Former “Extra” co-host Maria Menounos has opened up to People about a terrifying discovery… a golf-ball-sized tumor in her brain.
The TV personality, whose mother Litsa is fighting stage 4 brain cancer, said she started noticing symptoms in February.
“I’d been getting lightheaded on set and having headaches,” she explained. “My speech had gotten slurred and I was having difficulty reading the teleprompter.”
After undergoing an MRI, doctors discovered the meningioma brain tumor, which was pushing on her facial nerves.
“I didn’t cry. I actually laughed,” she said. “It’s so surreal and crazy and unbelievable that my mom has a brain tumor — and now I have one, too?”
She turned to her mother’s neurosurgeon, Dr. Keith L. Black, for help. A surgery was scheduled for June 8, Maria’s 39th birthday.
Dr. Black was able to remove 99.9 percent of the tumor, which turned out to be benign, over the course of the seven-hour surgery.
“He said there’s a six to seven percent chance that we’ll see it come back,” she revealed, “but I’ll take those odds any day.”
Now, Maria is recovering at home with help from her fiancé, AfterBuzz TV creator Keven Undergaro.
“I don’t have my balance fully yet but as long as I’m holding on to Keven, I’m sturdy and fine,” Menounos said. “My face is still numb. This is something that takes at least a month of healing, but I’m getting stronger and stronger every day and I’ll be back to normal very soon.”
Menounos encourages everyone not to ignore symptoms.
“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.”
For more of Maria’s story, pick up the latest issue of People.