While washing her hair, she leaned her head back and felt a pulling sensation going from her neck down the left side of her chest. She felt her heartbeat start racing and initially thought that it was just minor anxiety with everything going on (buying the house, new jobs, new schools for the kids). After several minutes, with no relief, she started getting really worried that something was terribly wrong. She got out of the shower, got dressed, and decided to lay down for a few minutes. She called her husband, who was in Iowa for his job. He suggested that she keep an eye on whatever was going on and if it persisted, to head to the hospital. After several more minutes, KiAnne knew that something was wrong. She called her Dad to tell him that she was going to take the ambulance down to the hospital because something just didn't seem right.
She reluctantly called 911 and spoke to her own coworkers. Explained what was going on, and that she needed to go to the hospital for chest pain/racing heartbeat. While KiAnne was waiting for the ambulance, she explained to her girls that something was going on and that she would be running down to the hospital, but she would be back as soon as possible and then they would go to the fair.
At the hospital, doctors and nurses were quick in doing their diagnostic testing to figure out the problem. KiAnne had called her husband who was heading to Sioux City, IA to let him know what was going on and her Dad met her at the ER.
One of the first tests that the ER performed was a CT. Within 5-10 minutes of the test, doctors were back in her room explaining that KiAnne had an aortic dissection and needed to have emergency heart surgery. Thankfully, the head of the cardio-thoracic department was already in the hospital and KiAnne was wheeled into surgery within 5 minutes.
When doctors opened her chest, KiAnne's aorta had ballooned to the size of a softball. Typically, people with this health crisis are dead within 20-30 seconds. By some grace of God, KiAnne was still alive and survived the ordeal. She died during the procedure, but doctors were able to regain a heartbeat.
Thanks to the persistence of the surgeon and the anesthesiologist sitting by her side for hours, to wait for the bleeding to stop, KiAnne survived the 13 hour surgery. When doctors came out to update the family, they informed them that KiAnne was alive but she was very sick. The doctor said, "she is a very very sick girl. And I did all that I could. But we had a very hard time stopping the bleeding. The next 24 hours will be crucial to gauge her prognosis." This was all very scary, especially considering that KiAnne was only 30 years old!
The operation was on Thursday August 7th, 2014. KiAnne finally regained consciousness on Sunday August 10th, 2014. She was alive, but had a very long road ahead of her.
Her heart had sustained so much damage during the operation that doctors had to wrap her heart in a gore-tex wrap to keep it together. She came out of the ordeal alive, however, she now had severe heart failure and a 3rd degree heart block (meaning her heart could not beat on it's own). On August 14th, 2014, KiAnne underwent another procedure to implant a permanent pacemaker/defibrillator. She spent one more day in the ICU and was then transferred to her own hospital room to start her recovery.
KiAnne was discharged from the hospital on Tuesday August 19th, 2014. The following day, Neil closed on their house.
In the years since, KiAnne has been managing her newfound disability with constant doctor appointments & medication adjustments.
In September of 2017 KiAnne had a CT to try and find the cause of chronic side pain that she has suffered since. The CT showed damage to her liver from her heart failure. This prompted her heart failure doctor to pursue further testing. This revealed their worst fears. KiAnne's heart was failing rapidly and a heart transplant was looming.
In December of 2017, KiAnne had a procedure to replace the current pacemaker/defibrillator. This procedure also added a 3rd lead to her heart. The purpose of this 3rd lead was to make both sides of her heart beat at the same time. The procedure was complicated and longer than anticipated but it was successful. Doctors are hoping this will buy her more time before her heart transplant. She is currently scheduled to undergo her heart transplant evaluation in Madison on January 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th.
Despite the challenges of the past few years, as well as a looming heart transplant, KiAnne has continued to be the best wife and mother possible to her two girls and husband. She faces each day with a positive outlook and her compassion for those around her is unwavering. Those who know KiAnne know that she is the last one to ask for a handout and quite frankly, feels uncomfortable asking for money or assistance in paying for this transplant. With numerous doctor's appointments, travel expenses and the transplant costs, the financial burden continues to build. At this time, KiAnne's sole focus needs to be on her health, rather than how the bills will be paid. Her friends & family would like to help alleviate this burden by humbly asking for donations of any amount.
If you would prefer to donate directly, we have set up a bank account specifically for this purpose. We are also planning one or two fund-raising events/benefits this year and will be looking for auction donations.
This page, as well as the other fund-raising efforts are being coordinated by me, Nicole Roggenbuck (KiAnne's sister) and Sheri Krogman (KiAnne's best friend). If you would like additional information or would like to donate, please contact either one of us.
Nicole: Email- [email redacted]
Sheri: Email- [email redacted]
To follow KiAnne's journey, please join our Facebook group “You Had Me At Transplant”, located at www.facebook.com/groups/1531995350215266/
You can also follow #YouHadMeAtTransplant on Facebook and/or Instagram.
Thank you, in advance, for your support!
Team KiAnne- Nicole & Sheri
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