Stokes County woman making huge strides in recovery after battling life-threatening flu complications

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KING, N.C. — Janna Kiger says she’s continuing to recover five months after facing a life-threatening case of the flu.

Kiger, 25, said Monday that doctors still don’t know why the virus attacked her heart. She said she doesn’t remember much from the week her condition turned for the worst.

“All the sudden I started feeling like I couldn’t breathe,” Kiger said. “And that’s when I went to the hospital and that’s all I remember.”

“If she’d been later, she would have coded on the way to the hospital and there was no way she could have been saved with that,” Kiger’s mother Sheila said.

Kiger underwent so many surgeries that her family lost count of the procedures during her two-month stay at Duke Hospital.

“There was one week I had surgery Monday, dialysis Tuesday, surgery Wednesday, dialysis Thursday and then another final surgery to close everything up Friday,” she said.

Kiger said she is getting her strength back but it isn’t easy. Last week, she was able to return to work part-time as a dental assistant but said she can’t stay on her feet very long.

She said that she is grateful for the support of her family and the community, including her church family at Capella Church of Christ during her recovery.

“I would have never expected everybody that came to help and pray, I would have never expected that,” she said. “I’ve always had a strong faith, but after this, my faith is so much stronger.”

While Kiger struggled to take a few steps several months ago, she’s now planning to walk down the aisle.

She said her fiancé who stood by her side for months in the hospital popped the question Aug. 1.

Janna said her challenges are far from over, but family members said she’s already shown she is a fighter.

“I just tell her all the time the Lord’s brought you this far he’s not gonna let you go,” her mother said.

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