'American Idol' alum Jackie "Jax" Cole reveals she has thyroid cancer: I thought I was indestructible
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 08/09/2016
American Idol alum Jackie "Jax" Cole has sadly revealed she's battling thyroid cancer.
Cole, a singer from East Brunswick, NJ, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in April and has since undergone surgery, My Central Jerseyreported.
In a Monday interview with the local news outlet, Cole discussed her traumatic experience.
"It was very unexpected. When you're 20-years-old, you have this Superman entitlement mentality, like you're indestructible," explained Cole, who never announced the news on social media. "And sometimes all it takes is God telling you it's time to take a break for you to understand that you are most certainly not."
Cole first discovered a "small lump" on her throat while grocery shopping with her parents shortly before an April performance at New York's Webster Hall. She reportedly went to a local urgent-care center for a biopsy, and several days later, learned doctors had found 18 tumors on her thyroid -- 12 of which tested positive for cancer.
Cole was also diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease, a type of hypothyroidism. According to My Central Jersey, she underwent surgery to have her thyroid and several nearby lymph nodes removed.
"The first thing I did when I found out about the cancer was crack a joke. My little bro knows me the best. The second they wheeled me out of surgery, he said, 'Man! I tried to warn you the music business was cutthroat,'" Cole recalled.
"Thank God I have people in my life that were there to help me deal with this when my reality finally clicked for me. I'm a tough-guy, but I don't think I have ever experienced anything scarier."
Cole, who has been stressing herself out in attempt to succeed in the music industry since her stint on American Idol, admitted her diagnosis was a bit of a wakeup call.
"The work, pressure, and travel in music is not always so forgiving on the mind and heart. It absolutely takes its toll on your body and on your well-being in general," she said.
"Sometimes I think the universe is yelling at me to slow down and I just blatantly ignore it. I have always been obsessed with my job and craft, so stopping and breathing isn't easy for me. However, my health has to come first. I understand that now."
Cole has been healing in the presence of family and friends, and she expects to continue performing once she's able.
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"I'm a total insomniac and professional over-thinker/crazy person so this is hard for me either way. Cancer is a tricky topic. The doctors are very optimistic about a full recovery," Cole told My Central Jersey.
Cole appeared on Season 14 ofAmerican Idol, and throughout her year-long journey with the franchise -- which included a tour after the show -- she reportedly suffered several health setbacks, becoming chronically ill with respiratory and exhaustion issues.
Cole finished Idol in third place behind runner-up Clark Beckham and winner Nick Fradiani.