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On The Mend! Inside Loretta Lynn's Stroke Recovery

Frail country queen Loretta Lynn — who hasn't been seen in public since being hammered by a devastating stroke three months ago — insists she doesn't have one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel.

Her pal Martina McBride told a crowd at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry she'd chatted with the laid-up legend and Loretta was biting at the bit to "git back on" the Opry stage.

"She's doing really well," Martina says.

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But the future looked grim for the "Coal Miner's Daughter" singer when she collapsed at her home on the evening of May 4 — and wasn't found until 10:52 the next morning. Experts feared during the long lapse before getting treatment, the 85-year-old suffered irreparable brain damage and her career was over.

"A victim might be left unable to talk, eat or walk," a doc tells

But pals insist the gutsy star — who was too weak to stand on stage before her medical crisis — is bouncing back.

Loretta Lynn

Martina told the Opry crowd Loretta "sounded great" and was listening in to the radio broadcast. So she had the whole crowd yell: "We love you, Loretta!" Amen to that — but other folks in Nashville fear Lynn needs a prayer — and a miracle — to ever return to showbiz.

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