Long-time fans of the hit show Dance Moms may notice quite a few changes when they tune into the new season. Dance Moms: Resurrection introduced a fresh crop of young dancers ready to earn their place on the top of the pyramid. But the most shocking development is that that the show's star Abby Lee Miller, is now confined to a wheelchair. The choreographer has been open on social media about her health struggles, including a recent battle with Burkitt Lymphoma.
Sadly, Miller has experienced a series of medical issues from diabetes to knee replacements. She's even been left with scars from past surgeries. Here is everything you need to know about Miller's health and how she's doing now.
April 2017: Abby Undergoes Gastric Bypass Surgery
In 2017, Entertainment Tonight reported that Miller underwent gastric bypass surgery to further the weight loss journey that began in 2015. She had just quit Dance Moms, and was committed to improving her health following a diabetes diagnosis. A month after the surgery, Miller was found guilty of bankruptcy fraud and was sentenced to one year in prison. By the time she was released eight months later, Miller had lost 100 pounds, according to Entertainment Tonight. She also thought she was no longer diabetic. She told PEOPLE NOW that her doctors in jail discontinued her diabetes medication cold turkey, making her believe she was cured from the disease.
April 2018: Abby Is Rushed To the Hospital With Neck Pain
In April 2018, Miller was rushed to the hospital because of an unknown thyroid condition. She was released, but returned a few days later due to excruciating neck pain and weakness in her arm. Hooman M. Melamed, an orthopedic spine surgeon at Cedar Sinai Marina Del Rey Hospital who treated Miller, told Extra that in just two days, her condition had worsened. She was paralyzed from the neck down. She then underwent an eight-hour emergency surgery to treat what doctors thought was a spinal infection.
April 2018: Abby Is Diagnosed With Cancer
After the surgery, E! News reported that Miller was diagnosed with Burkitt Lymphoma, a rare but aggressive type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Those that are diagnosed with Burkitt Lymphoma, according to the Lymphoma Research Foundation, have to start therapy immediately in order to stop it from spreading. Not only does this cancer affect the lymph nodes, it could also affect the jaw, central nervous system, bowl, kidneys, ovaries, and other organs.
May 2019: Abby Announces She Is Cancer-Free
Once diagnosed, Miller underwent 10 rounds of chemotherapy and months of rehabilitation, while using an electric chair to be mobile. A year after the initial diagnosis, she revealed she was cancer free.
During one interview, Miller says she believes that going off her diabetes medication cold turkey in jail caused her severe health issues."I didn’t realize at the time, I sent everybody at an email, telling them 'I’m no longer diabetic,'" she told People. "The doctor took me off all my medication. Then I get out, and hear, 'Once a diabetic, always a diabetic.' It’s just how you treat it. I have so many doctors that have point blank said, 'You should’ve been weaned off of that medication over a year.' So to go off if it cold turkey, that’s what caused all of this."
(Note, Abby's opinion has not been confirmed by medical professionals.)
Miller also called out the doctors who had overlooked or ignored her pain before being diagnosed. "Why didn’t the ER Doctors on duty do their jobs?" she wrote in an Instagram post on April 17, 2019."I came in twice with the same symptoms? Why didn’t somebody listen to me, the patient?" In the same post, she told fans about having a second spine surgery after the initial one and that she'll be needing a third one.
June 2019: Abby Undergoes Knee Replacement Surgery
In June 2019, Miller went back to the operating room; this time for knee surgery. After putting it off for eight years, Miller had a total knee replacement, a surgery that could help her regain her ability to walk.
In one of her latest Instagram posts, the dance teacher revealed a 12-inch scar on her knee and advised her fans to “protect [their knees] with proper alignment and wear knee pads when learning floor work!”
Abby still has a long road ahead of her to recover completely, but the choreographer seems optimistic. In 2018, Miller captioned an Instagram post by writing, "Just put one foot in front of the other & soon you’ll be walking out the door!" And it seems that's what she's doing.
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