Dance Moms alum Abby Lee Miller nearly died this week, after contracting what doctors thought was a rare spinal infection — but turned out to be non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of cancer.
“We’re getting an oncologist involved and we have to figure out what the next steps are as far as chemotherapy or radiation or more spine surgery,” Abby’s doctor, orthopedic spine surgeon Hooman M. Melamed, told People. “Depending on the tumor type, depending on the sensitivity of the tumor — it just depends the type but I feel more than yes, she will undergo chemotherapy or radiation.”
Abby underwent early morning spinal surgery on Tuesday after going to the emergency room with complaints of persistent pain in her neck.
“In the span of 24 hours, which was something that I have not seen, her condition rapidly deteriorated,” Melamed told People. “She was completely paralyzed from the neck down.”
When he did a CT scan on Abby, Melamed saw that the infection had migrated all the way from the base of her neck to her lower back. If they hadn’t rushed her into the five-hour surgery and removed certain parts of some vertebrae, she could have died.
In March, she was moved from the Victorville Federal Correction Institute in California to the Residential Reentry Center in Long Beach.
In a social media post from behind bars, Abby sounded optimistic about life on the other side.
“My world flipped upside down when I had to enter prison,” she wrote. “I have made friends with both inmates and staff, I’ve tried to better myself, participated in anything offered to me and I am a better person for this experience. I am feeling great and ready to turn over a new leaf thank you so much to everyone for your support especially my nearest and dearest I love you all,” she added.
Abby’s doctor told People much remains to be seen regarding Abby’s prognosis.
“There’s a chance this can spread to any part of the body … this is probably coming from somewhere else,” he says. “We don’t know where the source is. Any tumor that spreads anywhere is automatically Stage 4, but we have not determined the stage yet.”