Maria Menounos Opens Up About Secret Battle With Stage 2 Pancreatic Cancer: “I Thought I Was a Goner”

Maria Menounos and her husband, Keven Undergaro, have been trying to conceive a child for the past 10 years with no luck. In February, the couple – who have been married since 2017 – announced that they are expecting their first child via surrogate. They confirmed the baby girl is due in summer 2023. 

While this was exciting news for the Menounos-Undergaro household, there was much more going on behind the scenes that took away from that excitement – most of which they kept private, at the time. Now several months later, Menounos is opening up about some of her struggles over the past 12 months.

In this week’s issue of PEOPLE magazine, the 44-year-old talked about two major health scares she experienced recently, which included a type 1 diabetes diagnosis and a battle with stage 2 pancreatic cancer – two things she didn’t expect and wasn’t prepared for, especially with a baby on the way. 

RELATED: Maria Menounos and Keven Undergaro Expecting First Child Together After 10 Years of Trying

It all started back in June 2022 when Maria Menounos started suffering from severe leg cramps – she would ‘scream out loud’ at the pain and was ‘inconsolable’ as a result. She eventually decided to see a doctor and later learned that she had type 1 diabetes – something her father and brother both suffer from.

To treat the diabetes, Menounos now takes insulin daily and wears a glucose monitor to maintain her glucose levels. The treatment was going well and she ‘was crushing it’ – which had her thinking, “What else could go wrong?” Unfortunately, her diabetes diagnosis was just the beginning of a long, scary road.

By November, Menounos found herself back in the hospital with diarrhea and abdominal pain – the type of abdominal pain that had her feeling ‘like someone was tearing [her] insides out.’ A CT scan and other tests left her with more questions, but she finally got some answers after undergoing a whole-body MRI.

The answer came in the form of a 3.9 cm. mass on her pancreas – which turned out to be a stage 2 pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor. Luckily, they caught the tumor in its early stages and she had surgery in February to remove the tumor, part of her pancreas, her spleen, a large fibroid, and 17 lymph nodes. 

Maria Menounos is Feeling ‘Grateful’ and ‘So Lucky’ 

Despite the many health struggles she has experienced over the past year – as well as her brain tumor in 2017 – Maria Menounos is happy to be healthy again and excited for what the future holds. She has her husband and father to thank for staying by her side through everything – acting as her support system.

“Keven slept in the hospital every night. And my dad was the best caretaker,” she told PEOPLE in their latest issue, which hits the stands on Friday. “This whole year has been trauma, stress, crisis. There was a minute when we were planning something, and then it became too much. I thought, ‘I just need to heal.’”

As for right now, the soon-to-be first-time mother is building out her daughter’s nursery and preparing for her little one’s arrival this summer. She’s in good health and, while she won’t need chemotherapy, she does require annual testing for the next five years and needs to constantly monitor her type 1 diabetes. 

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“I’m so grateful and so lucky. 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,” Maria Menounos said – adding that she plans on having a meet-and-greet with her little one when she’s born, especially since there wasn’t a baby shower.

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