Doctors, nurses and family at Oregon Health and Science University saw Kylie Marble open her eyes after nearly a weeklong drug-induced coma on Tuesday, June 24. The first thing her weak voice proclaimed was that “God is good.”
On Father’s Day, June 15, in Forest Grove, Oregon, Marble, an upcoming Wheaton second semester junior, cut her knee open in a biking accident and visited the emergency room to have it stitched.
Forty-eight hours later, Marble was in septic shock caused by the toxicity of the militant flesh-eating bacteria known as clostridium perfringens that had spread from the gash in her knee to inflame her entire leg.
After a day of trying to understand the cause and potential treatment of an excruciating infection, Marble’s parents brought her back into the emergency room on the evening following her accident. An emergency surgeon identified the bacteria. Then Marble was rushed into a surgery that her family knew would be life saving if it succeeded.
This surgery was the first of approximately eighteen surgeries over the next few months, the beginning of countless medications, IVs, skin grafts, a secondary infection, removal of much muscle and tissue from infected areas, and frequent harrowing pain.
However, for the Marble family, the surgeries have become another opportunity for their 21 year old daughter to do exactly what she has been doing all her life—sing of how good God has been to her.
In her debut album, People are People, Marble shows not only an understanding of music, a passion for reaching out to the people around her, and an immense gratitude to the Savior, who gives her life. All of these characteristics have punctuated Marble’s recovery from the infection that first threatened her life and then her left leg to her release from the hospital on August 4th.
On one night with an especially painful procedure on the horizon, Marble said she reverted to the encouragement of 2 Corinthians 4, which gives the hope that, “we do not lose heart, but though the outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.” Through Marble’s flesh that was literally ‘decaying,’ eternal glory brought many truths to the surface during this time.
Marble said that her summer began as a time of healing in many ways, a process that was reinforced by her near death experience. She said that she learned that “healing takes time. It’s never on the schedule you want it to be on, but it’s on God’s schedule, and He has it planned out just the way He wants it to be.”
Marble said that friends and family “really expected this to be shorter.” But with a prospective year of physical therapy ahead, Marble said God is working endurance in her to give her strength for future challenges.
Charlie Marble, the Wheaton student’s father, said that his greatest insight came in this situation through “complete surrender.” He added, ” We have to truly wait on God and truly believe he is faithful. That he loves us. To get to the point of that complete surrender was a great point of hope for me.”
This sense of absolute trust also led the Wheaton undergraduate to full contentment with her present condition, enabling her to share her joy with those around her. Her father said, “(I) used to pray, ‘Tell me what you want and I’ll do it.’ Now, I realize (God is) calling us to be obedient where we are.”
Though the family initially feared God would falter in his protection, they stated that they have recognized it during the entire summer. The family said God’s protection drew family members and friends together in greater love and unity and orchestrated healing from the secondary infection that came a month after the initial scare.
Marble also believes God’s protection was guarding her while she was in a comatose state. The heaviness of the medication could have produced nightmarish hallucinations, but whenever she sensed darker dreams approaching, Marble said she felt a light come and enter her dreams.
“It was like she had this personal encounter with the Lord while she was sedated,” her mother, Anita Marble, said.
Marble and her family look forward to a long road of healing. Kylie said she aspires to return to Wheaton to finish her Communications degree, still trusting in God’s timing.