La La Anthony — author, reality TV star, actress, entrepreneur and self-professed workaholic — was forced to slow down in June, when she was rushed to the hospital to undergo an emergency medical procedure that she'd been putting off.
"There were a lot of scary moments," Anthony, who spent four days in the hospital and has since returned to work, told Self for a cover story published Friday.
She had been diagnosed with an abnormal heart condition, in which she experienced extra heartbeats —officially, premature ventricular contractions — while filming BH90210 in Vancouver in 2019. While the doctor had wanted Anthony to go to the hospital then, she insisted that she return home to New York City first. After an electrocardiogram there showed her heart was beating "30,000 extra beats more than the average person" every day, they had given her medication to control it. The only problem was that it made Anthony feel "so tired and out of it" that she eventually stopped taking it, vowing to better manage her stress.
Back to her crisis on June 1, when she suddenly couldn't stand up without holding onto the refrigerator at her home. She was lightheaded and sweaty.
Still, she wouldn't have thought to call for help if it hadn't been for her loved ones who saw everything. Anthony felt the concern of the people who were there, especially Kiyan, the 14-year-old son she shares with her ex-husband and "amazing [co-parenting] partner," Carmelo Anthony.
"Kiyan was like, 'Mom, please let them call because you don't look like yourself,'" she said.
She went, and, on the instructions of the medical team, she finally underwent the procedure, called a cardiac ablation. According to the Mayo Clinic, it requires creating tiny scars in the heart, using extremely hot or cold temperatures, in order to block abnormal electrical signals.
"Had it not happened [as an emergency]. I probably would have still just been continuing to put it off, put it off, put it off," Anthony said.
As writer Evette Dionne noted, there's research suggesting that Anthony's condition and risk factors for it may disproportionately affect Black people.
Anthony, who's Black and Puerto Rican, said she's always been hesitant to make appointments. Part of it is that she doesn't like people worrying about her.
"We're just not naturally people that go to doctors," she said. "We can self-diagnose. We're gonna make some tea. We're gonna heat up some Vicks."
After the procedure, Anthony's heart began beating normally. But the hard stuff wasn't over. Less than a month out from her medical emergency, Anthony filed for divorce from her NBA star husband. The two married in July 2010.
"When you make a choice to put yourself first and a choice to be happy and really mean that," she said, "then a lot of that stuff doesn't even really faze you or matter anymore."
The former Power star, who goes for a checkup every two months, told the magazine that it was tough but important to her to share her story. "I battled with that for a while," she said. "Most people Instagram themselves in a hospital bed or show the IV or whatever. And I never did any of that. But the more I thought about it and actually talked to my son, he was just like, 'Mom, like, it can actually help people out there to become aware of listening to their bodies.' I can turn it into something that can actually help people out there and also make people understand, I'm human. I go through s***…it's life."