Actress Tamala Jones Recounts Her Aneurysm Scare

A near-death experience inspired the skilled performer to be an advocate for healthy living

(Image: ThinkStock)

I really don’t remember anything other than my grandmother coming to get me from my apartment, and me laying in my old room at her house; waking up to use the bathroom and eat. That went on for like three months. The third month I was kind of feeling back to normal.

[My grandmother] took me to get shots of B-12, which I still get today, because B-12 really nourishes your nervous system and your brain is a giant nerve. So I tell people, get those B-12 shots, get yourself checked out, get a cat scan as part of your physical that you do once a year. Get everything checked out just to be on the up and up because, again, no one thinks someone 23 will have a brain aneurysm; and it’s hereditary in my family, so I always have to be careful.

I hid the fact that I had an aneurysm for a very long time. I was embarrassed and I just felt like no one needed to know because it made me look weak. Who would of thought someone my age, at 23, had a brain aneurysm? My friend’s sister was like 24 and died [from an aneurysm], [and] I’d been hearing about people dying from brain aneurysms. [But] once you get older and you’re in your 30s, all that stuff that doesn’t matter so much in your 20s starts to matter.

I had headaches for like three weeks. I took everything, and nothing helped—from sinus medicine to migraine medicine. I say that if you get it checked out right away when you have this headache and it’s continuously going and nothing works then you can save yourself. They can give you something to help you or they can remove it or whatever they need to do. But I felt like it was my duty as a survivor to speak about it.

I mention the aneurysm to anybody that I can. Whenever I have a platform for people there that are listening. Because it’s something that happened to me and something that can happen to anybody in this world, if you are given warning then you can probably save your own life. So, I tell anybody. It doesn’t matter why I’m there speaking. I always bring up health some type of way—I segue into having a brain aneurysm at an early age. Whether it’s your heart or your head or your legs or your arms, if it’s too much pain, the doctor’s the only place to go. Not staying at home and wondering if this is ever going to go away. I just thought it was selfish of me not to even say what I survived or what I felt.”


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