The actor who plays Daenerys Targaryen, the formidable mother of dragons on "Game of Thrones", has revealed that she suffered two aneurysms in between filming seasons of the hit show.
Writing in "The New Yorker", British actor Emilia Clarke opened up about experiencing a life-threatening type of stroke, which happened shortly after the first season of the HBO show had wrapped.
On Thursday, Clarke broke her silence by detailing how she suffered from two aneurysms during her twenties, the first one of which came in 2011 while Clarke was working out at a London gym.
The actress said she suddenly began to feel "shooting, stabbing, constricting pain" and soon after at hospital, was diagnosed with a "life-threatening" subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH); which is triggered by bleeding into the space surrounding the brain.
Many SAH patients can often die immediately, and those who survive need urgent treatment, Clarke wrote. 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."
"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."
When Clarke returned to shooting the second season of "Game of Thrones", she still suffered pain and exhaustion. Further, doctors said that they would have to keep careful watch as she had another, smaller, aneurysm on the other side of her brain, which could "remain dormant."
Two years later, a brain scan revealed that this growth had doubled in size and Clarke had to undergo more operations, after sustaining a bleed on the brain. She said her recovery has been beyond her expectations.
"In the years since my second surgery I have healed beyond my most unreasonable hopes. I am now at a hundred percent."
With the final season of "Game of Thrones" on the horizon, Clarke has put her full weight behind "SameYou", a charity that looks to provide treatment to those recovering from stroke and brain injury.
Announcing the launch of SameYou on Thursday, Clarke said in a statement that brain injury can be "an invisible illness" and can often be seen as a taboo subject.
According to the Lancet Neurology Commission, every year there are over 50 million new cases of traumatic brain injury (TBI). For those who do survive, SameYou explains that there can be a "deeply damaging effect" on all aspects of a patient's life.
Explaining how a person's recovery from neurological trauma is hinged upon the quality and provision of rehabilitation care, Clarke is committed to improving this situation.
"While I was recovering, I saw that access to integrated mental and physical health recovery programs are limited and not affordable for all. I am determined to help."
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