Abby Lee Miller is not about to let her health hold her back. The 52-year-old reality star has been open about her harrowing battle with cancer, hoping that the support of her fans would aid in her recovery. Indeed, through the ups and downs of her tough treatments, her and her fans remained positive, and in late May, Miller announced that a year after her diagnosis, she was officially cancer free. And though the hard-nosed choreographer will make a return for Dance Moms: Resurrection , season 8 footage of Miller using wheelchair proves that despite a recent clean bill of health, her journey of healing is far from over.
After serving out part of her 366 day sentence for bankruptcy fraud, People reported that Miller was living in a halfway house in California when she was believed to have an unusual spinal infection that had spread from the bottom of her neck all the way to the lower part of her back. After undergoing emergency surgery to remove a large tumor around her spinal chord, Miller was diagnosed with Burkitt lymphoma, a highly aggressive form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It develops in the lymphatic system and is known to be rapidly fatal if left untreated.
Since the tumor had been choking Miller’s spine, she was left temporarily paralyzed from the neck down. Following her diagnosis, the Dance Moms star has undergone 10 rounds of chemotherapy, documenting much of her recovery and rehabilitation journey on social media. She regained sensitivity in her upper body following the surgery, and is now able to sit up and be mobile thanks to a motorized wheelchair.
In an April Instagram post, Miller shared a photo of herself post-operation, revealing a shaved head and an 18-inch scar down her back. In the post, Miller thanks the medical professionals who caught her condition in time, but questions why it wasn’t caught sooner. “Why didn’t the ER Doctors on duty do their jobs," she writes. “I came in twice with the same symptoms. Why didn’t somebody listen to me, the patient?"
Though she goes on to say that it would be a miracle if she could one day re-learn how to walk, Miller is optimistic about fighting the hard fight. Many of her pictures show her beaming while working with physical therapists and rehabilitation specialists to slowly regain mobility.
For now, she may be using a wheelchair, but that won’t stop her from getting back to what she loves.
And if fans think this experience will make her any different as a teacher, they might want to think again. When asked in a teaser trailer if this experience will change how she acts in the studio, Miller responded, "I hope to God it doesn't. I'm a good teacher and am great at observation and picking out what's wrong and fixing it. I hope it doesn't change me because I like me as a teacher."
Not to mention, the new season is going to go by the new name, Dance Moms: Resurrection, which serves as both an ode to the show coming back after its long hiatus and to Miller's miracle second chance at life.
Dance Moms:Resurrection kicks off with a one-hour special before the premiere called "The Return of Abby" highlighting her long, difficult journey back to health and her Dance Moms roots.
Watch Abby Lee Miller on the all new season of Dance Moms airing on Lifetime on June 4 and catch up on all the old seasons on Hulu.
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