I did not wake up for at least a day and maybe two or three days after surgery. I have a very rare disease that was misdiagnosed at the time. The pump that the surgeon was putting in, when working properly, helped people with both my actual disease and those with the disease I was misdiagnosed with. The technology was new at the time and the surgeon had never put one in before. Another doctor later told me that she thought the surgeon put too medicine in the pump at the time of surgery. Overdosing me with this drug can totally paralyze a person. That's why I didn't wake up and couldn't breathe effectively. Another anesthesiologist in another hospital thought that my disease negatively interacted with the anesthesia. He developed a different 'recipe' for anesthesia that was specific to people with my disease. Maybe it was both, the anesthesia and the pump drug together? No matter though because all my vital organs were compromised. The correct diagnosis is Moersch-Woltman syndrome, otherwise known as 'stiff person syndrome'.
Visitors were told that I was probably going to die. I don't remember how bad my breathing was, but a friend who was also a nurse came to visit me. She later told me that I was gasping for breath about four times a minute. Having witnessed death quite a bit, she thought that every breath was my last.
Meanwhile, I 'went' somewhere else.
I was in a thin and large transparent 'tube,' like a very thin membrane that I could see through. I was 'running' through the tube at light-speed, watching the stars and the universe go by. The amazing part, to me at the time, was that I could not walk at all, since I used a wheelchair and was completely stiffened . This experience of actually running was so freeing, so amazing, and so wonderful! Looking forward, the tube seemed endless as it was twisting away into eternal space. But I didn't care because I was so free, and with every running-step, it took me eons away.
Then I was suddenly in a beautiful place. There was a meadow to my left as it descended down a rolling hill with wildflowers. There was a lush, green forest in the distance beyond the meadow.
There were two people there with me. Behind these people, was a stone wall covered with ivy. That wall separated me from everything else in front of me. I could not see over it or around it. One of the people was like a gardener with a rake. It seemed to me that he was absently raking the stones or the gravel in front of the wall. It reminded me of how Buddhists monks make calming designs in gravel. But I had the feeling that he was paying attention to what was happening with me and the other person. I later felt that this person, whose face I could never see, was probably my deceased father. My father and I had had a rocky relationship during my childhood and teenage years and up until the time he had died. I felt that he wanted to be there to know that I was o.k. and for me to know that he deeply loved me, in spite of some of the things that had happened between us. He died when I was age 21 and I never got to repair our relationship. I had always wanted to resolve my anger towards him and my deep fear of him.
The other person is difficult to describe. He was made of love. Everything about him exuded love and defined what love really is. He took me into his arms and just held me there. He fed me that love; that calm and peaceful love.
My life had been so painful for so long. I was trying so hard to just live for our young children. I was trying to maintain some sense of purpose rather than being a very sick and costly burden. That moment, when I was so gently held by this person, I felt healed of my deepest grieving and my greatest loneliness. I felt he had answered my most unasked questions, told me I was unquestionably and deeply valued and loved just as I was. It was all communicated to me without any words whatsoever.
Then I woke up in the ICU.
Date NDE Occurred: 1994 (?)
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Illness. Surgery-related. Allergic Reaction. Drug or medication overdose. While under general anesthesia. Other: I'm not sure if I actually died.
My disease itself can be life-threatening at times. It was currently misdiagnosed as multiple sclerosis and several years after this experience diagnosed as Moersch-Woltman syndrome ('stiff-person syndrome'). Because of the increased stiffness with augmented, superimposed, whole-body muscle spasms, a neurosurgeon was trying a new procedure for treatment. He used a recently developed pump in surgery. Another doctor later told me that she thought this neurosurgeon used the pump wrong, thereby potentially fatally overdosing me. Later still, at a university hospital, when my diagnosis was corrected, I again did not wake up from anesthesia and also stopped breathing. This time I was placed on a ventilator for a few days until I woke up. That anesthesiologist wrote a paper about my disease and the anesthetic complications associated with my disease and then came up with an 'anesthesia protocol' so it wouldn't happen again. Anyway, the first time, I was either overdosed on the drug in the pump and/or it was a reaction to the anesthesia by my disease itself. In either case, apparently my breathing was severely compromised such that I was later told that my vitals were terrible and I was gasping for air about four times a minute. A nurse friend who came to see said she was sure that each breath was my last. I was not expected to live. Maybe I 'died' at one moment between those breaths. I don't know.
I did have another event during plasmapheresis when my breathing, heart, and everything stopped. They did immediate CPR and cracked my sternum in the process, but I did not have any NDE at that time.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Entirely pleasant
Did you feel separated from your body? No
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 don't remember most of my everyday life like this. This was engraved on my memory like only a few other things that happened in my life. I remember 'where I was' when I learned Kennedy was shot; I remember 'where I was' when the Twin Towers fell. But this was even different from those things. It's hard to describe 'where I was' when I became that Love, but the memory of the experience is much more vivid and much more solid.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I was 'conscious' and alert at all times, but especially when I was encompassed with that indescribable love; when I was held by Love.
Were your thoughts speeded up? No
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning.
I was just out of time, completely. It wasn't even a part of my awareness. It's as if it never existed.
Were your senses More vivid than usual? No
Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I didn't see anything weird or unusual. Well, I suppose the whole experience was 'unusual,' but at the time it all seemed visibly plausible. Even if, for example, I'd never 'seen' the universe rush past me as I ran through the tube.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I don't remember hearing anything at all. No one spoke with words.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere, as if by ESP? No
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Yes This was the 'tube' I described. It was maybe twice as tall as I am and that circumference. It stretched into infinity as it was seemingly endless. It was transparent, and seemingly thin, like a bubble. Although it wasn't fragile like a bubble. I could see through it, watching the stars race by as I 'ran' through it.
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'm pretty sure the only other person there, besides the person made of love, was my deceased father. He died when I was 21 and I had this experience when I was in my 40s.
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? No
Did you see an unearthly light? No
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm. It was 'earthly' in the sense that everything there was familiar like the meadow, forest, flowers, stones, ivy, etc. But there were no telephone poles, no cars, no pollution, and no buildings. I have no idea where the light came from, because I don't recall seeing the sun or any shadow, yet it was light.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? I felt loved.
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? No
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? No
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? No
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What was your religion prior to your experience? Christian- Mormon
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I think ritual and rules are just wrong. I don't want to support a church that pays clergy either. We don't have much money, but to me it's more important to financially help others in need than it is to pay someone to tell you what to do or how to be close to God. None of that is necessary anymore to me. It's just all about love. That's all. That's very simple.
What is your religion now? Unaffiliated- Nothing in particular- Religious unaffiliated. No organized religion fits my experience that I've found. Many of them have elements, but none of them contain what I felt to be 'truth.' I guess I'd come under the category of 'spiritual,' rather than 'religious.' Certainly, I believe in God.
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 believed in God before my experience. The person made of Love was someone beyond what I expected God would be. I didn't feel like a person worthy of being with such a Being before my experience. But after, I feel that I am a person of worth, no matter what I do. Not that I could go murder someone, it's not like that. I just know that my worth is intrinsic. Also, I've found that all organized religion simply comes up short compared to my experience. Very short. Rules and liturgies and rote prayers and 'denying self' aren't what count, it was only about love. It's all about love.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I think I care more about helping others, though I've always been that way. I've never, ever intended to hurt or harm others or animals, the earth, etc. But it now seems to be at least a bit more care or a focus for me.
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. I've never, ever met anyone else on earth that actually could be described as made of 'love.' This was not a 'normal' human Being.
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? I actually saw them
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.)? Uncertain At the time, because of my religion, I thought the person made of love was Jesus. I have no idea if it actually was Jesus and for some reason I don't think it mattered who I thought it was or even who it was.
During your experience, did you gain information about premortal existence? Uncertain. Time didn't exist, so I felt as if I had existed beyond time. I was like a 'forever now.'
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? No
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? Uncertain. Again, it wasn't communicated to me as such, but I felt sure that the person made of love was much, much, much more superior to me. It could be the Creator or God Himself.
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? Uncertain. Just that I could relax with awful stuff to be coming my way, because the Love would heal it all. Hard to explain.
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? Uncertain I just felt 'worth it.' That what I had done so far in my life was 'worth it' and that I was something just as I was. I felt that my purpose was already being fulfilled.
During your experience, did you gain information about an afterlife? An afterlife definitely exists. Uncertain. It wasn't a direct communication, but it was real to me and since my deceased father was there, plus a person 'made' of love, being in the afterlife was a conclusion I made.
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? Yes For sure that what I was going through with my health and what my family was experiencing as a result was all 'ok.' It was all just 'to be expected,' or maybe 'understood with empathy' by the person made of love, which made it all 'ok.' (Not anything to seek, but it just 'was.')
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes Absolutely. That was the message of the entire experience. Love was EVERYTHING.
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Moderate changes in my life. I'm no longer an 'active' Mormon. It seems too confining to me. I try to be more compassionate, but I do fail to do what I'd like to do and be who I would like to be. I also, recently, have a difficult time seeing so many supposedly religious people behave so terribly against others, for example, regarding the poor. I do 'pay tithing' to individuals and causes I think will help others and animals who have need. Helping others, especially anonymously, since I am an introvert, is something that's very important to me now.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes I've studied several languages, and gained reasonable proficiency in a few. So I understand that some things don't translate well from one language to another. But this experience, mostly the Love, is absolutely something that cannot be put into words. I try to put a capital 'L' in the 'Love' but that almost degrades the experience. To try to capture it all with just words degrades, almost profanes it all.
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. Since I have since been given tons of a medication that literally erases memory and in doses that would kill most people, my memory has been affected from that. I have forgotten quite a lot of my life around that time. Also, sadly, I have forgotten quite a lot that happened in my children's lives. This is an interesting question that I've not considered before. I now have difficulty with timelines, which is why I really don't remember the year this happened or my age. Although I could look it up. That all said, this experience is as vivid as it was when it happened. And the emotion is as real as it was when it happened. I'm wondering if this experience somehow escaped normal memory storage areas in the brain. In my case, memory was too often erased forever, but could the NDE be instead stored in another part of my Being?
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? No
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes It was quite a while before I shared it. Since most of the people I shared it with were Mormons, I didn't get any negative feedback. I have no idea if anyone was influenced, but I really didn't share this with too many people. One of our sons, who was just a child at the time, asked if I saw it from my own 'eyes' or if I saw it as if watching a movie of myself. Interesting question.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes I had read a book about it which was one of the first written about NDE. It helped me to not think I was crazy. Though I still sometimes wonder if I just 'wanted' to have such a thing happen to me so I wouldn't be so afraid of what was happening to me, and then 'made' it happen.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real. It seemed very, very real. It gave me comfort too, considering my health.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was probably real. Sometimes I worry that it wasn't real, that I just wanted it to be real so badly, just to get through my life. Writing about it now, however, the feelings and vividness of the experience come back so fully and clearly.
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? Nope, I'm good.
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