Maria Menounos and her fiancé Keven Undergaro are moving forward with their plans to start a family via in vitro fertilization, despite the TV and SiriusXM host’s recent surgery to remove a brain tumor.
Menounos reveals in the new issue of PEOPLE that she was diagnosed this spring with a benign brain tumor the size of a golf ball that was pressing on her facial nerves. The 39-year-old underwent a successful, complex surgery to remove the meningioma on June 8 — her birthday.
At the same time, Menounos has been helping to care for her mother, Litsa, who is battling stage 4 brain cancer.
Menounos, who has been vocal about her IVF treatments in the past, tells PEOPLE that she and Undergaro still “want to have a family” — and that she’s “lucky” she wasn’t pregnant when the tumor was discovered. “When you are pregnant, [tumors] grow fast,” she says.
“The greatest thing that has happened out of all of this is you see God’s hands all around,” she adds, tearing up.
For much more from Menounos, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE and watch her emotional interview in PEOPLE Cover Story: Maria Menounos on the People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN). Go to People.com/PEN or download the PEN app on your favorite mobile or connected TV device.
She also praises Undergaro, 51, who popped the question in March 2016 after 19 years of dating, for taking care of her through her health crisis.
“He’d nap with me so I didn’t feel like I was alone, never left my side, never left the hospital, never got tired, never nothing,” she says.
Since the crisis, Menounos, who has worked for E!, Extra and Access Hollywood, appeared on Dancing with the Stars and wrestled for the WWE, says her perspective on life is “completely different now.”
“When something like this happens, it’s so important to have people in your life that are going to lift you up. I was lucky enough to have that army around me.”
—With DAVE QUINN