For more than eight years, Irianita Rojas Rasma carried around a tumor in her abdomen that she never thought she'd get rid of. But doctors in Lima, Peru, finally removed the cancerous growth—which had developed into a 35-pound mass—from the 22-year-old woman during a Feb. 20 surgery, and they're optimistic she's well on her way to recovery, Reuters reports. "The tumor was approximately [19.6 inches] in diameter," Dr. Luis Garcia Bernal, the director of Archbishop Loayza National Hospital, says of the growth removed during the 3-hour-plus procedure. "It's as if she were pregnant, but twice the size." It was a day Rojas believed wouldn't ever come. "I never thought I would be operated on," Rojas said in a Health Ministry statement, per CNN. "I'm happy now because I'm recovering."
And likely because she no longer has to lug around the abdominal ball and chain she discovered in her early teens, which has made everyday life no easy task. "I couldn't work or study with the tumor," Rojas said, per Medical Daily. "I just stayed at home." The moment that changed her fate: a chance meeting with the Peruvian health minister, who happened to visit the remote Peruvian town where Rojas lives and immediately had her taken to Lima once he found out about her situation. Garcia Bernal tells CNN that the tumor was a low-intensity ovarian tumor, meaning chemo won't be needed, and that 90% of his patients who have that kind of growth fully recover. So what are Rojas' plans now that she's been relieved of her cancerous burden? She hopes to study accounting, Fox News reports. (A football-sized tumor was removed from an 11-year-old Mexican boy.)