Former Ayrshire runway model almost loses a leg to devastating cancer just months after the birth of her first child
A former model who has appeared on the world’s most iconic catwalks almost lost her leg during cancer surgery.
Jacqui Napier, formerly McCloy, has been battling a rare form of cancer, osteosarcoma since her pregnancy with her first child.
During her modeling career, from the age of 13 to 23, she worked with top agencies in Tokyo, Miami in New York and appearing in fashion magazines such as Elle.
The courageous mum, now 44, saw her knee and leg swell for six months before panicked doctors revealed her devastating diagnosis just four days after giving birth to her miracle son Lewis, now two.
Jacqui d’Ayr also had part of her lung removed as part of treatment for cancer that affects bones, soft tissues and ligaments.
The former waitress at the Chestnut Hotel opened up about her courageous fight which devastated her early motherhood days as surgery and painstaking treatment kept her from lifting her boy.
At times Jacqui felt ‘inadequate’ as a mother as she looked aside as her eight-year-old husband Gareth Napier, 47, and supportive parents John McCloy, 72, and Sheila McCloy, 72 and his big sister Louise Lachlan, 45, took over. .
Now the feisty mom wants to raise awareness about the under-researched cancer which is more common in children and often misdiagnosed as “growing pains” in adolescents after multiple visits to her GP have failed. diagnose the problem.
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She told Ayrshire Live: ‘When I was pregnant in 2018 I went to the doctor with pain in my knee, it was painful to stand and put weight on it.
“The first doctor I saw just assumed it was pregnancy related and it would go away, I was sent home with a hundred paracetamol.”
“The second time I saw the second doctor, they thought it was ligament damage.
“My knee was huge, it was double the size, it was red and I just had a feeling something was wrong.
“The pain didn’t go away with paracetamol and it got worse at night, there was so much swelling and it was hot to the touch.
“I think because of the pregnancy a lot of the symptoms were masked, but it lasted six months during my pregnancy.”
Jacqui was rushed to hospital just four days after the birth of her son in March 2019, where scans revealed the devastating diagnosis.
She said: “They told me you had cancer, I thought it was a torn ligament, I had never heard of osteosarcoma before, it was such a devastating shock.”
Jacqui believes doctors should have pressured a CT scan faster to identify the cancer that was ravaging the bones in her leg.
She said: “Even an x-ray would have shown something was wrong, I had a horrible feeling in my gut that was more sinister than ligament damage.”
Emergency surgery left metal plaques in his knee and shin bone, after top surgeons were able to save his cancerous leg.
Jacqui said, “When they took me for surgery, I was going to have my amputation.
“But they managed to remove all of the bone from mid-thigh to mid-shin.
“They were able to save my leg to allow me to walk, I had metal plates placed in my knee and shin.”
Jacqui had to undergo brutal treatment which left her with life-changing physical and mental scars, the most serious of which was kidney failure.
This year, she had to have another surgery on her lungs after being cancer-free for 14 months and now faces an anxious wait to see if the cancer can be brought under control.
She said, “Sarcoma is so poorly studied that treatment options have not changed for 40 years.
“The side effects of chemotherapy are so severe – I now have an underactive thyroid, I had to go through menopause because the cancer closed my ovaries, my vision was impaired.
“I have stage 3 kidney disease, I’m at high risk for kidney failure and have to manage it.
“I have six crushed discs in my back from the drugs, steroids and chemotherapy that broke my bones.
“I also have nerve damage to my hands and feet, which made me unable to do simple things.
“The treatment was so brutal that I couldn’t lift my baby, I never could lift my little boy, I can’t take care of him on my own.”
Throughout her battle with cancer, Jacqui has benefited from several charities that have supported her.
She received life-saving treatment at Beatson and was supported by a charity Mummy’s Star which guides moms who suffer from cancer during or after pregnancy.
Supportive friends have gathered around her this year to raise money for the Beatson where Jacqui received most of her treatment, as she faces further testing to make sure the cancer doesn’t. not spread elsewhere.
Workers from the Chestnut Hotel participated and Jacqui’s sister Louise all took part in a 10 km walk that passed her house as she prepared for her major lung surgery the next day.
These charity walkers raised £ 4,700 for the center, which Jacqui called a “positive and inspiring place”.
Jacqui added: “The support was incredible from everyone, the hardest day was not being able to participate in the 10K walk at all.
“It’s a matter of survival for me now, every day is a day of survival, I have a baby at home, I wanted it for so long.
“We’ve had four normal days out of the hospital, and then suddenly you get into this whirlwind, you’re being told words that you don’t know or that you’ve never heard of.
“Nobody knows what’s going to happen, I just want to be here to watch my son grow up and bounce back from this.”
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