Friday, September 20, 2013

Positive Courage

To learn more about Valerie Harper visit Bio.
I watched the special with Valerie Harper tonight.  What a great lady and inspiration.

Valerie Harper is best known as Rhoda Morgenstern on the Mary Tyler Moore Show and later on the spin off Rhoda.  The humor of Rhoda always brought a smile as she struggled through the trials of everyday life.  The great thing was, she never gave up and she never lost that great smile.

Today Harper is teaching us to take life head on in another way.  She earlier this year got news that she had a fatal brain cancer that would kill her in 3 months or less.  Think of that.  Most of us would rage at God, cry, curl up into a little ball.  Not Harper.  She and her husband, Tony Cacciotti, have decided to fight this devastating diagnosis.  After 36 years of marriage, it's obvious that both Harper and Cacciotti strengthen each other.  As I watched I could see the true love in their eyes as they looked at each other.  

Harper's doctors gave her good news not long ago.  She gets a battery of tests every 6 weeks and the tests have shown improvement.  The hope isn't for cure but for management and possible remission.  Harper says that spontaneous remission is possible and believes it could happen for her.

The issues she unabashedly discusses with Vierra include the toll her diagnosis takes on Cacciotti and their daughter.  She worries about them and says it's much worse for them than her.  Meanwhile Cacciotti waits, watches, supports.  At 73 with terminal cancer Harper seems more vibrant than ever.  She keeps a busy schedule and besides performing on Broadway again, she also has taken the time to testify before Congress on funding for Cancer research.  She's a force but she still feels fear.  The future predicts a downward spiral so even the hint of symptoms causes concern.  Even with all this, she goes forward, not looking back, packing as much life into her remaining days as possible.

The last tests had good news.  It appears that Harper and Cacciotti will at least have another Christmas together.  Each day for them is a gift and they don't squander it.  We could all learn from that.