Abby Lee Miller is opening up about the emergency surgery she underwent in April 2018, after it was discovered that she had a massive infection that was putting pressure on her spine, causing severe pain. Then he was diagnosed with Burkitt’s lymphoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer. ET’s Kevin Frazier sat down with ex Dance moms Star and Dr. Hooman Melamed, who performed her life-saving surgery, and they talked about the emotional day and how she is doing today.
Dr. Melamed performed the eight-hour surgery on Miller, 55, after his blood pressure began to plummet and he felt like they couldn’t afford to wait any longer. Miller cried as he recalled the moments before going under the knife and revealed that there was a moment when he thought he had already died.
“I remember saying to the anesthesiologist: ‘Tell me I’ll see you when I wake up,’ and he said, ‘I can’t tell you that, ma’am,'” she shares. “That’s when I knew, and then I heard [Dr. Melamed] He said something I didn’t know, he told me: ‘Prepare the operating room, I’m going to go in’, and I didn’t know that the operating room was called theater and I thought he had died. I’m already dead. You know, I can still hear them talking. “
For his part, Dr. Melamed said he was determined not to lose Miller on the operating table.
“I was like, ‘You know what, not on my surveillance. It’s not happening,'” he recalls. “I said, ‘Let’s go in.’ I called my wife and said, ‘Honey, I’m not coming home tonight.’ I said, ‘I’m going to be there all night. I will be operating. I’m not coming home tonight. This will not happen while you are on call. I don’t care what it costs. I’m going to do whatever it takes, ‘so I was optimistic that we were going to save her. This is how I always like to see it. “
Still, Miller surprisingly acknowledged that due to his difficult recovery, there are times when he wishes he had never made it. He underwent another surgery in September 2020 due to slipping of the vertebrae and severe compression of the nerves, as well as severe pain and foot drop, although he experienced further health problems. He then had to undergo another procedure to check for loose screws in his back, additional screws were placed in his pelvis, and bone cement was placed on his vertebrae.
“This is strange, but there are days when I wish I had died,” he says. “I know there are people fighting for their lives every day, yes, but it has been hard. It is not easy to live in a wheelchair. It is not easy, especially in California. It is very difficult to be disabled … that’s why I need to walk “.
These days, Miller does not have cancer, but he still feels pain in the lower part of his tailbone from being in a wheelchair and says he has not been able to do the amount of physical therapy he needs due to the coronavirus pandemic. Still, he can walk now.
“I’m walking, little baby steps, and I should be walking a lot,” she shares. “I can take about 150 steps before I have to rest and I don’t need to sit down, I just need to stop and rest. It’s mainly my arms because I’m putting so much weight and pressure on my arms to walk that I don’t trust my legs because I can’t feel the ground “.
The reality star later cried when she talked about going through her recovery alone, noting that she doesn’t have 24-hour care because she can’t afford it.
“Just, you know, it’s a good day when you can bend over and put your pants on,” she says excitedly. “It’s hard. I have to save my tears for the car.”
Miller currently lives in a hotel so he can call the front desk for help when he needs it.
“Sometimes, you know, I’ll hire a young woman or maybe a physical therapy student to come over,” she also shares. “It’s sad. I’ve been trying to get back to Florida to my home and life there since March 13. And because my doctors advised me not to travel, not to travel by plane until I get the vaccine, until we know that It works safely, I was quarantined here, alone, you know, in a hotel. “
But Dr. Melamed says he remains optimistic that someday Miller will not be in pain.
“I think the mental part is a big part,” he says. “You know, she has screws in her pelvis, and those, we know, they can cause pain, we know that. And that’s why sometimes, at some point, you’re going to take them out. But I’m very optimistic. Aggressive, carry on, like good rounds of months of physiotherapy, I think he will be independent, talking and recovering his life “.
Miller says he would like to return to television, albeit behind the scenes.
“I have an amazing young adult show with a paranormal twist that is in the works, and I also have a new reality show, two shows,” he reveals. “One is more related to prison about what happens when you get out of prison, and it’s just killer, it’s incredible, the show. And there’s nothing like it on TV … and it would be incredible. And then there has been talk of me coming back and doing a show with him [dance] students, not moms, but with the dancers themselves, the teens. … We will, to each other, they no longer need Mom. “
“I hope and dream and I’m creative and I love the creative process,” she continues. “I love the costumes, the music and the choreography, I love that part of everything. And I think there is still a niche for me, but who knows?”