A Saudi woman said she felt "born again" Friday after doctors in Germany removed a tumour weighing almost 18 kilos (40 pounds) that they said was the largest of its kind ever seen.
"I am going to go back home and stand in front of all those doctors who said there was no hope," the 35-year-old mother-of-three, who declined to be named, told a news conference together with her doctors in Berlin.
The woman was diagnosed in 2004 with a malignant cartilaginous bone tumour -- or chondrosarcoma -- and she refused to take doctors' advice in Kuwait, where she lives, to have half of her pelvis and her right leg removed.
By the time she arrived in Germany in 2008 the tumour was so large -- photos show it as being the size of a beach ball -- that she could not urinate normally and she was in acute danger of suffering a blocked intestine.
It also grew outwards, stretching the skin on the hip and thigh that the skin had broken on the buttocks and the tumour protruded out.
Using chemotherapy, doctors at Capital Health in Berlin managed to get the tumour to collapse from within, and the remainder was removed in five separate operations at intervals of two to four weeks.
After the third operation the patient was able to sit up in bed for the first time in six months, and follow-up examinations have -- so far -- shown no evidence of any tumour.
The next step will be to reconstruct the partially removed pelvis with a tailor-made implant and to give her an artificial hip, Doctor Heinz Zurbruegg told reporters.
Apparently now back to her previous size and shape and wearing traditional Arab dress covering everything except the eyes, she walked with a crutch but was alert and lively, making at one point a victory-sign with her fingers.
"I felt like I couldn't go on," the woman said through an interpreter as her husband, whose oil firm employer is covering the medical costs of well over 100,000 euros (130,000 dollars), looked on.
"When I get home the first thing I want to do is hug my kids."