As always you offer a solid, thought provoking message in your blog and I am grateful that you are a writer who shares. I hope you mend quickly and well. Thanks.

    1. Stella says:

      Thank you! Yes, it was an awakening. I think we all need these moments from time to time.

  4. Susi Lovell says:

    What a nasty surprise. So glad to hear it turned out to be benign, Stella, and that you are OK. Great that you found the silver lining in that cloud – to live by your dreams!

    1. Stella says:

      Thanks, Susi. We’ve all got to look for that silver lining!

  5. So happy for you that this tumor was not serious. Must hurt though when I see the photo of your poor thumb all wrapped up.
    You’ve got a point about pursuing our dreams NOW because we just never know.
    Take good care of your hand. Since you are typing you must already be on the fast recovery lane.

    1. Stella says:

      Thanks, Evelyne. I’ve been typing one-handed, and it’s a bit easier now the bandage has come off. It’s been frustrating – but so much better than it might have been!

  6. Like everyone else, I’m glad that the tumour has been sorted. On a more philosophical level, it is important to pursue your dreams but also be aware that writing is a marathon quest, not a sprint. So you need to balance your need to enjoy the present day with the maintaining of daily effort to get your works to completion. Not a balancing act that I can say I have fully mastered, but one that I persist at.
    Steven Fernandez.

    1. Stella says:

      Thanks Steven! You’re very right, writing is certainly not a sprint. Hopefully you can enjoy the daily effort of writing – then completing your work isn’t such an ordeal!

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