Why This American Idol Finalist Thought She’d Never Sing Again

Photo: Jim Smeal/BEI/REX/Shutterstock.
American Idol alum Jax opened up to People about the health battle she faced after the show ended. Jax, who finished third on season 14 of Idol, said she thought it was just an infection when she first felt the pain in her throat. The vocal powerhouse (see below) had returned home to Atlantic City after performing and recording on the road because she was feeling "all over the place" emotionally. "We were at the grocery store when I first felt something wrong in my throat" earlier this year, Jax told People. "But I'm always getting sick, so we thought it was a sinus infection... I didn't think anything of it."
Neither did her doctor, but he ordered X-rays of Jax's throat just in case. And it's a good thing he did, because the scans showed that the singer had an astounding 18 tumors, 12 of them cancerous. Jax had thyroid cancer. When her parents first sat her down to tell her, she actually thought she was in trouble. According to People, the 20-year-old was weary of her doctor's recommendation to operate right away — understandably so, given her grandpa lost his voice completely after undergoing thyroid cancer surgery years ago. "I was worried I'd lose my voice forever."
This spring, the young singer had the cancerous tumors removed — along with her entire thyroid and several lymph nodes. She's currently undergoing chemotherapy, which will continue for the rest of 2016. What's keeping Jax going right now? Running, which she finds "therapeutic." In fact, she's currently training for November's New York City marathon. "I look at crossing that finish line as kicking cancer's ass."

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