…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.”
“At the time, I thought I was suffering from sinus headaches because we have a lot of sinus issues in my family,” Jones says. “Looking back, I should have seen my doctor then, because the headaches were persistent and felt as if someone were stretching a rubber band around my head and pulling it tighter every day. Even Tylenol didn’t help.”
For Jones, who experienced seizures while in the hospital, recovery took several months. An MRI revealed she had hemorrhaged on the right side of her brain, which left her paralyzed on that side. Her doctor told her that once the blood dried, she would regain function on the right side of her body.
“My mom and grandmother, Roxanne and Laverne Jones, took care of me and helped nurse me back to health,” Jones says. “The first few days were pretty much a blur—my mom and grandma would wake me up to feed me and bathe me. It took a full three months before I got my full strength back and was able to work again.”
Today, 16 years after being diagnosed with a ruptured brain aneurysm, Jones has signed on to become the national spokesperson for the Brain Aneurysm Foundation. She hopes to use her personal experience to raise awareness of aneurysms as well as funding for additional research.
“I didn’t go public with my story for many years because I didn’t want to show weakness or vulnerability, especially as I was trying to succeed as an actress,” Jones says. “Yet after hearing many stories of young people suffering from a brain aneurysm and dying, I wanted to share my story.”
“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.”