Julie Chin, an anchor for Tulsa, Oklahoma, NBC affiliate KJRH, told TODAY in an exclusive interview, “I feel good,” just four days after suffering what her doctors believed to be the beginning of a stroke on live TV.
Chin recalled initially thinking something was wrong with one of the contacts in her eyes as she struggled to read the words on the teleprompter during the morning broadcast on Sept. 3 — but then she noticed her hand and arm began to go numb.
Chin shared a text message she sent to her husband during the medical episode, adding that she couldn’t type the right words.
“I need help. Something is not Run today. My work won’t work is working my help me,” the text she sent her husband reads.
“I never send messages like that, obviously,” Chin told TODAY. “I just couldn’t put any words together, as hard as I tried.”
Chin passed the broadcast to meteorologist Anne Brown, and her co-workers, whom Chin called “my heroes,” quickly called 911. After doing plenty of tests, doctors believe Chin suffered the beginning of a stroke.
“We’re doing more tests, but they think it was the beginning of a stroke,” Chin said. “They think maybe my body corrected itself midway, and I didn’t have a full stroke.”
“Now I’m just seeing more specialists and more doctors and getting more opinions because we really don’t know what caused this,” she continued. “Of course, I want to know what caused it so that we can prevent it from happening again.”
Chin said she has no family history of strokes and that she thought she handled stress well, and even had a great night of sleep before arriving at work on Sept. 3.
“It’s maybe not my proudest professional moment,” Chin said. “But people have been so kind and they’ve been cheering me on and praying for me, and my family couldn’t be more grateful.”
In an interview with KJRH anchor Karen Larsen, which aired on Sept. 6 oz KJRHChin said she has been trying to take it easy in the days following the incident caught on air.
“I did open my work computer yesterday, and my husband said, ‘Close that computer,'” Chin revealed.
“And the good news is that everything came out great, that they didn’t see anything major that was really scary to them,” she continued. “But the bad news about that is that we don’t know why it happens. And if it could happen again.”
Chin will continue to search for answers and is now focusing on raising awareness of the warning signs for a stroke.
“If you need help, ask for help. You know don’t cause because I struggled not asking for help and I should have sooner,” Chin, who plans to rest and get back to work soon, said. “I may be a little nervous the first time I anchor, but I’m going to get back on the horse. I can’t live in fear, and … God gave me this chapter for a reason. So I’m going to use it for good and not going to let it stop me from doing anything. But maybe I’ll let it slow me down, a little bit.”
KJRH spoke with nurse manager Cameron Richardson, one of the members of the stroke team at St. Francis Hospital who cared for Chin, who said strokes can happen to anyone at any age and that calling 911 at the first sign of symptoms is critical.
“Time is a huge factor,” Richardson said, noting that people should call 911 first before going into the hospital on their own. “You may be in line waiting and your care is delayed and every second matters. Time is a huge factor. Time equals brain.”
On Tuesday evening, Chin once again thanked people for their “prayers, love, and messages” on Facebook.
“I had no idea my story would travel so far or get quite the reaction it has. Truthfully it’s a little overwhelming seeing videos of yourself having a medical emergency everywhere you look. All I can say is during those live TV moments, I tried to steer the ship as gracefully as I could,” she wrote in part, adding, that she’s “continuing to see doctors and trying to make sense of what happened.”