Abby Lee Miller had one goal keeping her going as she struggled to push through cancer treatment following her prison sentence.
During Lifetime's Dance Moms: The Return of Abby special Tuesday, Miller explained how devastating her 2018 Burkitt's lymphoma diagnosis was when it comes to getting her life back after serving a little over a year in prison on bankruptcy fraud charges.
"When I got out of prison, I was ready to work — go right back into the studio teaching," she told the camera. "I wanted the [Abby Lee Dance Company] to come back bigger and better than ever. I mean, I was ready to set the world on fire."
She continued, "Dance is in my blood. It's been passed down from my mother, this is a legacy I have to keep going. I'm not ready for that to be over."
But there was no ignoring the feeling of a "hot knife" stabbing her in the back, which led to her initial diagnosis. "And believe me, I've been stabbed in the back enough," she quipped.
After undergoing spinal surgery, Miller still had to undergo chemotherapy and physical therapy, which would help her learn to walk again. But during this "road to recovery," Miller kept one idea in her mind.
"There was a point after that surgery where I had the realization, 'If I cannot physically teach dance anymore, what am I going to do?'" she recalled. "There are these young kids that are coming up that I have to worry about. This next generation, they need me."
Putting out a casting call for a new dance troupe, Miller admitted, wasn't just about the dancers, but giving her something to latch onto during the tough time.
"It made me realize that my career, my life isn't over because I was in prison, or because I'm sick now," she explained. "I needed this insane goal. Something that would push me. I will teach again. I will create a winning team again. And I hope and pray every day that I will walk again."
Dance Moms airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Lifetime.
Photo credit: Instagram/Abby Lee Miller