• 55°

Rowan man walking again after mystery illness left him paralyzed

GRANITE QUARRY — Just a little more than two years ago, Kim Goble was lying paralyzed in a hospital bed.

Doctors couldn’t explain what was wrong with the 40-year-old Rockwell resident. His wife, Marcela, didn’t know if he would ever recover.

Today, Kim’s doctors call him a “walking miracle,” he said. He is back on his feet and talking again with his family.

The Gobles, who have since moved to Granite Quarry, still have no diagnosis — no explanation for what suddenly paralyzed him two years ago.

After he was featured in a Salisbury Post article on Nov. 28, 2010, phone calls and emails poured in with suggestions about conditions Kim could have.

“I had a notebook for that. Every time, no matter where it came from, I’d write it down and take it to the doctors and say, ‘Can it be this? Can it be that?’ ” Marcela said in an interview this week. “One by one, they’d say, ‘Nope, that’s not it.’ ”

The doctors ran all the tests they could think of, including a toxicology screen and a brain biopsy, Marcela said.

Kim said his family doctor told him that sometimes there’s just no explanation for cases like this.

“He said it happened, and they could study it for months or years and never come up with what happened,” Kim said.

The doctors found a very small tumor on his kidney during a PET (positron emission topography) scan, Marcela said. They were able to destroy it in the hospital. Later checkups have found no sign of cancer.

“What happened to him was bad, but in a weird way, it was also a blessing,” she said. “If that hadn’t happened to him… he was developing kidney cancer, and they would have never found it.”

In late October 2010, Marcela noticed that her husband was acting strangely. He would say things that didn’t make sense, she said, and his easygoing personality suddenly turned more aggressive.

After a few days, she took Goble to Rowan Regional Medical Center for evaluation. On Nov. 4, he had a seizure there that paralyzed him.

He was transferred to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, where he was placed on a respirator and feeding tube for a couple of days. When Kim began breathing on his own, he still couldn’t speak and could only move his eyes.

Throughout the next month, as doctors ran a barrage of tests and tried several different treatments, he began to improve slowly.

“One of the nurses there told me, ‘We had one woman just like him who got up and walked out of here,’ ” Marcela said. “She said they never told her what was wrong, and they never found out what was wrong. That was it.”

Marcela, who had spent weeks holding onto hope, was still skeptical.

“I was like, ‘Yeah, right. There’s no way somebody that’s as bad as him…’ I had already had it in my head, ‘I’ll have to take care of him,’ ” she said. “I didn’t mind it, I just wanted him with me.”

Marcela said a treatment involving filtering Kim’s blood and inserting synthetic plasma seemed to kick-start his recovery.

By mid-December, Kim was capable of limited speech and movement, and doctors recommended that he start physical and speech therapy.

Out of three area rehabilitation facilities, only one, the J. Paul Sticht Center in Winston-Salem, said it could handle someone in Kim’s condition.

On his second day there, Marcela arrived to find him sitting up in a wheelchair and eating a meal with the other patients. “I just about started crying,” she said. “That place is unbelievable.”

Kim said he doesn’t remember any of his time as a hospital inpatient. His first memories in December are from his rehabilitation, when he felt disoriented and confused.

“The last thing I remember, I was walking up into the house,” he said.

He does remember a woman at the rehab center helping him on the day Marcela saw him sit up.

“She said, ‘Let’s get you sitting up so you can see the Christmas lights outside,’ ” Goble said.

A rigorous therapy program helped Kim relearn to talk, walk and use fine motor skills. He said he got frustrated sometimes.

“I mean, you’re weak. You have a hard time remembering,” Kim said. “They kept me busy. … And they were super good people.”

He came home Jan. 12, 2010, and continued outpatient rehabilitation at Rowan Regional Physical Therapy in Salisbury.

Now, the only medication Kim is taking is Ritalin, to help stimulate brain activity.

Kim still has occasional spells of weakness in his legs, which the doctors have attributed to mini-strokes, or transient ischemic attacks. He had experienced these spells for a few years before his hospital stay, and they were the reason he left his job with Freightliner in 2007.

Marcela has since begun working as a babysitter for her neighbor’s daughter, so that she can stay at home with her husband.

Even without the answers they desperately wanted, the Gobles both say that they’re blessed to be where they are. Their daughters, Brittney, 21, and Addison, 13, can now talk to their father and spend Christmas together at home.

Marcela invites anyone going through a similar situation to send her an email at mgoble36@carolina.rr.com.

“Anybody who’s going through something like that, I’d just tell them to pray,” she said, “and not give up.”

Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.

Twitter: twitter.com/postcopolitics

Facebook: facebook.com/Karissa.SalisburyPost


Comments closed.


Catawba College hosts three in-person commencement ceremonies


With high case loads causing numerous staff departures, Child Protective Services seeks more positions


Livingstone College graduates celebrate ‘crossing the finish line’ during commencement celebration


Rowan sees 4 new COVID-19 deaths as mask mandate lifted, vaccines administered continue decline


Spencer is latest town updating its development ordinance


Salisbury native Kristy Woodson Harvey makes NY Times bestseller list


Board of Commissioners will convene for third time in May


Biz Roundup: Salisbury, Kannapolis among recipients of Region of Excellence Awards


Cheerleading team competes at Disney


Salisbury High to celebrate football, swimming champions with parade

High School

High school girls soccer: Isley, Webb lead all-county team


Spencer awarded $10,000 to develop trails at Stanback Forest


‘Tails and Tales’ coming to library this summer


Public Records: March Deeds


Salisbury Symphony’s ‘Return to the Concert Hall’ available May 24-31


Salisbury teen becomes one of first in age group to receive COVID-19 vaccine


Down Goat: Local farm and creamery poised to add goat yoga, artisan goat cheese to offerings


Pandemic’s impact, uncertainty of transit funding prompt request to eliminate Rowan Express service


New Waterworks’ exhibit opens June 1

High School

High school football: Walsh accepts the South football challenge


Price of Freedom Museum gets donated landscape project


Rowan Museum will have Upscale Yard Sale Saturday


Seventh dragon boat festival set for July 24; deadline for sponsorships is May 28


‘Shocking and horrifying’: Israel destroys AP office in Gaza