Kylee Jacobson, who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer one week before graduating from R.A. Long High School in June, was in the intensive care unit with a temperature of 104 degrees over the weekend.
“We thought we were going to lose her,” Kylee’s step-mom, Kayla Jacobson, said on Monday. “It was the most horrible thing we’ve ever been through.”
Kylee moved to Seattle in June to start 41 weeks of chemotherapy at Seattle Children’s Hospital.
On Saturday, she received her regular shot to boost her white blood cells, which can be killed off by chemo, leaving the patient with weakened immunity and a higher risk of infection. Kylee then returned to Longview to spend time with family.
Jacobson went into Kylee’s room that evening to help her try on a wig for her cousin’s wedding this weekend and found Kylee shivering under blankets. It was 80 degrees in the house.
Kylee had a temperature of 100.6 degrees, and it eventually rose to 103 degrees. By that time, the family was piling into the car and heading back to her doctors in Seattle.
“She was weak. She had lost all the color in her face,” Jacobson said.
“She couldn’t catch her breath. She was near cardiac arrest when we got her to hospital” late Saturday night.
Kylee was admitted to the intensive care unit at 4 a.m. Sunday morning, but she still wasn’t getting better, Jacobson said. She was awake, but she was having trouble speaking, and her skin was gray.
Then doctors suggested a blood transfusion. Within hours Kylee started perking up again. They believe Kylee had sepsis, a blood infection, Jacobson said.
She stabilized Sunday night and moved to the cancer unit on Monday. Doctors hope she can still attend her cousin’s wedding this weekend.
Kylee was diagnosed with cancer in late May, one week before graduation. At first, doctors believed she had a rare bone cancer called Ewing Sarcoma and planned three months of chemotherapy in Seattle.
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However, additional tests in June revealed she actually had a far more aggressive cancer called cic dux4 sarcoma, which mimics Ewing Sarcoma. The cancer starts in the soft tissue and then moves to the bone.
At the time, doctors said Kylee would need 41 weeks of treatment: 31 weeks of chemo followed by 10 weeks of radiation. The family was told in June that there is a 50% chance the chemo won’t be successful.
Now doctors are saying her treatment could take an additional 10 weeks.
She has lost all her hair, and all her family and doctors call her “Peaches,” Jacobson said. “She loves it.”
Kylee needs to live within 25 miles of the hospital in Seattle to receive her treatment. Her mom, dad, stepmom, aunt and sisters are staying with her on a rotating schedule.
For the first part of the summer, Kylee and her family bounced around between hotels and an RV park. They recently moved into a home owned by a woman whose child had cancer and who now only rents to cancer patients and their families, Jacobson said. Kylee’s rent and bills are about $1,250 a month.
Beginning Sunday, Kylee will undergo tests to see if the first eight weeks of chemotherapy are working.
“We’re staying positive, but to be quite honest, this is tough. It’s hard. It’s scary. It’s draining financially and emotionally. It definitely tests every emotion that you can even imagine,” Jacobson said. “But we’re doing it. We’ve had our community rally around us. We’ve had people be there for us and just be so kind.”
She added that both her and her husband’s employers have been “amazing.” Kayla Jacobson is the Social Services Director at the Salvation Army. Jon Jacobson is a laser operator for Pacific Stainless Products in St. Helens, Ore.
“August has been tough. We’ve been off from work probably 12 days out of this month. That’s a lot,” she said.
Jon Jacobson’s aunt is holding a garage sale beginning at 8 a.m. on Friday and Saturday at 2111 36th Ave. in Longview to raise money for Kylee’s expenses. (See breakout box for additional ways to support Kylee.)
A GoFundMe account set up for Kylee in June so far has raised nearly $2,900.
“We’re going to rally around Kylee, and we’re going to beat this,” Jacobson said. “We’re a strong unit. We’re a strong family. We’re killing it right now. We’re doing it and we’re going to continue, no matter what it takes, no matter what it costs. We’re going to make sure our daughter is well and she beats this.”
“We thought we were going to lose her.” Kayla Jacobson, Kylee’s step-mom
“We thought we were going to lose her."
Kayla Jacobson, Kylee's step-mom