Emilia Clarke reveals she underwent two life-saving brain surgeries

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"Game of Thrones" star Emilia Clarke reveals she suffered two brain aneurysms during the early years of the hit HBO series.

Posted: Mar. 26, 2019 4:10 AM
Updated: Mar. 26, 2019 4:10 AM

Emilia Clarke revealed on Thursday that she has undergone two brain surgeries in the last eight years.

The "Game of Thrones" star made the revelation in a story she wrote for the New Yorker. She said her health problems began in 2011.

"My trainer had me get into the plank position, and I immediately felt as though an elastic band were squeezing my brain," she wrote in the article. "I tried to ignore the pain and push through it, but I just couldn't. I told my trainer I had to take a break. Somehow, almost crawling, I made it to the locker room. I reached the toilet, sank to my knees, and proceeded to be violently, voluminously ill. Meanwhile, the pain shooting, stabbing, constricting pain was getting worse. At some level, I knew what was happening: my brain was damaged."

She went on to write, "The diagnosis was quick and ominous: a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), a life-threatening type of stroke, caused by bleeding into the space surrounding the brain. I'd had an aneurysm, an arterial rupture. As I later learned, about a third of SAH patients die immediately or soon thereafter."

She ended up going through a three-hour surgery and then spent four days in the ICU.

Two years later, Clarke's doctors found a second aneurysm that required another surgery.

"When they woke me, I was screaming in pain. The procedure had failed," she wrote. "I had a massive bleed and the doctors made it plain that my chances of surviving were precarious if they didn't operate again. This time they needed to access my brain in the old-fashioned way -- through my skull. And the operation had to happen immediately."

Clarke then spent a month in the hospital.

"There was terrible anxiety, panic attacks ... I felt like a shell of myself," Clarke wrote. "So much so that I now have a hard time remembering those dark days in much detail. My mind has blocked them out. But I do remember being convinced that I wasn't going to live."

Clarke wrote she has since "healed beyond my most unreasonable hopes."

She said she wants to help others not just by sharing her story but encouraging donations to the charity, "SameYou," which provides treatment for people recovering from brain injuries.

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