Cancer survivor Maria Menounos can't help but smile when she catches a glimpse of her scars from her surgery earlier this year to remove a tumor on her pancreas.
"I look back on surgery earlier this year and am grateful for the strength god blessed me with to get through and of course all of the beautiful humans that he sent to help me too!" she wrote on Instagram July 9 alongside a picture of her in a brown bikini and white cover up.
"Now I see the scars that I sunscreen up carefully to protect and I smile," she added.
The 44-year-old former “E! News” correspondent bared four visible incision marks in the photo.
In May, Menounos went public with her cancer journey, sharing that three months prior she'd undergone surgery to remove a 3.9-centimeter pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor, along with part of her pancreas, her spleen, a fibroid and 17 lymph nodes. Her tumor was stage 2 and neuroendocrine, a rarer and less aggressive type of tumor than most pancreatic cancers, so she had a good prognosis.
Menounos told Hoda Kotb on TODAY in May that doctors initially dismissed her symptoms of "excruciating abdominal pain" and diarrhea, but they still ordered follow-up scans. They said the results were "unremarkable," she recalled.
“Anytime I complained about it thereafter, (my doctors told me), ‘Well, we just scanned and everything was fine,’ but I kept feeling (in) my upper-left quadrant this throbbing,” Menounos told Hoda, adding that she knew “something was wrong.”
Menounos said she then got two MRI scans, both of which showed the mass.
“When I came out, he goes, ‘Oh, this is definitely something,’” Menounos remembered. “I remember waking up the next morning, and I hadn’t really cried, but I just started guttural crying because I’m like, ‘How could God finally bless me with a baby after 10 years? And now I’m not going to get to meet her.’”
But these days, Menounos is in remission and her care team told People her only treatment now is routine annual scans for the next five years. She and her husband Keven Undergaro are expecting their first child together with the help of a surrogate.