Things are looking up for Dance Moms star Abby Lee Miller. After serving prison time for bankruptcy fraud and being diagnosed with Burkitt lymphoma, the choreographer confessed that the struggles helped her to appreciate the little things in life more. She has been cancer-free for six months and is enjoying every minute of it.

“I feel grateful … I feel alive and thriving when I’m back in the [dance] studio and I get in my zone and I’m just doing my thing,” the 53-year-old told Us Weekly during Lifetime’s recent summer junket in West Hollywood. Abby will be back on season 8 of the famed reality show and is not looking back anytime soon.

Although she’s still pretty intense on camera, according to the trailers from the upcoming season, the dance instructor divulged that her hardships during the past few years helped her to see the bigger picture. “I don’t think I get that upset over things,” she explained about how prison and cancer changed her. “It’s hard to deal with the moms, all of that’s hard, but I don’t fly off the handle as quickly as I did … And when the kids don’t win, I’m like, ‘Yeah, but you were great.'”

Abby Lee Miller wheelchair cancer health update
Hollywood To You/Star Max / Getty Images

As for filming, the Pennsylvania native noted that it’s been difficult to keep her health as her top priority. “It’s not difficult in the chair because I always sat there anyway, so that’s not a big deal,” she dished. “What’s not good is while you’re shooting 12 hours a day, I’m not doing the exercises that I’m supposed to do. I’m missing lots of physical therapy appointments. … I’m not really taking care of myself like I did.”

However, she’s staying hopeful that she won’t need her wheelchair for too much longer. “It’s usually a year after your [spinal] surgery … But I’ve probably got another three months. We’ll see what happens with the knee surgery. I’m going to have knee surgery as soon as we wrap [season 8],” the brunette beauty said.

It’s great to see things looking up for Abby. Dance Moms season 8 premieres on Lifetime June 4 at 9 p.m. ET.