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Maria Menounos say brain tumor was a 'gift': 'I needed to change my life'

by Ree Hines / / Source: TODAY

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It's easy to imagine feeling fear, disconnect or depression after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. But gratitude? It might be an unexpected reaction, but one month after a risky surgery, that's just what Maria Menounos is feeling about her ordeal.

"I think that this was a gift, because I needed to change my life," the TV host revealed in an interview with Megyn Kelly. "I needed to change the way I did everything."

It's an amazing perspective following such a shocking series of events.

It all began nearly a year ago, when Menounos found out that her mother had been diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer and had to undergo surgery to have the tumor removed. Months later, she found herself exhibiting many of the same symptoms — dizziness, slurred speech, headaches — she'd seen in her mother.

"At that point, when I said all those things out loud to (my doctor), the symptoms mirrored what my mom had, and I realized it in that moment," she explained.

It wasn't long before her doctor confirmed the news: The 39-year-old had a noncancerous tumor called a meningioma.

"I started kinda chuckling," she recalled of her initial reaction. "'At that point it's like, 'This is a joke.' Like, how does this happen?"

Maria Menounos
Maria Menounos learned of her diagnosis months after doctors discovered her mother's brain tumor.Alamy

She's come a long way since then and found the process transformative, but her mother still has a long way to go.

"I just hope that we can make her one of the long-term survivors," Menounos said. "Because I'm worried about her."

You can see more of Megyn Kelly's interview with Maria Menounos this Sunday at 7 p.m. ET on NBC.

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