About a month after having a clear scan, Longview teenager Kylee Jacobson and her family received “devastating” news Wednesday that her cancer had spread from her leg to her lungs.
Kylee, a recent R.A. Long High School graduate diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, learned Wednesday that she had two cancerous spots on one lung and a 7-millimeter tumor in the other lung, stepmom Kayla Jacobson said Thursday.
“It was super devastating. Once cancer moves to the lungs, it’s a whole new ballgame,” Jacobson said. “From the time we began treatment … all of her doctors and her care team always said, ‘We don’t want it to go to her lungs.’ That particular cancer, it moved from her leg to her lungs and from there it can go into her brain.”
Kylee’s family had been optimistic following a successful surgery on Sept. 4 that removed a tumor from her leg. And then a Sept. 10 CAT scan came back clear, Jacobson said.
However, before her chemotherapy on Monday, Kylee had another CAT scan, which later revealed that the cancer had spread.
The next step is to continue with six weeks of chemo and then re-evaluate the situation. They are hopeful the chemo will shrink the tumor, but “it’s not probable,” Jacobson said.
If the chemo isn’t successful, doctors could try radiation. But it would have to be limited to avoid damaging her lungs, and Kylee has already had a lot of radiation.
At that point, there may not be many other options left, Jacobson said.
“The most horrible part is listening to your child say, ‘I don’t want to die. I don’t know if I want to do more chemo, but I don’t want to die.’ That’s horrid. That’s the most gut-wrenching feeling I’ve ever felt,” she said.
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Nonetheless, the family is remaining optimistic and the community has been very supportive, Jacobson said. Strangers have come up to her at the grocery store to say they are thinking of her.
“I love our little town and our community and what they’ve done for support for us. It’s been really nice. But we are going to need not just financial support. We’re going to need all the support we can get,” she said.
The family has struggled to pay for groceries in two homes in Longview and Seattle, where Kylee lives while receiving her treatment. Family members spend about $150 a week traveling between Longview and Seattle, Jacobson said. Those who want to help can donate to Kylee’s GoFundMe account or drop off grocery and gas cards at their Longview home (see breakout box). Panera Bread is also hosting a fundraiser on Oct. 24.
“Right at this time, mentally, emotionally, financially, it’s draining us. No matter how strong we are, we still have those moments. We just need help,” she said.
Kylee was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer called “cic dux4” sarcoma in late May, one week before she graduated from R.A. Long High School.
In June, Kylee was put on a 41-week treatment plan that included 31 weeks of chemo followed by 10 weeks of radiation. She was told there was a 50% chance the chemo wouldn’t work.
At the end of August, a round of tests found that Kylee’s treatment wasn’t working. Instead, the malignant mass on her leg grew 3 centimeters despite the treatments. She had surgery on Sept. 4 to remove the mass, but the cancer had returned and spread by her next scan 37 days later.
“Yesterday was hard, but Kylee smiles. She’s got that infectious smile and she laughs,” Jacobson said. “If anybody can do it, Kylee can. She’s got the will, she’s got the team, she’s got so much support and she’s got a good outlook. She understands what she’s facing.”