One year ago, Abby Lee Miller's life took a drastic turn, and she has the scars to show for it — literally.
The "Dance Moms" star took to Instagram Wednesday to share a raw photo and an emotional message about her health battle with her fans and followers.
The image shows her without her familiar hairstyle or makeup, or even a shirt. With her back turned to the camera, Miller reveals a large scar that can be seen running down the length of her spine.
"One year ago today ~ I underwent emergency surgery for an infection in my spine," the dance instructor and choreographer wrote alongside the pic. "This mass/tumor choking my spinal cord turned out to be Burkitt Lymphoma."
According to The Lymphoma Research Foundation, Burkitt lymphoma is a "rare" but "extremely aggressive" form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that often requires "urgent hospitalization and rapid institution of therapy" in order to survive. All of which Miller is well aware of now.
"I endured ten rounds of chemotherapy (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!" the 52-year-old explained. "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."
Until then, Miller uses a wheelchair and continues to move forward with her treatment — a process she wishes she could have started much sooner.
"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?" she wondered of her earlier attempts to get help. "I finally found the right team that’s why I lived to tell my story, I have a lot to say!"
While she remains unhappy with the medical professionals that she believes "missed" or "misdiagnosed" her on those earlier visits, she stressed her gratitude for the ones who finally discovered what was behind the symptoms.
"Thank you to all wonderful top notch professionals who continue to help me heal," she wrote.