I have. I’ve traditionally been the stubborn sort that never goes to a doctor, just waits out illnesses and lets his immune system deal with it, etc. Back in 2000, I started to feel “not right” - no appetite, not sleeping right, random weird aches and pains, weird rashes, etc. I chalked it up to stress. My condition steadily deteriorated and in 2001 it should have been painfully obvious that something was seriously wrong. The problem is, by that point it affected my mind so much that my judgment was entirely out of whack.
Turns out I had Lymphoma for quite some time, which had by that point reached stage IV, and metastasized all over the place. It was in my bone marrow, and eventually led to aplastic anemia; bone marrow completely shut down. So there I was severely anemic, neutropenic (no white blood cells; useless immune system) and with no platelets. Since I had no immune system I also had bronchitis and 2 ear infections to go along with it. My body started shutting down, I got completely delirious, etc. Started seeing a bunch of things and people that just plain weren’t there. I somehow managed to call my dad on the phone, and I explained to him that I had just accidently destroyed the universe, but it was OK, I had rebuilt it, and I wanted to know if I had rebuilt him properly. He quickly drove up to my place, and I told him I was hungry (I hadn’t eaten for several days apparently) and he said we’d go get a pizza. He of course took me to the mental hospital, they took one look at my vitals and said I need to get onto an ambulance to the medical hospital IMMEDIATELY as I was minutes from death.
I did make it to the hospital but went into cardiac arrest almost immediately after being brought to the the trauma room. I guess my blood was not carrying enough oxygen to keep the heart going. They did manage to get it going again, and transfuse me, etc. My memory of that whole part is extremely spotty. I remember the hallucinations distinctly, I remember being brought to the mental hospital, and part of the ambulance ride. I remember regaining consciousness a few times in the trauma room, one of which was right as they were doing a lumbar puncture (aka spinal tap). Fun!
Then I went into a coma for I think 7 or 8 days. I had to be regularly transfused for a few weeks until my bone marrow started working again, after chemo and a lot of procrit.
I didn’t see any tunnels with light at the end or anything during all of this. One thing I did notice was that whenever I was conscious, I was convinced that whatever room I was in was full of sweet-smelling smoke. I remember a distinct moment where I had this feeling like my sense of self was completely dissociated from my physical body, the best I can describe it is I felt like “existence turned inside out”, as if myself and the rest of the universe had swapped places, like all of existence was inside my body, and my consciousness became the rest of the universe. Just call me Wonko the Sane! And I remember a distinct point where my senses just shut off, and I just saw “snow” and heard white noise for a second. I was already unconscious at this point, but the images and sounds in the dream-like state disappeared and were replaced with this noise. And then at that point it all instantly snapped back to normality, which was when I woke up for the first time in the trauma room.
So, I’m pretty sure that part of the experience was my brain beginning to shut portions of itself down to conserve energy. Possibly the reason it seemed to instantly snap back to normal is that at that point it stopped keeping track of the passage of time, so my perception just jumped forward at that point. I don’t know, I’m not a neurologist, I just know what I experienced.
Anyway, I’m fine now, it will be 8 years in remission this January. Didn’t even have to have a bone marrow or stem cell transplant. Just chemo. Pretty remarkable, really.