Valerie Harper On Cancer: ‘I’m Not Dying Until I Do’

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Source: Randee Dawn / Today Show / NBC News

Ever since Valerie Harper announced her terminal cancer diagnosis last week, the former Rhoda Morgenstern from “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “Rhoda” has been the subject of intense discussion and some early mourning.

The 73-year-old sat with TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie at her Los Angeles home, and on Monday talked about the illness (she was diagnosed with leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a form of cancer that strikes the membranes surrounding the brain), her memoir “I, Rhoda,” and what she continues to savor about life.

“It is very rare,” she said of the cancer diagnosis. “It was hard to detect because it was diffuse. It’s all around. It’s not in one lump.”

The reality of her illness didn’t hit, however, until Harper heard the word “incurable.” “‘Incurable’ is a tough word,” she said with a chuckle (despite some laryngitis). “So it is terminal.”

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