This Is the Shocking Way Abby Lee Miller From ‘Dance Moms’ Discovered She Had Cancer
However, the condition physicians believed she was dealing with turned out to be something completely different. Thankfully, doctors moved quickly, but what does this mean for the brash star? Page 5 reveals the devastating diagnosis.
1. Miller complained of neck pain
General aches and pains don’t prompt a visit to the orthopedic surgeon. But when Miller’s pain became so great, she met with orthopedic spine surgeon Hooman M. Melamed, M.D. “I said that something wasn’t right and told her to go to the emergency room,” Dr. Melamed told SELF. “These are things that you don’t want to sit on.”
Next: Her condition took a serious turn for the worse in two days.
2. This scary thing happened very quickly
]Miller was paralyzed from the neck down two days later. Luckily Dr. Melamed had admitted Miller to the hospital previously so the team frantically began to perform tests.
Next: A CT scan revealed this.
3. Doctors believed this was the problem
A CT scan appeared to show an infection that ran from Miller’s neck to the lower part of her back, SELF reports. Dr. Melamed assumed Miller had a rare spinal cord infection and immediately scheduled her for surgery.
Next: Miller’s condition was an emergency.
4. Miller is rushed into surgery
The next day Miller was in surgery. The medical team performed a multi-level laminectomy to remove several pieces of the vertebrae to relieve spinal cord pressure. During the operation, Dr. Melamed sent tissue samples to pathology to confirm his diagnosis.
Next: Doctors make this shocking discovery.
5. No one expected this
Pathology reports shocked Miller and her medical team when they came back showing an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma called Burkitt lymphoma, according to SELF. Typical lymphoma patients have a painless enlarged lymph node, which usually is not presented as neck pain. However, Burkitt lymphoma is fast growing, which may produce the pain and numbness Miller was experiencing.
Next: What is this disease?
6. What is Burkitt lymphoma
Burkitt lymphoma may impact the jaw, vital organs, and central nervous system, according to Lymphoma Research Foundation. In addition to swollen lymph nodes, night sweats, fever, weight loss, and fatigue are other symptoms of the disease, according to Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
Treatment often includes immediate combination chemotherapy, determined by patient risk for relapse. Ongoing clinical trials are also a possibility. This cancer is also diagnosed in children as well. Like most cancers, Burkitt lymphoma is staged from 1, being contained to a single lymph node area to 4 where the disease is widespread.
Next: This is the typical prognosis.
7. Is the disease curable?
While most respond well to treatment, patients with central nervous system involvement are at highest risk for relapse and may require a more aggressive treatment.
Next: What does this mean for Miller?
8. What does Miller face?
If Miller hadn’t sought immediate treatment she would have died, Dr. Melamed told People. “Her blood pressure was plummeting and her kidneys were starting to fail.” Doctors say Miller’s condition has improved since having surgery, according to SELF. She is able to move her arms and legs, and doctors are optimistic she will be able to walk again someday.
“Depending on the tumor type, depending on the sensitivity of the tumor – it just depends on the type but I feel more than yes, she will undergo chemotherapy or radiation,”Dr. Melamed told People.
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