I was going through very stressful times at the moment, getting ready with my daughter and husband to move to a different country. I started feeling sick, light-headed and with a fever. I checked with my gynecologist because I was experiencing pains during sex, he said he couldn't find anything, so I was sent to an urologist. After different kinds of investigations, finally they found a well-hidden abscess on my bladder, but not inside the bladder. The urologist said the infection is big, and he wouldn't recommend the antibiotics treatment, which aren't always be very quick. Because we were so close to leaving the country to a place with no health coverage, he said that the best way to get rid of it was to cut it out. It sounded like I had no better choice, so I agreed to surgery.
I remember sitting in the waiting room, having a review of my life, analyzing my marriage, my bad relationship that I was having with my husband, and mostly thinking of my dear daughter who was 6 years old at that time. I knew the fights between my husband and I was not a good environment to raise a kid. I was trying to debate, in my mind, which way to I turn, leave him or continue in the poisoned marriage we had. I remember there were four or five patients in the waiting room for surgery, and the surgeon said I'd be the last one. I had lots of time to pray and think of my life over-and-over, praying and asking God to give me a sign, just a little sign to know what the best to do in my life is.
When I got into the surgery room, I was scared, but trusted God with all my heart. I knew when the doctor gave me the intravenous anesthetic, and from there on, I don't remember anything from the surgery room.
I do remember an unearthly experience that I went through. I felt incredibly peaceful and happy, a sensation like I was not in my body. I felt like I was up in clouds, in the sky. I could see, while flying, tons of lights underneath. I had nothing to worry or to think about. I was extremely happy up there. At one point, I started wondering what it is with all those lights underneath. When I paid more attention, it seemed to me like I was able to distinguish that they were, or at least some of them, were lights from houses or buildings. Immediately, it came to my mind that I'm sure that it was my hometown. I don't recall seeing people, but I started wondering where my family is. I really wanted to see my mom, dad and brother.
When that feeling of worry about them, not being able to see or find them got more intense, I started losing the 'happiness' sensation. I felt like I was suffocating and all of a sudden found myself flying through a scary narrow tunnel at an amazing speed. I was in a continuous spin making me dizzy and the more I was trying to find a way out, the more I felt like I was suffocating. I thought I was going to die; the trauma was incredible, I feel tension in my stomach while I recall that feeling. While spinning in that tunnel I heard a voice saying 'don't give up, don't give up' and soon enough I started seeing a blinding light. Even though I thought the light could kill my eyes, I knew I had to keep watching it to get me out of there.
When flying through the tunnel, it felt incredibly long. But after hearing the voice and seeing the light, soon I started hearing other voices around, and that dominant voice saying 'you're almost there'. Then the voices came closer and closer, and I thought I heard my Mom's voice, then heard myself yelling 'MOM, MOM, MOM help me' and when my Mom touched my head and answered 'I'm here dear, I'm here' I woke up in tears and asked her to hold me.
I was terrified about all that fight to get out of the tunnel. That distress was so traumatic that I almost forgot the peaceful and the unbelievable happiness I experienced in the sky. My head is pounding now while retrieving that information. I am not scared anymore, but I was for a long time until I taught myself to focus on the good memories and the good in life rather than bad. I chose to be good, do good, think good, to love God and be thankful for everything.
Date NDE Occurred: August 2002
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Uncertain. While under general anesthesia. 'Illness, trauma or other condition not considered life threatening'
A huge source of infection (big abscess inside the body), if not removed or cured properly could be considered life-threatening?
How do you consider the content of your experience? Both pleasant AND distressing
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Uncertain After that dominant voice told me 'you're almost there' I started hearing a voice around me. That, along with the bright light, somehow assured me that the unknown dominant voice was right. After I woke up in my mom's arms, I asked her if she heard me talking or screaming. In my mind, I thought the freaky tunnel made me yell. She said I whispered a few times 'I won't let my husband touch me again'.
I lost awareness of my body
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
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I believe that happened after seeing the bright light in the tunnel, that way I knew I was heading somewhere out where I could breathe. The suffocating feeling was awful; I don't even have words to describe it, and same as I can't find appropriate words to describe the happiness prior to getting into the tunnel: I don't know how to explain this.
Were your thoughts speeded up? Faster than usual
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Time seemed to go faster or slower than usual
When I was flying happily, the time seemed slower than usual, probably because of the relaxed, happy stage I felt; but then right after I thought I needed to find my close family, everything seemed to be happening at a faster speed, incredibly fast through that tunnel.
Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid
Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. Immediately prior to the experience my vision was getting blurry, I believe due to the anesthetic. During the experience the vision was pretty clear, but it felt strange in a way, maybe because of the unknown around me, I'm not sure.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. Immediately prior to the experience my hearing was good, I actually heard the surgeon saying to the others 'she's almost ready' when he lifted one of my legs. Probably he was checking to see if I'd move or not. During the experience, I thought I had lost my hearing; it was all very quiet, even through the tunnel, until I heard that voice telling me to not give up. While I was flying happily, I thought I heard myself saying that I wanted to see or find my family, but I'm not sure if that was my voice or just my thoughts.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? No
The experience included: Tunnel
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Yes I have already described, above, in the detailed story of my experience.
Did you see any beings in your experience? No
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? No
The experience included: Void
The experience included: Unearthly 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 I have already described, above, in the detailed story of my experience.
The experience included: A landscape or city
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm I don't know how I got into that unearthly world; all I remember is that I was flying happily into that peacefully unearthly realm.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Happiness, relief, peacefulness, joy, fear, scared
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Incredible peace or pleasantness
Did you have a feeling of joy? incredible joy
Did you feel a sense of harmony or unity with the universe? I felt no longer in conflict with nature
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? No
The experience included: Life review
Did scenes from your past come back to you? No
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
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 believe my decision to return to life was when I really, really wanted to see my family, because that is when the switch turned suddenly from joy to that tunnel. I feel that tunnel was trying to get me somewhere I didn't want, but then the divine light and voice helped me find the way where I wanted to go to see my family, thus 'returning' to life.
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Slightly important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Christian- Other Christian I am Christian-Orthodox. Heading into this surgery I was praying a lot asking for divine protection to get through so I can raise my daughter; even though I was scared - I never had a general anesthetic before, I knew God will do what's the best.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Uncertain I am not sure if this was a result of my experience, but I know I've started praying more and believed even more in the power of prayer.
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Christian- Other Christian I've always been Christian-Orthodox, never wanted to change that.
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was both consistent and not consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience I always believed in God and I'm sure the experience was one to assure me I was right in that sense. The inconsistency is that even though I believed in God, prior to this experience I was never clear, or better to say I never really got the meaning of life after death. Now I know, I was there.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I started paying attention more and appreciating more little things in this earthly life, I started being more giving, more willing to help others. As a result of my experience I strongly believe there is life after death.
Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice? I heard a voice I could not identify
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? No
Did you encounter or become aware of any beings who previously lived on earth who are described by name in religions (for example: Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, etc.)? No
During your experience, did you gain information about premortal existence? Yes Yes, the fact that I was looking for my close family made me aware that I prior existed to this lifetime; I knew I had my dear family that I wanted to find and be with them again.
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Uncertain This question is unclear to me.
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? God definitely exists
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? Yes Definitely the bright almost blinding light and the unknown voice through the tunnel - I knew it was God or God's way of helping me through that freaky tunnel. Actually not the tunnel itself was freaky, but the feelings that I had spinning through it.
Do you believe in the existence of God after your experience? God definitely exists
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? Uncertain I am uncertain if there was a clear purpose in my mind other than to find my family to be with them.
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are probably meaningful and significant
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? Yes Yes, the lights I saw from the sky. First I thought they are beautiful stars but then I thought maybe I should get closer to see them better and that is when I realized they seemed like lights of building/houses, meaning it was night time.
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? I was uncertain if an afterlife exists
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists Yes Being aware that I was up in the sky, somehow out of my body, suggested that it is life after death. It is a bit odd because now that I review more focused on the experience only, I can tell I was not aware that I died. It sounds contradictory, but I was
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I moderately feared death
Do you fear death after your experience? I do not fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Slightly fearful in living my earthly life
Were you fearful living your life after your experience? Not fearful in living my earthly life
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are probably meaningful and significant
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant after your experience? Are meaningful and significant
Did you gain information about how to live our lives? No
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? No
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes Yes, that unknown voice made me feel I was loved, a divine love. Hearing that voice encouraging me to not give up gave me wings towards that bright light, I knew that was the way out.
Were you compassionate after your experience? Greatly compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Large changes in my life Large changes in my life.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes I wasn't able to talk about the experience for a while; I was scared I'd get back into that freaky, spinning, suffocating feeling again.
How accurately do you remember the experience in comparison to other life events that occurred around the time of the experience? I remember the experience more accurately than other life events that occurred around the time of the experience I someone asks me who visited me at the hospital after my surgery, I don't recall other than my mom, my daughter and my husband, but the NDE experience is as clear as I recalled it after I woke up in my mother's big hug.
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? Yes, getting through that tunnel was very meaningful: I became stronger knowing even more that God is always with me. It was like telling me: 'you can do it no matter how hard it is: I'm here to guard you, just don't give up.'
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes It was a long time (can't recall for sure) after I first shared my experience with all the feelings throughout it. I was afraid to tell people thinking that they'll think I'm crazy. I believe I told my best friend about the experience but very quickly just as a 'daily fact', I didn't want to scare her. The time I shared the experience, entirely, with all the little details, I was at a counsellor. I went for counselling to help me deal with the divorce, and I found myself at one point telling the counsellor about my NDE. She listened to me and said at the end that she could clearly see how difficult it was for me to go through such an experience, because she heard in my voice the difficulty (or fear) speaking about it all. I don't know if she was influenced in any way about my experience, she was just doing her job listening to me. After that, I never saw her again. She told me to come back if I needed it, but I was okay. I regained my balance through the difficulties I had divorcing, actually walking away from my husband.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? No
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real At the time the NDE happened there were so many things happening in my life that I couldn't think too much about the experience. I knew I was there in that unearthly side through something very scary and I didn't want to go through something scary like that again. At the beginning I could only recall the scary part (not that I've forgotten the joy in the sky) but the overwhelming events around me made me focus more on the freaky part.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real I feel blessed to have been given such an experience in this life. I think that if more people would experience something like this, this world would be a different and better world.
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? Reading about NDE I saw many opinions that this is a result of the general anesthetic. So here's my view on this: since the NDE I had 2 more surgeries, both under general anesthetic and the experience never came back, but the NDE is still in my soul, as if it happened yesterday.