Ever since Valerie Harper announced last week that she had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, the former Rhoda Morgenstern from “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “Rhoda” has been the subject of discussion after years out of the spotlight.
The 73-year-old actress sat down Monday with “Today” host Savannah Guthrie to discuss her terminal illness (she’s been diagnosed with leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a type of cancer that attack the membranes that surround the brain) and how she plans to live her remaining days with her incurable disease.
"It is very rare," she told Guthrie about her cancer diagnosis. "It was hard to detect because it was diffuse. It's all around. It's not in one lump."
But Harper insists she's "more than hopeful. I have an intention to live each moment fully."
"I'm not dying until I do," she bravely told Guthrie. "I promise I won't."
"It feels awful damn good to be open about it, face it and see what you can do. If you die, you're not a failure. You're just somebody who had cancer, and that's the outcome," she added.
The diagnosis hit hard Harper’s husband of 34 years, Tony Cacciotti, who was shocked by the news.
He was there for part of the interview and is trying to stay positive. He told Guthrie:
"Just try to live your life ... every day, feel strong and be strong for that person… We're living our lives, and we're extremely happy. "
Though she’s been told her disease is incurable, Harper is continuing to be hopeful, telling the “Today” host, "[Keep] your thoughts open to infinite possibility and keep yourself open to miracles."
Doctor’s aren’t sure how much time Harper has, but she’s been told it could be three months or years. She’s currently undergoing chemotherapy and seems to be living every day like it’s her last.
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