By Sharon Tanenbaum
Bret Michaels has had quite a year. The frontman for iconic 80s hair band Poison has had an emergency appendectomy, brain hemorrhage, and a stroke -- all in the span of about six weeks.
The Rock of Love star also has type 1 diabetes (he was diagnosed when he was six years old), for which he takes four insulin injections a day.
Appearing in his first television interview since heart surgery in January, Michaels opened up about his extraordinary year.
"I should be dead," Michaels told Piers Morgan Tonight on CNN on Wednesday. In April 2010, about two weeks after an emergency appendectomy, the rocker suffered a brain hemorrhage. "My brain exploded. Later on I would find out they call it a thunder clap, but when it happened it made the appendicitis, the appendectomy, every broken bone, all of it go away because it feels like your head explodes."
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The "thunder clap" headache Michaels experienced is when a very sudden and severe headache seems to come on instantly -- and is unlike any headache you've ever had. (If this happens, you should call 911 or seek emergency medical assistance.)
Michaels would find out he had a subarachnoid hemorrhage, which is the bursting of a blood vessel in the brain. "I couldn't move the back of my head... I thought instantly someone had shot me," he said. Michaels immediately went into "survival mode" and instantly rushed to the emergency room.
While being treated, Michaels was anything but reassured from his doctors. "I looked at the doctor and said, 'Am I dying?'And he said, 'You're in a lot of trouble.'"
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Michaels' doctors were right: About a month later, the rocker would have a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or mini-stroke (Yes, that's what experts thought Serene Branson may have had before confirming she suffered from a complex migraine.) linked to a hole in his heart called a patent foramen ovale (PFO). A PFO is an opening in the part of the heart that separates the upper right and left chambers. About two in every 10 people have this opening, which otherwise closes up a few days after birth.
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For his part, Michaels said his death-defying recoveries aren't anything special. "This is no superhero thing going on," he said. "It is -- it just wasn't my time. You know what I mean? It just wasn't my time."
Photo courtesy of CNN
By Sharon Tanenbaum