Former E! News correspondent Maria Menounos got emotional today when she spoke about her pancreatic cancer diagnosis with her baby on the way.
Menounos, who is expecting her first child via surrogacy with husband Keven Undergaro this summer, said, “My baby was the only thing that kept flashing in my head.
“It’s been 10 years, why did you give me a baby, and now I can’t see her?”
Menounos, 44, said he started feeling “excruciating pain” while on a plane last fall. She said she ate the farro salad and thought she might have become gluten intolerant.
“It was really, really hard and I didn’t think I could make it through the flight,” she said.
In November, she started having the same abdominal pain, combined with loose stools. She went to the emergency room and had a stool test and a CT scan of her, but everything went back to “not noticeable,” she said.
“After that, every time I complained about it, I was like, ‘Well, I just scanned it and everything was fine.’ But I kept feeling this pounding here in the upper left quadrant.” She said, “Something went wrong.”
She had a scan scheduled for January after a friend encouraged her to have a full-body MRI. As her radiologist was reading her results to her, she began to realize it was more than just pain.
“Every image had lumps and he said, ‘I need to go to the hospital right away,'” Menounos recalled the radiologist telling her. “He was white like a ghost, he was shivering. My eyes started to perk up. I just looked at him and said, ‘So I’m a dead man.'”
Menounos, who has type 1 diabetes and had a benign brain tumor removed in 2017, called his GP and another MRI confirmed he had a mass. She said the doctor who performed her biopsy would have “nothing” before her surgery.
“Even when I went in for a biopsy, the doctor said, ‘This is nothing. It’s just inflammation, it could be pancreatitis,'” she said. I said, ‘Oh, this is definitely something.'”
The morning after the biopsy, Menounos said he began to have a “throaty ringing” when he thought about his baby and how his health “didn’t make sense.”
“At that point, I braced myself and said, ‘I don’t know anything. So why should I expect the worst? Why should I think the worst?’ said we had to take this step by step, and we started to settle.”
Menounos told people She was diagnosed in January after a full-body MRI showed a 3.9-centimeter mass in her pancreas. After it was biopsied, her doctor told her it was a stage 2 neuroendocrine tumor, which usually has a better prognosis than other forms of pancreatic cancer.
Menounos underwent surgery to remove the tumor in February and told People her recovery was “extremely painful.”
She revealed today details of the surgery, which included removing the tail of her pancreas, as well as a spleen, 17 lymph nodes, and a “baby-sized” fibroid in her uterus.
Despite everything, Menounos feels blessed to be able to use her story to inspire others to advocate for their health.
“I want to sound the alarm that you have to be in charge of your own health,” she said. I know my body and I know what’s going on.”
“I’m so lucky to be able to hold my baby in the summer,” she added. “That’s the greatest blessing.”