Maria Menounos is recovering from brain surgery with the help of a cuddly friend.
On Tuesday, the 39-year-old former E! News anchor shared a Facebook photo of herself lying in a hospital bed after a seven-and-a-half-hour operation to remove a meningioma brain tumor the size of a golf ball. The star was diagnosed earlier in 2017 while caring for her mother, who had been battling stage IV brain cancer.
“I can’t believe it’s been two months since I had brain surgery!!!!” Menounos wrote to her 445,000 followers. “It’s surreal to me to look back at photos and videos. I see this photo taken TWO days after a 7.5-hour brain surgery and am so thankful to all the doctors and nurses who helped me.”
Menounos reminded fans to stay attuned to their bodies. “I never realized how much pain I was in until I slowed down the ride. It was a huge reality check for me. That’s why I’m hoping the message is heard loud and clear — listen to your bodies and take action. There are a lot of things I’m going to do with this new found wisdom. Helping those going through similar things is at the top of my list. I’ve never been more excited about life. I feel so free!”
She also gave a shout-out to Whinnie, her white poodle. “And of course..whinnie. Therapy dogs are so helpful for healing. Thankfully she’s been on the payroll since we found each other years ago at the West Valley shelter!”
The post, which has 2,200 likes, triggered an emotional response from people who also have undergone brain surgery, and some posted selfies from their own hospital beds, encouraging Menounos to stay positive.
Menounos rescued Whinnie in 2012 after finding her and two other pups abandoned on the side of the road. According to People, she brought the animals to a shelter and wound up leaving with six dogs, Whinnie included. The dog has since become a bona fide celebrity, appearing on Menounos’s social media pages.
It’s unclear whether Menounos has simply dubbed her pet a therapy dog or if she had Whinnie registered as one. However, plenty of celebrities have found healing and comfort through contact with animals.
Fitness trainer Bob Harper suffered a heart attack in February, and in an Instagram post, called his dog Karl “a great nurse.” To help with her bipolar disorder, Carrie Fisher also took Gary, her 4-year-old French bulldog, everywhere she went, including red carpet appearances. And Kristen Chenoweth’s dog Maddie (who died in 2016) was a constant by her side.
Animals have extraordinary healing powers — pet owners are happier, healthier, less lonely, and more extroverted than those who don’t own pets.
And dogs have an edge over other types of pets. One study published in the journal Anthrozoos found that dog owners are “significantly” happier with their lives than cat owners, and another found that petting one’s own dog lowered blood pressure. Dog owners are also more active overall, due to their pets’ need to be walked on a regular basis.
It sounds like Whinnie will do her best to see Menounos through a speedy recovery.
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