You can’t always get what you want

Chinie Diaz
In order to get something better, sometimes you have to let go of the things you have

So it’s been a couple of days since I found out I had cancer, but for some reason it feels so much longer. So much has happened, and there’s kind of a lot to process. To be honest I’m not even sure I remember everything I should.

To keep things simple, let me just report that I went to see my new oncologist yesterday — and I kind of wanted to draw him a sorry card or something in advance because my hubby and Mom were going to be coming along. And man, they were going to be hassling him for sure. 

Luckily for him, the hubs had to cry off at the last minute — though he was practically living inside my phone the whole time. He may as well have been there. 

Anyway let me skip the part where the doctor had to examine me a little more thoroughly than I expected… 

…and get to the part where we were planning my treatment. So here’s the deal. I’m going to have a radical hysterectomy (which is like a regular hysterectomy plus some extra stuff around including lymph nodes) to get rid of all the cancer shiz. I was all set to have it like, YESTERDAY…

…but it turns out I’ll have to wait ‘til September because my doctor will be out of the country for a couple of weeks and I need to do some pre-surgery prep. 

So umm, yeah. Kind of anticlimactic indeed. Until then I guess I get to do all sorts of normal stuff and try and enjoy it, because right after the surgery I’m sure I’ll have to put a few things on hold. Like I don’t know…. PEEING NORMALLY, for one. Apparently post-op I’ll have to wear some sort of pee bag for a month or so because my bladder will be affected or something. FUN.

There’s also no guarantee that I won’t need additional treatment like radiation or whatever after the surgery, and if that’s the case then I guess I’ll have to suck that up as well. Because you just gotta do what you gotta do, right? 

In order to get something better, sometimes you have to let go of the things you have. Like in my case, I kind of have to give up any sort of glamour or coolness I might want to cling on to during this time. Because HELLO, MY CANCER’S UP MY HOO HA, I think that’s to be expected. It’s like an open invitation to all sorts of indignities. Trust me.

I also have to give up some other things I enjoy/am attached to — like smoking, which is good, I know, I know, but much more difficult for me than some of you hardcore non-smokers might realize.

And oh yeah let’s not forget, I’ll also have to give up my uterus and stuff. But more than any of that I’ve realized that I have to give up this crazy notion I was entertaining, that I have total control over this situation and the effects it will have on my body, my life, and on the people who care about me.

While I do have control over how I react to everything, there are just some things I can do nothing about. And although that bums me out a bit, it’s the one lesson that’s stuck to me from among the many things I’ve learned in the past couple of days. Some things we just need to let go of, with grace and a hearty serving of humility. And acceptance. And faith.

But you know what? It’s ok. In the immortal words of the Stones… “You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, well you just might find you get what you need.” –


This post first appeared in Chinie’s blog Fab After Forty.


iSpeak is a parking space for interesting ideas. We welcome contributions. Email with the subject line [iSpeak].