It was all by strange chance that in August 2011 I ended up travelling to Beirut for a breast augmentation surgery, having been born and raised in Ottawa, Canada, with access to lots of plastic surgeons within my own city. However, my best friend since childhood who saved lots of money by having hers done in Lebanon last year, and who was very satisfied with her results inspired me. I had been to Lebanon before and was comfortable with the whole idea, so within a week I booked my appointment with the surgeon, booked my flights, and organized to stay with my daughter's grandmother during my stay and recovery. The reason I was brave enough to go through with this is that I am a 32 year old, working and married mother of three who 'had everything going for me' but I was constantly nagged by a condition I grew up with called 'pectus excavatum' (congenital funnel chest). It seemed to be slowly getting worse and worse, and only people who knew me really closely ever knew about this condition, as I was totally embarrassed about it and able to camouflage it with super padded push-up bras. As strange as this may sound, not having normal sized breasts made me feel like I wasn't the person I could or should be, because I was missing what it took to complete myself and be happy. So on August 17, 2011 I walked into the operating room totally ready for it. I laid down on the operating table and the anesthesiologist told me that I would be falling asleep very soon. Then I just remember going 'out of it'. The next thing I remember is waking up in my body, still under anesthesia, and then realizing that my throat was blocked and I couldn't breathe. My first reaction was to panic and try to move my hands or shake my body to let the doctors or nurses know that I couldn't breathe. I could feel and hear everything going on, but couldn't do anything about it. I could feel the doctor stitching me up and the pulling and the pain so I just put myself at God's will, let go and felt myself pass out. It was then as if I was travelling through a dark vortex or tunnel at the speed of light, until I stopped suddenly to find myself in complete and utter darkness. I thought briefly of everything and everyone I was leaving behind, but had no worries, care or attachment to them anymore. I was in total bliss and awe that I was still alive but in another place! I suddenly just knew what I knew all along, that life does go on but in another time and place! I know that I was on the verge of reaching a light, but that I had to travel through the darkness of my own soul. I knew that I wouldn't be long in the dark and to just enjoy my time there until I ended up in the next place or caught another life. I wasn't a body there, just my thoughts and soul. I was completely detached from my life on Earth and just amazed at the infinity of this place. I feel that had I stayed there longer I would have reached where I was going and never come back. Then, all of a sudden, I was sucked back into my body and actually felt the pain of re-entering it. The doctors were shaking me and speaking something in Arabic. I could hear the machine buzzing, then suction, and then a tube being forced down my throat. I shook my head; they took it out and placed an oxygen mask on my face. As I could feel all the physical pain again I sucked in the biggest breath of life back into my lungs, but was then overwhelmed with both joy and sadness for being back here.
Date NDE Occurred: 'August 17, 2011'
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Surgery-related. While under general anesthesia Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function)
During my breast augmentation surgery, whilst still under anesthesia, I awoke within my body.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Entirely pleasant
The experience included: Out of body experience
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 was just in total peace and awe because I knew that I was witnessing the beauty of the creator I always knew existed deep in my soul. Prior to this event I was not aware of God's beauty and now I certainly am and have 'him' to thank for everything.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? At all times!
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
No sense of time whatsoever.
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. I'm not sure it's a vision, because you don't have eyes over there, but your soul sees and knows everything.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I'm not sure there is anything different here.
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
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: Darkness
The experience included: Unearthly light
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? No
Did you see an unearthly light? Uncertain I was in a completely dark, vast universe and I could see what appeared to be space dust clouds. Even though I was in the dark, my soul knew that I was at God's will and that everything was ok. It felt like I was slowly drifting towards a light, I knew there would be a light soon, so I was just letting myself drift in total awe of the beauty of the place.
The experience included: A landscape or city
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm I was floating in some sort of galaxy.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Complete awe, peace, warmth, infinite love and joy.
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 united or one with the world
The experience included: Special knowledge or purpose
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? No I didn't try to understand anything, I just admired the beauty of the infinite galaxy.
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control
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 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? Muslim I was born and raised as a Catholic, but converted to Islam at the age of 24. At the time of this experience however, I believed in God but not in any specific religion because it never made sense to me that there are different Creators with different instructions different races.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes Even though I am still undecided on the religion issue, I am constantly thanking God and just spending time taking care of the things he gave me (family and kids).
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Do not know My experience did not identify any specific religion, but I do believe in God now. Still the closest description to the truth of what I saw is found in the Holy Qu'ran and in the Torah. I am still confused, but still trying to figure it all out. All I know is that there is a God and an afterlife.
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 one God for all prior - and that has not changed.
I believed in life after death - but didn't know what to expect. Now I know there is a life after death, but I just didn't get far enough into it to see more or to know more.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I no longer value my career (which used to be top priority); I no longer value my education and material possessions. I have completely shifted to appreciating what I have and not searching for anything further. I know God is there for me and he has already awarded me many gifts.
Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice? No
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 I am now aware of God and his beauty that surrounds us. I find joy and happiness in the simplest of things now. I know I'm taken care of now.
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Yes On earth, religion is used to divide people. There is only one God for all. I'm having a hard time to relate to any specific religion.
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 I am now aware that God (who is undescribable, unimaginable and not human) is definetly the creator of the universe and everything within in it. Life on earth is a transition. I now believe that depending on how you lived your life here and how much you acknowledge God - determines where he will put you in the next life.
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 Life goes on and it's beautiful!
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 We have God to thank for every moment we spend on earth and his gifts: family, children, and the earth's resources that "he" provided for us. He gave us everything.
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 I am fully convinced now that life goes on after death.
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? Greatly 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 after your experience? Are meaningful and significant
Did you gain information about how to live our lives? Yes I no longer fear death.
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? Yes We tend to make our lives so difficult by chasing a good career to make money, have a better house, better car, better clothes, but the truth is that it comes with a consequence: we forget who we are, we forget about God, we neglect our soul (wich is how
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes All we need on earth is our belief and faith in God and to love, forgive and accept one another. God loves all his creatures.
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 I don't care about my career, money, house or anything material anymore. I just want to enjoy my kids, my family, my friends and all the beauty and simplicity of life.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes Yes I am certain that the gossip mills are running at full speed at work since I have taken an extended sick leave to be away from the place. I just don't care anymore because I no longer feel the need to impress anyone.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? No However, whenever I mention my experience people think I'm nuts. No one can really comprehend what I'm talking about and how much this has impacted me.
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 remember it more accurately than any other experience in my life, because it was absolutely fascinating to see the other side!
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes I don't look at people the same way I used to. I look at them as 'unknowing' of the beauty of God's gift of life.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? When I re-entered my body, I was both extremely happy to have been given another chance, but at the same time very disappointed that I couldn't have continued on where I was going, because it was wonderful!
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes A few close friends and relatives. Some reactions are just a 'wow, cool' or they think I'm nuts, some think I was hallucinating on meds, and others have said they believe it too and have heard others share similar experiences.
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 It has completely turned my life upside down. I keep seeing it repeatedly in my head. My husband was afraid for a while that I was becoming obsessed with my experience.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real I will never believe that my experience wasn't real. There is no denying.
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 great. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share my experience!
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