More years ago than I want to admit, I had the pleasure of working with Sharon Epperson, Senior Personal Finance Correspondent for CNBC when I was part of Morningstar’s media relations team. Sharon was and still is one of my favorite media contacts. Today— two teenage children and another career later—I read Sharon’s inspirational story about her experience and recovery from a ruptured brain aneurysm.
As a single mom, and probably like most women out there, my own health and well-being continue to lose priority on “the list” as my family and I push forward through our daily lives. I wanted to write a post about Sharon’s experience for the Cents of Self blog because it teaches several important financial and personal lessons. Most of the information that follows was taken from an NBC News.com post from earlier this year. The link is included at the bottom of this post.
Sharon Epperson’s life changed dramatically after she suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm in 2016 while attending a morning exercise class. She started to feel severe head pain and her neck became very stiff. Sharon knew she needed to leave right away and called her husband, Chris Farley, who took her home. The pain continued to get worse and Sharon saw the doctor on call at her primary care physician’s office who urged her to go to the Emergency Room.
At the hospital, a CT scan showed bleeding in Sharon’s brain and she had surgery to address it.
“Without warning, I was suddenly disabled, uncertain of whether or when I could ever be able to return to my career,” she said. Sharon endured more than a year of rehabilitation to re-learn how to maintain balance, walk and perform day-to-day activities.
In 2017, she went back to work at CNBC, determined to increase brain aneurysm awareness and make sure that her reporting helped people become more financially empowered.
Sharon outlined several suggestions to help prepare for an unexpected disability.
- Have a Financial Plan – Designate your health and finance decision makers and include a plan to regularly contribute to an emergency savings account.
- Review Your Insurance Coverage – Make sure you have adequate coverage through your health insurance plan and look into securing disability insurance if you don’t already have it.
- Review Your Estate Plan – Organize and review your prepared legal documents to identify who is in charge of making your medical decisions, taking care of your children and taking over tasks like bill paying.
- Appreciate Life – Take care of yourself. Schedule 15 minutes a day to meditate. “… You need to protect yourself mentally, physically and financially. Connecting those parts is so important, so you’ll still be there for your loved ones,” she said.
- Listen to Your Body – “If I had tried to power through my aneurysm – if I just went home and took an Advil – I could be dead,” she added.
Following Sharon Epperson’s journey over the last year has been inspirational and her message is even more important for women, who are more likely to suffer brain aneurysms.
If you’d like to learn more about the warning signs and symptoms of brain aneurysms, click on the icon below.