BAY SHORE, NY (PIX11) — A Long Island dad of four on Thursday thanked the doctors who saved his life after a basketball-sized tumor was found on his liver.

Margarito Banos, 43, was about to be transferred to hospice care when he arrived at South Shore University Hospital in March, he said. He’s had chemotherapy, but the tumor wasn’t shrinking. The operation was a last-ditch effort, Dr. Gary Deutsch said.

“This tumor was slowly killing him,” Deutsch said. “We had a very honest discussion with each other about considering a heroic attempt to get this tumor out and he wanted to live, so we nursed him back to a state where he could tolerate the surgery, and we went to the operating room.”

Over the course of an eight-hour surgery on March 8, doctors removed about 95 percent of the tumor. It weighed around 5 pounds. They also removed about 70 percent of Banos’ liver, according to the hospital. His liver has since begun to regenerate.

“I feel completely different now,” Banos said. “I am very happy to be alive.”