surgical trauma

This article is about an experience I had in Spring 2021 after a simple knee surgery. It explains how a current event, in this case a simple surgical procedure, can help heal old events. For me, it helped heal the trauma from a whole bunch of earlier surgeries that were more traumatic and scary.  

PLEASE KNOW: What I am about to describe is advanced somatic work and it verges on soul retrieval (as the images might suggest). I do not recommend entering into this level of work until you have built up enough capacity in your somatic and nervous systems to hold this level of sensory and visual intensity.

surgical trauma

Also know that this is not my entire surgical history. It represents a completion, a healing if you will, that happened recently. 

First things to know about working with surgical/anesthesia trauma stuff is that you can’t do this stuff until you’ve got some MASTERY of the basics on board, but these are some of those traumas that are way more common than we realize, and even my predecessors rarely, if ever, talk about it.

I’ve experienced it. I’ve healed it. This is a crude summary.

I’ve had dreams like what you see in these images (see below). 

Wherein the demon/villain/scary frightening “thing” – often called the hag – is there no matter where you turn, no matter how fast you run.

surgical trauma

It is fucking terrifying. You think you are going to die, but you never go anywhere, and you just keep being chased and tortured in a dark hallway and house with no exits – this is what nightmares are made of.

Those dreams that I had for most of my childhood and into my early thirties went away as I became more embodied and processed the many surgical and anesthesia experiences that I’ve lived through at the somatic level (via the advanced work of Peter Levine, founder or Somatic Experiencing).

 They also went away when I harvested and harnessed FULL KILL ENERGY and could feel the utter sadistic joy of dismembering and annihilating the energies that violated my innocent body in the context of “getting my tonsils” out.

According to some in my higher peer/colleageal realms, the level of shame invovled with waking up during a surgery is of a higher valence than rape (I gotta find that research, but I recall it was Robert Scaer’s research!). I don’t mean to diminish ANY trauma by mentioning this, but there is a sense of full powerlessness when pharmaceutical chemicals have completely paralyzed you, and there are scalpels and people IN your viscera and organs and you are feeling pain, but you can’t scream or even try to fight. The thought of it is mind-bending.

Has this happened to you?

Just this week (April 2021), I had a short surgery, with full anesthesia, to remove some debris in my knee joint that broke off in late-January 2021. 

This “debris” that now I know was a 3.5 cm in diameter piece of bone – that’s big by the way – has been floating around in my knee joint since. It has been moderately debilitating, and painful, to the point that if I had to go down stairs I needed to use crutches, or go on my hands and feet backwards down the steps.

I share this, because experiencing this recent surgery as a highly regulated adult, who can track all that is going on, and advocate for my needs, and be engaged with my sensations, emotions, and so on, led to the most BLISSFUL (yes, I’m using the word blissful to describe a surgical experience) re-negotiation of past surgeries that were terrifying and the cause of what I wrote about above (those nightmares).

This coupled with a lot of the detoxification regimes I’ve been doing the past year to rid my body of all chemicals, made it such that I woke up from the surgery without any sickness, nausea, vomiting, confusion, or fear.

surgical trauma

(All previous 8 surgical experiences from age 5 to 25 were not like this, mainly because I had no clue how much exposure to chemicals, in utero, intergenerationally, in infancy, childhood, and teenager years was impacting my ability to process toxins – but that is another story for another day!)

I woke up with a nurse by my side and from a pleasant dream that I can no longer remember. 

surgical trauma

But here’s the cool thing: The night after surgery, I went to sleep and had the most technicolor vivid dreams of being in a magical land, with old friends from elementary school, tons of love, and bursts of rainbow colours flying everywhere – coming out of the ocean, from the buildings. It was beautifully insane.

To this day, it is still fresh in my mind and is remarkable to feel and witness how the body and mind, and maybe even my soul, has retrieved itself back to Earth with such beauty.

While the graphic detail of the demons or this “hag-like” entity aren’t fun to think about and definitely not look at, they are the reality for so many who have experienced horrendous traumas wherein the body experienced an inescapable attack, yet was unconscious either due to getting knocked out from an assault, or by chemicals. It is this experience of being violated while unconscious (which could be anything from sexual assault to a surgery that we actually need in order to correct something) that seems to be a common thread among all those who see ‘the hag,’ or other demonic presences in the dreamspace.

Unfortunately, just facing them in your dreams is not enough. We must do work – deep nervous system and somatic work – in the waking realm so we can practice staying grounded, or as Peter Levine could call it, “tethered” to the here and now. 

For me, having this most recent surgery was an opportunity to enter into the other side, with agency and resources, with regulation and a cleaner system overall, and because of all this foundational and preparatory work, it enabled the healing of multiple traumatic surgical events. 

I don’t think one has to go so far as to experience another surgery or another gruesome attack to resolve and heal these old survival energies. But I do know that life often presents us with new challenges and circumstances, and even maybe a new stressor, as an offering to work on that which we didn’t have the capacity to do in the past. 

In many ways, it is what is before us that will be our greatest teacher, granted we have the awareness to know when that teacher presents itself. 

Don’t underestimate the mystery of what might seem to be ‘bad luck.’  The next time something uncomfortable, or what might seem to be ‘unfair’ pops up in our life, try to take what is offered as a potential for change and then healing. 

We can rewrite our past and create new futures when we have the patience to work with it ALL!

I hope this has been useful and maybe even a little interesting for some.

BIG THANKS to Peter Levine and his seminal work on working with near-death experiences, surgical, and anesthesia trauma.