Valerie Harper has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, diagnosed in mid-January around the time of a Good Morning America appearance in which the Rhoda star explained some troubling yet inexplicable symptoms she’d been experiencing that prompted hospitalization.
Valerie Harper is now 73, and tells People that doctors estimate she may have just three months to live after the diagnosis of leptomeningeal carcinomatosis. But the actress best known as Rhoda also says despite the worrisome prognosis, she is focusing on the time she has left.
In an interview last month, Harper — who battled lung cancer in 2009 — said of her illness and reaction to it:
“I’m of the thinking that we’re all terminal; no one is getting out of this alive … So you shouldn’t start sitting Shiva before it’s time. Live the best life you can. Be as healthy as possible.”
As Valerie Harper underwent testing in January, she said on GMA that her symptoms had not suggested any clear underlying condition.
“It was if I had Novocain … I thought what the heck is happening to me? I went to the hospital and they couldn’t find much of anything. Now I’m still awaiting test results … I’m feeling great.”
When Valerie Harper first battled cancer in 2009, she struggled with the decision to keep her diagnosis private. A lifelong non-smoker, Harper was diagnosed with lung cancer after an unrelated x-ray, and she later explained:
“I thought this is just not going to be good for comedy if the audience is out there worrying about their Rhoda.”
After the recent diagnosis and given the predictions of doctors, the star seems to be in decent spirits as she faces terminal brain cancer. In her People interview, Harper explains that she thinks more about living than dying.
“I don’t think of dying … I think of being here now.”
Valerie Harper’s People interview was published in the mag’s most recent edition.