Attaullah has kindly shared his journey with Giant Cell Tumour of the Bone to help increase awareness and offer support to others.
It was in 1998 at the age of 31 when I first started feeling pain in my right shoulder. Following an X-ray, bone scan and then biopsy it was confirmed it was Giant Cell Tumour of the Bone in my right humerus.
I underwent excision of the right proximal humeral lesion with bone grafting in February 1999. Then in August 1999 I developed swelling and pain in my right shoulder and I had to have a resection of the right humerus head with an implantation of a metallic prosthesis in October.
In August 2004, I was involved in a road accident and developed pain in the upper right side of my chest. The pain gradually got worse and a CT scan was done in December 2004 which showed a heterogeneous soft tissue mass measuring 11.8cm x 10.2cm x 10cm in my right lung.
In January 2005, a CT guided biopsy of my right lung mass showed spindle cell lesion compatible with stromal component of metastatic Giant Cell Tumour. I then had chemotherapy with two cycles of Adriamycin and Ifosfamide. A repeat CT scan in February 2005 showed no significant change in the size and character of the right upper lung mass. There were metastatic soft tissue deposits in the right axilla, right supra-clavicular area and in the left lower lung. I then had more chemotherapy and after 6 cycles, a repeat CT scan was done of my chest which showed minimal regression, there was erosion and destruction of the right sided upper ribs and right boarder of the sternum.
In September 2005, I developed severe pain in my chest and went to ER and an X-ray showed no significant change. A CT scan was done in December and showed an increase in the size of the mass in my chest, I then had radiation therapy. The pain was severe at times and I had to take breaks during radiation therapy, and I lost 16lbs in weight.
I was declared free from Giant Cell Tumour of the Bone in 2006. I was advised to have a CT scan every year to monitor my condition or any relapse. I had CT scans done twice, which were satisfactory. I did not have any further follow-up scans after this point. The corporate financial support funding my treatment was withheld as the company closed down in 2009.
I was doing fine until 2014, when I started having persistent fevers for two months and started feeling pain in my left hip joint. Initially I was given pain killers and treatment for the fevers which did not help. Then I developed a severe chest infection with a lot of phlegm. The pain in my left hip joint was getting worse. I had an X-ray and then an isotope bone scan which showed osteolytic bone lesion (Giant Cell Tumour) and the bone was close to cracking. I had hip joint surgery and an implant in June 2014.
I had a CT scan, chest and biopsy done again, which confirmed metastatic Giant Cell Tumour in my right lung. Then my doctor and orthopaedic surgeon advised me to self-administer denosumab for two years as did the oncologist. I received 13 doses of denosumab and felt better in my bone health and lungs. Then I could not continue due to economic reasons.
Sometimes I felt depressed because you feel crippled, especially with two implants. It became difficult for me to find a job I could do with my condition and I’ve been unemployed since 2014. However my faith helped me through as well as my friends and colleagues who all contributed financially to my treatment. Without them, I would not have been able to have such expensive treatment. I also feel indebted to my family; my parents, children and especially my wife, who always stood with me as I faced each hurdle.