Steph Gandy will lead Great Britain at next week's EuroBasket one year after she nearly died on the operating table.
Gandy has enjoyed the best season of her career, leading the Sheffield Hatters to a clean sweep of domestic honours, after which she was crowned the league's most valuable player.
It was an achievement made more remarkable after an operation from the treatment of fibroids nearly went disastrously wrong last summer.
"For years I suffered with a weak bladder and as it got worse, a routine visit to the doctor suddenly turned out to be a date with surgery and a Myomectomy,” she said.
"Before I attended GB camp last year I went for a body scan to see exactly where all these fibroids lay and my doctor explained it would require keyhole surgery and a few tiny incisions in my stomach, which meant I would be in and out in a matter of days – it seemed simple enough.
"But there were major complications and the operation took almost six hours due to the size and location of the fibroids, as the results were different than what the body scan had shown months earlier.
"I suffered from almost bleeding out during the surgery which took some time to control and that resulted in me nearly losing my life and a lengthy stay in the hospital afterwards, when I even had trouble eating.
"They removed nine fibroids, with the biggest measuring the size of a grapefruit and the two that were sat on my bladder were the size of lemons.”
Gandy lost a huge amount of weight and wondered whether she would ever return to the sport - though she was back playing for Sheffield in November, thanks to the support of family, friends and coach Vanessa Ellis.
"I thought there was no way I was returning to basketball," she added. "I couldn't eat or I couldn't even get up and down the stairs properly.
"That was when the reality of my situation hit me and believe me, it really did hit me hard.
"About two months after surgery, I found myself on the treadmill and even though it was one of my most boring workouts ever - it felt absolutely great.
"It goes to show with enough dedication, patience, hard work, and external support, just how far you can go and what amazing things you can achieve.”
Gandy and her Great Britain team-mates take on Croatia, Latvia, Russia and Serbia in Szombathely next week.
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