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Valerie Harper Was Given 3 Months to Live in 2013: ‘I’m Still Here’

Posted on the 21 November 2017 by Sumithardia

Valerie Harper was given 3 months to live in 2013: ‘I’m still here’

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I grew up in the 1970s and still have a deep-rooted love for the TV shows I grew up on, one of which was The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spin-off, Rhoda (and, yes, Phyllis too). I was crushed when I learned, back in 2013, that its star, Valerie Harper, was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer known as leptomeningeal carcinomatosis. With this condition, cancer cells spread into the fluid-filled membrane surrounding the brain. At the time of the diagnosis, the actress was given just three months to live. But, thanks to the wonders of modern medicine and a supportive spouse, Valerie, thankfully, is still here.
After her diagnosis in January of 2013, Valerie was put on an relatively new chemotherapy drug which stopped the cancer cells from multiplying. Earlier this year, Valerie’s health began to decline, and she experienced seizures and cognitive issues. She’s now on yet another drug and the issues have lessened. As she recently told Broadway World, “It’s a breakthrough of a new pill. It’s better than what I am taking – which is still working. I haven’t had any bad thing happen for the last five to six months.”
The now 78-year-old actress is still working, lending her voice to episode of The Simpsons and American Dad, and playing a woman with Alzheimer’s in the short film My Mom and the Girl, which recently qualified for Academy Award consideration. Almost 4 years after she shared her diagnosis with PEOPLE, she once again sat down with the magazine to give her fans an update on her life and health. She tells the magazine, “I still have cancer, but I’m okay and most of my days are good.”
Valerie credits her husband of husband of 30 years, former personal trainer Tony Caccioti, as the key to her survival. She says, “He does everything for me, drives me everywhere, makes sure I’m eating healthy, walking and lifting weights. Really, he’s the best nudge in the world.” When asked what advice she would give to other cancer patients, she emphatically said, “Get yourself a fabulous husband or wife, who’s really committed to you and you living and you continuing…unless they want you to say goodbye!”
Valerie’s oncologist, Dr. Jeremy Rudnick, tells PEOPLE, “It’s a miracle she’s still here,” adding, “Valerie developed this disease at a time when we keep coming up with stronger and better targeting drugs for her particular cancer. The longer we keep her alive the more options we have.”
I’m so glad that Valerie is still around and making the most of life. It’s really a precious thing. I mean, who knew she would have outlived Mary Tyler Moore? Best of all, she’s still the plucky, outspoken woman that we all knew and loved as Rhoda. Keep on keeping on, Valerie. And, just in case it even needs to be said, cancer sucks.
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Photos: WENN.com, Getty Images

Source: Valerie Harper was given 3 months to live in 2013: ‘I’m still here’

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