Study Guide

John F. Kennedy Jackie Kennedy

Jackie Kennedy

During JFK's time in Congress, he experienced some important personal setbacks as well as successes: he was diagnosed with Addison's disease, he married Jacqueline Bouvier, and he underwent extremely risky back surgery. Each of these events impacted his career in different, but profound, ways. Let's find out how.

In 1947, Kennedy was diagnosed with Addison's disease, a potentially fatal disorder in which the adrenal glands do not produce enough cortisol (a hormone essential for stress response). Symptoms include fatigue, muscle weakness, nausea, and bronzing of the skin (if you wondered how a New England congressman could always look so tan, now you know the reason). In order to manage his chronic disease, Jack was subjected to a strict, daily regimen of shots and pills. However, his medication was not always effective: on a 1947 ocean journey from Britain to the U.S., Jack became so sick that a priest was called to give him his last ritesblank">Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 1957. Jack could now add award-winning author to his list of achievements.