In a new documentary, we got an up close and personal view of Valerie, 74, and her battle with leptomenigeal carcinomatois — a rare, terminal cancer.
Valerie Harper is currently competing on Dancing with the Stars, but she’s already a champion in so many ways. On Sept. 19, she sat down for a super personal special, Valerie’s Story – A Meredith Vieira Special, exploring her two battles with cancer, her relationships at home, and her current health status.
Valerie Harper Hopes She’ll Inspire Others
For Valerie, taking on DWTS has been a whole different challenge — she hopes it will help others to stay strong and keep fighting.
“You’ve just got to keep going,” she shared. “No matter what is in your life, you just press through. As the British say, ‘Carry on.’ I’m making progress, but I’m not out of the woods and I don’t pretend to be. But as long as I feel this good, why sit and watch dancing when I could be up there dancing?”
We agree — why shouldn’t she keep dancing?
“Maybe, if people are inspired, they’ll take a walk,” the Mary Tyler Moore star said. “I don’t mean (that they should) get on Dancing With the Stars, but maybe they’ll just get off the couch or maybe they’ll enjoy the garden instead of crying or being so depressed about losing their life in such a mean way.”
Valerie, who is currently taking the medication Tarceva, revealed in March that she was suffering from leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a rare, terminal cancer caused by cancer cells filling the fluid membrane surrounding the brain.
Her doctors at the time gave her 3-6 months to live, but in August she revealed the exciting news that her neuro-oncologist, Dr. Jeremy Rudnick said she “was pretty close to remission!“
Valerie Harper: My Doctors Are Heroes
In the new special, she revealed that her doctors really are everything to her.
“I have a type of cancer that is incurable, but what’s happened is in these past months each brain scan successively looks better,” Valerie said. “By that, there’s less cancer present.”
Her doctors “are heroes,” she told Meredith. “They were ecstatic. They said, ‘Valerie, we never thought we’d be talking to you in June, let alone have you feel so good (and) have so few side effects.’ [They] said (I) definitely will see Christmas, unless a pot falls on my head or I get run over!”
Well let’s hope that doesn’t happen!
The special also touched on her extremely close relationship to husband Tony Cacciotti and their daughter Christina. Take a look at the clip below!
— Emily Longeretta