Actress Valerie Harper, who's suffering from terminal brain cancer, isn't resigned to dying just yet, and says she's keeping her mind and spirit open to a miracle.
"I don’t mean this to be Pollyanna; I allow myself the grief," Harper told the Today Show March 11. "What I'm saying is keep your consciousness, your thoughts, open to infinite possibility and keep yourself open to miracles."
Doctors gave Valerie three to six months to live after diagnosing her with leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, an incurable brain cancer, on Jan. 15. "It is very rare," Harper, 73, said of her brain cancer. "It was hard to detect because it was diffuse. It's all around. It's not in one lump."
Valerie, who has made peace with her illness, admits she was devastated when she was first given her tragic prognosis.
" 'Incurable' is a tough word," she says. "So it is 'terminal.' It feels awful damn good to be open about [the illness], 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."
Harper is best known for playing Rhoda Morgenstern on the 1970s TV series "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and its spinoff, "Rhoda." In 2011, Valerie's co-star, Mary Tyler Moore, underwent surgery to remove a benign brain tumor.
Harper accepts her bleak prognosis and is trying to make the most of each day. "I have an intention to live each moment fully," she says. "I'm not dying until I do. I promise I won't."