Dying of Breast Cancer in the 1800's

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Known for centuries as the "dread disease", Breast Cancer, a formidable opponent of any woman alive today, was even more so in the nineteenth century. Women who were diagnose with the disease had very little chance of survival and were all too often subjected to excruciating and brutal breast augmentation surgeries, even when much of the time they were already terminal and the surgery made no difference at all. Robert Shadle and James S. Olson's story about our ill fated heroin Nabby Smith recants a particularly horrifying fight with this villain of a disease at a time when medical knowledge was limited, and Breast Cancer posed an imminent threat to the lives of otherwise healthy middle aged women.

Nabby Smith, born Nabby Adams was the Daughter of John and Abigail Adams. John became the second President of the United States, and Nabby's younger brother John Quincy was destined to be president someday also. Needless to say Nabby, having been raised during the American Revolution by one of the most well known and respected politicians of the day, was a intelligent, respected, member of high society in the United States. When Nabby was seventeen she moved to London with her family when her father took the position of United States Minister to England. While across the Atlantic she met a Young former Colonial of the Continental Army named William Smith. After a relatively short courtship she married William.

Nabby had three children with her husband, and the family moved back and forth between London and New York City for several years before settling in a small farmhouse, near the Chenango River on the edge of the frontier of Western New York. This was a far cry from the world of heady Boston and London politics that Nabby had known all of her life. William was a good husband, but never had much money, and struggled to make enough to properly provide for his family, bouncing from one job, failed entrepreneurial opportunity, and shady scheme, to the...
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