Harper's first television interview since revealing her cancer diagnosis last week aired on NBC's "Today" show Monday.
The 73-year-old actress said she was diagnosed less than two months ago during her book tour for "I, Rhoda a Memoir," and was told by doctors she only has months to live.
Asked if she remains hopeful, the "Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "Rhoda" icon replied, "More than hopeful, I have an intention to live each moment fully."
So, when did the reality of her prognosis hit her?
"When I heard incurable," Harper replied. "Incurable is a tough word... . A lot of people were calling -- 'Can I come by the house?' 'Are you in a wheelchair?' Because they hear it as this death sentence. Which it may be. But I'm not dying until I do. I promise I won't."
Harper said there are times when she feels sad.
"I don't mean this to be Pollyanna," she said.
"I allow myself the grief."