Jacqui's Sarcoma Story

Jacqui's Sarcoma Story

When 37-year-old Jacqui noticed a lump on her foot, she thought her son had dropped something on her foot. Little did she know that the lump was something much more sinister.

In February 2022, Jacqui believed a strange lump on her foot was a fracture. When she went to see her podiatrist in Brisbane, he referred her for scans to determine the lump's cause. Initially, it was diagnosed as an aneurysmal bone cyst in March 2022. The lump was then operated on, and Jacqui thought that would be the end of things.

Following the first surgery and recovery, the lump still had not subsided on Jacqui’s foot. To determine what was wrong, Jacqui had to undergo multiple scans to try and identify the problem. “I had MRIs, PET Scans – basically all of the scans you can think of – just to determine what this lump was.” Following the scans, the images were sent to Sydney and Boston in the USA to groups of medical experts. Finally, in mid-May, Jacqui found out that she had an extremely rare sarcoma.

The sarcoma Jacqui was diagnosed with was so rare that it didn’t even have an official name. Although it appeared to be similar to telangiectatic osteosarcoma, differences still differentiated Jacqui’s diagnosis from telangiectatic osteosarcoma. Jacqui was understandably shocked by being told she had a rare cancer. “I had gone in by myself to the specialist and didn’t have anyone with me to lean on, so I was feeling pretty numb in the moment, I never expected it to be something so serious.

Following her diagnosis, Jacqui went straight to researching what sarcoma was. Unfortunately, a lot of the information available online was rather confronting and did not provide a positive outlook for Jacqui. “I tried looking more at journal articles or scientific papers, which I found were more balanced, but it was still scary.” She found herself in a difficult situation where she wanted to research and find out what is going on, but at the same time, she also found herself hesitant to do so.

Before her surgery, Jacqui was placed on intravenous chemotherapy. However, after one round, her surgeon found that the chemotherapy had not shrunk the tumour to the desired effect, so they decided to operate to remove the tumour altogether. That surgery was in July 2022, where they took out the affected area of the bone and replaced it. This surgery was also followed by treatment from a plastic surgeon, who removed some of the skin from the side of her ankle to replace the skin of the affected area (skin flap).

While Jacqui’s surgery was successful, her recovery process was not easy. While the tumour had been removed, Jacqui’s foot never fully recovered from the surgery due to unforeseen circumstances. “Following the surgery, I had four infections in my foot because of the location of the surgery. Being the lowest part of your body, its prone to infection. The chemo treatment alongside the infections meant that my foot never fully recovered.” Jacqui completed her chemotherapy treatment in February this year despite the setback with her foot infections.

Jacqui found that one of the most important things in her journey was to have a strong support network. Jacqui had a “really great cancer coordinator at the Wesley Hospital in Auchenflower, QLD who I was in touch with her the entire time and they were always responsive and helpful.” Her family also helped her care for her son when she was sick or unable to look after him due to treatments.

Jacqui is now cancer free and is looking forward to spending more time with her family following her sarcoma journey. Jacqui wants anyone going through a sarcoma journey to know that “support is always there, sometimes you just have to search a little harder to find it.