February 20, 2012

NDEs and Me

As I've mentioned previously, my search for "what awaits me" has included reading about Near Death Experiences, or NDEs. I have found this very useful so I thought I would summarize what I've found and what it means to me.

NDEs are as they say, the experiences of people who have died, presumably seen an image or vision of "the other side" but survived to be able tell their story. The most interesting aspects of all of this to me, is that there are tens of thousands of these stories that have been studied, many "deaths" have been scientifically verified (ie. they meet the legal definition of "being dead"), and there is an incredibly consistency about what they saw. Lets talk about these common elements and what they say or mean to me.

First of all there seems to be a complete cessation of pain and discomfort and a corresponding feeling of very positive energy. This appeals to me greatly as I anticipate less-than-comfortable final days. This seems to be the first separation from the physical body and is either followed by the experience of watching your old body as people are working on it, or immediately beginning a journey to a light, often through a tunnel. Sometimes they are met by a "shining being" or dead relative who seems to be there to guide them through the transition.

While there have been all sorts of reasons given for the tunnel effect (birth canal, etc.), it doesn't seem to be that important except as a transitional step. Meeting a relative or other being who is there to guide you, however, is very appealing to me as well. Given the shock and surprize of "crossing over" it is comforting to think that you won't be left alone to figure out where the heck you are! For some reason, I expect it will be my father, if anyone, who will greet me, perhaps because of the connection I had with him when he passed 4 years ago. I suppose it could also be my mother with whom I had a special bonding experience as she passed last September. Either way, I would love it to be one of them!

While there are many variations in what happens next, including meeting with other beings, other long-dead relatives, etc. it appears that you go through some sort of life review. Kind of like watching your life fly before your eyes. It seems to be happening all at once so you experience everything that you've ever done and everything that has ever happened to you. Sometimes there seems to be some testing going on to see if you're ready, although they already seem to know the answer, and it is at this point where someone tells you that you have to go back. Sometimes you want to go back and sometimes you might not, but it seems you have no real choice in the matter. It's interesting to note that the need to go back is because someone needs you, which would seem to be somewhat self-initiated, but often it is because you are not "ready". This is what many people believe and is consistent with some Bhuddist thought, that we keep going back (through reincarnation and presumably NDE if something else happens that wasn't "planned") until we are ready or have reached some level of perfection, or whatever. You might think that I would want to "go back" at this point if it were to happen to me, but I really don't expect that to happen with a deteriorating disease, nor to I think I would want to return to the quality of life of my dying day. Enough is enough!

It appears that most people who have experienced an NDE come back changed, with a much better view on life, new attitudes, and new behaviours... all good. I like the sound of that and, to all those who have experienced NDEs, welcome back. I don't think I'm going to get that chance but these experiences shed some important light on what may come next. While NDE's vary in length of time and seemingly in depth, they can't go all the way (by definition) so we really don't know what is ultimately out there. But it's enough to know, or think, that there is at least a transitional "place" or "space" where the lights don't go out. If this were a few isolated cases, I would be more likely to remain skeptical and perhaps except other explanations, however we're talking about thousands and thousands of cases with incredible levels of commonality and some very convincing corroboration.

So I think I'm going to go with that at least. It's something. It can't really be proved one way or the other, but that is what is so good about this analsys. I only need to believe it to be a real possibility that is better than the alternative. It's a positive thing, a hopeful "belief", and it's something I can live with. And die with.

Personal Update

I've had a rough week with tests for potential blood clots in my legs and a severe attack of pain and nausea which resulted in a trip to Emergency. My palliative team felt that this attack, which wasn't even touched by my regular and breakthrough pain meds, might be a symptom of a major nerve compression, common with advanced prostate cancer, and potentially leading to paralysis. Pretty scary. Thankfully, it wasn't that but it was serious enough to pump up my pain meds with steroids and anti-inflammatories. As a result, my pain is under much better control, although we have to find something sustainable. Dianne has been great, getting me a lot of help from our team and the services available to us. She's keeping me going now. Have received a new hospital bed and a home oxygen supply over the past few days at her urging. I even used some portable oxygen at my daughter's wedding which really helped me get through the night.

Regardless of everything else, my little girl is married, I walked her down the aisle, I danced with her, and I'm a happy, happy man!

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Doug, so happy to hear you enjoyed your daughter's wedding. No doubt you were very proud of her.

I have had several family members who all experienced loved ones coming to get them before they passed over to the Astral. My most memorable one was my darling mum. A friend went to see her in the nursing home she had moved into only 2 weeks prior to this occurrence. As she walked mum's room, with mum sitting in the chair, my mum said to her "Did you see Bill in the hallway as you came in?" Bill is my dad, he passed over some 7 years prior to this. Of course, my friend replied no, she hadn't seen him. Which had my mum stumped! She mentioned it a couple of times more to her, she must have seen Bill, cause he left just as my friend came in the door!

The next morning, the nurse took my mum outside and sat with her in a chair under the trees. After a little while, mum just flopped in the chair. Of course, the nurst checked her vitals and realised she had no pulse. They tried bringing her back, but she had massive organ failure. She'd had enough of living I think and my dad had come to get her.

Again, being a Spiritualist, this is as normal to me as having my morning cup of coffee.

So I have no doubt that your mum or dad will come to help your transition.

Again, congratulations on being the father of the bride!

Cass

Lori Hope said...

Congratulations, Doug! I can imagine how proud and thrilled you and Dianne were to see your daughter walk down the aisle, and how thrilled your daughter was as well!

Thank you for the information about NDEs, which will spare me the time doing research. My biggest fear is pain, but I am working (not hard enough) on meditating and visualizing my "special place", which I can better picture in my mind now.

I hope I will see you in the afterlife or energyfield or whatever it is. We would know each other not by visual cue but by something else entirely - and I love considering that!

Am keeping you and D in my thoughts daily and sending love always,
Lori

Sue T said...

Oh Doug sol glad you walked your daughter :) what a great night that must have been for you and Dianne as well as your daughter and glad to hear the better news of the pain thinking of you and your family

Sue T said...

Hey Doug

so glad you walked your daughter down the isle what a great night for you and your family
thinking of you all

Big hug's

Sue

Cancer Care Ontario said...

Dear Doug,

On behalf of the Prostate Disease Pathway Management (DPM) team at Cancer Care Ontario, we would like to thank you for your significant contributions to Prostate DPM and to the prostate cancer community. Your involvement, including participating in the work of the Cancer Quality Council of Ontario and Prostate DPM, as well as sharing your personal story through many vehicles, is and will continue to be incredibly valuable.

Your voice has helped initiate positive changes, particularly with respect to supportive care issues in prostate cancer, and it is evident that your input continues to positively impact care for prostate cancer patients in Ontario.

It is important for us to have people like you involved in our work and it has been both a humbling and rewarding experience to be able to work together on setting priorities for improving prostate cancer care in Ontario.

From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you.

Dr. Carol Sawka Vice President, Clinical Programs and Quality Initiatives, Cancer Care Ontario
Dr. Neil Fleshner Co-chair, Prostate Disease Pathway Management, Cancer Care Ontario
Dr. Michael Brundage Co-chair, Prostate Disease Pathway Management, Cancer Care Ontario

Anonymous said...

Hi Doug,
I would like to recommend to get in touch with Betty J. Eadie, the write of book " embraced by the light " . Maybe u know her... Pls. Read her book, she was a cancer patient who experienced the death once and then she came back to life....Google it and I think it will be a comfort. I am very happy that you can manage the pain now with the medication. beleive me or not have been crying while praying for you and asked god to ease the pains you have.

god bless you.
You Moslem sister.

Anonymous said...

Hi Doug,

I went to school with your daughter when we were younger, and came across your blog through word of mouth after buzz about her wedding. I'm SO glad you got to walk her down the aisle and dance with her on her wedding night, I'm sure it meant the WORLD to her.

My father is also terminally ill - a rough battle for him and our whole family. I just want to thank you for sharing your experience with with the world, a very personal, and at times hard thing to do. Your words are enlightening and comforting to me and I plan to share your blog with my family in hopes that it will do the same for them.

Kind wishes and peace to you and your family, I'll keep you all in my thoughts.

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