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21st Mar 2019

Emilia Clarke opens up about almost dying twice from brain aneurysms while working on Game Of Thrones

Rory Cashin

Emilia Clarke

The actress described it as a “battle for my life”.

As the final season of Game Of Thrones draws closer every day, we should be getting used to seeing everyone involved – both in front of and behind the camera – getting involved in some huge projects going forward.

However, in the case of Emilia Clarke, that was all almost cut tragically short, as she talks openly about for the first time in the latest issue of the New Yorker.

Just after wrapping up Season One, Clarke talks about getting changed in a dressing room when a sudden, painful migraine came on, and went to the hospital soon after to get an MRI:

“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. 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.”

After a painful recovery session, she set about going back to work, and a number of years later, after Season Three had wrapped, she went back to the hospital for a check-up scan, and discovered a growth on the other side of her brain that was double the size of the original:

“I spent a month in the hospital again and, at certain points, I lost all hope. I couldn’t look anyone in the eye. There was terrible anxiety, panic attacks. I was raised never to say, ‘It’s not fair’; I was taught to remember that there is always someone who is worse off than you. But, going through this experience for the second time, all hope receded. I felt like a shell of myself. 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.”

Since then, Clarke has recovered once again, and set about to work with SameYou, a charity that specialises in helping people recovering from brain injuries and strokes.

You can read Clarke’s full story here, or find out more about SameYou here.

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