“the Gathering on my breast has been launced twice”

Prudence Punderson (see previous post), age twenty-four, wrote to her sister Hannah about a serious medical problem she was having.

Dec: Saturday 30th A[nno] 1780Next monday it will be 5 weeks since I was taken with a severe fever, which ocation’d much pain in my right arm during the whole Night & in 2 or 3 days I perceived a sweeling just above my right Breast, Doctr: Mitchel endeavoured to scatter it but to no purpose; in the 2d week of my sickness for a while I was in great agony with the Cholick, but applycation of medicine soon gave me releif, my fever which has occasioned the Doctr: to look upon me dangerously Ill; has been broke for several days & the Gathering on my breast has been launced twice, the Cavity of matter lay so deep in my stomack that he was obliged to cut 3 times down with his launcet before he could reach it, he has thought that also rendered my recovery unsertain, but now is much better & gitting well, tho Doctr: Mitchel & Doctr: Mott both of them says the Bone is defected & by what I can gather of their judgments must Content my self to be as long disabled for the use of my Nedle as I have allready been, & now trespass in the limits allowd me by the Doctrs: in using my arm so much as to write you this letter about my Illness. Since my fever has been broke I have gather’d strength & health beyond expression.

One wonders what ailment Prudence complained of. A cyst? Or could it have breast cancer?

The letter can be found on page 170 of In the Words of Women, from the Prudence Punderson Papers, Connecticut Historical Society.

posted May 11th, 2015 by Janet, CATEGORIES: Health, Punderson, Prudence

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