The Making of a Caregiver

The Call

     The call came to me in a beauty salon. I was getting prettied up to go out that night to a concert with my husband, Clay Felker, a magazine editor and publisher and founder of New York Magazine

"It's not benign", said the caller.

"Not benign?" I repeated dumbly.

"The cyst on Mr. Felker's neck, it's not benign."

The caller was my husband's surgeon. I hadn't heard from him in two years.

"But two years ago when you did the biopsy, you told us---"

"The pathologist recut the old biopsy slides," he said. "It's cancer."

Two peaceful years before, the surgeon had scooped out a lump on my husband's neck, a cyst he quickly verified as "benign." End of crisis. So we thought. Now the supposedly benign tumor had come back, bigger than ever.

Weeks flew by as I tracked down doctors, compared hospitals, listened to stories from friends, scavanged the internet for alternatives. Dizzy from conflicting opinions, I didn't know whom to trust. It began to dawn on me that my life, too, had changed radically. I had a new role:

Family caregiver

I didn't expect it. I wasn't prepared for it. Nobody briefs us on all the services we are expected to perform when we take on this role

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