Abby Lee Miller is the outspoken, controversial star of the hit show Dance Moms. Although her teaching methods have often been deemed overly harsh and too demanding for young girls, she’s helped produce a lot of big name stars such as Maddie Ziegler and Jojo Siwa. She was at what appeared to be the peak of her career when her life was turned upside down due to a criminal charge for bankruptcy. Miller was sentenced to a year in prison. Shortly after being released early, she was diagnosed with lymphoma, a type of cancer, that doctors discovered when she was undergoing spinal surgery. Due to grueling cancer treatments and surgery, Miller now has to use a wheelchair to maintain independent mobility. In a recent interview with Women’s Health, she discussed what her life is like with the limitations of the wheelchair.
Miller’s greatest passion in life is, of course, dancing. Due to having to use a wheelchair, she is not able to dance to the full extent that she’d like to. This hasn’t stopped her from returning to the set of Dance Moms and continuing to teach, but her teaching methods are different now. However, for Miller, the hardest part of using a wheelchair for mobility isn’t what many might expect. She says the most challenging thing for her is having to rely upon a catheter because she cannot use the women’s restroom like she used to.
“Right now, I have to use a catheter because it takes way too long to move from my chair to a regular toilet. People always think the worst part of being in a wheelchair is not being able to walk or ride a bike, but for me, it’s just the process of using the bathroom.”
Miller also doesn’t like that people treat her differently now that her method of mobility is different. Because she’s not at the same height as the average person walking down the street, Miller has found that many people simply don’t see her.
“When you’re in a wheelchair, you’re invisible to people. Picture this: When I’m driving down the sidewalk, people walk right into me and trip over my chair. You’re not at eye-level, so people don’t notice you.”
Life is completely different for Miller now but that doesn’t mean she’s still not making the most of her situation and holding on to hope for the future. While she doesn’t believe she’ll ever be able to dance the way she once could, her goal is to be able to walk again.