Maria Menounos understands firsthand the effects that bullying and toxicity in the workforce can have on one’s health.
In February, the TV and Sirius XM radio host started experiencing troubling symptoms. An MRI revealed she had a golf-ball-size meningioma brain tumor that was pushing on her facial nerves. On her 39th birthday in June, Menounos underwent a complex surgery that removed 99.9 percent of the tumor, which was benign.
Since undergoing the hours-long operation, Menounos, 39, has had time to heal—and contemplate on her journey.
“I think chronic stress on the body is really bad. And I think that for anyone who’s dealing with chronic stress, you have to figure out a way with meditation, with anything that you’re doing, to incorporate ways to de-stress and let your body have a minute to catch up and to breathe. I mean, as women, you know, we put ourselves last, we put our health last,” Menounos told Access Hollywood‘s Kit Hoover and Natalie Morales on Thursday. “I postponed that MRI for months because I thought I was crazy, I thought I was being paranoid, and I was putting my mom’s health first, which I mean is understandable—it was critical. But we have to focus more on ourselves.”
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Asked what her stress stemmed from, Menounos—who has worked in entertainment for more than two decades, including E!, Extra and Access Hollywood—named the industry.
“I think the industry, I think that there’s a lot of bullying, a lot of toxicity. I think it’s just a rough journey,” she said. “You know, there’s the glitz and the glam that everybody sees — and yes, I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of it — but there have been some tough times and I’m sure you guys have not been immune to those tough times.”
Added Menounos: “I’ve made it through.”
Menounos also gave an update on her mother, Litsa, who is battling stage 4 brain cancer.
“She’s doing well right now, thank God. She’s stable,” she said. “We get another MRI two days after Christmas, so I hope we continue to hear stable or a miracle. Every night I just pray for a miracle.”
Joining the mother and daughter in their battles is Menounos’ 17-year-old dog Benjamin, who she thinks “has a brain tumor as well.”
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“The doctor could barely tell me. She’s like, ‘I don’t know how to tell you this.’ I said, ‘I know what you’re going to say … You think Benjamin has a brain tumor, don’t you?’ … She goes, ‘Yes, how do you know?’ I go, ‘I’m his mother, I diagnosed myself, I know what’s going on. I can feel it and I’ve known it, but everyone’s told me I was crazy!’ ” she said, and added, “He’s had a really long, happy, healthy life. I just squish him as much as I can.”
In August, Menounos shared how the health scare has changed her.
“I just see things so differently now,” she told the Today show’s Savannah Guthrie.
“It’s funny. My family was like, ‘Maria’s so quiet.’ And I’m just so much calmer,” she explained. “I think being still is so important — that’s why meditation is so great for people, because it creates a little bit of stillness in their lives.”