Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

A great Easter holiday

On Monday after Easter, I had to go to Children's Hospital for my three-month scans, blood work and a follow up visit with my oncologist.

A great Easter holiday

Rachel and Rich Furino
Rachel and Rich Furino

This was a great Easter holiday this year.

On Monday after Easter, I had to go to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) for my three-month scans, blood work and a follow up visit with my oncologist.

My parents and I decided to stay in Philadelphia Sunday night so we could get an early start at CHOP and not have to drive in from the shore Monday morning. After mass on Easter Sunday, my parents and I went to breakfast and then headed to Philadelphia.

We checked into our hotel and relaxed a little before dinner. My dad made reservations for Easter dinner at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House. I had dinner there a few months ago, and it was great. I was really looking forward to dinner at Del Frisco’s.

When we got to the restaurant, Rich Furino, the General Manager, came to see me, and he was really nice. He had seen my blog and kind of knew why I was in town, and he made our experience at Del Frisco’s really special. Mr. Furino told me about the history of the building the restaurant was in and he gave me a Silver coin from Del Frisco’s that special guests get.

Mr. Furino’s daughter is a nurse at CHOP, and she gave him a shirt from CHOP to give me from the nurses. Mr. Furino also gave me a really nice shirt from Del Frisco’s. Dinner was awesome. I had the best steak ever. After dinner, Mr. Furino had Drew Carballo give us a tour of the restaurant. He showed us the wine tower, the kitchen and the wine room down stairs that used to be a bank vault … . Very cool. I can’t wait to go back.

Monday we went to CHOP to get started on my day of scans, blood work and a visit with Dr. Balamuth. The scans were a breeze, only took about 15 minutes. I’m getting used to getting these scans now. 

After scans, my parents took me over to the oncology clinic to start getting checked in, weighed in, blood pressure checked and stuff. I’m happy to tell you that I have grown almost two inches since my surgery last may and both of my legs are the same length. Dr. Dormans nailed it when he put in my prosthesis. When he cemented it in to my femur he stopped about 3mm short of the growth plate. This means that my leg continued to grow and my legs are the same length.

After triage, I went over to the oncology lab to get blood drawn to check my counts. We were pretty early to the clinic, but Dr. Balamuth was available early and she was able to see us right away. 

Things were kind of quiet in the clinic and the lab so the results of my blood work were done pretty quickly. Within a few minutes, we went in to see Dr. Balamuth, and she gave me the best news of all … . She said MY SCANS WERE PERFECT! My blood work and counts were perfect, too.

It’s always a little scary to go in for scans because I really don’t want the cancer to come back. Monday’s news was the perfect end to the Easter holiday. I have an appointment to see Dr. Dormans next month so he can check out how my leg and physical therapy are coming along.

I’ll keep you posted. Wish me luck!

About this blog
Rachel Kovach, 12, is a seventh-grader at Mother Theresa Regional School in Atlantic Highlands, N.J. She lives in Highlands, N.J., near the Sandy Hook national seashore, with her parents, Mari and Kurt Kovach.

Since first grade, Rachel has been swimming with the Monmouth Barracudas, a year-round competitive United States Swimming Club program. She hopes to continue competitive swimming after her cancer treatment; if not, she envisions coaching someday or maybe a career in medicine. Figure skating and jazz dancing have been big parts of her life. One of the things she hates about being in the hospital is missing her dog Cocoa and her many friends.

Rachel's doctors

These are the key physicians overseeing Rachel’s care at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia:

Naomi BalamuthNaomi Balamuth, pediatric oncologist, specializes in treating pediatric sarcomas, a subset of solid tumors.

 

 

Richard B. WomerRichard B. Womer, pediatric oncologist, led studies of the latest chemotherapy treatment protocol for Ewing’s sarcoma.

 

 

John P. DormansJohn P. Dormans, M.D., chief of orthopaedic surgery, is an international expert in the surgical treatment of musculoskeletal tumors.

 

Timeline of Rachel Kovach’s Treatment

Dec. 3, 2010: Pain in Rachel's right knee is initially diagnosed as tendinitis.

Jan. 20: An MRI reveals a tumor in right leg.

Jan 24: Rachel sees John Dormans, chief of orthopedic surgery at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Jan. 27: A biopsy confirms Ewing's sarcoma.

February to mid-April: Regimens of chemotherapy alternate every other week. The three-drug regimen is given over two days; the two-drug regimen is given over five days.

May 3: Surgery replaces most of the right femur with a prosthesis.

May 5: A Children's Hospital team will help Rachel get out of bed.

May 10 to September: Alternating regimens of chemotherapy are to resume.

Around May 10: Physical therapy will begin in the hospital and continue for at least several months after Rachel goes home.

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