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|I'd love to know that
Written by Anne P
(3/11/2003 9:27 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, M.T. Was it Addisons?, penned by Caroline
There are various theories, from various lymphomas to Addison's disease, but most accounts I've read ed by saying that with so little anecdotal evidence and without path. lab. tests, we'll never know.
Claire Tomalin refers to Sir Zachary Cope's 1964 argument that it was Addisons. He "cited the skin discoloration she mentioned 'black & white & every wrong colour'), her bilious attacks and her deterioration under emotional stress, as when upset by her uncle's will. BUT CT also says that Addison's has other features, which did not seem to affect JA. Addison's produces a tanned, healthy look to the face - yet JA looked very pale. It also does not produce recurrent fevers, which JA had. It does produce fainting, caused by sudden drops in blood pressure.
CT speculates that JA could have suffered from a lymphoma, such as Hodgkin's disease, which WOULD have produced the fevers and progressive weakening. She says that the first possible evidence of this was JA in 1813 having a 'cold in her face' (Fanny writing), and that she preferred staying over at the Great House rather than walk back in the evenings, even in August and September. Jane also wrote of 'severe pain' in her face from Godmersham, and CT says that this could have been the onset of lymphoma.
I have found no mentions of breast cancer - have you seen this written up anywhere?
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