Natalie Stone
March 16, 2017 10:25 PM

The past three years have been a difficult season for Tarek El Moussa — but the reality star is glad that he didn’t give up.

In a candid Instagram post on Thursday, the Flip or Flop star admitted just how intensely cancer took a toll on both his physical and mental well-being.

“I thought I would share this with everyone… to truly understand how absolutely sick I was.. look at this photo and look at my eyes, I was a skeleton. This took a major toll on my physical and mental health,” he began the post.

“I know many of my fans have had similar struggles and can relate. The last 3 years were the hardest of my life, I look back and still wonder how I survived… I never quit although I wanted to thousands of times all day every day. This is from hurting my back after battling 2 cancers.. I had a 60 pound weight swing from my illnesses…,” he continued.

Despite the difficulties that he has faced, the HGTV star is proud that he endured. “I’m proud to say I didn’t quit and I’m in the best shape of my life!! For everyone struggling right now from any situation.. remember… keep your head up and don’t quit!” he wrote, and added,  “There is light at the end of the tunnel, stay strong! T.”

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In a recent PEOPLE exclusive interview, Tarek, 36, said of battling thyroid and testicular cancer and suffering through a debilitating back injury in the short time since he first found fame on his hit HGTV show: “I went through hell.”

This past December, Tarek and his wife, Christina, announced their split to PEOPLE after seven years of marriage, noting a shocking incident involving a gun last May. One month later, he filed for divorce.

“We used to be so energetic,” Tarek said of his relationship with his wife. “But with the businesses and the cameras and the cancers and the surgeries and my back, we started losing that energy. That’s what led us to where we are.”

Now, Tarek is working out regularly and is back to his “healthy” weight of 195 lbs. After working with his doctors to find a combination of hormone medications that would least impact his mood and energy, Tarek said “my meds are where they need to be.”

“When you’re going through something like I did, you don’t realize how bad it is until you get out of it,” Tarek added. “But now I’m happy, healthy and dedicated to what makes me the happiest: being the best father possible. Everything’s perfect.”

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