Emmy Award-winning TV journalist Maria Menounos, who may be remembered for her time hosting shows like "E! News" and "Extra" or on gas station pumps, recently opened up about a series of difficult health battles that she has endured and overcome.
Menounos revealed that "God granted me a miracle" in that she survived extensive surgery to deal with a diagnosis of a stage 2 form of pancreatic cancer, the Daily Wire reported.
Her apparent victory over the often fatal disease followed other potentially deadly diagnoses and comes as she and her husband, Keven Undergaro, who have dealt with a fertility issue for a decade, are about to welcome into their lives a newborn baby thanks to a surrogate mother.
In an exclusive interview with People magazine, the 44-year-old Menounos said, "This whole year has been trauma, stress, crisis," and that with regard to the impending birth of her daughter through a surrogate later this year, "There was a minute when we were planning something, and then it became too much. I thought, 'I just need to heal.'"
Her health troubles actually began in 2017 when she had been diagnosed with a brain tumor that was benign and successfully treated, only for her health to take another bad turn last year with a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes.
"I was feeling so good, and then I got slapped in the face with a new diagnosis," Menounos said and noted that the severe leg cramps she began to suffer would have her "scream out loud, I was inconsolable."
However, after being prescribed daily insulin, making significant changes to her diet, and monitoring her glucose level, "I was crushing it" within a few months, and she said, "I felt so good. What else could go wrong?"
The answer to that question came about a month later when Menounos returned to the hospital "with excruciating abdominal pain coupled with diarrhea," which doctors at first were unable to determine the cause of through routine testing. "They said, 'Everything's fine.' But I kept having pains."
A few weeks after that, while on a flight, the worsening pain felt "like someone was tearing my insides out," so she sought out the help of a private specialist company and received a whole-body MRI scan that revealed a nearly 4-centimeter growth on her pancreas that was confirmed via biopsy as a cancerous Stage 2 pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor.
"I'm like 'How in the freaking world can I have a brain tumor and pancreatic cancer?'" Menounos said. "All I could think was that I have a baby coming."
Following that diagnosis in January, she underwent extensive surgery that removed the tumor along with parts of her pancreas and spleen, a fibroid growth, and 17 lymph nodes, which led to a "super painful" recovery in which she "couldn't move or lift myself up."
Menounos went on to praise her husband and father for their support, as well as the work of the doctors and surgeons who helped her defeat cancer without having to undergo chemotherapy or radiation treatment. "I'm so grateful and so lucky," she said of her recovery and her soon-to-be-born baby. "God granted me a miracle. I'm going to appreciate having her in my life so much more than I would have before this journey."
"Obviously, there's so much to say about this and what Ive gone through these last few months, and even year," Menounos wrote in a thread of tweets about the People magazine interview. "First, dealing with the diabetes diagnosis last summer, second (my other miracle) preparing for my soon to be newborn baby and third, pancreas cancer."
"I still haven't come to grips with it all, including the fact that so very few even survive pancreatic cancer. I have SO much information and SO many breakthroughs that I think/hope can save others," she added. "I do plan to share everything on my podcast and on as many platforms as I can. For now I'll say how grateful I am to be able alive and well and that I WILL get to hold my baby! Thank you God."