I contracted Lyme disease and a few co-infections. I went undiagnosed for several years.
By the time I had specific Lyme blood tests, the Lyme had done some damage to my body systems (Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Sjogren's syndrome, neuropathy, recurring Bell's Palsy, fairly severe chronic pain, chronic migraines, POTS).
A few years into treatment, I developed benign PVCs (premature ventricular contractions), which worsened whenever I ate high-histamine foods. I was down to eating about 10 or 12 foods and was really struggling. Cardiologists checked my heart rhythm, with lots of testing and monitoring, and confirmed it was benign, but it was difficult to live with. Plus, I had POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome), which kept me from standing upright without fainting until about 1 pm each day. I was in constant pain and was quite dizzy. I was only able to work part-time and my quality of life was low.
One night in December 2015, I woke in the middle of the night with an ominous heart rhythm. It was nothing like the PVCs I regularly experienced. I drove myself to the ER. By the time I got there, it had stopped, but I went in anyway and asked them to put me on a heart monitor. They agreed, though I appeared normal...normal BP, normal heart rate and rhythm. A few minutes after getting in, the arrythmia started up and it was dangerous. I passed out, came back and they were pushing drugs. They admitted me to the ICU to await two surgeries...an initial angiograph to make sure my heart and vessels were structurally sound, then an ablation.
The surgeries were scheduled a day apart. I do not remember much about my time before the first surgery. I don't remember being in the ICU. I remember waking up after the first surgery, where after a time, because they needed the room in the ICU and because I seemed stable, they moved me to a regular room to await my second surgery scheduled for the following day.
That night, my husband and a family friend came to visit. I remember talking with them for a bit, when the nurse came into the room. Then, because I could tell when the arrythmia was starting....my chest and neck felt a certain way...I could predict it a few seconds before it happened.
"Here it comes," I declared, then I remember fading out. I don't know why it made me pass out.
Just then, I felt a sort of a squeeze, then I felt like I snapped out, or popped out, of the top of my head...right where a baby's fontanelle would be. I came out of that, like feeling a balloon pop against your skin. It didn't hurt, it just sort of snapped. I was immediately at the top of the room...somehow against the ceiling of the room, looking down at the room and the people in the room. I don’t remember feeling anything physical. I wasn’t aware of a corporeal body at all.
I recall seeing the part in my visitor's hair. I had never looked at her part like that before. I could see my husband's head, and the nurse's head. I also looked, somewhat dispassionately, at my body in the bed. I knew it was mine, and I was startled to see my face the way other people see it. You know how you only see your own face in the mirror, and it doesn’t look like what other people see? I saw myself like that. I felt like it was a shell, something discarded, like when a hermit crab outgrows one shell and leaves it. I also remember thinking that I should have been nicer to myself. My body, my looks, my hair, my very tall height, I had always disliked my package. I felt a true sense of sorrow that I didn’t treat my body with the respect that it deserved. The body was a miracle, an ecosystem that I should have trusted and honored more. I remember knowing this in an instant while looking at my body, and that I would need to be nicer to myself, because I would be going back in there.
The second thing I noticed was that I knew what the people in the room were thinking. The nurse was upset that I had been placed in a regular room and was thinking that I should have stayed in the ICU. This was fueled by fear that I would code there in his room. He was very concerned for me. My husband was alternately worried that I was about to die, and that this was all just a mistake…that I would wake up in a moment and be fine, but on a psychic level, he was terrified that I was going to die, and that this shock to his system would affect him for a long time. I knew then that it would (and it has…he developed cancer within a year). The family friend was praying. I could hear her prayers. I think it was a Catholic prayer like Hail Mary, the same prayer over and over.
I remember having a sense, or perhaps hearing a voice saying, “Everything is going to change.” I don’t recall the sound of the voice, but the message was exact enough for me to remember it, like one simple concept.
It was over quickly, perhaps less than a minute. I don’t recall time passing when I was outside of my body. I don’t think there was time. The nurse pushed some meds and I felt like I got sucked back into my body, and I woke up feeling very heavy, like I could understand the weight of a body. The following day, I had the second surgery with no fear of death, though the surgery itself would end up being quite traumatic…they woke me on the table and I could feel my heart burning, and I could smell it.
By the time I left the hospital, my truths about life had been shaken. I had grown up believing in the Holy Trinity…that there was only one way to God, through Jesus Christ, and I remember no longer believing that while sitting in the wheelchair outside the hospital, waiting for the car to pick me up. I also knew that God was real, heaven of sorts was real, but that it wasn’t a physical place. I also knew there was no hell like the Christian hell I had always believed. That things were much more…..vibrational and energetic than I had ever considered and that we were all interconnected like a web, and the things we did here mattered.
I feel like I was given a taste of understanding. I didn’t talk to anyone about it for a while, because my identity as a Christian was fundamentally changed and I didn’t know who I was for a while. I drove away from the hospital thinking that Christians were Christians because that’s what they need at this point in their soul journeys, and Muslims were Muslims, and Jews were Jews and pagans were pagans, for the same reasons. They needed it on a soul level and it was okay for them to understand God the way they were best able. But I was still shaken and have not been able to identify as a Christian since. I have also not been to church since my NDE. I can’t read the Bible any more, though I am not at all angry at God or at faith, and I am still a believer.
Changes I noticed, once the fog of anesthesia and the horror of the second surgery wore off (it was very stressful being awake while they were shooting adrenaline into my body to incite the arrythmia, then experiencing the surgeon burning my heart over and over):
This sounds strange, but I remember being able to hear or feel what my dogs were thinking. I could smell the trees—just regular street trees—as if they were flowers. Each had a quite distinct smell, like a person, only much sweeter. This sounds super nuts, but I somehow felt the consciousness of the trees, something I had never before considered. I now keep many plants and love them as if they were pets.
I also had an increased sense of what people needed, what they were yearning for or what was holding them back. I also was easily able to tell if someone had a physical ailment. Almost like medical intuition. I would be able to predict what family members’ blood work would look like. Every bit of medical news I heard felt like I was watching a re-run. I just knew. I knew my husband had cancer before anyone did, before he even had symptoms, and I dragged him in to the doc for testing. It’s like a psychic portal opened wide and I didn’t know how to handle it. It was like an onslaught. I started reading about stuff I never read before…energetic shielding, shamanic experiences, collective understanding. It was all new to me.
Another thing that developed was an anger, or rage. This peaked for about six to nine months and abated within a year. I suddenly had no tolerance for small talk, going to parties, or hanging out with friends on weekends. Their pointless chatter made me feel very sad, like people were wasting valuable time. This still bothers me. I was always kind of intense, but I am “worse” now.
I want to get to know people, but not all people, because I can’t tolerate the energy draining that some people create. And the people I do want to get to know, I want to know what makes them tick. I want to get to the bottom of them very quickly. I want to just KNOW them deeply, if that makes sense. It feels like there is not enough time to truly know people, love people, make a difference in the world. I feel like I’ve wasted so much time. That was an instant change in me and it remains to this day.
I also had a very short fuse while in a car. I had real road rage, so much so that I rarely drove anywhere for about six months. I had my husband drive. If I got stuck walking behind a slow walker in public, I got angry. I felt like I had wasted so much time in my life not doing what I was supposed to do, that I could not waste another minute, so getting stuck behind someone in a store who was shuffling along made me very angry. Thankfully, this has gotten better.
People who saw this anger didn’t understand. They wondered why I wasn’t grateful to be alive. I had survived a very dangerous heart rhythm that could have killed me. I should be happy to be alive. I didn’t understand it myself. Why couldn’t I just be happy?
I also chose to shut down a lot of my intuition, because I don’t really know how to handle it. I can close it down and open it back up if I choose. Right now, it’s closed.
I didn’t consider my experience to be an NDE, since I didn’t experience a tunnel or a bright light, or see a life review, or dead relatives or guides. But after I started looking up what was "wrong" with me, I realized that I did have an NDE experience. I had trouble believing it for a while.
In the three years since my NDE, I have written a book, gotten it published with a major publisher, and am working on two other books which I expect will be published. I also teach sometimes, which I did before my NDE, but I connect differently with my students. I am more aloof on a one-to-one level, yet at the same time, I care much more that we, in our experience as teacher/students, make the most of our time together. I used to worry about individual people liking me, but I don’t care about that anymore. That is liberating.
Though I didn’t have a tunnel or a bright light, or see a life review, I was fundamentally changed by my NDE. I am no longer sad at funerals. I don’t mind the idea of dying. I have an understanding of God that I did not have as a Christian, I somehow have strange psychic abilities, and some of my Lyme struggles seem to have instantly disappeared during my days at the hospital…things like the POTS and the Sjogren’s which can’t really be explained by an ablation. If I had had confirmed heart problems, it might explain the healing of POTS, but I previously only had benign PVCs, with completely normal heart (as was evidenced via stress tests, echoes, Holter monitors, and EKGs) up until my cardiac event. I had the POTS for 7 years. I wouldn’t expect an autoimmune disease like Sjogren’s to go away, but it seems like it did.
I’m not at peace with my life, because I still think I am meant to do things I haven’t yet done, but I have an awareness that this is important and I have adjusted my life plans accordingly. I still do not want to do social things. They exhaust me. I am glad I had my NDE, though it shook my world and was very difficult to understand for a while after the experience. That voice I heard was right…everything did change.