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Emilia Clarke opens up about life-saving brain surgery

Photo Credit: REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

Emilia Clarke opens up about life-saving brain surgery

Emilia Clarke opens up about life-saving brain surgery

British actor, Emilia Clarke, who plays Daenerys Targaryen, the formidable mother of dragons on ‘Game of Thrones’, has revealed that she suffered two aneurysms and had brain surgery in between filming seasons of the hit show.

In an article for The New Yorker, Emilia Clarke shares her harrowing story for the first time ever, which began when she had just finished filming season one of the hit HBO show. She revealed that she has undergone two brain surgeries in the past eight years.

“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.”

Doctors diagnosed her with having a subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH), from which a third of sufferers die immediately or soon after.

Weeks after her initial surgery, Clarke recalled that she temporarily had trouble remembering her name, and it caused her to go “into a blind panic.”

A condition called aphasia set in, meaning she could not communicate and feared her acting career was over.

“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 actor wrote in The New Yorker.

Clarke recovered enough to film the second season of Game of Thrones – her worst one, she said – but she wasn’t out of the woods yet.

By 2013, a second aneurysm on Clarke’s brain had “doubled in size”, requiring invasive surgery through her skull.

Despite thinking she would die, Clarke has now recovered beyond her “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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