Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Keeping up with schoolwork

One of the things that I want to talk about today is how hard it is to keep up with schoolwork. If you know anyone who is going through a similar situation, you should share some of the tips with that person.

Keeping up with schoolwork

One of the things that I want to talk about today is how hard it is to keep up with schoolwork. If you know anyone who is going through a similar situation, you should share some of the tips with that person.

School has been something that worried me after my surgery. Besides the discomfort, there was always a lot going on and school was the last thing I wanted to worry about. The only problem is that the longer I put it off the harder it will be to finish my work. My teachers have been good about not bombarding me with make-up work but they are reminding me that there is still quite a bit to do. I will have to finish the work over the summer to finish the 6th grade. It will be a lot of work but it's worth it.

For kids who are out of school a lot because of health or personal issues, here are some tips that might make the work a little easier:

  • Do the work a little at a time so you don't get overwhelmed.
  • If you need extra help, get a home tutor or ask your teachers to help you catch up at home.
  • If you can, use Skype or Face Time to connect with your classroom to stay current.

Last Thursday I had my blood tested to see if my numbers were starting to trend down. When I left the hospital on Tuesday, my hemoglobin was 8.1; Thursday it was 8.3. My doctors told my parents and me that we should get my blood work done again on Monday but to also keep an eye on how I felt. Sure enough, I didn't feel good over the weekend and we ended up going in to CHOP Monday morning for blood work and possibly a transfusion. It was a good thing we did because my hemoglobin was 7.2. My dad said I turned into "kidzilla" over the weekend. I guess I got a little cranky when I wasn’t feeling well.

This is one of those things that just keeps coming up when you are going through chemotherapy that gets in the way of school work. I’m really trying to keep up but sometimes I just don’t feel up to it. When I do get to do my homework, Coco hops in bed with me sometimes to hang out.

I felt much better after the transfusion on Monday. When I got home, I was able to get up and walk around the house with my walker. This was really the first time I was able to get around the whole house. I was even able to answer the door when my friend Valicia and her mom came over.

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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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