A woman who 'almost died' in a coma says it was the "best experience of her life" as it left her with an indescribable sense of peace - and allowed her to beat her phobia of the dark. Irayne Vamplew, 81, suffered a stroke in 2016 and ended up in a coma for two months.
Describing her experience, she says there were no lights or sounds - just a black void in which there was no sense of time. Irayne, a former interior designer from Robertsbridge, Sussex, describes her time in a coma as an extremely peaceful experience that has left her with a feeling of contentment - prompting her to conclude, incredibly, that it is the best thing that has ever happened to her.
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Irayne, a mother of two, said: "I put it down as the best experience of my life, I'm grateful for it. They even found cancer at the same time and they wouldn't have found it if I hadn't had the stroke.
"It was just dark, silence, I didn't hear anything, I didn't see anything, but the peace I've lived with ever since is utterly amazing. There was nothing that scared me about the dark and quiet, it was just peaceful.
"I did believe in an afterlife, now I'm not so sure. I didn't see anybody or anything, no lights, nothing."
In 2016, Irayne had sold her house and on January 6, as she was waiting for the removal men to arrive, she started to feel unwell.
She didn't realise what was happening but it emerged she was having a major stroke, and after being rushed to hospital she ended up in a coma.
Irayne continued: "It was the day I sold my Victorian house, that morning - the removal men were coming at 8am and I had the stroke at 7am. I was in a coma for two months.
"I was near to death, it was touch and go for a while. They weren't sure if I would come out of it.
"The actual coma was totally silent, it was peculiar. I didn't know how long it was, but I was told it was a couple of months."
Irayne says that when she came out of her coma she felt incredibly relaxed, and the feeling has remained ever since and now nothing stresses her out.
She continued: "When I came out of the coma, it's strange - I can't tell you how much fun we had at the hospital.
"I never experienced peace like it before my coma, I'm reasonably chilled out but I'd never felt peace like that - never.
"The strange thing is it stays with you, and the other thing is you're never afraid of the dark or anything - the peace just stays with you.
"Nothing scares me now, I had a few fears before - dark places and things like that, but nothing gets me now.
"I never lost my temper or anything, so that hasn't changed, it's just that I have a lighter attitude. The fun we had for a month after the stroke, I can't tell you how good it was.
"It was just like being in a fabulous hotel and having the nicest time, we just didn't stop laughing. It was a miraculous thing, and I guess that's because of the lightness - no responsibilities, no shopping, no nothing.
"All I know is when I came out the coma I was grateful for no responsibility, I was just so happy with that.
"It's just this overall feeling of peace, I don't know if you would get it in deep meditation, but I'd never experienced anything like that fantastic light peace before.
"The thing is to not get stressed about things, just go with it and enjoy it, and let it be. I don't think you can get that peace normally, I can't explain it - it's just there. If you're gonna have a coma, enjoy the peace."
While she was undergoing tests, doctors found that Irayne had cancer - but even that shock diagnosis didn't sour her mood.
She continued: "I was so lucky they found the cancer tumour. They were just doing scans because I had blood on the brain.
"When I came to they said they found a tumour on my lung, and I had no idea it was there. I apparently had Diptheria when I was a child and that's the damage it did. Plus there was passive smoking.
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"They found it all when I was in a coma and I had the treatment after. Luckily it was a non-malignant tumour, so it was dealt with.
"As soon I woke up from the coma I had cancer treatment. I was reading up about it, they wanted me to have surgery but I didn't want it - I found a new treatment where they implant a needle where the tumour is and zap it from the inside, and that's how they did it.
"All the while I was perfectly peaceful. I was devastated, but it didn't sour the mood. Every time I woke up in the morning I thought, 'oh, I've got cancer', but before that, I didn't. I didn't get in a stress about it, I just dealt with it."
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