To help raise awareness she tells her story of how she dealt with her treatment whilst being a first-time mother.
In 2018 I was delighted to find out I was pregnant with my first child, my son Lewis. However, early on in my pregnancy my left knee became swollen, was hot to touch and was very painful, especially at night.
During my pregnancy I visited my GP surgery 3 times due to the pain in my knee. On the first visit the GP dismissed my symptoms, saying they were pregnancy related. On the second visit I was sent away with paracetamol, and on the third visit I was prescribed topical ibuprofen cream and told to reduce my working hours. I was working as a waitress at the time and did reduce my hours as advised, but ultimately I had to give up work completely as my knee kept giving way.
After giving up work my knee was very painful. I tried elevating it, using hot water bottles or ice but nothing helped with the pain. Throughout my pregnancy I was visiting the hospital regularly for extra scans and appointments and at no stage was my leg dealt with, even though I was in so much pain and it was swollen three times larger than its normal size.
I came home a few days after giving birth to Lewis, and the pain in my knee was so bad I called the out-of-hours GP who suspected I was suffering from deep vein thrombosis. My parents came to look after Lewis and my husband took me to University Hospital Ayr.
I knew something was wrong straight away by the nurses' reaction.
A doctor came to examine me and asked me to come back the next day, which I did but wearing my husband's jogging bottoms and sliders as my leg was so swollen.
They wanted to admit me, but I explained this was difficult because of my newborn son, so I returned the following day when I had an X-ray, CT and MRI scans. When the doctor came to talk to me about the scan results, he told me he thought I had osteosarcoma.
After that, things moved pretty quickly. Within a week I'd had my PICC line fitted and a week or so after that I started my MAP chemotherapy (doxorubicin, cisplatin and methotrexate). Initially the wrong PICC line was fitted (with only one port) and it had to be taken out. When the correct one was fitted, it caused a blood clot in my arm.
At one point during my chemotherapy, I was given an overdose of potassium, which resulted in me spending a day in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit).
I was treated at the Beaston West of Scotland Cancer Centre in Glasgow, and I had limb salvage surgery at Glasgow Royal Infirmary. The surgery was 9 and a half hours long and I had to learn to walk again with my implant. Once I had completed my treatment, I was followed up every 3 months. When I went for my follow up appointment in June 2021 my oncologist found a nodule in my lung. The osteosarcoma had metastasised. I had surgery to remove the nodule and was discharged after 6 days.
The surgery took place when COVID restrictions were in place, so I was unable to see my husband or Lewis during this time, which was difficult.
I had noticed following the surgery that my knee was swollen but I put this down to the compression stockings I had to wear. However, my knee continued to swell, so I called my oncologist who brought me back to hospital and confirmed that my osteosarcoma had returned to the same place. Before I left hospital after the surgery on my lung, I'd had a scan but because of all the metal work in my leg, the recurrence was missed.
The oncologist told me they could not be sure the osteosarcoma had not spread further up my leg, so I would need a hip disarticulation rather than an above-the-knee amputation. I was going to have the whole of my left leg removed.
It was difficult to take it all in at the time, but I was determined to do whatever I had to get rid of the cancer and see Lewis grow up.
I had my hip disarticulation surgery the following September and I was in hospital for 10 days. The COVID restrictions had relaxed a little by this stage, but my husband was still only able to visit for an hour or so each night.
I'm looked after by WestMARC, where I had my prosthesis fitted, and I am learning to walk again. I'm still receiving physiotherapy and use crutches to walk.
My treatment has left me with many side effects. in addition to the amputation I now suffer from osteoporosis, an under-active thyroid, stage 3 kidney disease, neuropathy in my feet and hands, brain fog, fatigue and my body has gone into premature menopause.
I am now 9 months with no evidence of disease and I am still having my three-monthly check-ups.
My son and my family have been a constant source of strength for me. My advice to others would be to have hope and a positive mindset and to surround yourself with the same kind of people.
Awareness of primary bone cancer, specifically osteosarcoma, is so important to me because it can mean the difference between life and death. We put our trust in the doctors, but with sarcomas, they don't know everything. If they aren't sure, they should be carrying out scans and be taught more about the signs and symptoms.
The Bone Cancer Research Trust is committed to ensuring that all GPs and other medical professionals are able to spot signs of primary bone cancer. In 2020, an education pack was sent out to every GP surgery in the UK.
Sadly, Jacqui's most recent scans showed nodules in her lungs and she now faces another recurrence of osteosarcoma. She underwent surgery in December 2022 to remove the nodules and is recovering with the help and support of her family.
Jacqui passed away on 13/04/2023.