Michael Douglas' most basic instinct these days is living his life to the fullest.
"I feel good, relieved. The tumor is gone," Douglas tells Lauer in the interview set to air Tuesday on the Today show and Jan. 23 on Dateline NBC. "But, you know, I have to check out on a monthly basis now to maintain. I guess there's not a total euphoria. I'll probably take a couple of months of getting checked out. But it's been a wild six-month ride."
His trademark gravelly voice sounding husky, the 66-year-old actor also offers up a positive prognosis for himself.
"I think the odds are with the tumor gone and what I know about this particular type of cancer that I've got it beat," says Douglas, looking healthier than he has in months.
While he acknowledges that the treatment regimen wasn't easy and took a toll on him physically, the Wall Street star stresses that he's getting better every day.
"Salivary ducts have been closed down as a result of the radiation, probably for at least a year or two. So your mouth is very dry—particularly affects you at night—for sleeping. Still have the cheek factor, which will progressively go away. But that's about it," says Douglas.
He adds that he lost 32 pounds but has already put 12 pounds back on since resuming working out and he eats just about anything he wants under the supervision of his doctors so he can build up muscle mass, and "get my fingers ready for Liberace, you know."
Liberace, of course, is the biopic in which he'll be playing the flamboyan ivory tickler, a project that reunites Douglas with his Traffic director Steven Soderbergh.
For the most part, Douglas says he's taking things one day at a time and while he admits that the cancer "put a timeline" on his life, it also gave him "a new depth."
"You know, maybe it has to do because of everything life-threatening. So all of a sudden the affection from my family, from my friends, and from my fans hit me at a much deeper level than I would have ever imagined before," said the thesp. "And it gave me a really new appreciation of just how valuable, how precious good friends are and family...you just really, really appreciate what's important in life."
We're happy to hear you're feeling better, Michael. Keep it up!