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Emilia Clarke says scan of her brain shows ‘quite a bit’ missing

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Emilia Clarke said she is grateful that the two brain aneurysms she suffered in her 20s didn’t rob her of her ability to live a normal life.

The former “Game of Thrones” star, 35, told BBC One’s “Sunday Morning” that she feels lucky to be able to communicate after experiencing the aneurysms, which happened while she was a cast member on the Emmy award-winning HBO drama.

“The amount of my brain that is no longer usable — it’s remarkable that I can speak, articulate at times, and live my life completely normally without any consequences,” Clarke said in a video excerpt from the interview published by Subway.

“I belong to the very, very, very small minority of people who can survive that,” she added.

Clarke said a subsequent scan of her brain showed that “a fair amount” of it was “missing … which always makes me laugh”.

“Strokes, basically, once part of your brain doesn’t get blood for a second, it’s gone,” she continued. “And so the blood finds a faster, different route to move, but then the missing piece is gone.”

A protrusion of the wall of a cerebral artery is a bulge in the wall of an artery. If it grows large, it can burst and cause life-threatening bleeding, according to the National Health Institutes.

Brain aneurysms, also called cerebral aneurysms, affect 3% to 5% of the population, the American Heart Association noted:. A ruptured brain aneurysm can cause a type of stroke known as a subarachnoid hemorrhage, according to Mayo Clinicthat’s what Clarke experienced.

Clarke described her medical ordeal in a 2019 essay she wrote for The New Yorker.

The actor revealed that the first brain aneurysm occurred in February 2011 after season one of “Game of Thrones” wrapped. Clarke, then 24, was working out with a trainer when she experienced a painful sensation in her brain.

“My trainer had me get into the plank position and I immediately felt like an elastic band was squeezing my brain,” she wrote. “Somehow I almost crawled into the locker room. I reached the toilet, sank to my knees and then became violently, seriously ill. Meanwhile the pain – shooting, stabbing, constricting pain – got worse. On some level I knew what was happening – my brain was damaged.”

After being taken to a hospital, Clarke was diagnosed with a subarachnoid hemorrhage and underwent three-hour emergency surgery.

After the procedure, she experienced excruciating pain, vision problems and aphasia, a condition in which damage to the brain affects a person’s ability to speak and write. Clarke recalled that at one point she couldn’t remember her own name.

“At my worst moments I wanted to pull the plug,” she wrote. “I asked the medical staff to let me die.”

While healing in the hospital for the next month, Clarke discovered she had another smaller aneurysm on the other side of her brain. Doctors told her it could remain dormant and harmless for the rest of her life. They advised to “keep a close eye on it”.

But in 2013, while Clarke was starring in a Broadway play, the actor, who had only five days left on her Screen Actors Guild insurance policy, underwent a brain scan that showed the growth in her brain had doubled in size. Clarke underwent a procedure to treat it, but suffered complications.

“When they woke me up, I screamed in pain,” Clarke wrote. “The procedure had failed. I had a massive bleed and the doctors made it clear that my chances of survival were uncertain if they didn’t operate again. This time they had to access my brain the old-fashioned way – through my skull.

Her recovery from the second surgery was even more difficult than the first. “I came out of surgery with a drain coming out of my head. Pieces of my skull had been replaced with titanium,” wrote the star, who also recalled having debilitating panic and anxiety attacks in the hospital.

She eventually recovered and now leads a normal life.

“In the years since my second surgery, I have healed beyond my most unreasonable hopes,” she wrote. “I’m at one hundred percent now.”

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