Abby Lee Miller, 52, has had some seriously scary health issues over the last year — revealing she was only minutes from death during an emergency spinal surgery. “I lived, you know the doctor said ‘we have ten minutes or we’re going to lose her’ and that’s how close to death I was,” she told HollywoodLife in an interview at the Creative Arts Emmys on Sunday, September 15. “This spinal cord injury, what it did choking my spinal cord and all that — I can take a few steps with the walker,” she reveals.
Having a close brush with death was a life changing experience for the Dance Moms star — but ultimately helped her re-set her priorities. “I yell at my friends all the time when I get frustrated and upset, I’m like ‘why didn’t you just let me die? Dying is easy, you just lay there, you know this is hard, this is tough’ and they said ‘well he didn’t give us a choice, he just said I’m going in and we said oh, okay’,” she continued. “That’s the story. I guess I have more dreams to fulfill. I have other things I want to do and doing other shows I’m creating and you know there’s always a kid that needs to straighten their legs and point their feet.”
Recovering from the surgery was no easy feat, and required a rigorous rehab schedule. “I was at the California Rehabilitation Institute. It’s amazing. It’s fabulous and you have therapy four times a day, four hours a day, every day, Saturday, and Sunday included,” she revealed. “Now once they release you and your insurance says ‘that’s it’, then you’re an out patient and you go for an hour, three times a week, so you spend an hour getting there, you do it for an hour, and then you leave for an hour, and it’s really not the same intensity.”
Abby’s spinal cord issues were brought on after she battled a rare form of cancer, Burkitt Lymphoma, which is associated with extremely fast growing tumors. “The cancer’s gone. The Burkitt Lymphoma is gone,” she re-confirms. “If it wasn’t gone I would be dead because it either kills you or you kill it.” The mom endured a grueling 10 rounds of chemo as treatment, and also underwent multiple surgeries — but she takes pride in proving people wrong. “I think a lot of those mothers were so glad to see something horrible happen to me. Why, I don’t know because they were right there next to me they should have been right there next to me for eight months too.”
“I think we’re all living a script out that’s been pre written and that’s what it is,” she adds.