Fourteen years after being diagnosed with a ruptured brain aneurysm, actress Tamala Jones has made it her mission to educate children and young adults on the importance of personal health. Surviving a swollen and spouted blood vessel at just 23, Jones is a prime example of this medical malfunction not just occurring in “old people.”
After being critically self-conscious and thinking herself to be weak for undergoing a possible life-threatening condition, the Hollywood starlet recently decided to go public with her past health issues. Remembering the brutal pain and divine blessing of her aneurysm, Jones gives BlackEnterprise.com a detailed recount of her near-fatal health scare in her own words. —Amber McKynzie
“[I woke] up one morning with a massive headache; feeling like I had to use the bathroom, like I had to urinate really bad. When I got out of bed I had no balance. I was walking on my toes and I was stomping. When I got to the bathroom, I plopped down on the toilet. I had no control over my body weight. And when I couldn’t go I was like, Oh, my God, I just had to pee really bad and now I don’t have to. Then, I got up because my head was hurting, and I looked in the mirror and I’m telling you two seconds after I looked in that mirror I dropped and hit the floor.
I kept hearing myself tell myself, “Get up, get up now. Get up, get up, get up…,” and I kind of woke up as if somebody shook me out of a sleep, and the whole right side of my body was numb. I called work and I told them, “Something’s wrong with me. I can’t come in. I have to go to the hospital.” They told me, “You need to come into work. This is the last day of shooting for this season, and we don’t have time to wait for you to go to the doctor’s office.”
[At the time] I was working on For Your Love [a WB sitcom] and I went there and my right arm was stuck in a position. I could not move it. They kept throwing jackets and purses over it trying to cover it. They were like, “You can’t bend your arm?” I’m like, “No!” And my head was still pounding.
I went to the hospital after work and the doctor thought that it was a miracle that I was even alive, walking or talking, or that I even worked an entire day before I got to him. After that, I started having seizures. I had MRIs [and] cat scans, and they found out that my aneurysm actually burst. Had it been on another side of my brain I probably would have been paralyzed forever—it was on the left side of my brain and was the size of a 50-cent piece. They said once that blood dried up I would get my feeling back.