By Ben and Jenny, Gilda’s Club Members

In her book It’s Always Something, the incomparable Ms. Radner was quoted as saying, “Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”

Getting that diagnosis is a scary thing – and it’s different for everyone. Those feelings of uncertainty of what’s to come leave us feeling alone and isolated. Sometimes, we feel like we’re the only ones in the world who could possibly be going through this. Those of us who are brave enough to walk through the red door entrance to Gilda’s Club – well, if you know, you know.

In our room, in our chair, we escape into our own controlled environment where we know what will happen next – even if it’s a continuation of the depression and anxiety with which we have become accustomed. Sitting alone where we have control seems better than the scary prospect of dealing with the uncertainty. The ambiguity is hardly “delicious” at this point in our journey.

Tasting the delight in each day

Autumn (the facilitator for our group) asks us to recognize the unbelievable amount of courage it took to seek out support from a community. How would they accept us? Isn’t this just more depressing news from depressed people like us? Why would I want to hear more about this disease which has radically altered my life? After being in a group for over a year, we’ve heard these fears over and over again. All these trepidations are both reasonable and justified.

Ben standing next to a life size cutout cartoon of Gilda who is holding a sign that reads "Hello from Gilda's Club Madison Wisconsin!"

What we’ve discovered as a husband with a diagnosis and a wife as supporter and caregiver is that Gilda’s Club helps us share all that we don’t know. When we share that, we’ve found that everyone else in our group relates to those same questions: “What will happen if my treatment starts to fail?” “What will the next scan show?” “What will happen in 5 years, 5 months, or even 5 days?”

Gilda left us with a new perspective. Her namesake club has allowed us to hear how people are dealing with, ignoring, and sometimes even savoring the ambiguity of the journey. She invites us to “take the moment” and taste the delight we have in each day. Through all the activities like groups (patient and caregiver), walks, lectures, BBQs, cooking classes, yoga, tai chi – the list goes on and on – we have learned that it’s not about tomorrow – that will come whether we like it or not. It’s today that counts. Today – this moment – is all we have.

“How lucky we are!”

When we come to this realization, we are almost obligated to share it with others. Relishing today doesn’t mean we don’t think about tomorrow. Those questions are still there. Those thoughts are overshadowed, though, by being of service to others, taking care of ourselves (physically and mentally), and recognizing the joy in what is going on around us. Spring is such a wonderful time of year to just get outside on the back patio at Gilda’s by ourselves or with others to hear the birds and feel the renewal of the sun on our faces. How lucky we are!

We will be eternally grateful to Gilda’s Club for the community we have found, the friends we have now that we would have never met otherwise, and the resources the Club provides at each turn in this journey.
Ambiguity can be truly “delicious” when we have the courage to step out of ourselves and accept the gift of today – the gift of this moment.

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