Emilia Clarke, is an actress most known for her role as Daenerys Targaryen, mother of dragons on Game of Thrones. A very popular, watched TV show on HBO. Just yesterday she released an incredible story about the journey she was in during her filming of Season 1 through 3. What she went through was horrifically brave, but I also think it was admirably courageous to come out and let everyone know what she was going through.
I think her story and her words really resonate with me for several reasons. First of all, she came out and said that she had suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) kind of #Stroke.
In her words:
“On the morning of February 11, 2011, I was getting dressed in the locker room of a gym in Crouch End, North London, when I started to feel a bad #Headache coming on. I was so fatigued that I could barely put on my sneakers. When I started my workout, I had to force myself through the first few exercises.
Then my trainer had me get into the plank position, and I immediately felt as though an elastic band were squeezing my brain. 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.
For a few moments, I tried to will away the pain and the nausea……..I heard a woman’s voice coming from the next stall, asking me if I was O.K. No, I wasn’t. She came to help me and maneuvered me onto my side, in the recovery position. Then everything became, at once, noisy and blurry. I remember the sound of a siren, an ambulance; I heard new voices, someone saying that my pulse was weak. I was throwing up bile. Someone found my phone and called my parents, who live in Oxfordshire, and they were told to meet me at the emergency room of Whittington Hospital.”
As I kept reading what she was going through, I couldn’t help but feel like it was me speaking. Talking about the pain I go through every day with my chronic migraines and headaches. I felt like FINALLY, someone understood what I was going through and know it isn’t just a headache, it’s something serious.
She was 24 years old when she would end up having her first brain surgery. She thought she can’t be going through something like this. But she had no choice but to go through the minimally invasive procedure to seal off the #Aneurysm. She woke up and she said she had to get over the 2 weeks hump to get a good prognosis. But she ran into a roadblock. She suddenly suffered from a condition called #Aphasia, a consequence of the brain trauma. “I could see my life ahead, and it wasn’t worth living. I am an actor; I need to remember my lines. Now I couldn’t recall my name.” she said.
“I was told that I had a smaller aneurysm on the other side of my brain, and it could “pop” at any time. The doctors said, though, that it was small and it was possible it would remain dormant and harmless indefinitely. Even before we began filming Season 2, I was deeply unsure of myself. I was often so woozy, so weak, that I thought I was going to die. Staying at a hotel in London during a publicity tour, I vividly remember thinking, I can’t keep up or think or breathe, much less try to be charming. I sipped on morphine in between interviews. The pain was there, and the fatigue was like the worst exhaustion I’d ever experienced, multiplied by a million.” Emilia stated.
Boy does this sound familiar. I have also suffered two minor strokes and they were NOT fun. I know what it’s like to barely function, or even pretend to function like a normal human being. Feeling so sick, throwing up, and the pain so intense that going to the hospital only makes it worse. But that multiplied by a million quote, I’ve said about a million times.
In a routine MRI check up, she found out that the growth on the other side of her brain, had doubled in size and needed to have another surgery. But the minimally invasive surgery failed and they needed to immediately operate the old school way, cut right through the skull. She spent another month in the hospital with a tougher recovery than the first. And she continued with the pain and struggled through working and interviews. Especially a notable one to her with MTV.
“I survived MTV and so much more. In the years since my second surgery I have healed beyond my most unreasonable hopes. I am now at a hundred per cent. Beyond my work as an actor, I’ve decided to throw myself into a charity I’ve helped develop in conjunction with partners in the U.K. and the U.S. It is called SameYou, and it aims to provide treatment for people recovering from brain injuries and stroke.”
By her sharing her journey with everyone, not only does it show her bravery, strength, and courage, but it also shows that us fighters are not alone. There is hope, there are options and there are better days. Even on the days we feel our worst, we have a little thing called HOPE we can hang onto. Thank you Emilia for sharing your story.