Buddy Valastro is nearly 100% recovered!
"I say we're about 95% [healed] — which if that's as good as it's going to get, Rachael, I'll take it," Valastro says in PEOPLE's exclusive sneak preview of Monday's episode of The Rachel Ray Show.
Valastro, 44, injured himself on Sept. 20, 2020 when his bowling alley's pinsetter malfunctioned while he was spending quality time with his family. As he fixed the issue, his right hand became lodged in the machine and a metal rod impaled his hand three times between his ring finger and middle finger.
After undergoing five reconstructive hand surgeries and physical therapy, the celebrity baker has steadily improved. He documented his journey on a TLC special called Buddy Valastro: Road to Recovery, and even filmed a third season of his Food Network and discovery+ series with Duff Goldman, Buddy vs. Duff.
"It's definitely been an amazing ride," Valastro tells Ray. "The fact that I was able to still do what I love, like doing that last seasons of Buddy vs. Duff, it was amazing because of the fact that I could still do it."
Ray, 53, has nothing but praise for Valastro's endurance. "You know, once you get over a certain age, 95%, we'll take it for anything," she jokes. "Our memory, our body, our back — if we're at 95%, we're good."
"Amen," Valestro adds.
Buddy Valastro/Facebook Buddy Valastro in the hospital on Sept. 23.
Last year, days after his accident, Valastro told PEOPLE that the injury was "the worst pain that I've ever encountered in my life."
"I looked at my hand and blood was gushing everywhere," Valastro recalled. "It looked like a Halloween movie. .... It was all a nightmare."
His family — wife Lisa and their four children (daughter Sofia, 17, and sons Buddy Jr., 16, Marco, 13, and Carlo, 10) — all lent their support to him throughout his recovery.
"They definitely stepped up to the plate," Valastro told Entertainment Tonight in July. "In times of crisis, you don't know what people's reactions are going to be. 'How are we going to do this?' 'What are we going to do?' We all came together and I am so proud of my boys and thankful to my whole family."
He shares similar kind words about his family on Monday's Rachael Ray Show, saying he is "truly blessed."
"The kids are getting so big. ... I'm so proud of all of them," Valastro says. "I've got amazing kids and they're doing great things. Just to see them turn into interesting personalities and stuff like that, it's been an amazing journey."
"My wife did an amazing job. I got to give it up to Lisa," Valastro adds. "She's truly, truly amazing."
The Rachael Ray Show airs weekdays in syndication (check local listings).