Former TV host Maria Menounos was helping her mom in her battle against stage 4 brain cancer when she noticed something wasn’t quite right with her own body. Menounos was experiencing headaches, light-headedness and slurred speech.
After going to the doctor, she found she had a brain tumor, too. And now she’s opening up for the first time, just three months after undergoing surgery to remove the tumor. When she found out about the brain tumor, which was the size of a golf ball, Menounos was in a state of disbelief.
“I didn’t cry. I actually laughed,” she told People. “It’s so surreal and crazy and unbelievable that my mom has a brain tumor—and now I have one too?”
The doctors had a feeling the tumor was benign, but nonetheless, they had to remove it.
“He said, ‘I’m 98 percent sure it’s benign but we won’t know until we get in there,’” she told the magazine.
Her mother’s surgeon, Dr. Keith L. Black, was able to remove 99.9 percent of the tumor, which was indeed benign, and there’s a very low chance that it will come back. So now, it’s all about recovery and focusing on her mom’s health again for Menounos.
Watch the honest interview below:
She told “Today” that it’s been quite the process coping with her tumor and surgery, but in general, she feels very lucky.
“Overall, I feel so lucky to be functioning and to be almost normal and to not have cancer,” the 39-year-old told “Today” in her first live interview since her surgery.
She admitted to having trouble chewing on her right side, and she has to be careful about moving her head from side to side too quickly, but other than that, she’s well on her way to a full recovery. And in the meantime, Menounos is spending time with her mom, who’s also doing well at the moment.
“It’s a process. And right now, she’s stable and doing well…It’s an emotional ride,” Menounos told the news outlet.
Through all of the ups and the downs, Menounos really feels as though she’s learned a lot and gained a new perspective on life:
I’m just so much calmer I think because I just see things so differently now. I think being still is so important. I think that’s why meditation is so great for people because it creates a little time of stillness in their lives. I’ve been able to look back at everything, and I did see this all as a gift. I did shift everything into positives throughout this whole journey and I think that’s really important because we are all going to have really hard times in life.
And Menounos has had one important takeaway that we can all learn from: “It’s how we respond, how we react, how we shift to see the good. Because out of every bad thing, something good comes if you see it, if you open your mind to it.”
As Menounos continues to heal and spend time with family, she’s also got a much more exciting life event on the horizon. She and fiance, Keven Undergaro, who’s stuck by her through her recent ordeal, are planning a wedding. Here’s wishing Menounos and Undergaro a lifetime of happiness and good health!