ALIVE AGAIN STORY
SAM GONZALES: TO HELL, HEAVEN AND BACK AGAIN
On December 8th of 2003, I was infected by Necrotizing Fasciitis, a flesh-eating bacteria, a very tormenting disease that makes your body feel like it has been doused with gasoline and then lit with a match to ignite a world of pain.
At the hospital, after I was examined by the doctor and told what it was, I was also told that the disease had eaten so much into my body that it would be my last day on earth. The doctor literally told me that I was going to die that day and all that they could do was put me in a room and make me comfortable while I waited for death. At the news, I requested 5 minutes of privacy to speak to God. He instructed me to ask for surgery to remove the infected area, upon which I was advised that it was not going to make any difference. However, I insisted and they agreed to a dying man’s final wish. As I was being taken to the operating room, I was joined by a man dressed in white who told me that he would walk with all the way. I felt very secure.
The surgery went as they predicted…I didn’t survive. I died on that operating table.
My sister Mary and my brother-in-law, who were now at the hospital when they heard the news, were told to go home and pick the funeral home. Distraught, they went home grieving.
What happened to me in that operating room, I will never forget. I closed my eyes on earth and opened them in hell.
I was at the gates of hell. The heat was so intense. It was difficult to focus, but somehow I knew God was there with me. I was told by Him to scratch the gate of hell and I obeyed. When I turned around, I saw hundreds of thousands of souls waiting to enter that place of fire. The Lord picked me up with his mighty hands and the gates opened. All I heard were the tormented screams of people that were ushered in there and the sound of the raging flames that engulfed them.
Then the hands of the Lord kept lifting me up and placed me in a place where angels appeared with large tablets of stone. There upon the tablets, my entire life story was written in stone. Everything I had ever done (truthfully, a very uncomfortable moment for me).
From there, I was then taken on up to Heaven. WOW! The streets are made of gold and there are angels everywhere. I saw the beautiful city of New Jerusalem. Then I saw the image of God in all His glory with an amber color that outlined his presence. I never felt so much love. With every breath, the only way to describe it is like I was a baby comforted in the arms of his mother. God then told me to return to earth and share what I had experienced with everyone.
Heaven is real. He took me there to let the world know that it’s real and that everyone can go there through faith in His Son, Jesus. 45 minutes after being told I was dead, while at home, my sister Mary told me that her phone rang. It was the hospital telling her that they didn’t know or understand what had happened, but I had miraculously come back to life. I was alive again.
ALIVE AGAIN STORY
BARBARA B: MY SECOND CHANCE AT LIFE
The November 1987 myelogram test was being conducted in St. Francis Hospital, in Santa Barbara, CA and my neurosurgeon and my orthopedic surgeon were present. They were scheduled to do a disectomy/laminectomy the following morning on my L5-S1 blown disc, but because I had lost 70% of the power of my left leg after I blew the disc, they had decided to do the myelogram test to determine if I had any spinal cord damage, prior to surgery. Also present in the room were a male x-ray technician and at least two other people, presumably support staff.
While laying on the x-ray table, the iodine dye was injected into my spinal cord, at a point located in the back of my neck. I had been instructed to hold very still. The technician initiated movement of the table, and began talking to someone outside my range of vision. I had been told that the table would be positioned to raise my head, allowing gravity to move the dye down my spinal cord. X-rays would then be taken to allow the physicians to determine if the spinal cord was damaged before they performed surgery the next day.
On the x-ray table, I immediately began to feel strange and out of control. I felt as though I was going to lose consciousness, and realized that I could not move or communicate, and I fought to stay alert and present in the room. I wanted to alert the x-ray technician, but couldn't. I began hyperventilating and he turned from his conversation to look at me. My eyes were rolling back in my head and I fought to look at him and not lose consciousness. I saw him look startled, lean back and check his placement of his finger on the control buttons, and then look shocked. I lost consciousness.
It seemed to me as though I had just shut my eyes, and when I opened them again, my viewpoint had changed. I was now viewing the room from above the x-ray table and I actually felt as though the back of my head was pressing against the ceiling. I could hear and see everything in the room, and there was pandemonium below. Some of the people present were huddled around the x-ray table, someone was on the phone - calling for assistance, and the room seemed very loud and a feeling of panic emanated from the people present. My death was imminent and the x-ray room was ill-equipped for it.
Up on the ceiling, I felt absolutely calm and extremely unworried, and the thought that I immediately had was, "I'm dead. If I'm up here, and my body is down there, I've died." There was no angst, fear, or anger, it was just a statement of the situation as I watched the people below working over my body. I actually felt nonchalant about my own death.
I calmly began talking to God, as I usually do, and I simply said that I needed to go back. I said that I needed to return to raise my three month old baby daughter and my eight and a half year old son. I knew that I would soon be leaving my husband, as I was in an emotionally and physically abusive marriage, and that the children would need to be raised by me. I asked to return to my body to be the support for my children. I strongly wanted to return to my body, I calmly requested God to return me.
In the room below me, an oxygen cart was quickly wheeled in and an oxygen mask was placed on my face. A heart monitor was also wheeled in and was connected to my body. I remember looking down from the ceiling at the small screen as it showed a flat line and emitted a loud monotone buzzing noise. I don't know how much time passed as I talked to God, watching the scene play out below.
I heard the orthopedic surgeon say "Stand Clear!" and he swung his fist in a high arc and it landed on my chest. He swung it over his head and it landed on my chest again. It didn't hurt me, I watched passively from above, but the second blow caused my view from above to go dark, as if my eyes had again shut.
I blinked opened my eyes again and was startled to be looking up into people's faces and what was obviously the view from my own body. I was wearing the oxygen mask and then could hear the bleep, bleep sounds of the heart monitor registering my heart beating! I immediately wanted to tell them all that I had been up on the ceiling! I started talking into the oxygen mask. They advised me not to talk, saying that they needed to stabilize me. It was almost too hard to wait to tell them what I had experienced. I felt elated and so excited! I felt immense joy in that I had returned!
When they removed the oxygen mask, I related to the two doctors, and everyone else present, that I "had been on the ceiling... and I watched you bring me back!" I continued by saying that I could hear and see everything that had been happening below. The neurosurgeon is well known for his amazing surgical expertise and also for a rather abrupt, no nonsense attitude. He looked immediately skeptical, so I began relating the details of what had happened while I was on the ceiling, saying, "...and you said..., and he said... and then..." Both doctors looked startled and the neurosurgeon then said, "I'm not going to stand here and listen to this!" and stormed out of the room. The orthopedic surgeon held my hand and I remember him comforting me, but no one would allow me to talk about what had just happened.
When I was transferred to my room, none of the support staff would answer any of my questions during my four day hospital stay after my successful back surgery. My husband scoffed at the story, saying that it couldn't have happened since no one at the hospital would admit that it did. Even on my post-surgery follow-up visits, neither doctor would discuss what happened with me in the x-ray room, presumably because they feared legal repercussions. When pressed about it, the neurosurgeon explained away the situation by saying that I had experienced an allergic reaction to the iodine used for the myelogram. I knew that it had actually resulted from human error, but since I did not intend to pursue any legal action and couldn't get anyone to give me any confirmation of the NDE, I just eventually chose not to speak about the experience with anyone.
I never forgot about the NDE. I actually cherished the experience and felt happy that I had gotten to experience it, but I just never talked about it with anyone until about ten years later. I realized that telling my story would help someone whose mother was dying, and I told the story to a Christian nurse friend of mine. It did comfort her, and as we discussed the NDE she confirmed that some physicians are taught to use a pre-cardial thump as a last ditch effort to save a life if they don't have access to a defibrillator unit as the blow can shock the patient's heart into beating again. I knew then that I had truly seen the orthopedic surgeon arc his fist to restart my heart, and it verified, for me, that the NDE had truly happened.
I have always felt a strong connection to God, even when I was a young child, and this NDE experience definitely strengthened it further. I do not fear death and now look forward to passing out of this life and into whatever is beyond it. I felt the calm peace and bliss of what is beyond death. I believe I was given a gift from God, the opportunity to return to my body and to live out my life further, to raise my children, to work out many of the kinks in my life path, which, happily, I have successfully accomplished over the past twenty years.
I believe that I am here for many reasons, some that I currently realize and others that I will be shown by God when the time is right. I focus on being a positive presence on earth, and in the lives of my family and friends, as well as in my community and the world. I am thankful I was given the gift to be here. I enjoy living my life every day and am recognized as a positive, optimistic and happy wife (I divorced two and a half years after the NDE and was married two years later to my current husband, who's truly a wonderful gift!!), mother of five (his, mine, and ours!), businesswoman and employer, community volunteer, Rotarian (Rotary Club motto: "Service above Self"), and most importantly, joyous Christian! 'Life is Good' and I'm happy to be here until it's my time to move on and fully experience the "life after life"!