In this episode of How I Made It Through, host Kristin Taylor speaks with guest Marla Levy about the complications she faced in 2013 from a congenital heart defect. Marla Levy had to undergo three open heart surgeries in just 16 days. After her second surgery, her heart didn’t resume beating on its own for almost a week. During that time, she was put on a machine that takes over the function of the heart and lungs. Unfortunately, one of the common side effects is acute kidney failure. Marla’s kidneys shut down, and she was placed on dialysis 24 hours a day. Battling triple organ failure and fighting an infection, Marla was put into an induced coma as her family and friends prayed for her and as her medical team fought to keep her alive. And, stay alive she did.

On the other side of this experience Marla is forever changed. She did not just stay alive. Rather, she learned how to truly be alive. During her time in the hospital, she experienced more than one “Spiritually Transformative Experience”; experiences that profoundly shifted her awareness, her priorities and her appreciation for the purpose of her life. Today, Marla’s priorities in life are deeply shaped by a commitment to extending compassion to all those she meets – particularly if she senses they are suffering.