Maria Menounos had had enough of hospitals.
The 39-year-old’s mother Litsa was diagnosed with stage four brain cancer in September 2016. Since then the popular E! TV presenter had stepped up to take her mother to her various medical consultations and scans, in addition to caring for her.
But it was after one of these appointments that Maria started to realise the pain in her skull she’d shrugged off as an ear infection, may be more than just a headache.
“I know you’re going to think I’m crazy, but I feel like I have a brain tumour like my mum,” Maria told her fiance, Keven Undergaro.
Her speech beginning to slur was the final push she needed to seek medical advice, the US celebrity told People magazine.
Sure enough, an MRI scan in April revealed she had meningioma — a type of tumour that attacks the part of the brain that controls the central nervous system.
In an instant, Maria went from caring for her mum, to becoming a patient herself.
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“I just kind of laughed because it’s just so surreal. My mum’s got a brain tumour, now I have one. How the hell does this happen? This is crazy,” Maria told People.
When she began scheduling appointments for herself instead of her mother, nurses were understandably confused.
Maria also faced telling her parents the distressing news while they were already dealing with Litsa’s recovery, which she tackled by playing up the possibility that the tumour was benign.
On 8 June – which also happens to be her birthday – Maria underwent seven-hour surgery to remove the tumour, which thankfully ended with success.
While she’s not completely out of the woods yet – there’s a six per cent chance the benign tumour could come back – Maria told People, “I’ll take those odds any day.” Meanwhile, her mother’s cancer is currently stable.
“Luckily I don’t need any further treatments but I can’t say the same about my mom. So please keep her in your prayers,” she wrote in a recent Instagram post.
Maria left the E! network earlier this year to focus on her recovery and spend time with her mother.
In a statement, E! Entertainment president Adam Stotsky thanked Maria for her contributions over the past three years.
“Our thoughts and support go out to Maria and her family, and we wish them all the best knowing that Maria will tackle this with the same fierce dedication she is known for,” he said.
Maria urged other women to get themselves checked out if they suspect anything might be wrong.
“We’re caretakers as women and we put ourselves last,” she told People.
“I tell people all the time if your car is making a weird noise, you take it to the mechanic. How come when our body is making weird noises, we ignore it?
“I’m so lucky that I went to the doctor and raised the alarm.”