Friday, July 31, 2015

Beads of Courage

Today was a pretty big day for me. It is exactly one week since my limb-salvage surgery. The doctors removed the drains (vacuum-like tubing that removes the leaking blood and fluids from the area that was operated on). Right now, I'm not hooked up to ANYTHING, so I enjoyed a ride around the hospital in my wheel chair!

Beads of Courage

Rachel´s necklace keeps growing as she earns a "bead of courage" for each step of her treatment
Rachel's necklace keeps growing as she earns a "bead of courage" for each step of her treatment Kurt Kovach

 Today was a pretty big day for me. It is exactly one week since my limb-salvage surgery. The doctors removed the drains (vacuum-like tubing that removes the leaking blood and fluids from the area that was operated on). Right now, I'm not hooked up to ANYTHING, so I enjoyed a ride around the hospital in my wheel chair!

My leg brace also came today. Wearing this brace instead of using the abductor pillow will allow me to move more freely while keeping my hips aligned while I heal from the surgery. I will begin physical therapy with the brace tomorrow morning with Nickie so I can learn how to do things safely and finally go home from the hospital!

The other thing that I got to do today (besides go to school for two hours with the CHOP teacher Jamie) is update my Beads of Courage. When I started my treatment back in February, one of the child-life specialists, Brittany, told me about the beads that oncology patients collect to represent different parts of treatment. My favorite bead is the purple star that you get for having surgery. My strand of beads is already about 4.5 feet long -- and I'm only about half way through treatment!


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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.

Onco Girl
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