(NEW YORK) — Game of Thrones and Solo: A Star Wars Story actress Emilia Clarke has revealed to the New Yorker that she nearly died twice from brain aneurysms — and announced the formation of a charity for those similarly afflicted.
As she explained in the lengthy piece, in 2011, after she began working on the Emmy winning show, she was rushed from a gym to the hospital after suffering a crushing headache.
“[T]he pain — shooting, stabbing, constricting pain — was getting worse. At some level, I knew what was happening: my brain was damaged,” the actress recalled.
An MRI confirmed the existence of a bleed on her brain, as well as a second vessel which might be vulnerable to bursting in the future.
Reluctantly, Clarke says, she underwent “minimally invasive” brain surgery to correct the first bleed, but the recovery was hellish. The pain was “unbearable,” she writes, revealing she she lost the ability to speak coherently, and even forgot her own name.
“Instead, nonsense words tumbled out of my mouth and I went into a blind panic,” she writes.
Eventually, the condition, called aphasia, passed — but the pain and exhaustion soon returned.
“I sipped on morphine in between interviews,” she recalled. “On the set, I didn’t miss a beat, but I struggled. Season 2 would be my worst….[E]very minute of every day, I thought I was going to die.”
In 2013, she underwent surgery once more, but this time “the old fashioned way,” as she puts it.
“The recovery was even more painful than it had been after the first surgery,” Clarke said. “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.”
She added, “Bits of my skull had been replaced by titanium.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.”
Luckily, the woman known as the Mother of Dragons has since fully recovered, and she’s dedicated her new charity, SameYou, to helping others suffering from brain injuries and strokes. “@sameyouorg is full to bursting with love, brain power and the help of amazing people with amazing stories,” Clarke posted to Instagram. “@newyorkermag published my story, now I’d like to hear yours!”
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