Julia Louis-Dreyfus Opens Up About Her Cancer Recovery: 'I Have So Much to Be Grateful for'

"I'm grateful to be alive," the Veep star tells PEOPLE

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Photo: Courtesy Saks Fifth Avenue

One year after she announced her breast cancer diagnosis, Julia Louis-Dreyfus is opening up about her recovery.

Sitting down with PEOPLE for this week’s issue, on stands Friday, the Veep star, 57, says she has “so much to be grateful for.”

“I’m grateful to be alive,” she says. “I’m grateful for my heroic husband and our lovely young boys, or young men, I should say, who are our boys. And my friends and family. I’m grateful I have the life I have.”

“It’s just a joy to do what you want to do and have success with it,” she adds. “That’s happened to me in my life and it doesn’t happen to everybody. I’m well aware I’ve had a great deal of good fortune.”

  • For more on Julia Louis-Dreyfus, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on stands Friday

The acclaimed HBO comedytook time off while Louis-Dreyfus underwent cancer treatment, which she completed earlier this year. Now, having returned to work, she says she’s “feeling well.”

“I am very grateful to my Veep crew — all of them, cast, writers, crew, everybody above and below the line — who have waited out this period of time,” she says. “But I’m feeling good and feeling quite ready and delighted to focus on funny things as opposed to things that aren’t quite so funny.”

And Veep isn’t the only thing Louis-Dreyfus is pouring her efforts into: The long outspoken Democrat has partnered with registered Federal PAC Local Majority to put together a PSA — directed by her husband Brad Hall — urging citizens to not only vote but volunteer ahead of the upcoming midterm election. (To find out where and when you can volunteer, go to multiplyyourvote.org.)

RELATED VIDEO: Julia Louis-Dreyfus Stars in New PSA, Wants to Help Others Fighting Cancer

In the PSA, the actress touches on a cause that hits close to home: affordable health care.

“It is not lost on me how dire my circumstances would be if I did not have really strong insurance through my union,” she tells PEOPLE. “And the idea of not being covered when you’re in a crisis, from a health care point of view, is an unconscionable thing to me.”

“I can’t say it’s a club I ever really wanted to be a part of, but now that I am part of it, I’m delighted to help those who need help,” she adds. “I guess you could say that’s a huge silver lining to all of this horribleness — being able to help others who are in the same spot. And that is quite gratifying.”

Asked whether she’ll continue to advocate for women’s health moving forward, Louis-Dreyfus instantly responds: “S— yes! My god! Emphatic yes! I can’t imagine not doing it.”

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