After suffering a stroke in 2001, Sharon Stone is now vocal about what she believes was a misdiagnosis that might have killed her.
The “Basic Instinct” actress explained in an interview with British Vogue how she experienced a “lightening bolt-like” pain in her head and being taken to the hospital right away.
She recalled going to the emergency room in 2001, saying, “I remember waking up on a gurney and asking the kid wheeling it where I was going, and him saying, ‘brain surgery.’”
“A doctor had decided, without my knowledge or consent, that he should give me exploratory brain surgery and sent me off to the operating room,” she claimed. “What I learned through that experience is that in a medical setting, women often just aren’t heard, particularly when you don’t have a female doctor.”
Stone said that she had experienced a brain hemorrhage as a result of a ruptured vertebral artery.
“They missed it with the first angiogram and decided that I was faking it,” the “Casino” star claimed. “My best friend talked them into giving me a second one and they discovered that I had been hemorrhaging into my brain, my whole subarachnoid pool, and that my vertebral artery was ruptured. I would have died if they had sent me home.”
Stone is still coping with the lasting consequences of the brain injury.
She said that she was bleeding so heavily when she first left the hospital “that the right side of my face fell, my left foot was dragging severely, and I was stuttering very badly.” says Stone, adding that in order to treat her severe brain seizures and stuttering, she now takes medication every day.
“For the first couple of years I would also get these weird knuckle-like knots that would come up all over the top of my head that felt like I was getting punched. I can’t express how painful it all was,” she added.
She recently told People magazine that in order to prevent seizures, she needs to get a full “eight hours of uninterrupted sleep”.
At The Hollywood Reporter’s “Raising Our Voices” luncheon in June, she shared her experiences of living with a disability.
“I had a stroke in 2001. I had a 1% chance of survival. I had a nine-day brain bleed. I recovered for seven years and I haven’t had jobs since. My contract changed. I have a maximum of a 14-hour day. When it first happened, I didn’t want to tell anybody because, you know, if something goes wrong with you, you’re out. Something went wrong with me: I’ve been out, for 20 years,” she declared.
Stone attributes her encouragement to be transparent about her life and disabilities to Michael J. Fox, who she met within an interview for British Vogue.
“I hid my disability and was afraid to go out and didn’t want people to know,” she said. “I just thought no one would accept me.”
“I think many people identify with their illness as ‘I am this thing,’ and it cannot be your identity,” she continued. “In my case, so much was taken from me. I lost custody of my child, I lost my career and was not able to work, I was going through a divorce and being put through the ringer, I lost so much, and I could have allowed that to define me. But you have to stand up and say, ‘OK, that happened, and now what? What am I made of?’”
After withdrawing from the limelight in Hollywood, Stone has taken up painting as a passion.
She also serves on the board of the Barrow Neurological Foundation and organized the fundraising event Neuro Night, the earnings of which were donated to the Barrow Neurological Institute, which focuses on developing treatments for Parkinson’s disease, brain tumors, and aneurysms.
Neuro Night 2023 was an extraordinary outpouring for @SupportBarrow, raising $3M for brain research @BarrowNeuro. Nearly 400 supporters joined our cause, Sugar Ray rocked the house, PHX Mayor Gallego partied, Zack Krone ran the auction, including 2 Sharon Stone paintings… pic.twitter.com/oddJXGNAbl
— Michael T. Lawton, MD (@mtlawton) November 1, 2023