Valerie Harper Talks Terminal Brain CancerValerie Harpern, in her first interview since revealing her tragic news, the beloved Mary Tyler Moore star is sitting down with The Doctors.
When the 73-year-old actress, best known for her role as Rhoda Morgenstern, was asked where she was when her diagnosis came, she explained, "I didn't get it because my husband [Tony Cacciotti] hid it. Poor baby; he was so bereft.
Mary Tyler Moore is "absolutely devastated" by Valerie Harper's cancer diagnosis
"[The doctors] said, 'There is nothing we can do for her and [she has] three to six months, maybe,'" she recalled.
That said, Harper is focusing on living now. "I have to tell you, I am blown away by her resilience and her resolve in the face of such a dire, dire diagnosis," Dr. Travis Stork said.
So are we. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with Harper and her family and friends during this difficult time.
Valerie looked stunning when she appeared on The Today Show, and she certainly did not look like someone who has been given three months to live. She opened up to Savannah, and admitted that her terminal illness scares her.
“It is incurable so far,” said Valerie, who admitted that “she is ready to say bye bye” to her family. She was so sad and honest when she said “I don’t wanna go” and “I’m scared. I’m scared for my family.”
The Rhoda star even revealed that she has tried to reason with her cancer!
“I said listen you little guys [the cancerous cells], you can live if you don’t kill me.”
Valerie said her husband of 34 years, Tony Cacciotti, “got hit like a ton of bricks” by the diagnosis, but they are “committed to facing this challenge together.”
Valerie was also interviewed on The Doctors on March 11, where the doctors noted that her brain cancer could be a secondary cancer related to the lung cancer she suffered in 2009.
Valerie Opens Up About Her Cancer On ‘The Doctors’
Following her Today Show interview, Valerie sat down with the The Doctors doctors Travis Stork, Lisa Masterson, and Andrew Ordon, along with her own team of doctors to examine her diagnosis of brain cancer.
“What I have is rare. It’s also incurable, so far. [Those are the words] I’m looking up — ‘so far’ — because they’re doing research as we speak,” Valerie told the doctors. ”More than anything, I’m living in the moment.”
“I really want Americans and all of us to be less afraid of death,” said the inspirational Valerie. ”Know that it’s a passage, but don’t go to the funeral before the day of the funeral. While you’re living, live.”
Valerie admitted that she has broken down several times over her illness.
“I have moments of really sobbing, but I let myself do it. I really cry and then I go, ‘OK, you’ve been the drama queen. Are you over it? OK, now, make the pasta.’ And I do.”
Valerie was then shocked by surprise appearances by former co-stars Ed Asner and Cloris Leachman. Ed said via telephone ”I think you’re the greatest.”
“I’m absolutely devastated by this news. Valerie has given such joy, laughter and love to the world. I join her fans and send much love and positive thoughts to her and her family during this difficult time.” said Valerie’s former co-star Mary Tyler Moore.
Valerie then admitted that her loving husband Tony knew about her diagnosis before she did.
“I didn’t get [the diagnosis] because my husband hid it,” Valerie shared. “Poor baby. He was so bereft. [The doctors] said there is nothing we can do for her, and [she has] three to six months, maybe.”
The doctors admitted that Valerie’s cancer is extremely rare.
“I’ve taken care of over 10,000 patients with lung cancer in my career, and I’ve never seen this exact presentation,” said Dr. Ronald Natale.
“The blood-brain barrier is part of the problem with brain tumors, explained Dr. Rudnick. “This blood-brain barrier, from an evolutionary standpoint, was designed to protect us. It was there to protect you against bacteria and infections, but unfortunately, now, what we find is that this barrier also protects us against chemotherapy.”
Valerie finished her interview by saying that she had been overwhelmed by the amount of support she had gotten from her fans and the public.
“There’s so much love out there for me. It’s been great. It’s been an actually lovely experience for me.”
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