Art Title: ‘A Dream Within A Nightmare’ • Artist: ©Ana Cruz – All rights reserved. Artist Website: https://www.artstation.com/anacruzarts
Many have PTSD for all different reasons￼. I was diagnosed with PTSD in 2010 after my first brain surgery￼. My first brain surgery was very long￼, 12 hours because of the size of the tumor and it was very tangled in my vessels￼. As my neurosurgeon put it￼ “It took so long to remove the tumor because it was so tangled in the vessels I had to be under sedation for a very long time￼ to complete the full removal of the tumor￼”. My first brain tumor￼ was 7cm x 5cm x 6cm. Which is VERY LARGE for a brain tumor.
My Second Brain Surgery (2015) I had The Awake Brain Surgery aka Mapping. To Prevent Paralysis. And No, I don’t remember any of this procedure.
So back to 2010. As I’m being prepped: First was in the hospital room. They shaved my head because the area of my skull removal was going to be large due to the size of my tumor. I remember the nurses saying “You look like GI Jane” they were trying to comfort me but it didn’t work as I knew what was about to happen. After my head was shaved I was brought into the OR. My head was placed in a device and then I saw it. The cause of my PTSD. The tools.
Neurosurgical 4 Point Skull Clamp. CRANIOTOMY INSTRUMENT KIT. A Burr Hole is Made By Cranial Drill. This is done to create a basic flap to expose the brain. Then it is replaced with a Surgical Mesh and Surgical Glue. Yes Glue.
Image Provided By: Google Craniotomy Instrument Kit.
I remember everything was covered in plastic. While my head was being place in proper position I asked why everything was covered. I was told to “protect the equipment”. I lost 6 units of blood during this surgery. The human body contains 8-12 units so I obviously had 6 units of blood transfusion. Thank You to All of You That Donate Blood. My skull was reconstructed. My mom got the letter from the donors family which was provided by the hospital. She responded to the hospital which they give to the family. Thank You to Everyone that is a registered Organ Donor.
My scar is very large. It’s a “Horseshoe Shape” as the Neurosurgery World Calls this. I can still feel the Burr Holes in my skull. You can actually see them too. (My second surgery the skull was not replaced so that’s why I now have a dip.) This is my first time sharing this story.
I started having nightmares in 2010 a few months after my surgery. I was diagnosed with PTSD. I went through therapy for a few years. Some Psychologist￼ said “My nightmares were caused from all the Horror Movies I watch”. NO. My nightmares were from my experience in the OR. I rarely have dreams related to Horror Movies and if I do I don’t call them Nightmares. I refer to them as “Creative Dreams” because they don’t bother me at all. My Nightmares are real life experiences from my Surgery in 2010. Yes I did try to take medication for PTSD. I had Grand Mal Seizures after a week of being on this medication. It was determined by my Neurosurgeon and Neurologist that the extent of my brain damage made my body intolerant to these medications so it was up to me to learn to cope. So since 2010 I’ve learned to cope with PTSD which as many of us knows comes along with it’s super fun friend Anxiety. I think I’m doing pretty well with coping and so do my doctors. I actually surprise them at how well I’m doing. I have, at home EEG Studies, so I’ve actually watched myself sleep. Now I understand why the mornings are always the worst. I have Epilepsy and Dystonia. These Episodes are more frequent in my sleep. Triggered by my PTSD Dreams. I usually remember my dreams because I wake up instantly. They are always about my real life medical experiences.
This is my first time sharing this. I shared this for two reasons. One reason is PTSD is a EVIL BITCH and for those that suffer from this, whatever the reason is, I understand and my heart goes out to you. The Second reason is to all the Horror Fans that suffer from PTSD, I’m sure you were once told too your dreams were caused from Horror Movies. If that were true we’d all be dreaming about Leatherface and not OUR REAL LIFE TRAUMAS.
Thank You All For Reading This. It took me 9 Years to open up publicly about my PTSD.