Just days after she was honored at the Grammys for, you know, just being herself, Aretha Franklin has announced that she is ready to take back her crown as the Queen of Soul. Following emergency surgery and hospital visits last December, Franklin cleared her schedule, prompting widespread media reports that her health was deteriorating fast. Unconfirmed rumors spread across the board that she had pancreatic cancer -- a virtual death sentence. Then and now, Franklin denied those rumors.

Franklin promised fans that she would return to form and she's making good on her word. On Wednesday, she told the Associated Press that she is operating at "150 percent," and she scheduled her first post-surgery concert for May 28 in Buffalo, N.Y. Earlier that month, she will release her long-awaited new album, 'Aretha: A Woman Falling Out of Love.'

Following her surgery, Franklin began a new exercise program, instated a healthier diet and shed some pounds. ""I want to not only maintain the weight I am at now, but better it, by one dress size," she says. "You just have to maintain good health from here."

Smart move. After all, while she has kept mum about whatever it was that ailed her, she does admit that her highly-publicized hospital stay was for "more than minor surgery." Franklin, 68, also relays that she didn't sing for a month during her recovery period -- possibly the longest hiatus of her career -- and she had to nurse her voice back to health as well as her body. But now, she says, it's "right on the money."

We'd expect nothing less from the Queen. Mad R-E-S-P-E-C-T, yo!

Aretha Franklin Tribute at the 2011 Grammy Awards

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