Diagnosed with a terminal illness at 52, Mya DeRyan saw no use in medicine. After spending several months with her adult son, the British Columbia woman departed his Vancouver home, leaving a note reading, "My body hurts, my heart is full. It's time. I love you." DeRyan then boarded a ferry, stripped naked, and jumped from the vessel as it crossed the Strait of Georgia on Oct. 30, reports the Victoria Times-Colonist. She viewed the act as a fitting end; she was an artist who worked with fish scales. But she hadn't anticipated the search. A witness had seen her jump, and DeRyan watched as Coast Guard vessels and a helicopter spent five hours searching for her. "I could feel the intensity of the search, that crisis and the desperation to find me," she says. "I didn't want to go in that way with that negative energy."
DeRyan had kept her breathing calm through meditation. But now she was starting to panic. "I was breathing heavily, I couldn't calm down. I was begging the universe to give me a log or something to grab onto," she says. At that point, DeRyan says a life ring, thrown from the ferry hours earlier, floated toward her. When rescuers went to retrieve it after calling off the search, they were stunned to see their target clinging on—alive. Then, another incredible twist: During a week in hospital, DeRyan says she learned that her chronic headaches, abdominal pain, and nausea weren't the result of a terminal illness at all; her diagnosis had been wrong. She recalls realizing "there's got to be a plan" for the new life she was granted. For now, it involves spending time with her son. "There's nothing that makes me happier," she tells CTV News. (Read more suicide attempt stories.)