Hercules has Nothing on Kevin Sorbo

Hercules has Nothing on Kevin Sorbo

Hercules has Nothing on Kevin Sorbo

Surviving three strokes and an untreated aneurysm makes Kevin Sorbo much more like Hercules than his TV character

     
Hercules has Nothing on Kevin Sorbo
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The odds of starring in a successful television series are greater than a million to one.  The odds of surviving both a stroke and a ruptured aneurysm are about one in 75 million. Actor Kevin Sorbo who played Hercules in the 1990's television series has done both.  Perhaps the most astonishing part is that this all happened while Sorbo was filming Hercules and no one ever knew.  The writers kept everything hush-hush by rewriting scripts and using guest actors. 

More than a decade later and fully recovered, Sorbo, 52, has written a book and is talking about his real life Herculean experience.  The book is called True Strength: My Journey from Hercules to Mere Mortal and How Nearly Dying Saved My Life.

In 1997 Sorbo, then 38 began experiencing pain, tingling, numbness, and cold in his left arm. Initially he ignored his symptoms attributing them to an earlier weightlifting injury. But when his vision became blurry and his speech slurred, he decided to go to the hospital.  There, he was diagnosed with a severe disruption of blood-flow to his arm stemming from an aneurysm in his shoulder. Sorbo says, "The aneurysm had been producing blood clots for some time. I had blockages all down my arm that were making my fingers cold, tingly, and numb."

Sorbo's doctor Franklin Moser, M.D., a neurologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said that one of the arteries in Sorbo’s arm was completely blocked and required immediate attention. He then recommended an unconventional treatment.  Dr. Moser wanted to insert platinum coils around the aneurysm that would cause the blood to clot and adhere to the walls of the aneurysm.  The coil clots would then form new arterial walls and allow blood to flow through the area normally. 

After the successful procedure, Sorbo’s doctor gave him some shocking news. His Brain MRI showed that he had had three prior strokes.   Sorbo recalls his doctor’s words, "You had three strokes, Kevin. Three. You are very lucky to be walking around.  You should be dead."

Strokes are the #3 cause of death and the leading cause of disability among adults.  Every year there are 25,000-30,000 cases of diagnosed aneurysms in the United States and of those 40% will die within the first month. The most common type is a cerebral aneurysm, or brain aneurysm.  Sorbo had an atypical aneurysm as it originated in his shoulder.

Aneurysms occur when a weak or thin spot on a blood vessel balloons out, forming a tiny sac or bubble off the side of an artery that then fills with blood.  A leaking or ruptured aneurysm can cause a hemorrhagic stroke and if not treated immediately can lead to long term disabilities or death. Although many aneurysms do not have a specific cause, they are usually the result of advanced age, family history, genetic disorders, race, high blood pressure, smoking, head trauma, and atherosclerosis, a condition where the artery wall thickens, usually because of high cholesterol levels.

Sorbo's doctors believe that the blood clots in his shoulder became loose and traveled backwards into his brain causing the three strokes.  This too, is highly atypical as blood clots don’t usually travel backwards.

So, the fact that Sorbo survived three strokes and an untreated aneurysm makes me think that he is much more like Hercules than his TV character.

 

Photo By:  J. Neal Goggins


Stacy Matson, a health enthusiast from Southern California, regularly blogs on Celebrity Health for A Healthier World, as well as contributing to the Best of the Best.

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Last Updated : Thursday, June 19, 2014