Abby Lee Miller Survives Rare, Aggressive Cancer That Attacked Her Spine and Left Her Unable to Walk
Dance Moms star Abby Lee Miller announced she’s won her battle with Burkitt lymphoma. “The cancer is completely gone,” the 53-year-old reality TV star told People.
Miller told People that she’s thankful to those who have helped her through her debilitating illness.
“I’m more than grateful. I’m thankful. I was always grateful, but I think I must say, ‘Thank you,’ a hundred times a day because I have to rely on strangers; someone to open the door, someone to get the hanger off the rack at the department store, someone to pick up my phone if I drop it…I’m very grateful to strangers that have been so kind.”
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One year ago today ~ I underwent emergency surgery for an infection in my spine. This mass/tumor choking my spinal cord turned out to be Burkitt Lymphoma. I endured ten rounds of chemo therapy (each lasting 6 days with 4/ 24hr bags pumping poison into my body ending with a spinal tap in 3 spots, plus another shot of Chemo into my tailbone area up the spinal cord around my brain cavity) Ten times! Another spine surgery was needed & I have one more still to go. I struggled thru months of physical therapy to learn to sit up again, to crawl and maybe with a miracle someday I’ll walk. Why didn’t the ER Doctors on duty do their jobs? I came in twice with the same symptoms? Why didn’t somebody listen to me, the patient? I finally found the right team that’s why I lived to tell my story, I have a lot to say! Thank you to all wonderful top notch professionals who continue to help me heal. For those who missed it, misdiagnosed me, and the so called Federal “Doctor” who took me off medication cold turkey and the other ER “Doctor Hollywood” who told me to go home and take it easy for 10 days – STOP practicing! Please ??
Miller was diagnosed with cancer after seeing doctors for what was thought to be a spinal infection. She received emergency surgery to treat the infection in April of last year. She highlighted the one-year anniversary of that surgery on Instagram last month. “I underwent emergency surgery for an infection in my spine. This mass/tumor choking my spinal cord turned out to be Burkitt lymphoma,” Miller said.
After her diagnosis, Miller underwent 10 rounds of chemotherapy, each lasting 6 days. She also had an additional spine surgery.
Burkitt lymphoma is a subtype of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It is one of a handful of subtypes that involve immune cells called B cells. The job of B cells is to fight infection by making antibodies, which are blood proteins. B cells stop foreign invaders from harming the body.
Burkitt lymphoma is rare but very aggressive. It can affect the central nervous system, jaw, kidneys, bowel, and ovaries, along with other organs. It’s often difficult to tell the difference between Burkitt lymphoma and a different lymphoma called diffuse large B-cell lymphoma in adults. But accurate diagnosis is crucial because the two are treated differently, according to the Lymphoma Research Foundation.
Diagnosis of Burkitt lymphoma typically arises from a medical emergency, such as an emergency surgery.
Miller’s mobility has been severely affected by her condition. “I’m supposed to stand 3 times a day for 20 minutes. I can take a right step because I can put my weight on my left knee. Then when I take a left step my right leg just crumbles because I need a knee replacement,” Miller told People. She says she’s hopeful she will be able to walk again.
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