English film and television actress, best known as Bond girl Kara Milovy in the 1987 James Bond film The Living Daylights.
English film and television actress, best known as Bond girl Kara Milovy in the 1987 James Bond film The Living Daylights. Maryam D'Abo describes the sensation of having a brain hemorrhage as like "shotguns in my head" – a series of explosions arising from the rupturing of an aneurysm that had formed on one of her blood vessels in the subarachnoid. The London-based actress underwent this harrowing experience five years ago, while she and her film director husband Hugh Hudson were staying with friends in Los Angeles. "I had been having acute headaches for six months before, which I'd attributed to hormonal changes of a woman in her forties. But when we flew to America, I was suffering terrible headaches from the time we got off the plane. Two weeks later I woke up feeling out of sorts, but thought I'd work it off exercising on our friends' Stairmaster. After about five minutes, I felt dizzy, as if I was going to faint, then this massive heatwave – whoosh! – swept up through my head, followed by the 'explosions'. " D'Abo says she went from sweating to freezing, and started vomiting violently. "I just remember I had so much pain in my head that I was trying not to move, praying it would go away." At first, she was misdiagnosed as suffering from viral meningitis – its similar symptoms of sweating, headaches, nausea and sensitivity to light and noise can lead to brain aneurysms initially being undetected. But as her condition worsened, after three days she was admitted to the renowned neurosurgery department of Cedar-Sinai Hospital. Lumbar puncture revealed the haemorrhage, and an emergency four-hour operation was carried out to prevent further blood seepage into the brain. "Luckily, my aneurysm was accessible, whereas some occur in parts of the head that are hard for surgeons to get to," explains D'Abo. Rupture: Living With My Broken Brain is at times graphic and disturbing, but at other moments poignant, funny and even uplifting. It was scripted by writer and neurologist Paul Broks, who had access to D'Abo's stream-of-consciousness diaries, was directed by Hudson, and has music specially composed and performed by Hudson's old friend and associate from Chariots of Fire, Vangelis, along with that of Mark Knopfler, performed and donated to the film. It features D'Abo's interviews with people such as Quincy Jones who, like her, suffered a brain haemorrhage in his forties, jazz guitarist Pat Martino, who for several years "forgot" how to play until he underwent surgery to correct an aneurysm, and former literary editor of The Observer, Robert McCrum, who suffered a haermorrhagic stroke that left him partially paralysed. All these were people who, like D'Abo, "made it back from brain injury", and the intention of the film "is to give hope to others fighting the same problem, and to help their families to understand what their loved ones are going through" Through all of this she maintains. "Life is good –we forget that.