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You think you know my next guest, think again. This is a woman who has overcome hardship after hardship after hardship. But yet she walked into the room for this conversation, head held high, shoulders back, and full of life. Maria Minuno is a reporter, host, actor, producer, New York Times bestselling author, and podcast host. But beyond her impressive resume, she's a mother, a daughter, and a fighter, and someone whose perspective continues to impress and inspire me. You might remember and love her from her time on E-news, Access Hollywood, or even here today, right? With her bright personality and her infectious smile, she has been a light on our TV screens for more than 20 years. But there is so much more to Maria. Let me tell you, this girl is a force. She has a depth that might surprise you. Beyond her career, her life has been quite a ride with both highs and lows. And at each turn, she has exhibited incredible strength, grace, and unshakable faith. In 2016, Maria received shocking news. Her mother was diagnosed with stage four brain cancer. While caring for her mom, Maria started to notice that she was feeling off herself.


Just a few months after her mom's diagnosis, Maria learned that she had a brain tumor herself. The news was unimaginable. The two received brain surgery within months of each other. Maria's tumor turned out to be benign, but sadly, her mom's was not. Maria lost her mother and her best friend in 2021. While she was coping with this devastating loss, Maria's health struggles continued. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and began her fight once again. I am so happy to share that Maria is now cancer-free and on a renewed journey of healing. On the other side of all that darkness, there was light. Maria is a new mom. After 10 years of battling infertility, she and husband, Kevin, welcomed their beautiful baby girl via surrogate. And now she's using what she's learned on her healing journey to help other people because that is who Maria Minuno is. Through her podcast, Heal Squad, Maria taps into all the ways we can become, as she calls it, the CEO of our own health. There are so many things to love about Maria, but what I admire most is her generous heart, the way she shares her life with us, both the happy moments and the trying times.


Maria sees the power in vulnerability. Hearing her story is a beautiful reminder to never lose faith and to focus on the lessons that come through each experience. I am in awe of her strength, and I know you will be, too. I'm Hoda Cotby. Welcome to my podcast, Making Space. First of.


All, I just want to say it's so fun having you back here at.


30 Rock because this was.


Your home about how many lifetimes ago? A bunch.


Long time ago.


What does it feel like? Because you're at a different stage. And I want to go through the stages of your life because I feel like you grow and change on the inside throughout all these steps. But where are you right now? If you were to describe how you are and where you are right now in your life.


I think I am at probably the best place I've ever been, the happiest I've ever been. I mean, listen, I hope that we get better over time. We're supposed to keep growing and getting better. And I think that if I look back at Maria then at 30 Rock, oh, my God, she had no clue what she was doing. And now I have so much more of a clue. I want to go on. Even down to hair. All of it. Like hair and makeup. You thought you needed all these things then. Now I'm like, okay, I'm going to do it myself. Right.


I never needed it.


I never needed it. What? I never needed all those things people told you you needed that just slowed it down, made it harder.


Made you more self-conscious. Oh, my Lord. I want to take it way back, though. You're a little girl.




Growing up with your parents who are from Greece, and it's the true immigrant story if there was one. What was life.


For you as a.


Little girl growing up in your house?


For me, it was I had to be the boss from Go because my parents didn't speak English. So I didn't speak English growing up. I was that kid in school that needed to learn English. So I was in those classes. They were English as a second language. It was me and this kid, Long-Tran. We had a lot of kids be really rough with us and not nice because we didn't understand the language. But there was a really beautiful teacher named Mrs. Brenner who helped me along. All my teachers were wonderful to me. But once I learned the language and as I got older, I had to help my parents pay bills and write letters and all the things that first-generation kids do. Which is why when I was here at MBC, one of the stories I did that I was super passionate about was immigrant kids and the plight of immigrant kids because you have to grow up so much faster and you have so much more responsibility because your parents need your help.


What values did your parents set for you? Because those things are what carry you to today.


Oh, my gosh, so much. I mean, obviously having manners and being a good person and working hard. I got to see that firsthand. How did they.


Show you?


Well, my parents were janitors at nightclubs all over Boston, and they couldn't afford babysitters. And my mom also, I don't think even if she could, would have because she was so scared. And so we went to work with them. And from the time I could hold a broom, I was cleaning nightclubs all over Boston with them. I watched my dad with type 1 diabetes almost die on the regular. We'd go to the hospital and he'd rip the IVs out and go right back to work. Then that's what I did when I started working. I remember being in this business and I couldn't keep up and I was eating fast food. Then I was dehydrated and I have to go to the hospital and I'm like, I don't know how to do this. Do what I got to do, rip off and.


Back to work. When I think about your dad, the way you're describing him, your dad is the pillar of strength. Your dad is the one who's infallible. Your dad's going to take care of everyone. To see your father in that situation as a little girl, I mean, you say it like, Oh, that happened. But I'm trying to picture you as a little girl watching and wondering, is my dad going to be here tomorrow?


What was that.


Part of your life like?


It was terrifying. My mom and I really had to hone our intuition to know if he was dead or alive. It was like that simple from a young age, it was, Oh, my gosh, he's not home on time. And where is he? Then she would start the phone calls, police stations, hospitals. Oh, my gosh. Friends, family, where is he? Then we just would have to tune in. There were so many moments where I would tune in. I'd be like, Mom, Daddy's stuck at the other place. He can't get to us. We were waiting for him at one mall for dinner with family on a Sunday, and I was like, He stuck at the other place. They'd find out he was at the other mall. Oh, good. The car had broken down. His blood sugar had dropped. It was like that. When I went to college and I moved in and moved away from home, it was the scariest time of my life because I'm like, What if he dies and I'm not there to save him? Because that's what I would do. I would be in high school and I would hear a voice, He's not okay.


I would race home, skip my class and race home and find him comatose on the floor and have to revive him. That was every day. The firefighters knew our names. We knew their names by heart. They were at our house all the time. There was definitely a lot of fear and anxiety growing up, which is no coincidence why I've had so many health issues, I think, because I lived in fight or flight forever.


For a little kid, and if you're in high school, you're a kid, you're a kid. It's too much. It's too much for a kid because to think that you're responsible for your parents' life is way too much for a kid. How did you process, handle, deal with it on the regular like that?


I don't know. I think I'm processing it now. I think that I'm in therapy and have been and trying to heal from those traumas. My poor mom, you talk about a pillar. She was the one who really had to take care of everyone and be that rock for everyone. But it takes its toll. I mean, again, you can see what happened with my mom, too. Your body can only handle so much stress. And then you enter a stressful business for work.


You chose it, yeah.


And then there's a whole other set of things that happen with that. And then because you're not really in first position, you're not tended to emotionally in those ways because it's life and death all the time. Right. And that's what I'm starting to learn from some of the brain-based development people I'm talking to on my show every day where you get sick when you have to deal with things like this. It's crazy. There's so much to it. But I think I'm trying to unravel a lot of it now and heal from it. I think my daughter is my medicine every day. I think she's healing me because it's just so much explosive love all day long that I'm like, Okay, it's all right.


I can feel.


It all.


When I think about your relationship with your dad, I know that it was paramount. Do you know or when did you know that he was proud of you? I think.


I always knew... He made it challenging because he would always say no to everything. What? If I wanted to do a pageant or I wanted to do that, he was so scared of everything. My mom was the one who really helped me be able to do a lot of the things I wanted to do. But once I started achieving outwardly, he was proud. The both of them were proud. They would tell me on the regular as I really started succeeding in my industry that, Mario, from where we come, we never imagined these things to happen to us. I always took my parents everywhere. They were just so blown away by everything.


I can only imagine your parents seeing you succeed and what that must have felt like for them. So you want your dad's approval, obviously, because every girl does. And so when you decide you're going to pick a boy who you want to date and there's this guy named Kevin, who happens to be here. Did you tell your dad, Hey, look, I'm dating this cute guy. I met this guy.? Or just tell me how that went down when it came to your dad meeting Kevin.


Well, it was ugly, Hoda. It was ugly. I didn't say anything because it wasn't that household. We didn't really talk about things. My dad didn't allow dating until I was 18. That was strict. It was adhered to because I was terrified. When I met Kevin, I was just turning 19 and things were just happening. It just didn't go over well once he discovered it because Kevin wasn't Greek. I like to think my dad probably knew there was some hanky panky going on. That was hard for him to understand that his little girl was growing up. But he made it about the Greek thing. I know that was something that was important to him to carry on the traditions and to be able to have that dream scenario that he had in his mind. Did you feel.


Like you had to choose at that point?


Yeah, I did. I chose Kevin because I said, I've done it your way for 18 years. You raised me well. I am now making my own choices. I believe in this person and in this relationship. He pretty much disowned me. It was a brutal, almost two years of not speaking.


Oh, my gosh.


Now talk about someone who loved her father more than anything, lived to keep him alive. Now I'm not speaking to him. The fear of something happening in that period where I was setting my boundaries as a young woman was really, really scary. But I had to do it because I wasn't going to live my life for my parents in terms of what they wanted. I had to choose for myself. Trust me, if I had chosen the way they wanted to go, it would not have ended up the way it did. No. And they're much happier now.


Well, I do think it's interesting because they raised you to be independent, even though they raised you to have your own mind and you have your own mind and you made your own choices.


Now they love them more than me. Isn't that how it always goes? You go through the hell and then later they're like, Oh, buddy, I can't be the best. I'm better than you. Thanks.


So when.


Did it thaw? Because to make that.


Choice is big at that age.


A lot of girls would have caved to their dad and said, You know what? I can't miss a Christmas. I can't miss a family gathering, family first, that thing.


Well, I watched relatives cave to their families and have to say goodbye to the person that they loved. I didn't like that. I saw the regret that they carried. And so it was really hard and really painful. But I knew eventually things would work out because my parents love me and I know that they want the best for me. My mom was with me and secretly. She was always there, always with me, always having my back. It was my dad. And my dad's so tough. He's so stubborn. Oh, my goodness. He's softened so much over time. But it was like, who's going to win? And it really had to happen when I got on TV. When I made it on television, it was getting really hard for him when people were coming up to him about his daughter.


Oh, wow.


You must be.


So proud of her and all that stuff.


So at that point, he had to give in. So I won. So you won.


Of course you did. Of course you did. Choosing a profession in the spotlight is tricky for many, many reasons. What made you decide, huh, I think this is going to be my route.


I think it's in you from go. When I was really young, I remember at first it was I want to be a teacher, then I was going to be a veterinarian. Then I wanted to be a marine biologist because I loved Flipper and I wanted to play with dolphins and... And my mom was like, Maria, you can do that on the side. I was like, okay. Then I remember watching Joan Lundon and loving her. I loved how classy she was. I love that she was such a great representative of a woman and how she was just... She was what I wanted to be. I wanted to be on TV and I wanted to be classy and respectable, but I also wanted to do all these other things, too. I wanted to act. I wanted to sing. I wanted to do all kinds of fun stuff. So I figured with my parents, if I studied broadcast journalism, I could get in the world and then play in the other arenas. And so that's what.


I did. So throughout this time, like you said, our profession is there's a lot of pressure. There are time constraints. You have to fly on a dime. You're not eating well. How were you feeling physically as you were navigating this time?


So I'm the one that chases fire trucks and ambulances. I love news. I love live. I love being in the mix of everything. I loved when they would say at 3:00 in the morning, you got to get on a plane.


Let's go. I love it. Pack the bag.


It was so fun. I missed that. Trying to manage it all was really challenging. And I think it's challenging for so many because you're thrust into a whole new world. And that's why I'm always trying to help young people as they're entering the business because there's no handbook and it's a very intricate business, as you know. So I did the best I could. But yeah, I would end up in hospitals with low potassium or dehydration or I was living on fast food three times a day. It was the only way I could survive. And then when I was here, I was doing The Today show. I was doing Nightly News. I was doing Access Hollywood. I was writing books. I was doing some TV commercials and movies. I was doing so much.


All at once. So much.


Because I loved it all.


But it was a lot. Were you chasing something or did you just.


Enjoy the ride? I just loved it. I loved all of it. I've never had a plan. I've always said, God, take me where I'm supposed to go. I'll be a good person. I'll work really hard, but I have no plan. I don't know where I'm supposed to go or what I'm supposed to do. And a door would come and I'd go right through. Okay, yes.


I'll go. You said, God, show me where to go. How important is your faith and how has it guided you? Because as we're talking about your life, you're about to hit some really big, scary potholes going forward. How has God.


Helped you? I'm already crying. My faith is everything. It always has been. I remember going to church on Wednesdays before choir practice really early, just a guttural cry. I would go in alone in this church and pray. I've always had such a good connection because I needed it to my dad. Whenever something would happen, that was the first person I asked for help. God's been my best friend all along and has always helped me through everything. That relationship has always been super strong and only got stronger.


You really needed God as you were going to start navigating some really tricky waters ahead. You talked about how your mom is always your pillar. She was this one. She was the one who kept the family in check. Will you talk to me about... We never imagine our mom getting sick or having anything to worry about when it comes to our moms. But what happened with your mom?


I remember in 2016, my cookbook that I did with her was coming out. We were cooking for Bobby Flay at the house. The ovens weren't working, but then she was burning stuff. I was like, This isn't like her. Then we were making all the recipes for the book, and she wasn't remembering things, and she was burning stuff. I'm like, Mom, what's wrong?




What's going on? I would never have known that there was a brain tumor going on. At some point, she wasn't feeling right. She was going to the doctors. I remember going to a couple of appointments with her, and the doctor was like, Well, if it's not this, we're going to test her for fibromyalgia. I'm like, Fibromyalgia? My mom doesn't have fibromyalgia. Yeah. Then within probably a month of that moment, she was diagnosed with stage four brain cancer. Our lives just completely flipped upside down. Time stopped.


How did she handle that diagnosis?


We were in the hospital together, and my dad and my brother had just left to go get some coffee. The doctor came in and he sat on the bed and he said, So you have a brain tumor and you need to have surgery. It's called glialblastoma. My mom was like, Okay, no tears. I'm like sitting there.


Like, does she.


Even understand what's happening? Does she understand what's going on? Does she understand what's going on? With the language barrier? Is she missing anything? But she took it like a champ. Then that meant I had to take it like a champ, at least externally. Then behind the scenes, had to start coordinating and had to start being her quarterback and realizing that her care was now in my hands and figuring out what the best course of action was and where we wanted to have our surgery. And so, my life as a brain tumor expert and caretaker began. Even though I was a caretaker before too, I was a co-caretaker to my dad with her. But, yeah, this.


Was big. I think it's one of those things that when you're faced with something like that, when you go into a mode like you went into, which is I've got a checklist and I got to take care of it. That gives you something to do and something that needed to be done, obviously. But when you were putting your head on the pillow at night because really, other than finding the right doctors and the right place, it's not up to you. After we've done all the things we can do, it's out of our hands completely. How did you find any peace during that time?


I always say in the beginning, it's so hard. It's devastating. I remember walking outside of the hospital the first two nights and screaming.


Screaming, God. Like just guttural scream crying. I was alone. Kevin was on the West Coast because there was only one seat left on the flight and I just took it and ran. It was really, really hard. Then when I got her back to LA, thankfully I had Kevin and I could scream into the pillow or cry with him when she wasn't looking or wasn't around. You go into action, so action helps. Feeling like you're doing something is really helpful. Then at some point, you start really leaning into God and praying and then little things step by step. She gets through surgery. She's safe. We got that Okay, now she's recovering. Now we're doing treatments now. We have to start thinking of what are some of the alternative things we could be doing to support her. It's a journey. It's really challenging. It's really, really hard. It's the worst pain I think you can go through is not knowing if your loved one is going to survive something.


It's harder than going through it yourself, isn't it?


Yeah, well, interestingly enough, at some point I was like, God, I wish you gave this to me. I would have handled it better because I didn't understand after surgery and radiation, her brain was really damaged and she wasn't herself.


And so- How was she?


Certain things she was... She reverted to kindergarten status. Like, she was turning on stoves and putting on the heatful blast or the AC really cold.


Just didn't- Things, yeah.


To the normal person, she would seem normal, but then she would do abnormal things. And it was really hard because we didn't understand what we were dealing with at that time. Right. And so I remember saying that and then, lo and behold, a couple of months later, guess who had a brain tumor?


I mean, you start getting headaches. And I would imagine if I were you, I would have thought the same thing. I'm stressed out. I'm doing too much. I'm trying to make sure everyone's okay. If I could just rest, I would feel better. So what happened for you?


Yeah, so I started getting really bad headaches, and I thought it was the stress of taking care of my mom. At one point they told me the tumor was growing. I'm terrified again. What am I going to do? I'm trying to work at the same capacity, if not more, because I didn't want anyone to think that I was slipping because of my mom. Work was always such a big priority and being the A student, I didn't want anyone to feel I wasn't giving it my all. I started slurring my speech on set, and I literally would Joe Coda on set. Sorry, guys, that's my stupid brain tumor.


You said that so many times.


We always know. I even knew there was something wrong with my pancreas. I had a viewer reach out to me and say, You predicted this last April on your show. I went back and I saw it, and I did. I said, I think something's wrong with my pancreas. I was tuning in for a moment. This was two months before I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I'm in my 30s, and probably eight months before I was diagnosed with pancreas cancer. I had no idea what I was doing in the moment, but I knew. The same thing with the brain tumor, I diagnosed myself. I called my doctor and I went in to see him and I said, I'm having this ear pain, this really bad ear pain. I must have a ear infection. I didn't.




Said, What else are you feeling? Well, I've been soaring my speech. I'm getting really bad headaches. Oh. And he goes, What? I go, I know you're going to think I'm crazy, but I think I have a brain tumor like my mom.


Oh, my gosh. Yours was not a cancerous brain tumor, but you had to have an operation. -same doctor who.


Took care of your mom. -same doctor. Just months later, same waiting room. It's bananas.


Oh, my gosh. You have your surgery. What's your mom's state while you work? Because she must have been worried sick.


She wasn't at her best. Like I said, the radiation had done a little number on her at that point. Okay. She didn't really understand what was happening. It was only after I did an interview months later and she heard the story and she said, I wish I could have been there for you more. I didn't know what was happening. A lot of people were like, Oh, your mom must be there for you. She knows what you're going through.


I'm like, No, no. But I.


Had Kevin and I had my dad, and I knew she was there for me in another way, but she couldn't be there the way.


Losing your mom, I mean, look, there are things in life that are crippling. You had a beautiful relationship with your mom. What did you lose?


I lost my best friend. She left me with a really great champion here, but she was my first champion. I also lost my identity after because for five years I was her caretaker. For five years, I was her problem solver. That was really hard in the beginning to move on from that. But I really allowed myself the time to mourn her and mourn so many losses because now is entering a new chapter in my life and starting a new relationship with my dad.




So interesting. Because I realized my relationship with my dad was so much through my mom. I don't know. My dad wasn't somebody you like to be on the phone. Mom, how's dad? Dad's good. Hey, dad, how are you? I had to start a new relationship with him. The most recent health stuff really formulated a new relationship with him and now with Athena. It's been really special.


Coming up how Maria continued to face her own health struggles and the diagnosis that changed everything. Stay with us.


Hey there. I'm Maya Schunker, and I'm a scientist who studies human behavior. Many of us have experienced a moment in our lives that changes everything. A moment that instantly divides our life into a before and an after. On my podcast, A Slightly Change of Plans, I talk to people about how they've navigated exactly these moments. Because as we all know, the only constant is change. So let's make the most of it. Listen to A Slightly Change of Plans on the iHeart Radio app or wherever you get your podcasts.


Hey, everyone, I'm Tom Yamas from TopStory on BBC News Now. Every night, TopStory is your news playlist. We take you to the front lines of the story where it's actually happening with BBC News Journalists on the ground from all over the world. We cover what you need to know and bring your news feed to life. And now, TopStories is available as a podcast so you can listen anytime and anywhere. Subscribe now for new episodes every weeknight.


I feel like.


You've had more than your share and your story is not even finished at this point. I don't want anymore. I know. No mass. Well, I think when you talked about your pancreas and how you felt that. You had a sense that something wasn't right. Tell me how you learned what was wrong and the treatment.


I think it have to be for almost like at least a year and a half or so. I look like I swallowed a basketball. I've been on fitness covers my whole career, flat, washboard, abs, never had that. I was like, What's going on? I saw a gastro doctor. They were trying to see if I had iliac or something bothering me. I kept trying to figure it out. March 2022, I had an endoscopy and colonoscopy trying to get to the root of what's happening. They found some little things, didn't find the source of this. Then that was it. I go, Wait, guys, the investigation doesn't stop. We're still trying to figure out why - What is it? -what's happening. The next month, this is what the viewer tipped me off to. I am talking on my show about how I'm so bloated, don't know what's happening. I kept taking pictures of this because I was trying to eliminate things from the diet to see if there was a difference. I said, Something's wrong, and I'm going to keep investigating till I find it. I said, But today's guest is a medium. She's going to teach us how to tune into our bodies.


I said, So perhaps I'll tune into my body. I look up to the ceiling and I say... I would basically tune in and I would say, I think something's wrong with my pancreas.


Okay, that is...


Then I launch into a whole discussion about the pancreas. This is so random. That was two months before I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I'm diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. First thing I say is, I don't have this. I don't have this. What are you talking about? But because my dad's type 1 diabetic, everyone's going to jump to the conclusion, of course, you have this. We should have scanned my pancreas because at 43 years old or whatever I was at the time, there's no reason for me to get type 1 diabetes now. Right.


At this stage, right.


But we didn't do that. I'm learning. I still don't know everything. And clearly nobody else does either. I launched into a real severe health journey with a naturopath who also didn't believe I had it. Yeah.


Explain what a naturopath is for people who.


Don't know. I don't know their exact definition, but a naturopath is like real alternative, get to the root cause, spend two hours with you, really understand your body and your makeup and help you optimize the different things that aren't optimized to get your body back on track. I started seeing results and my body was getting stronger. Then I started having these weird abdominal pains that were super strong. I was on a plane and I thought I was going to die. I had three hours left on this flight. Oh, my gosh. And tums were not working. Nothing was working. I thought, Oh, I ate the pharrow. Maybe my stomach is becoming really sensitive to gluten. Never eat pharrow again. In November, it happened again. And now I'm buckled over, can't lay down, can't sit up, go to the hospital. They scan, they do a CT scan, and they say everything's fine.


Oh, Jeez.


I go home and then I start feeling better again. I'm feeling great. I'm working out. I feel awesome. But I said to my doctor, I'm like, This is just so weird.


Yeah, makes no sense.


By December, I went to a party where a woman stopped me. I swear my mom sent her and she grabbed me by the shoulders and she said, I have a new company that's doing full body scans. You have to come. She's like, grabbing me by the shoulders. My friend Anastasia walks by. She's like, You have to do this. I was like, Okay, sure. When I went, I knew. I knew this was going to discover whatever it was. I didn't know it was going to be this bad. But I went and before I went in, I said to the guy, I said, Listen, there's still a brain tumor in there. I don't want you to think you have to break this horrible news to me and feel horrible. I already know. Just prepping you. I already know. When I went for my results, he missed it too. We're going through the results live. He had so focused on the brain tumor that as we went from the brain tumor down, I'm like, Okay, we're almost done.




Looking at Kevin. I'm like, Oh, I'm good. I'm good. He goes, Oh, no, what's that? I go, What? He goes, Hold on a second. He's clicking through images. He said, There's a spot and it keeps persisting in every image. If it persists in every image, it means it's a mass. He is like, It's a large mass on your pancreas and you need to go to the hospital right now.


Oh, my word.


I hear mass on the pancreas. I look at him and I said, I'm a ghaner, right? You said that? Yeah.




Jeez. He was turning white and his hands were shaking and he was really, really unnerved and really not okay. Now I'm comforting him. I'm like, I'm fine. I'll be fine. I shifted from like, Oh, my God.


-to comforting him.


-to comforting him, which helped. I'm texting my doctor and saying, I'm coming now. I need an emergency MRI. When I got there, he was like, I hope this is the dumbest radiologist we've ever met. This would be the coolest joke in the world. Oh, my God. We do the MRI. They confirm it. Now he and I are crying in the waiting room because he's been through the brain tumor with me. He's been through this journey with my mom, losing my mom. He's crying. Kevin's just like, We're going to be fine. He is trying to buck us up. He's like, We're going to be fine. We're going to be fine. I'm like, Yeah. God blessed him. If it wasn't for him rushing everyone, it's really hard to get appointments now. You have to wait a long time. He was so frightened. He got me in and forced a biopsy. The head of the hospital said to both of us, as I'm going in for the biopsy, This is nothing. This is probably just inflammation, maybe pancreatitis. I've been doing this for, I don't know, 30 years.


How many years? Same story.


He's like, Well, this guy over here has blown me up, so we're going to do it. Imagine if we had listened to him. Oh, my gosh. And so we went in. Now you want to listen to somebody who tells you that you're fine. Of course. I was like, Why are we going in for this? Well, let's just go in. He is like, So yeah, it's definitely something.


Well, it was something. It was cancer. You went through the surgery and you are cancer free. Thank God. Thank God. Now, you learned a lot, which brings me to your podcast and all these things. We see doctors as the be all, end all. If they tell you it's fine, it's fine. If they tell you to be scared, you're scared. They're like the flight attendant. Am I good? Am I bad? Am I good? Am I bad? What have you learned about the medical profession from your own personal experience? What have you learned?


I have learned that we have to be the CEO of our health.




Have to use our own internal guidance. We have to do our own homework. We have to push. If the pain persists, we have to, too. You can't just listen to somebody else tell you what's happening in your body. You have to find another doctor, which is so annoying. You have to get second and third opinions, which is so annoying. You have to keep fighting. I know our system is amazing at so many things, but we think they're amazing at everything. That's what my goal with Heal Square every day is, is how do I help people understand just what the lay of the land is. Because then we can operate with that understanding. Right now, we're operating under their God. They know everything. Trust them because we like them, and that's it. We have no role in this. Some of us will google and come in with some questions and we'll feel good about asking some questions. But what you need to understand is just like there are good mechanics and.


Bad mechanics.


There are good doctors and maybe not so great doctors. There are doctors who continue their education and doctors who don't.


You put your finger on it right there.


You have to know that you also have to ask, how many surgeries has this doctor performed? I've coached over 100 people on brain surgeries. Every time I ask, How many surgeries has your doctor performed? They never know. Dr. Black has performed over 5,000 brain surgeries. That's who I want sawing my head open. I don't want the guy who has done 500 or the woman who's done 500. I want the person who's done 5,000 or over 2,000. Find that person.


We don't know those things. We don't know that the regular doctor, and I've had them on my show and they have said, and these are top doctors in their field, I have 15 minutes with you, and I'm devastated that I only have 15 minutes with you. I have to do my paperwork. I have to give you a proper exam, and then I'm racing to the next person. I had a triple board certified doctor come to me and say, I went to medical school thinking I was going to help people. I woke up. I was a pharmacist. They matched diagnosis with pharmaceuticals. You need both. You need your Western doctor, but you need a naturopath because the naturopath is going to get to the root and is going to assist. So I have a collaboration and I'm the quarterback and these are my players. Right. You're in charge. And that's how I want people to look at it. But I know it's overwhelming and I know it's annoying, but it's the only way we're going to survive and heal.


Well, what's interesting, too, is I don't remember who I interviewed, but he said that when you're going through medical school, doctors spend one tiny fraction of one tiny part of med school on nutrition. Nutrition, which is everything you put in your mouth is either going to be friend or foe. It's either going to help or harm you. You can decide. But what goes into your body isn't factored in. It's about curing the problem immediately.




The problem.


We're not curing problem. There's no cures. And by the way, when someone says an incurable disease, there's an amazing doctor. She said it just means they haven't found a pharmaceutical for.


It yet.


I always try to help people understand to not be committed to their disease, to not be committed to the diagnosis, to be committed to possibility because the average free thinker is the one that's going to figure it out. It doesn't mean you have to have a medical degree. I figured stuff out from my mom. She made it five years with something that takes people 6-12 months. And I know it was because we had a full-scale approach and we tried things and we used our intuition. I give her and God, obviously, the most credit. But we have to understand that there are so many ways to do this.




When you say you incorporate Eastern, how do you do that?


So when someone has cancer, the first thing they do is the standard of care. It's chemo, radiation. If someone's body, this is just my intuition in my gut, I'm not a doctor. But what my brain said to me is, if someone's body is being ravaged by a disease and it's in the fight, shouldn't we assist it rather than now try to crush it more? Those things are going to crush the good and the bad. Not saying don't do it. We did it. But how about we help the immune system? Do some high dose vitamin C drips, do some acupuncture, do coffee, enemas, get the toxins out. I took my mom to a facility in Mexico that optimized her immune system so she could handle the barrage of treatments. We got to look at it like a seesaw sometimes. We're going to do some of these things that are going to be bad, but can we can we do some things that are going to help it be good? First of all, Hippocrity said, Let food be thy medicine. I was doing high dose vitamin C drips on my mom, optimizing or giving our body strength to fight.


I know that there are so many people that are scared of those things. I was very careful because I was scared. I have someone else's life in my hands and the most important life in my hands. I wasn't just brazen. I did things methodically and carefully. But after a couple of years in, I remember her radiologist saying, I'm going to tell you, I think your mom's success is largely due to these treatments you're doing in Mexico. They can be done at home. Right.


You don't have.


To go there. You can go do a high dose vitamin C drip somewhere in your town. You can do coffee, enemus at home. I had to learn all of this stuff there. You can eat really clean and fortify your body with the fruits and vegetables that it needs. You can cut out sugar. We did a modified, the ketogenic diet. They laughed at me when I presented it right when she was diagnosed in 2016. But there was a team of neurosurgeons. They're like, Just let your mom eat what she wants. I interpreted it as, Oh, you think she's going to die, so why try? I didn't like that the ketogenic diet was so fat based because I didn't think it was good for her long term. Right. I said, Mom, here's the thing. We're cutting sugar. I know you love it, but you can have fat. You can have some bacon, you can have some cream in your coffee. So now we knew we could have those allowances. But I cut all sugar. She would have just a little blueberry and antioxidants. These are things that we can all do.


Coming up, Maria, on how she hopes to help others. Plus, life as a new mom. That's after the break.


Hey, guys, Willy Geist here reminding you to check out the Sunday Sitdown podcast. On this week's episode, I get together with the delightful Henry Winkler to talk about his new memoir, including 50 years of life as the Fons, that Emmy-winning role in Barry, and finally finding himself, he says, just a few years ago through therapy. You can get our conversation now for free wherever you download your podcasts.


Hi there, it's Kelly Rippa, and I have a new podcast called Let's Talk Off Camera. You might know me from your TV, but now we're turning the cameras off and getting real. Uncensored, unfiltered, and maybe a little unhinged with cells, experts, friends, and more. Trust me, you won't want to miss a single episode. No lights, no camera, all action. Listen to Let's Talk Off Camera with Kelly Rippa wherever you get your podcasts. So to.


Your podcast.


By the way, this is a calling. This isn't a.


Podcast for you. This is.


A calling without question. You have found.


Your purpose.


I've seen you.


Through all.


The iterations of your life. You found it. Your home.


Yeah, I really have. I love it.


Because it's everything. It's all the things you want to teach and preach and share. It's true. You're walking, talking. When I think about when you feel like you're home, I look at you and I'm like, she's home.


She found it. Thank you. Yeah, I love helping people. I love sharing my books. As I look back, we're all about sharing information and sharing what's helping me. And I am on the journey with everybody, clearly. I need the help too. So we're doing it together. We're healing together. We're helping each other learn. We're bringing in the best experts to give us a different perspective. I always say, not everything's going to be for you, and I might miss the mark sometimes, but I'm just trying. I'm trying to bring in people who are going to challenge us, who are going to show us different ways. So when I had Athena, they told me she was going to have jaundis. They're like, No, all babies get jaundis. I go, No, she's not going to have jaundis. They said, Oh, she needs all these injection shit. She doesn't need that. I said, She's going to go out into the sun. If you look at my phone, 20 minutes after her birth, because they don't let you carry her, I had to go out in the wheelchair with her, and I'm in the sun with her. She never got jaundis.


She didn't need those jaundis injections that they wanted to give her because we used what God gave us. She's already the CEO of her health. Her circadian rhythm is set, which is another thing people need to learn about. I think if you're talking about the foundational things, it's your circadian rhythm. It's getting your vitamin D, and it's building that solar callous. You don't burn and you don't have the bad things, but that's a whole other thing. We're out in the sun in the morning. The two of us, I'll show you pictures, literally, we are in the sun every day, and she loves it. I'm going to teach her that she has to be in control of her health, that it's on her to make these choices and that we can be our own doctors too. With the help of doctors, by the way, we need them. I always say they're great at operating. They're great at emergency situations. There's so many things they're great at. Healing, not necessarily. So you get that companion person on your team to help you with that.


I love it. And back to that cute baby.


My little muffin.


Can you even believe how old is she?


She's four months.


What's it like having her on your chest?


She's the greatest thing that ever happened to me. I had no idea how insanely amazing this was going to be. She's everything. Everything. It's so hard to not be with her right now. All I do is stare at her pictures and her videos non-stop when I'm not with her. She's, like I said, the greatest thing that ever happened, my greatest gift, my greatest blessing.


Since this podcast is called Making Space, how do you make space for yourself? How do you do it each day?


I squeeze it in when I can. I know that I have to really guard my health so carefully because I need to be here for her. I have help that I can lean on. Whether it's my dad or the nanny, I got to go do my health stuff, whether it's rebounding, meditating, coal plunging, whatever it is. I am on a mission to reverse anything that's going on in my body, and I'm doing it, and stay as long as I can with her. I keep visualizing every day me being like an old grandma with her and holding her baby someday because that's what I want. I want to be with her forever and ever and ever until I can't chew or talk anymore. Okay. I'm sure you think the same thing.


Oh, my God. You're amazing.


Thank you. You're amazing. I loved.


You before, but more today. You can wait more today.


Thank you, Maria. Thank you.


Hey, guys. Thank you so much for listening and for coming on this journey with me. If you like what you heard and I hope that you do, please give Making Space a five-star rating and review on Apple Podcasts. Make sure you tell your friends. Follow us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you're listening right now. Making Space with Hoda Copy is produced by Allison Berger and Alexa Kaseveka, along with Amanda Sidman and Lillia Wood. Our Production Assistant is Megan Ceeleaw. Our Associate Audio Engineer is Juliana Mastarili. Our Audio Engineers are Bob Mallory and Katherine Anderson. Original Music by John Estes. Ryson Barnes is our head of audio production. Missy Dunlock-Parsons is our executive producer. Sharise Williams-Laredo is our senior producer.


Hi, I'm Tom Yamas, and for me, the news is so much more than a headline. It informs, it inspires, and it still matters. To cover it, you have to be in it. We'll take you to the front lines of the story where it's actually happening with BBC News journalist on the ground from all over the world. We cover what you need to know and bring your news feed to life. In Prime and streaming live, it's Your News playlist. Join me for Top Story weeknights at 7:00 Eastern on BBC News Now.