Caring for a loved one battling cancer is challenging enough without receiving the news you were unaware the same illness was plaguing you.
US TV host Maria Menounos had been caring for her mother, who has stage-4 brain cancer, when she began experiencing some worrisome symptoms.
“I’d been getting lightheaded on set and having headaches,” she tells People magazine. “My speech had gotten slurred and I was having difficulty reading the teleprompter.”
An MRI revealed Menounos had a brain tumour the size of a golf ball pushing onto her facial nerves. Her reaction to the shock diagnosis was unique.
“I didn’t cry. I actually laughed,” she remembers. “It’s so surreal and crazy and unbelievable that my mom has a brain tumor—and now I have one too?”
Treatment began immediately, and with her mother and fiancé Keven Undergaro by her side, Menounos underwent a seven-hour surgery to remove the meningioma, which was predicted to be benign.
Thankfully, the procedure was a success with only a six to seven per cent chance of the cancer returning. “I’ll take those odds any day,” the 39-year-old tells the publication.
Now in recovery, Menounos is spending quality time with her mother whose most recent scan showed positive results. Though she’ll need no further treatments herself, the host says her diagnosis was a wake-up call all of us should pay attention to.
“We’re caretakers as women and we put ourselves last,” she says. “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.”