Difficult doesn’t begin to describe the past six months for Samantha Harris.
But now that she is officially cancer free, she can get back to work – for herself, and for others.
“When I officially got past my second stage of reconstruction surgery, which was the third surgery I’d had this year, and I reached that six-week mark after surgery, that was when I got the all clear,” the former Dancing with the Stars and Entertainment Tonight host told PEOPLE Thursday.
“I could do whatever I wanted, resume normal activities, and I was elated to get to that point,” she says of receiving the all clear. “It’s an elusive other side that people talk about when you’re first diagnosed with breast cancer, and I’m officially now on the other side.”
Harris, who was on hand for the 2014 Power of Pink event at the House of Blues in West Hollywood, says she’ll be on an estrogen blocker called Tamoxifen “for the next five to 10 years potentially.” But otherwise, she’s practically back to her normal routine.
“I’m back at the gym full-throttle, like I was before, which is exciting,” she says. “The only thing I can’t do now are pushups – this sounds a little strange that I really like to do pushups, but I did back in the day. And eating as healthy as I always have. I was focusing on my health and recovery, and now that I’m physically top notch and at 100 percent now, my focus is changing to look at nutrition.”
It’s not just about how she’s feeling, either. Harris is also hard at work on a project called “Gotta Make Lemonade,” to help other women who are diagnosed with cancer. (A website is coming soon.)
“I’ve never worked so hard for a job that doesn’t pay,” she says with a laugh. “But it’s been so rewarding already, just the stories that have started to come in as submissions for the website. They’re so compelling. People being dealt a blow and overcoming it with such strength is inspiring, and in an online world that breathes negativity, it’s really special to be able to put something out there that is only positive.”
“I like to do mommy camp, where I take them on different activities during either summer break or different school breaks, whether it’s going to the museum or the beach or a special project,” she says. “We do Camp Hess at our house, where we bring lots of kids over from school. I’m basically the head counselor, and we do art projects and themes and physical games and start with a group warm-up. It’s lots of fun.”
• Reporting by MARIAH HAAS