Maria Menounos decided to wait until the last minute to tell her parents about her brain tumor diagnosis.
According to PEOPLE, the TV and radio host received news of her diagnosis in the spring but couldn’t bring herself to tell her parents, Litsa and Constantine, right away as her mother was battling stage 4 brain cancer.
“Deciding to tell [them] was the toughest part,” she said. “If my mom was stable, it would have been easier. But because her tumor was growing [at the time], it was really depressing. It was awful because we were all living in this house and keeping this secret.”
Three days before her surgery to remove the golf ball-sized tumor, Menounos and her fiance, Kevin Undergaro, sat her parents down to break the news.
“We went into their room and I said, ‘We have something to tell you.’ Every time I say it, people say, ‘You’re pregnant!’ And it’s like, ‘No, it’s not a good thing,’” she said. “I said, ‘I want you to understand that you have brain cancer, but not all tumors are cancerous. We found a tumor in me. We’re going to have surgery on Thursday.”
She shared that her parents were in shock at first but the couple “kept reassuring them it would be fine.”
Menounos is still healing after the June 8 surgery and said that she gains inspiration from her mother’s battle.
“She has smiled through the whole thing,” Menounos said of her mother, who’s latest MRI revealed her cancer is stable. “She’s always been positive. Always ‘I feel great,’ just a champ. My goal was just to be as happy and calm as possible because I didn’t want it to be hard on everybody. I really prayed, ‘Please God give me the strength that my mom had.’ Because she gave us that gift.”