When I was nineteen, I contracted a fatal bacteria called Neisseria meningitis. Within the first fifteen hours of the first symptom, it is ninety-five percent fatal. After entering the hospital, I was put into an induced coma because my entire body was shutting down. My kidneys had failed my liver was shutting down, my lungs and adrenal glands were hemorrhaging and I needed constant blood transfusions. At one point, they realized I was internally bleeding and brought me to a Cat-scan which showed that my spleen had ruptured. I was given 'less than a two percent chance of living'. Although I was in a coma, I was very aware that I was in surgery. At the beginning, I was lying on the table looking up. I saw the Indian doctor to the left of a nurse and me with brown curly hair to the right of me. They were both speaking to me and telling me if I want to live then it is up to me. The doctor asked me if I believed in God and if I do to keep thinking about that. My heart was beating out of my chest 244 beats/minute to be exact I remember feeling it pounding so hard. I felt the doctor cut my chest open. It didn't hurt, I just felt a light touch go from the middle of my chest down to my belly button, and I felt my chest open up, but I felt no pain. I was then looking from above at my body and the doctor and nurses; I thought I was in heart surgery because my heart was pounding out of my chest erratically.
The doctor kept talking to me, although I don't recall seeing his mouth move, I could hear his voice and his words. He was talking me through it. At one point I knew I was dying, my heart was beating so hard and so fast, and I kept thinking I know you guys are trying to help me but hurry because I am going, I'm going, hurry, I'm going. Then I felt one last pound in my chest and I knew that was my last breath. At this point it is confirmed on my electrocardiogram reports that I flat-lined. I remember being in a space floating almost, I didn't feel my legs. It was dark but there was a green light in the background. It wasn't a brilliant bright light it was a soft green. I saw three silhouettes, I didn't recognize who or what they were but they spoke to me and said, 'You can come with us or you can stay.' I remember getting really mad because I was so young and there was no way I was going to let myself die. I remember thinking of all the things I didn't want to give up, like the sound of ocean waves and thunderstorms, even the taste of hose water when I was a kid. I thought about my family and the smell of campfires. I wasn't ready to give that up. I remember knowing that my life would be different from that point on and knowing that physically my life would be challenged but that I made the decision to live. Someone else at that point told me, 'No matter what happens in life just go with it. Just roll with the punches. Life isn't that serious and it will all make sense in the end.' At that point, I experienced the strongest breath of air and it just felt as if my body suddenly became saturated with life. After that surgery, I remained in a coma for another week then slowly woke up. I actually woke up feeling positive and mentally strong, I knew I made the decision to stay therefore I could not complain about the challenges to come. Four weeks later, I had both of my legs amputated and a year later, I had a kidney transplant. So far everything that has happened in my life has been a blessing.
Date NDE Occurred: July 1999
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Illness. Surgery-related Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function) While in a coma and on life support my spleen burst and I was internally bleeding. I was in surgery to get it removed and not expected to live. My heart flat-lined and I was aware of everything that was going on, although my eyes were taped shut and I was in a coma.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Mixed
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes I clearly left my body and existed outside it
How did your highest level of consciousness and alertness during the experience compare to your normal everyday consciousness and alertness? More consciousness and alertness than normal I was alert on a physical level where I knew what was going on with my body at the very beginning. Then I was in a space where I left my body and was encountered by three spirits so at that moment I was I guess you would say spiritually aware.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I was alert on a physical level where I knew what was going on with my body at the very beginning. Then I was in a space where I left my body and was encountered by three spirits so at that moment I was I guess you would say spiritually aware.
Were your thoughts speeded up? Incredibly fast
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning
Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid
Did your hearing differ in any way from normal? Because I was in a coma. But during my NDE I could hear everything and see everything clearly.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? Yes, and the facts have been checked out
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Yes I didn't pass through the tunnel but remained in it - I was not standing on my feet though.
Did you see any beings in your experience? I actually saw them
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Yes I did not know them there were three silhouettes they weren't male or female, they were asking me if I want to stay or go with them. When I made the decision to stay I was told by somebody else just to roll with the punches and live with compassion it will all make sense in the end.
The experience included: Darkness
The experience included: Light
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? A light clearly of mystical or other-worldly origin
Did you see an unearthly light? Yes A pale soft green light at the end of the dark tunnel.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm I was somewhere in between. I did not go further then the tunnnel
What emotions did you feel during the experience? A mixture of anger because I didn't want to leave, passion and excitement about life and living and a sense of 'knowing' I felt very compassionate and thankful.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Relief or calmness
Did you have a feeling of joy? Happiness
Did you feel a sense of harmony or unity with the universe? I felt united or one with the world
The experience included: Special Knowledge
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future I knew I would be physically disabled. I lost both of my feet four weeks later.
Did you come to a border or point of no return? I came to a barrier that I was not permitted to cross; or was sent back against my will
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What was your religion prior to your experience? Liberal none
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? No
What is your religion now? Liberal none
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? No
The experience included: Presence of unearthly beings
Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice? I encountered a definite being, or a voice clearly of mystical or unearthly origin
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? I actually saw them
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? Yes I knew that I was the one who needed to make the decision to live or to die. I was also told that everything will make sense at the end and to just take life as it comes because even the negative things in life have a reason behind them.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes I am more thankful for everyone in my life today, I am more compassionate as well. Life is about living compassionately and fully, and I know that now.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? No
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? No
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The entire experience. Knowing that I made the decision to survive has stuck with me ever since. I also thought about all of the things I didn't want to give up and all the things I wanted to experience. My life is so much more full now. I appreciate every moment.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes As soon as I woke from my coma I wrote on paper because I still had a ventilator down my throat and could not speak. I wrote everything I experienced down on paper. Everyone loved it because it was an absolute miracle I survived. Although I have a hard time telling people, it just isn't something comfortable to say out loud, it's something I cherish.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Uncertain I had heard of it before. That's it.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real. It came back to me slowly over about a week's time, but I was also waking up from a coma for over a week's time. I just knew it happened, and recall my thoughts and feelings at the time it happened.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real. The feelings I had about it in a sense have faded slowly just because I thought about it constantly for the first two years after the experience. Then the last three years I have moved on in my life and I only think about it when I am really quiet or in a challenging situation.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? No.