"I was like 'How could God finally bless me with a baby and then take me before I get to meet her?'" Menounos remembers thinking when she got the news about her cancer.
A baby shower that Maria Menounos had planned for her and her husband Keven Undergaro's daughter, who is due this summer through a surrogate, has lately been delayed. The former E! News journalist and presenter of the Heal Squad podcast is speaking out to PEOPLE about her ongoing struggle with Stage 2 pancreatic cancer after nearly three months of recuperation. The couple, who have spent years trying to start a family, are overjoyed to meet the newborn, but throwing a large celebration is not now high on their list of priorities.
When Menounos, 44 was diagnosed in January 2023 it came as a major shock who was in the middle of celebrating the news that she'd soon become a mother reported E! News. She recalls thinking, "I was like 'How could God finally bless me with a baby and then take me before I get to meet her?' I guttural cried, it was so intense."
After her diagnosis, Menounos had to undergo surgery in February 2023 to get the 3.9-cm tumor removed. "It was super painful," she remembered. "I couldn't move or lift myself up." However, Menounos is grateful to have her family around who made sure she was cared for during this difficult time in her life. Thankfully, "Keven slept in the hospital every night," she said. "And my dad was the best caretaker," she added.
Obviously, there's so much to say about this and what Ive gone through these last few months, and even year. 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… pic.twitter.com/rhd1nOU844— MARIA MENOUNOS (@mariamenounos) May 3, 2023
But it wasn't an easy time for her husband as well. "We're usually really good in crisis," said Menounos of her and Undergaro, 56, her husband of five years. Back in 2017, he helped her through treatment for a benign brain tumor. But the pancreatic cancer diagnosis was tough. "This one freaked him out. He was really scared," she added, per PEOPLE.
Menounos is now excitedly planning to welcome her baby. "I'm so grateful and so lucky." The new mom is busy preparing her baby's nursery before she arrives. "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," she shared.
She is also on a mission to inspire people to get help for their health issues. "I need people to know there are places they can go to catch things early. You can't let fear get in the way."
She also had previously struggled with a brain tumor. "I'm like 'How in the freaking world can I have a brain tumor and pancreatic cancer?' All I could think was that I have a baby coming," she said recalling her first response to her medical condition. Her doctors have assured her that she is looking in good shape, and does not require chemotherapy or additional treatment except annual scans for the next five years.
"I had that moment where I thought I was a goner — but I'm OK because I caught this early enough," Menounos said. https://t.co/SpGFRkHCNb— TODAY (@TODAYshow) May 3, 2023
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Allen Berezovsky