A woman has revealed what it felt like to die after she flat-lined during brain surgery.
Michelle Ellman, 25, was born hydrocephalus, an excess of cerebrospinal fluid, and doctors later discovered that she was also born with a brain tumour.
When Michelle, who is originally from Hong Kong but now lives in London, went into surgery at the age of 11 so doctors could run tests on the brain she flat-lined, and she remembers floating above her bed.
Speaking on Loose Women, Michelle called death ‘peaceful and calm’ and hopes to reassure people that it isn’t as scary as they might think.
Michelle Ellman, 25, had 15 surgeries in the first 20 years of her life and remembers flat-lining during brain surgery. Pictured: Michelle on Loose Women on Thursday
Michelle has spent her life in and out of hospital, and had 15 surgeries in the first 20 years of her life, including operations to fix an obstructed bowel and punctured intestine.
When she was 11 she went under the knife again for a brain tumour, and says she died for a few seconds.
She explained: ‘I still remember floating above my bed.
‘What’s really nice to know is it’s a really calm sensation when you die, and that’s what I’d like to tell people because it gives you a bit solace that even in the last moments it’s really peaceful and really calm.
She says she remembers floating over the top of her hospital bed and feeling ‘calm and peaceful’. Pictured: Michelle in hospital as a child
Michelle was left with scars on her stomach from surgeries, and once felt self-conscious about them. Pictured: Michelle confidently posing in a bikini on the beach
‘In my head it was five minutes but apparently it was a few seconds. I remember everything that happened but apparently my eyes were closed.
‘I didn’t talk about it for years but it makes me sound a bit crazy.’
Now her health has stablised Michelle is working as a body confidence coach after years of surgery left her with several scars on her stomach.
Michelle said the ‘hardest part’ of growing up with her health complications was the scars she was left with following the vital operations.
Michelle’s health has stablised Michelle is working as a body confidence coach. Pictured: Michelle on Loose Women
Michelle now shares pictures of herself in bikinis with inspiring message to help other women feel comfortable in their own bodies. Pictured: Michelle in a bikini
She previously said of her scars: ‘They make already awkward moments in your adolescence even more uncomfortable – like taking your top off for the first time in front of your boyfriend.
‘They made me feel even more isolated in a world where I felt no one could understand.’
For year she would keep them hidden away and stopped wearing a bikini at the age of seven when she first noticed that her body was different.
She recalls: ‘After receiving a range of reactions from disgust to pity, it soon became easier to hide away and be doomed to a life of tankinis and one-pieces.
Throughout her childhood Michelle had surgeries to fix ‘pretty much every organ’, including an obstructed bowel and punctured intestine. Pictured: Michelle as a child
She wants people who are scared of dying to take ‘solace’ in the fact that she knows it to be ‘peaceful’. Pictured: Michelle on Loose Women with panelists Nadia Sawalha and Stacey Solomon
‘Why did I believe this? Because over the years, I have learnt that my scars make people uncomfortable. I had become ashamed of my body and soon other people’s disgust became my own.’
She says that talking about her scars has helped her overcome her body woes, explaining: ‘I started to talk about it – all of it, and I want other people to join in on the conversation.
‘Every human has scars, whether there are emotional and physical – they are part of our story and we should be proud of them.’
Michelle now runs an Instagram account called Scarred Not Scared on which she posts body positive messages to encourage others be comfortable in their own skin.