The former Good Morning America host "has so much to live for" after her nine-month battle with triple negative breast cancer

By Emily Strohm
September 11, 2015 01:50 PM
Allison Michael Orenstein

It’s been a grueling nine-month battle for Joan Lunden, but the former Good Morning America host is now cancer-free and finally getting back to feeling like herself again.

“I just shaved my legs for the first time since a year ago,” Lunden tells PEOPLE. “And I’m starting to get a little tiny bit of hair on my arms. When you’ve gone through this, you look at those things like, ‘Am I normal again?’ You kind of want to feel whole again.”

Following her diagnosis on June 5, 2014, Lunden underwent 16 rounds of chemotherapy, six weeks of radiation and a lumpectomy for her two tumors. While she admittedly had her rough days, it was her husband Jeff Konigsberg and her seven children who she says were her “rocks.”

“We had a good marriage anyway, but when you are threatened with the possibility of not having the other one, it’s just allowed to see just what another person will actually do for you and how they will stand by you,” she says. “It was huge.”

Now that she’s on the other side of the battle, Lunden’s made it her mission to help other women battling the disease.

She’s sharing her journey in her new book Had I Known and recently launched the streaming network Alive, which is dedicated to breast cancer and overall women’s health and wellness.

“I was really lucky that I got through it the way I did,” she says. “I never dreamed I would connect with as many people as I did or get the support that I did. You are so struck by it that you have a sensibility that really want to be able to pay it forward somehow.”

And after posing bald on the cover of PEOPLE last October, she’s still getting used to her new blonde hairdo.

RELATED VIDEO: Joan Lunden Opens up About Her Year of Triumph Over Cancer

“I always had straight hair, and now it’s coarse and with little ringlet curls,” she says of the drastic change in her hair after going through chemo. “It was like someone else’s hair on top of my head, but at that point you’re like ‘I’ll take it.’ ”

For more on Joan Lunden’s life after cancer, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

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