In an interview with CBS Sunday Morning, British actress Emilia Clarke shared images of herself post-brain surgery after surviving two aneurysms. Last month, the Game of Thrones star penned a vulnerable essay for The New Yorker, in which she revealed she had suffered two brain aneurysms while filming the hit HBO show.
According to Mayo Clinic, an aneurysm occurs when a blood vessel in the brain begins to swell. If an aneurysm ruptures it requires immediate intervention as it can cause life-threatening bleeding.
Clarke’s first aneurysm occurred in February 2011 (when she was 24) right after wrapping up the first season of the show. Clarke was at a gym in London when she felt a headache coming on. “I was so fatigued that I could barely put on my sneakers,” she wrote. “When I started my workout, I had to force myself through the first few exercises.”
“In that moment I knew I was being brain damaged,” Clarke told CBS’s Tracy Smith earlier this week. She was rushed to the hospital, where she underwent a minimally invasive surgery (in which her skull was not opened), returning to set after a mere 6 weeks of recovery. Two years later, in 2013, Clarke suffered a second aneurysm, which required invasive surgery.
“[This time] there was a bit of my brain that actually died,” the actress, now 32, told Smith. Clarke also opened up about her recovery, which she said was challenging. “The first time was difficult, but with the second one I found it much harder to stay optimistic,” she said, adding that she went through a “period of being down.”
According to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation, approximately 30,000 Americans suffer a brain aneurysm rupture each year. Women are also more likely to suffer from aneurysms than men.