My near death experience happened after cardiac surgery. At the time of surgery, I was already critically ill. In fact, I was dying from congestive heart failure caused by congenital cardiac problems associated with Holt-Oram syndrome. I had not experienced any major problems with my heart up until about roughly a year before my surgery. I have been told since that the doctors involved in my case were not overly confident that I would make it through surgery because, even as I was being an'sthetized, I was turning blue and my breathing was erratic. The surgery itself went well and I was moved to the cardiac intensive care unit. All seemed well until I was intubated and allowed to breathe on my own. I began having breathing difficulties soon after and had to be re-intubated.
To cut a very long story short, this happened three times in total over a six week period and I needed to have a tube with a balloon on the end inserted into my groin which went up to my heart and pulsated with every heartbeat. During this time I did have brief moments of consciousness as the doctors took me off life support periodically to see if I was able to breathe on my own but I think for the most part I was unconscious. During all this, I was critically ill, doctors had told my family I had about a twenty-five percent chance of surviving and if I did make it through there was a high chance I would have sustained major brain damage.
At some stage, although I know I wasn't conscious, I too had the thought that I was going to die. I remember hearing myself say, 'I'm going to die.' I wasn't at all upset by this thought. Then there was a brief moment of darkness and next thing, I could see myself lying in what I think was a room. This room was full of light and even though it was a bright light it wasn't like glaring sunlight more of a pleasant golden-white light coming through what may have been a glass wall. I felt very loved at that moment, very much at peace and relaxed. Even though I couldn't see anyone else, I knew I wasn't alone. After a little while, I heard a gentle male voice tell me 'You are going to be alright, you are not going to die.' I should clarify that when I say I heard a voice, I didn't actually 'hear' it with my ears, it was in my mind, more like a thought. I do remember thinking I must have died and gone to heaven. That is all I can remember of the experience, except that it wasn't at all upsetting or frightening in any way.
Date NDE Occurred: March 1997
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Surgery-related Life threatening event, but not clinical death
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 I remember looking down at myself, I looked very peaceful.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I was unconscious.
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Uncertain I did experience a moment of darkness but unsure whether I went through tunnel etc.
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Yes I didn't actually see anyone but I knew I wasn't alone.
The experience included: Darkness
The experience included: Light
Did you see an unearthly light? Yes It was a bright light it wasn't like glaring sunlight more of a pleasant golden-white light.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Initially a little unsure and anxious but for the most part a feeling of being safe, loved and relaxed.
The experience included: Special Knowledge
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What was your religion prior to your experience? Liberal None
What is your religion now? Moderate Spiritual but non religious
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes Yes, although I am not a religious person, I feel much more spiritual now.
The experience included: Presence of unearthly beings
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes Difficult to explain as it was somewhat like a dream.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes I am far more intuitive and I have ESP. I have seen and spoken to angels on several occasions.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? Being initially scared of dying would have to be the worst. Everything else was wonderful!
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I have only discussed it with my husband who was very understanding and interested. He did not disbelieve me. With his ongoing support, I have been able to write down my experience to share with others.
I'm a little unsure of sharing my experience with anyone else in my family as I think they would find it odd and maybe not believe me.
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? It's fine the way it is. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to share with others who have this experience.