14 years ago, when she was just 23 years old, actress Tamala Jones suffered from a swollen and spouted blood vessel. This was the result of the brain aneurysm she had been hiding from others, for years. For a long time the actress felt ashamed, weak, and too scared to speak up about what happened to her. But now she has decided to use her condition to help others. Best known for her roles in classic films like “Booty Call,” “Two can Play that Game,” and “The Wood,” Tamala will now be known for her activism for healthy living. Read the details of her traumatic 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.”
Now that she’s had a while to recover from that day, Tamala feels it’s necessary for her to help others suffering from health issues. She said,
“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.”
We definitely wish Tamala the best. Check out her full story here.