An influencer who had brain surgery while she was awake says she remembers 'every moment' as she describes the 'surreal' operation to her fans

clopez@businessinsider.com (Canela López)
Emily Sears
Emily Sears

Paul Archuleta / Getty Images

Emily Sears, a model who has graced Carl's Jr. ads and appeared in campaigns for Khloe Kardashian's Good American denim line, shared that she underwent a life-changing brain operation last week — for which she was awake the entire time. 

"I remember every moment of being awake, there was 2 surgeons and one waved at me," Sears, 35, wrote in an Instagram post to her 4.9 million followers. "It was as strange and surreal as it sounds." 

 

In April 2019, she was diagnosed with a cavernous malformation, a cluster of abnormal blood vessels in the brain, after having a major seizure during a shopping trip. After that first seizure, her life was turned upside-down. 

"My whole life was put on hold from that point on from my work life to my social life, my relationship with my body and my identity," Australia-born Sears, who is based in Los Angeles, wrote. "This past year has been a rollercoaster of the up and downs of having multiple seizures, side effects of medication trials and the emotional toll of everything in my world changing so suddenly."

Sears decided that, rather than manage her condition with medication for the rest of her life, she wanted to undergo surgery to stop the episodes once and for all. 

Because the cluster of vessels was located in her front left temporal lobe, the part of the brain that controls our ability to speak, Sears had to be awake for the procedure to help surgeons to spot if they were coming close to vital parts of her lobe that affected her facial control. 

"Ultimately, this experience has changed my world view more than I could ever express, and the overall feeling I am left with is gratitude," Sears wrote. "I have a deepened respect for the human body, the human mind and the human soul."

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