Benefit for Fayette woman battling cancer

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FAYETTE — There will be a benefit supper and silent auction on March 8 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at Fayette Central School for Fayette resident Diane Lefever, who has Stage 3 lung cancer.

In an e-mail this past weekend, her husband, Ken, said that the family learned on Jan. 14th that Diane has a large lung tumor that has grown into her chest cavity. For the past six months, she had complained of worsening pain in her back, neck, and right arm.

“Her previous doctor ran some tests, and was unable to diagnose the cause of the pain, which was getting extremely bad,” said Ken. “She was unable to use her right arm, couldn’t sleep or get comfortable in a chair or do even simple tasks because of this pain.”

After changing physicians, a large tumor was found on the top of her lung pressing on many different nerves, which is what caused the pain. A PET scan determined that the cancer was roughly the size of a ping pong ball and had invaded her chest cavity.

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On Jan. 31st, while inserting an IV port in Diane’s clavicle, doctors discovered a tear in her right lung, likely caused from her prior lung tissue biopsy done the previous week, said Ken. He noted that treatment for the lung tumor will be both radiation therapy and chemotherapy, done on the same days for a total of five weeks.

“The intent is to shrink the tumor to an operable size, as well as shrink it enough to relieve the pain from the nerves being pressed,” said Ken.

Both chemo and radiation are scheduled to begin this Monday at CMMC.

This isn’t the first time that Diane has had serious health problems. In April of 2003, she became suddenly ill from a ruptured brain aneurysm. Ken noted that she was hospitalized at Maine Medical Center for more than 30 days, where they placed coils in the artery. Doctors found a total of three brain aneurysms while doing scans in the emergency room the night of the initial bleed.

Three years later, Diane underwent a craniotomy at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in New York in an attempt to “clip” the large aneurysm on her brain stem, but the surgeons were unable to fix it at the time.

In 2010, she was admitted to Tufts Medical Center in Boston, where an interventional radiologist was able to place two stents in her brain, and successfully fix the basilar aneurysm on her brain stem, said Ken. Diane undergoes MRI scans every 12-18 months at Tufts in Boston to monitor the coils and stents, as well as watch the third untreated aneurysm.

Ken mentioned that Diane has been disabled since her initial brain bleed in 2003, but was able to achieve a degree in dog grooming and was able to groom a small number of neighbors’ and friends’ dogs until the nerve pain became too bad six months ago. She is a volunteer at Wales Equestrian Center in Wales, Maine, where she enjoyed helping with daily horse care as well as learning to ride a horse herself.

“She is anxious to get back to normal everyday activities, as well as getting back to the stables and grooming the dogs,” said Ken.

Diane is also an avid machine knitter, and Ken recalled how excited she was when her Passap knitting machine arrived. She is the mother of five children, ranging in age from 13 to 28, and has two grandchildren living in California.

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