Doctors still aren't sure how she became infected, her husband says

By Adam Carlson
Updated June 13, 2015 09:40 AM

A Georgia mother and former Marine faces a quadruple amputation after battling a rare flesh-eating bacterial infection – and doctors still aren’t sure how she became infected, her husband tells PEOPLE.

Cindy Martinez, 34, has been hospitalized at Gwinnett Medical Center outside Atlanta since May 25, her husband, David, says.

She was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis and myositis, the former of which the CDC defines as a “serious bacterial skin infection that spreads quickly and kills the body’s soft tissue.”

Cindy’s condition has improved – “She almost died,” David says – but the road to recovery will be long, with many curves and no clear end in sight.

Their two young children, a 5-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter, haven’t been to visit, as the parents are waiting until Cindy is progressing in “the right direction.”

“It’s tough,” David, 33, says. “One day it’s good and then the next day it could be bad. It’s a roller coaster.”

But he did say that Cindy has been taken off a ventilator. “I’m starting to realize that anytime you take someone off any type of machine or medicine, that’s progress,” he says.

What doctors don’t know yet is whether Cindy’s hands and feet will need to be amputated. The possibility is still high, David says, but the doctors want to wait, and they’re in a position to do so.

Some tissue has already been removed from her body, he says.

Since her infection, people have been asking him: Had they been anywhere or done anything that would have put them in closer contact with this bacteria?

No, he says: “That’s the mystery too. We don’t know exactly how she got it. She’s healthy, she’s young.”

Their family is taking the future as it comes. He has bills to think about, and their children; and questions like, How to prep the house for handicapability, if they need to?

In some ways, they were the best people for this to happen to, David says: They’re always positive, they know how to handle challenges and they have faith in God.

Both former Marines, David, now a police officer, says he still loves telling the story of how he and Cindy met on base at Parris Island, South Carolina.

He says he’s so thankful for the outpouring of support (which includes a GoFundMe page for Cindy).

“The fortunate thing is she’s alive,” he says. “I truly believe that is a miracle.”

That’s what they call Cindy at the hospital, too, he says: “miracle girl.”