Tamala Jones who you might remember from shows such as ‘Everybody Hates Chris’ and ‘CSI: Miami’ recently opened up to BlackEnterprise.com exclusively about her 14 year battle with brain aneurysm and why she kept it a secret for so long.
The longtime actress, who is now a proud advocate for brain aneurysm awareness said she was diagnosed with the illness which almost cost her her life at the tender age of 23 and now she says she’s more than ready to teach people about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.
Check out Tamala’s moving story below:
“[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.
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…….