UPDATE: Emilia posted an Instagram video and "million million thank you’s" in response to the overwhelming support she's received from fans. Watch!
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🙏🏻 A million million thank you’s to everyone who has read shared and sent love for my story, it’s a beautiful thing to behold and I can’t quite believe how many of you this has affected! #❤️@sameyouorg is ready to hear your stories, how you recovered and what could have made that recovery experience better. By hearing your stories we can build a case for an improved aftercare experience for all in the future...who wouldn’t want that! #sameyoucharity #love #sometimestheworldshowsyouwhatkindesslookslike #thankyou #❤️ #💪🏻 #🙌
“Game of Thrones” star Emilia Clarke is opening up on her secret health scare!
In a piece for The New Yorker, Clarke revealed that she suffered a “a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), a life-threatening type of stroke, caused by bleeding into the space surrounding the brain” when she was 24, which required emergency brain surgery.
At the time, Clarke had just won her breakthrough role as Daenerys Targaryen on “Game of Thrones.” She said, “I’d had an aneurysm, an arterial rupture. As I later learned, about a third of SAH patients die immediately or soon thereafter. For the patients who do survive, urgent treatment is required to seal off the aneurysm, as there is a very high risk of a second, often fatal bleed. If I was to live and avoid terrible deficits, I would have to have urgent surgery. And, even then, there were no guarantees… I was in the middle of my very busy life — I had no time for brain surgery. But, finally, I settled down and signed. And then I was unconscious. For the next three hours, surgeons went about repairing my brain.”
While she made it through the surgery, Clarke suffered aphasia and was “muttering nonsense.” She admitted, “In my worst moments, I wanted to pull the plug. I asked the medical staff to let me die. My job — my entire dream of what my life would be — centered on language, on communication. Without that, I was lost.”
The aphasia would pass, and she was able to speak again, but she was forced to undergo a second surgery after doctors discovered another brain aneurysm. She said, “When they woke me, I was screaming in pain. The procedure had failed. 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.”
“The recovery was even more painful than it had been after the first surgery. I looked as though I had been through a war more gruesome than any that Daenerys experienced. I emerged from the operation with a drain coming out of my head,” the 32-year-old revealed. “Bits of my skull had been replaced by titanium. These days, you can’t see the scar that curves from my scalp to my ear, but I didn’t know at first that it wouldn’t be visible. And there was, above all, the constant worry about cognitive or sensory losses. Would it be concentration? Memory? Peripheral vision? Now I tell people that what it robbed me of is good taste in men. But, of course, none of this seemed remotely funny at the time.”
Clarke is now a “100%” healthy. She added, “I’m so happy to be here to see the end of this story and the beginning of whatever comes next.”
Emilia has also started a charity to help others with brain injuries. Learn more at SameYou.org.