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Awake During Brain Surgery

Since antiquity, has been conjecture concerning the mysteries of the human brain. Is the soul there? What causes insanity? What exactly are headaches? What is a Migraine? Why is it that we feel no pain when our brains are probed? What triggers memory? How about epilepsy, Alzheimers, strokes…?

Today comes this fascinating report from Sydney, Australia of a gentleman having brain surgery while fully conscious.

SYDNEY (AFP) – An Australian man was conscious and spoke to his medical team during life-saving brain surgery in what doctors are claiming as a world-first procedure with cutting-edge technology.

Surgeons carry out an operation. Australian John James was conscious and spoke to his medical team during life-saving brain surgery in what doctors are claiming as a world-first procedure with cutting-edge technology.(AFP/File/Jaafar Ashtiyeh)

John James said it was a strange experience to hear the doctors and nurses talking to each other as he lay on the operating table with a 1.5-centimetre (half-an-inch) hole in his head.

But he said he was confident throughout the April surgery to remove an aneurysm from his brain, which threatened to burst and kill him.

“The nurses looking after me, they were talking to me,” the retired bus driver told a press conference in Canberra. “I could only see bits because I couldn’t move my head at all.”

more of the article here.

Throughout my life, I’ve had a tendency toward headache, as had my father. It was when I was pregnant with my first child that I first experienced a migraine headache. On one side of my head only, I began seeing designs and sort of flashing lights. That lasted for a few minutes, then dissapated, and I was left with a violent headache. I had heard the term Migraine, but had never heard one described. My symptoms alarmed me, my first thought being of a brain tumor, but when I reported the occurrence to my obstetrician, he said I had just described a Classic Migraine. I had them intermittently for years, but I believe mine were hormone related, for I always had more of them when I was pregnant. I now haven’t had one in many years, and don’t often have headaches of any kind.

Do you have a history of headaches? Have them often? Do you believe them to be stress related? Hormonal?


My devotional blog is here.

By Shirley Buxton

Still full of life and ready to be on the move, Shirley at 84 years old feels blessed to have lots of energy and to be full of optimism. She was married to Jerry for 63 years, and grieves yet at his death in August of 2019. They have 4 children, 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren...all beautiful and highly intelligent--of course. :)

17 replies on “Awake During Brain Surgery”

Hello, I am a 30 years old woman from Romania and I had brain surgery 6 months ago. I wasn’t awake during the surgery, so this is not an experience I will be writing here about.
The reason I want to post here a message, is because I have a message to everybody: do not let migraines be misdiagnosed by unqualified doctors.
I have been diagnosed with Classic Migraine 8 years before the surgery, and the cause was never clearly identified. The doctor’s best was guessing about the possible cause and they gave me medication to reduce the stress.
Until one day, after another episode when I felt the pain was located in my left temporal lobe, I decided to investigate on my own. One month and two investigations later, I discovered a little tumor in the exact area I’ve been feeling the pain starting from.
It turned out that the tumor was the real cause of my “Classic Migraine” and I was lucky to have survived all those years, because by its nature, the tumor could have caused me an aneurysm at any given time.
I am not saying that everybody who has a migraine is likely to have a tumor, not at all.. but be aware that “WHY I have headaches?” is not a question to leave not answered.


Why do you ask such tough questions? HAHA When I was totally convinced the chocolate was the cause, I would have to quit it. But I would have to SEE THE LIGHT!!!!


I never knew what a migraine was until I was pregnant with Blake. The headaches were incredible! My vision would split vertically and I would only see half of things. Since he was born, I have had them on a few other occasions, but they are rare. During pregnancy, I believe they were hormonal. I am not sure about the other occasions.


As far as I know none of my girls have had migrain headaches. They do have regular headaches though, of which, I have very, very few. But, they all have week backs and Jennifer has really terrible back aches. I have a stronger back than any of my 3 girls. So, guess they are all smarter than me. They say, most people with lots of headaches are very brilliant. So, guess you are really, really smart. Love ya’


Hi Esther, lets see…..chocolate or headaches….chocolate or headaches…. chocolate or headaches. Thats one tough choice. My headaches are not as big or as frequent as my desire for chocolate. I am glad I can suffer the effects of both.


Sis. Buxton,
I have suffered from TMJ related migraines for several years now. The flashing lights in my peripheral vision let me know one is coming on. If I immediately take a “cocktail” (got that idea from Adam P who suffers from headaches as well) of one Aleve and two Exedrin Migraine, I can usually cut it off at the pass.
My Chiropractor regularly manipulates my jaw and neck to decrease the strain of the TMJ. I also wear an appliance on my teeth when I sleep. The dentist made the appliance and I was AMAZED when after 3 weeks of use the frequency of headaches was cut 80%.
Migraines are horrible and DEFINITELY exacerbated by stress and some food allergens!


I get a lot of headaches, but it has been better over the last few months. I think exercising and losing weight has healed. I am a big baby when it comes to headaches though. I have never had migrains diagnosed, but I have the symptoms. I took a neuroscience class 2 semesters ago and was abosulutely fascinated with the way our brain works!


What an interesting article. It reminded me of that book Jared Alvarez loaned you awhile back, “Phantoms in the Brain”. Did you get a chance to finish that? I checked it out at the library and read most of it. Truly fascinating book with real life stories that were incredible regarding the workings of the brain. I wonder if our soul is embedded somewhere in there? Mike and I have a book that we enjoy reading every so many years. It’s called “Not Quite a Miracle” and journals 4 or 5 true accounts of people who had brain surgery and what went on during the surgery. Even though it was written in the 1980’s, it was still a fascinating read. Thanks for sharing this article.


Hi Sister Buxton,

How amazing that they were able to do brain surgery on a conscious patient! I had my first “migraine” experience a couple of weeks ago. I had never seen a blurry zig zag rainbow line before, so it was a little scary. My husband took me to an opthamologist, and he felt that I had experienced an “occular migraine.” It wasn’t real bad, and I found out later that my oldest sister, brother and my nephew Jeremy have experienced this before. I too, have heard that these things tend to run in families.


Hello, Esther. Early happy birthday. You are to be congratulated on looking so wonderful to be at 71.

Glad you don’t have the Migraine anymore. They are terrible. I’ve heard before that chocolate might be a trigger in some people.

Do any of your girls have Migraines? I’ve read there is some thought that there might be a hereditary tendency. In recent years, Andrew has had a few, but as far as I know that is all among my children.

Headaches are almost unheard of with Jerry. He has suffered very few in his whole life.

Be well.


Sis. Buxton, I used to have Migraine headaches. Very severe. That was back in my 20’s and 30’s, (long time ago). I started giving up certain foods to see if something trigered them. When I gave up chocolate, my headaches went away and have never come back since then. And, now that I will be 71 this Friday, it is a blessing to not have them anymore. I guess it was the chocolate or the caffeine. But, I get caffeine in other things and no headaches. Go figure……….. Love ya’


Those experiments (and treatments) are fascinating. I too have read some of those, and have noted that doctors can stimulate certain areas of the brain and induce memories–even as far back as childhood. The brain is a mysterious place. We are truly “fearfully and wonderfully made.”

Your point is well taken, that only through Jesus can we find everlasting peace.


Sis Buxton:
When you mention, “Probes within the brain.” My mind went to the experiment which I followed for sometime. At one of the major medical schools they inserted a set of electrical stimulators into the frontal lobe. This experiment did show some success with deep depression. It helped the person in the fact that some how, when these probes were electrical excited, they did introduced a feeling of happiness to the person.

However, I am of the very deep confidence that only the King of Peace can bring any form of lasting peace and happiness.



Good morning, Brother Mervin:

I’m with you, and no doubt they probably used some sort of an anesthetic for the drilling into the skull. I do find it amazing that the brain itself seems to be immune from pain. I’m told that probes can be placed right into brain matter with no feeling of pain.


Personal opinion, they could operate on the inside of my head, brain with me awake. HOWEVER, I would hope to be in the twilight zone when the make the opening into which they will do their work.



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