Saturday, December 27, 2014

Getting Back to Business

This week has been a big week for me. I’m back in school full time this year after missing a lot of the later part of sixth grade. I actually didn’t finish the sixth grade until around the end of July. My teacher at CHOP and my teachers from Mother Teresa were very patient with me and made sure that I worked hard once I felt good enough towards the end of my treatment. My days and weeks now are pretty busy with physical therapy to strengthen my leg, swim practice with the Monmouth Barracudas and lots of homework. I had to go from two physical therapy sessions a week to three because my physical therapist didn’t think I was progressing fast enough. Now that I have been going three times a week, I limp less and I feel stronger. I had to trade one day of swim practice per week to get in the third physical therapy session but first things first. All that said, finding time for 7th grade homework (we get lots of homework) is pretty tough but I make it work. Back to this being a big week, I got my report card this past week and I got all A(s). I worked hard for those grades and I feel pretty good about my report card.

Getting Back to Business

This week has been a big week for me. I’m back in school full time this year after missing a lot of the later part of sixth grade. I actually didn’t finish the sixth grade until around the end of July. My teacher at CHOP and my teachers from Mother Teresa were very patient with me and made sure that I worked hard once I felt good enough towards the end of my treatment. My days and weeks now are pretty busy with physical therapy to strengthen my leg, swim practice with the Monmouth Barracudas and lots of homework. I had to go from two physical therapy sessions a week to three because my physical therapist didn’t think I was progressing fast enough. Now that I have been going three times a week, I limp less and I feel stronger. I had to trade one day of swim practice per week to get in the third physical therapy session but first things first. All that said, finding time for 7th grade homework (we get lots of homework) is pretty tough but I make it work. Back to this being a big week, I got my report card this past week and I got all A(s). I worked hard for those grades and I feel pretty good about my report card.

I also felt good enough Sunday to swim in my first sanctioned swim meet this year. I swam the 50 yard freestyle, 50 yard butterfly and the 50 yard backstroke. Notice I swam every stroke except breast stroke. Dr. Dormans, my Orthopedic Surgeon said that because of my prosthetic femur, I shouldn’t swim breast stroke because the stress it would put on my hip joint might cause it to dislocate (not good). So, if you read this Dr. Dormans, I did listen. Back to the meet… take a look at the video of my 50 yard butterfly embedded in this blog. I’m in the closest lane in the video. I swam my fastest 50 fly by almost two seconds. That’s alot even though it doesn’t sound like it is. ☺

 


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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.

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