The tumor wasn’t Watkins' first life-or-death scare.
At the age of seven, she was told by a doctor that she would never have kids or live beyond 30, then at 28 she was finally diagnosed with sickle cell disease, a debilitating illness where blood flow gets blocked, preventing oxygen flow and subsequently causing damage to organs and severe pain.
Watkins’ battle with the condition culminated in the singer nearly losing her life following the 2000 birth of her daughter, Chase, when she fell into a coma after breastfeeding.
“When you have sickle cell, you have 10 times the fluid that a normal person has to intake, so when I breast-fed, I would vomit every time she latched on,” she explained. “I was losing all my bodily fluids and I dried out and went into a coma. I remember waking up and my mom telling the nurse to lay the baby on my heart and whispering, ‘Tionne, you have someone to live for,’ and that is what pushed me through that coma. I remember getting up singing the *NSYNC song ‘It’s Gonna Be Me’ like nothing ever happened.”
Leaving the hospital, Watkins said she had a newfound appreciation for little things like “seeing trees and birds and sky,” but most of all, was thankful to be there for her daughter.