I had undergone stabilization surgery for my unusually severe scoliosis and for a spinal fusion. I spent 13 hours in the operating room and I was told that I had been admitted to my own room for about 3 hours. The nurses were monitoring me as I woke from the anesthesia. After about 10 minutes, I told the nurse that I was starting to have trouble breathing. She asked me to describe what it felt like. I told her it was only on my left side and it was progressively getting more difficult to breathe. As I was talking to her, it was as if my lung was shrinking. She could see I was scared, but she told me I was going to be fine. She had to administer emergency anesthesia and said that when I awoke that there would be a hose surgically inserted into my side between my ribs to drain the toxic fluid from my left lung. She told me, as I fell back under, that the fluid development is normal post-surgery. The next thing I knew... I found myself in a wonderfully, beautifully lit space. There were no walls, ceiling, or even a floor. Everything was pure white with light. I felt so happy, so free, and so loved. Even though I didn't see anyone or anything around me, I didn't feel alone. Contrarily, I felt as if I was surrounded by unconditional love and acceptance. I did not feel like I was in my body. I didn't even think about this aspect until much later, but I recall feeling unrestricted by gravity and completely pain free. I remember wondering if I was in heaven, but though I never actually spoke such words, I felt an affirmative response to my wonder. The best way to describe that interaction would be to say it was kind of like telepathy, but on a supernatural level, if that makes sense. Then I asked, ‘Can I stay? Please?’ with genuine eagerness and hope. The response came loud and clear, yet so gently, 'Not yet.' At that moment, I felt sad and betrayed as I remembered that I had just undergone a serious and painful surgery. Then I felt two very strong, yet very gentle hands push me back into my body on the operating room table located in the intensive care unit. All of this happened within 2 minutes according to my surgeon, but it felt like 2 hours. Ha!
Date NDE Occurred: October 1, 2008
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Surgery-related. While under general anesthesia. CPR given. Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function)
My heart had stopped working post-surgery.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Both pleasant AND unpleasant and/or frightening
The experience included: Out of body experience
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? Normal consciousness and alertness
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? Well, my body had completely stopped functioning during the experience, but I certainly remember my experience!
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 It surrounded me!
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm Seemed like how heaven was described in the Bible, peaceful.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Love, happiness, acceptance
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Incredible peace or pleasantness
Did you have a feeling of joy? incredible joy
The experience included: Life review
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 See narrative
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Greatly important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Christian-Catholic
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes No longer feel comfortable in my old church community. They are teaching about God all wrong.
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Unaffiliated- Agnostic Still gravitate toward Catholicism, likely due to being raised in the Church.
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was entirely not consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes Spirituality and religion are related, but not the same at all. Going to church every week-end doesn't make you any more of a Christian than standing in a garage everyday makes you a car.
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 A powerful voice, yet such a gentle and loving tone about it.
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? God probably exists
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? Yes It was just as I had learned in Sunday school growing up. There is a place called heaven, and God does exist, but he doesn't grant your every wish...He's not a genie. He does love us, and has a plan for us, one we are not supposed to understand just yet, unless He reveals it to us.
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? Yes It was made known to me that I was in heaven.
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are possibly meaningful and significant
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 There is absolutely life after death, and there is a God.
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I moderately feared death
Do you fear death after your experience? I slightly 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? Slightly fearful in living my earthly life
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant after your experience? Are meaningful and significant
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
Were you compassionate after your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes My husband and I became closer, and I was able to answer some of his questions about heaven.
After the NDE:
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 as accurately as other life events that occurred around the time of the experience I remember the experience as accurately as other life events that occurred around the time of the experience
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? When I was told 'not yet.’ It doesn't mean ‘no’, but rather that I have some greater purpose ahead of me. Once that is fulfilled, then I can return.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes It was about 6 months. They always look shocked or awe-struck.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real When I woke from the anesthesia, and I was able to speak, I told my mother. She could tell I had something on my mind.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real It was beautiful, and unforgettable, but frustrating at the same time. I no longer have a choice to believe. It has been made known to me.
Did the questions asked and information that you provided accurately and comprehensively describe your experience? Uncertain
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