I was suffering from testicular cancer. I had had my left testicle removed. Part of the cure was to undergo chemotherapy. This made me very sick and weak. At that time in my life, I was suffering from sleep apnea [a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing or instances of very low breathing during sleep]. I had numerous ‘events’ of a cessation of breathing during sleep. Usually, I would go into a convulsion or spasm and wake up gasping for breath. I think the effect of the chemo weakened my body enough so that the waking up gasping part did not happen.
As I lay in bed sleeping, the logic part of my brain flashed a message: ‘Breathing has stopped. If it does not resume, death will occur.’ It was that simple. I could feel ‘pressure’ inside my body, sort of like the pressure in a balloon filled with air. No pain, just pressure. For a moment, I was seized with panic as I realized I was dying. Then the panic went away and I thought, ‘This is death? This is so easy, so natural. What was I frightened of?’ I felt a little silly at having been frightened.
At this point, a ‘sensation’ came over me. It was a warm emotion that permeated every part of me. It was very peaceful and unique. I had never felt anything like this before.
Then I felt as if I was lying on my back in a pool of water. I began to sink slowly down into the pool. It seemed to grow dark and empty. A moment later, it grew bright; very bright. There was an object in front of me that looked like the sun. It was so intensely bright but it did not hurt my eyes to look at it. Suddenly, I began to understand things. I understood why I had cancer and how it was so very important for me to have cancer. In fact, it was so important that I realized I would not have it any other way. But I can't explain why it was important, I just understood that it was. Then the object spoke to me. It spoke in English and sounded just like any other person. It said, ‘Hello Arthur. I am so glad to see you.’
At that point, I mentioned something from my past that I was not very proud of. Then the object said, ‘You didn't like that, did you’? I replied ‘No, I did not.’
The object then said, ’I didn't think you would’.
At this point there was an imaginary line in front of me, and I knew if I crossed it I could not go back. I was hesitating.
The light then said, ‘What are you doing?’
I answered, ’I'm dying’.
The light asked me, ‘Are you ready to die?’
I replied, ‘No! There are things I must do’.
The light then said, ‘That's right. You go back and do them. When you are done, come back and see me’.
At this point, I re-entered my body. I remember touching my left arm with my right hand. It felt odd. The skin felt like the skin of a deceased person, cold and lifeless. It was as if the life energy had not settled all the way back into my body.
I sat up in the darkened bedroom. I looked at my wife sleeping next to me. I wondered what had just happened. I would have thought it was a dream except the warm glow that peaceful feeling, was still with me. It lasted a couple of days.
That was the singular thing that told me something extraordinary had really happened.
Date NDE Occurred: 1984
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Uncertain Illness was actually sleeping in bed Illness, trauma or other condition not considered life threatening Had cancer / and suffering from sleep apneaI may have been suffering an apnea attack. The effect of the chemotherapy had weakened my body so I did not go into a ‘spasm’ [and wake up] as I ran out of air.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Positive
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes It felt like a body with arms and legs, but it looked like an outline of a body, sort of dark with a clear or white outline shaped like a person. No features that I can remember.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? It happened during sleep.
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning Time seemed to go very fast. Many things seemed to flow at me in a rush.
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Uncertain It felt like sinking into a pool of water. I don't know if this counts as an enclosure.
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Yes This ball of light that looked like the sun.
The experience included: Void
The experience included: Darkness
The experience included: Light
Did you see an unearthly light? Yes Very bright. Like looking into the sun except it does not hurt your eyes.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? First, fear as I realized I was dying. Then surprise as I realized that this was ‘normal’. Then a little silly as I thought about my fear. Then something very powerful; an emotion of peace and happiness. A sensation that was so overwhelming, I really can't find words to describe it.
The experience included: Special Knowledge
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe I understood the reason I had cancer. I understood that my life was not my own personal property but that it ‘belonged’ to many others. I understood that all that was asked of me was to ‘care’ about what happens to others and be helpful if I can.
The experience included: Life review
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control I think I saw just a tiny fragment of a past event that made me feel unhappy.
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
The experience included: Boundary
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? Uncertain There seemed to an imaginary line in front of me. If I crossed it I could not return.
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 I had a choice. I could have refused to return but the both of us knew that I needed to return. We understood it and accepted it.
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What was your religion prior to your experience? Moderate
What is your religion now? Moderate
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Uncertain I came to look upon my fellow man with a great deal more tolerance and compassion.
The experience included: Presence of unearthly beings
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes I can explain the process but I can't find words to describe the ‘feeling’.
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 best was the sensation of peace and understanding. The worst was the moment of fear as I realized that this was it.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes It varies according to the individual. Some are skeptical, some are fascinated, and some are just bored. I try to tell the story to people who have lost a friend or relative. I hope that it helps them in their grief to know that they have not really lost anyone; that there is just a temporary breakdown in communications. Someday, it will be set right again. I told my story to my father. Several years later, as he was dying of liver cancer and said to my mother, ’Tell Arthur I will be looking for the light’. I can only hope that little bit of knowledge eased his transition between the worlds.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? It might be good for everyone to have a little of this experience in life. It helps us understand our journey better. I wish I could just get the simple message out to everyone: ‘Care about your fellow man. Help if you can.’
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? Nothing comes to mind. But I want to thank you for giving me an opportunity to tell the story. I feel better.