Maria Menounos recently shared that both her parents have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and have been hospitalized in two separate facilities for their conditions.
Her parents tested positive the day before Thanksgiving, almost two weeks ago, and they're not out of the woods, she revealed in a new episode of her podcast, "Better Together with Maria Menounos." Sharing the segment on Instagram, the former TODAY contributor, 42, wrote, "We are still in process but I couldn’t stay silent any longer."
To make matters more complicated, the news came just a few days after Menounos had learned her mother's brain tumor was growing back, prompting her to fly to Los Angeles to be with her parents. Their coronavirus test results came through within a few hours of Menounos' arrival.
"First it was my mom. They had rushed her to the hospital when I landed," Menounos said. "I found out, and then a few hours later, my dad tested positive. It was absolutely surreal."
At the time, she alluded to her situation on social media, tweeting, "Need some prayers. Please send some prayers to my family."
Since then, Menounos has been dealing with around the clock calls from two separate care teams at two hospitals, she said. "I'm on the phone, clicking back and forth, and I'm like, 'Hold on this is my mom's doctor.' 'Wait are you my dad's doctor?' ... It's been pretty insane," she described.
Menounos quickly learned that staying positive was her best strategy for persevering through the stressful situation.
"I kept focusing on what my desired outcome was, not what my fear was, and that helped me a lot," Menounos recalled. "As it has extended and I've gotten more and more tired, fear creeps back in."
Tearing up, she explained that it's been "an incredible challenge."
"You work so hard to keep your parents healthy and alive, at least I have, and to see something like this happen, it's like was bad enough on Monday to hear that about my mom's tumor and then the pile on of that is a lot."
She said she plans to share some of the tips and tricks she's learned in the near future to help anyone else going through a similar situation.
"You can't go into the hospital, you can't see them," she said. "There's a helpless feeling. ... You don't have to be helpless. You can be engaged as an active participant, as an advocate, as their caretaker."
After joking that she often needs more than one coffee run these days due to lack of sleep, Menounos revealed that her parents' health has motivated her to take steps toward starting a family. She and husband Keven Undergaro have previously said they're considering surrogacy because of the effect pregnancy might have on her body after her risky surgery to have her own brain tumor removed.
"I thought on Wednesday, the eve of Thanksgiving, I was going to lose both parents, and it was real, and I just kept praying and focusing on my desired outcome," Menounos said on the podcast. "I kept saying, 'I see them holding my babies.' I just kept visualizing them holding my babies."
She ended the podcast episode on a note of hope.
"If someone else can recover, why can't your family? If someone else can get better and have a miracle, why can't you?" she said. "It's all possible, and it's better to hold on to the possibility than to have no faith or to focus on the negative. It's not good for you and it's not good for them."