Valerie Harper fighting incurable brain cancer with positive attitude and by talking to the disease

Actress Valerie Harper is dealing with incurable brian cancer on her own terms.
Actress Valerie Harper is dealing with incurable brian cancer on her own terms. Associated Press

Two years ago the news was dire for TV legend Valerie Harper – she had incurable brain cancer and had only three months to live. But she is dealing with the disease on her own terms, she told various media outlets this week, and is amazing her doctors in the process.

The 75-year-old Harper, known for playing Rhoda Morgenstern on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” is employing alternative medicine, exotic teas, acupuncture, exercise and imagery.

“I do imagery and I talk to my cells,” Harper told Daily Mail Online at the AARP Movies for Grownups Awards in Los Angeles on Monday.

“And I say, ‘Listen you guys: ‘You are killing the host, we can live together but if you keep growing you are out of here, we both are.’ I know it's silly.

“It really is confronting it and seeing why are you here, what are you doing and how can I show (you) the door. It is a way of being positive.”

Harper said she is not cancer-free. She was diagnosed with leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a rare condition where cancer invades the fluid-filled membrane around the brain.

This is her second go-round with cancer; she beat lung cancer in 2009.

Doctors now scan her brain every three months and have told Harper that the cancer seems to have diminished.

“They say, ‘Valerie we cannot believe you are going the other way,’’’ she said.

She told People magazine that the cancer has changed her outlook on life. She wakes up grateful to be alive every morning and tries not to hold grudges against people.

“I actively look for people that I'm holding some grievance against in my mind," said Harper. “I don't necessarily have to see them, but I have to forgive them. Or I just go, 'That's stupid, I have nothing to forgive.’”