black women

Actress Tamala Jones Had an Aneurysm and Her Boss Made Her Come to Work Anyway

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By Daphne R

Hollywood actress Tamala Jones suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm a little over a decade ago at the age of 23. After surviving the swollen, spouted blood vessel, she’s made it her mission to educate the community about aneurysms and maintaining your personal health.

Recently, Tamala decided to go public about overcoming the potentially life-threatening condition. She remembers the brutal pain as she shares what happened in her own words.

‘[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. I had no control over my body weight. 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.’

‘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 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.’

This information is particularly important to black women because women are at a higher risk than men of forming aneurysms and African Americans are at a higher risks than other races. So, black women should pay attention to risk factors such as family history of aneurysm, smoking cigarettes or having hypertension.

Aneurysms are oftentimes asymptomatic until the blood vessel bursts or gets large enough to press on certain regions of the brain that may cause severe headaches, blurred vision, changes in speech or neck pain. Most aneurysms occur at the back of the head near the base of the brain, so neck pain may be common.

Symptoms of a ruptured brain aneurysm come on suddenly and include severe headaches, nausea and vomiting, sensitivity to light, fainting and/or seizures. Should any of these symptoms come on suddenly, get to the nearest hospital as soon as possible. It could mean the difference between life and death.



Daphne R is an experienced marketing and communications professional that provides social commentary, self-help, tips, and reports news of events that matter to African Americans.



  1. Weslin1

    December 26, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Praise God, for blessing her to survive such an ordeal. Those are nothing to play with; I had a friend he was talking on the phone and all the sudden it hit him & he died right there before he could hang the phone up.

  2. R. Parker

    December 26, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    I had one in 1995. I woke up one morning with a bad headache and I was throwing up globs of thick clear water. I passed out and was taken to the hospital by ambulance. At first I couldn’t walk and with physical therapy I gradually was able to walk again. I feel her pain.

  3. marcus davis

    December 26, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Geeez she went into work? After knowing what she had she should have sued her employer at that time.She could have died on the set.

  4. Eric Matteson

    December 26, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    Never put your life ahead of a job when you are not feeling well.

  5. Cecil Ryu Taekwondo

    December 26, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    I did not know a young person could have an aneurysm. She is truly blessed to be alive.

  6. Zandra

    December 26, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    I’ve had two and honestly don’t know how she worked. God is good.

  7. LaLa

    December 26, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    This is what our employer’s do often times.It’s sad that her life without question was placed second when it came to money. As a person trying to make it we are often stuck with these decisions,especially when you have bills to pay and not many people want a hand out. Plus who without judgement helping these days without being recognized? It’s a good thing God wasn’t done with her yet so she may tell the story that many don’t live to tell. There are many young one day healthy adults dropping dead because of things they were unaware of dealing with their health and thinking they had tomorrow. We’re also not compassionate enough to help one another in the event someone needs help to stand together and be there even if it means sacrificing our own convenience in some cases. I’m glad she’s still here. Ain’t God grace good? Never mind don’t answer because outside this testimony who would have known 🙂

  8. Ann G.

    December 26, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    My mother passed at the age of 33 with a brain aneurysm, this was back in 1966, the blood flooded her brain and she went into a coma and finally they pulled the plug. They have come a long way since then but it is very important to get to the emergency room with the sudden onset of a severe headache. In the early 90’s my mothers father had one in his stomach, he was elderly but survived due to going before it burst. Glad to hear everything worked out for Tamala!

  9. Sistagirl from the Boogie Down Bronx

    December 27, 2013 at 11:04 am

    I am so glad Tamala is alive to share her story! Employers are heartless with their unbending rules… If she had died they would have issued all kinds of insincere platitudes. I totally understand why she went to work because if you have a family and bills, you just continue to push on… What a sad life may of us live in a quest to just survive… Tamala’s story is food for thought on many levels.

  10. Devon

    December 27, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    I like Tamala as an actress but she’s a dayum fool for working in her condition. She could have dropped dead while working, and her boss wouldnt have given a sheit. Im not impressed or in awe of anybody who “lets” their boss “make” them go to work with a life threatening condition.

  11. Willena Miller

    December 28, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    I can relate to Tamala to some degree.
    Back in 2005 I had an “aortic dissection repair.” Every doctor I have gone to tell me that “I am lucky to be alive” because most people die from it or die on the operating table. While my symptoms were different I will say that had I not gotten a “cat scan” I would probably be dead for sure.

    Please don’t ignore any persistant pain in your body wherever it might be.
    Talk to your doctor and insist on tests to find out what’s wrong. My doctor initially thought I had signs of indigestion and sciatica. I also had”shortness of breath.” Immediately after the “cat scan” I was rushed to the hospital and had surgery that same night.

    Through the “grace of God I am alive today.” Do not stay at home sick and try to treat yourself. That’s how I lost an Aunt who stayed at home and by the time she was rushed to the hospital it winded up being too late! She had just retired !!

  12. Denise

    February 4, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Reading these articles on Tamala Jones opened my eyes to what is currently going on with me now! I have constant headaches, pain in the top of my head, pain in my arms, feet and hands 24 hours a day. My vision is blurred everyday and see spots and so far they have only found low on Potasium and checking for depletion of vitamin b & d. I never thought about a brain aneurysm until I read this article. My symptons sound scary and need to be checked out. Potasium can cause a heart attack, and stroke symptoms need to be checked out as well. No one seems to care about these symptoms but me and the doctor, but she did say go to the hospital and I didn’t go and still having symptoms! So I will go and get checked out before I die suddenly.
    Thanks for the eye opener!

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    March 12, 2020 at 5:41 pm

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