Chrissy Metz Opens Up About Her Mom's Massive Stroke in Raw Personal Essay
This Is Us star Chrissy Metz has never shied from sharing her feelings about body image, and now the actress is opening up about another intimate detail of her life: her mom's stroke, which happened shortly before Metz's appearance at the 2017 Emmy Awards.
"A year and a half ago, I was gearing up for the Emmys," Metz recalled in a personal essay for Guidepost magazine. "I’d been nominated for best supporting actress in a drama series and convinced Mom that she had to come out to Hollywood to be my date for the red carpet. But one August morning back in Gainesville, Florida, where I’d grown up, she’d just come home from getting her hair done—prepping for the awards—and fell outside her car. An ambulance rushed her to the hospital. She’d had a massive stroke, two major clots in her carotid artery."
A stroke, often called a "brain attack," is a reduction in blood supply to the brain that occurs as a result of a blockage or bleeding. When the brain is deprived of oxygen, brain cells begin to die within minutes.
Metz hopped on the first flight out of L.A. and got to Gainesville as fast as she could. "Rushing to Mom’s bedside, I passed the hospital chaplain. 'Oh my God, you’re Kate from This Is Us,' he said. No, not at that moment. I was just Chrissy looking for her mama."
Metz writes that she could only be at the hospital for 36 hours, since she was due to shoot another episode of the hit TV show. "I was joined by my brother and three sisters, all of us gathering around Mom, talking to her, praying."
Doctors told Metz that her mom would likely have paralysis on her right side and possibly even trouble speaking and swallowing. People who suffer a stroke can lose critical functions, such as memory, mobility, and muscle control, because of damage to brain cells. That's why rapid treatment at first sign of a stroke—ideally within three hours of the first symptom—is crucial.
"My mom didn’t make it to the Emmys red carpet," Metz wrote. "But to none of our surprise, she made a strong recovery. The swelling in her brain went down without surgery. She went from being bedridden to going to the bathroom on her own in less than two weeks. Soon she was able to put playing cards in order from the king to the ace. After three weeks, she was in rehab, walking so fast that the aides had to tell her, 'Slow down!'"
Thankfully, her mom is now back at home and spending time with her family.
Metz wraps up the essay by saying her mom's example is the reason she was so excited to play a tough mama in her first-ever feature film. Breakthrough, which hits theaters April 17, isa movie that's "showing the world what resilience can do," she wrote.