The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, February 23, 1999, Page 2, Image 2

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    Matt Miller/DN
KRISTI GROOTHUIS can hardly stand to watch her daughter, Mindy Kellogg, get a bone marrow biopsy, Kellogg’s third bone marrow biopsy in the last two
months. The doctors took the biopsy to find out if an immune globulin treatment worked. Although tests showed a little improvement, the family is still
waiting to find out is a bone marrow transplant is needed.
MINDY KELLOGG HOLDS the bone marrow sample that was taken from her
pelvis bone.
Northeast High
student battles
blood disorder
MINDY from page 1
an hour of tutoring and visits from
her best friend.
“She keeps asking why this is
happening,” her mother, Kristi
Groothuis, said. “The Lord is telling
us something, but I don't know
In December. Groothuis noticed
that her daughter’s entire arm was
bruised from a near fall at work.
While working at Kentuckv
Fried Chicken, Kellogg slipped but
caught herself before she fell, bruis
ing her ami when _ he grabbed a pole
to steady herself.
Groothuis had noticed the bruis
ing before, but she thought Kellogg
had just been rough-housing with
her friends.
“She likes to be one of the guys,”
Groothuis said. “She hits them back,
but she just kept bruising.”
On Dec. 22, Kellogg’s bruises
and tiredness alarmed her mother
enough to take her to the hospital.
Doctors did an array of blood tests
and sent her home.
But when doctors got the results
of the tests that afternoon, they
called Groothuis and said that
Kellogg had to be hospitalized.
“I went to KFC to pick her up,”
Groothuis said, “and when I told her
she had to be admitted, she freaked.”
Kellogg’s platelet count had
dropped to 7,000, and doctors
thought she might have had
By the time she left the hospital
on Christmas Eve, doctors had ruled
out leukemia and were looking for
another cause of Kellogg’s symp
Since then Kellogg has had two
biopsies and she gets platelet trans
fusions every week.
And two weeks ago, Kellogg
went to a specialist in Omaha for an
immune globulin treatment that may
help her bone marrow recover, but
doctors are not sure if it will work.
After the treatment. Kellogg’s
blood platelet count recovered
slightly, but not as much as doctors
had hoped.
“We are up at the hospital for
five houi s to talk to the doctor for 10
minutes, and he still doesn’t know
what is going on,” Kellogg said.
Doctors and the family are still
waiting to see if the treatment will
take hold and avert a bone marrow
transplant that would require a 100
day hospital stay.
Parvovirus first appears as a rash
that will not go away, which Kellogg
had two years ago.
Then it starts to attack the ele
ments of blood, which leads to bruis
ing and chronic fatigue.
Unless Kellogg’s bone marrow
recovers, a slight injury could be
Kellogg said that last semester
she had to schedule time for a three
hour nap between school and work.
Even with the chronic fatigue she
was plagued with, Kellogg was still
able to work 35 hours a week to help
out with the bills.“All I ever used to
do was go to school and work, but
now I can’t,” Kellogg said.
“Everybody treats me like I am
Kellogg said the worst part is that
she doesn’t feel any different than
before she was diagnosed, but now
doctors want her to stay around the
“I was sick for so long, but I still
did everything and I could handle it,”
Kellogg said.
She also has to be careful about
germs. Doctors don’t want her to eat
fast food - one of her favorite things
- though she said she still occasion
ally goes to Burger King right after it
Now Kellogg spends her days
around the house with her dog,
Sadie, her cat, Salmont, and some
fish and a box turtle, which she said
didn’t have names.
In the afternoons, she meets with
a tutor to keep up with her studies at
Northeast High School.
Then her best friend, Mandy
Craig, comes over to hang out for a
few hours before going to work.
“Mandy is the only one who
doesn’t make me feel like I am sick,”
Kellogg said.
Craig said she started to worry
about Kellogg last summer when she
was too tired to go out on the week
The two girls have been best
friends since their freshman year in
high school, and now Craig tries to
make sure it is not any different
between them.
“I don’t know why, but I just
can’t get sick of that girl,” Craig said.
“But I am so scared this girl is going
to die on me.”
For friends and family, Kellogg s
illness has been difficult to deal
Groothuis works two jobs, one at
the state retirement office, the other
at CableVision, and has already used
up her sick and vacation leave at both
jobs to be with her daughter.
Fortunately Groothuis’ medical
insurance has paid 100 percent of
Kellogg’s medical costs so far. and
the company has said it would pay
for a transplant if it is necessary.
But other bills are accumulating.
Groothuis said a fund had been set
up with Union Bank to accept dona
tions for the family.
Kellogg and Groothuis have
always been close, they said, but this
illness has made them depend on
each other more.
“We are closer than mother and
daughter,” Groothuis said. “We are
best friends.”
Groothuis said that because she
had Mindy when she was 19, the two
of them really grew up
Many of
Groothuis’ family
members live in
Lincoln and have
offered support, but it
has been difficult.
“I cry at least once
a day to relieve stress,”
Groothuis said. “But I
think Mindy is trying
to stay strong for me.”
Right now Kellogg
would like nothing
more than to be able to
go back to school and
her fast-food job.
“Even though I
hated school before, I
would really like to go
now,” she said.
Kellogg worries that she will not
be able to walk across the stage at
graduation if she has to have a trans
And for the time being, Kellogg s
dreams of college have been put on
the back burner.
Kellogg and her mother will
know within the next few weeks if
the transplant is necessary.
But for now they have both
learned to appreciate every day.
“Life can be gone just like that ”
Groothuis said. “I have learned to
love Mindy more. She has always
been No. 1 in my life, and she always
will be.”
We are up at the
hospital for five
hours to talk to
the doctor for 10
minutes, and he
still doesn7 know
what is going on
Mindy Kellogg
parvovirus sufforer