Wednesday, August 20, 2014
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I can really walk!

It was such a relief to take off the brace.

I can really walk!

I can walk!

I am at CHOP for a five day round of chemo that ends late Monday. Dr. Balamuth arranged for me to start this round early (I usually start on Friday) because I had an appointment to see Dr. Dormans on Thursday so he could check on my progress to see if I could get part of this brace off.

My visit with Dr. Dormans was GREAT! He had me take my brace off and I got my examination with my brace completely off for the first time. It was such a relief to have that thing off. He looked at my incision and was really happy with how well it has healed. Most of the steri-strips had fallen off; there were only a dozen or so left. Dr. Dormans said that the rest of them were ready to come off (yeah!) and that I can shower and even get in the pool if I’m really careful (yeah!). Dr. Dormans has a new fellow (a "fellow" is a doctor training in a specialty, not a guy), Camelia Mattos, working with him. She and another fellow, Juan Pretell, assisted Dr. Dormans with examining my incision, cleaning up the glue from the steri-strips and getting my new X-Rays.

Dr. Dormans checked out my leg and hip.  He checked how far I could lift it (easy peezy) and he checked to see if I had any pain if he turned my leg from side to side (nope).  He had me stand up to check if I had any pain (nope again) and had me sit without my brace on… all good.  He was happy to see how easy it was for me to take a few steps with my crutches and no brace.

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So Dr. Dormans is letting me take off the brace (yeah!). He wants me to use it for about the next month if I go out somewhere where I have to walk a lot, or if someone might bump into me and make me fall - like at the movies or the mall. Right now, falling would be a really bad thing. He had the people who built my brace take the bar out and take off the piece that went on my left leg. If I need to wear it when I go out, it will only go down my right leg (yeah again!).

When I got to my room for this round of chemo, I got a chance to walk without my brace. It feels great, but I get real tired. It’s been a long time since I was up on my feet walking, so I need to build up my strength and endurance. Take a look at the video. I can walk like I used to!


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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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