Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Living within my new normal

I guess now the reality is sinking in. I know that all things considered, I'm lucky to be alive and to have the life that I have. But I do miss being just a normal kid.

Living within my new normal

I’m starting to realize what my new normal is after going through treatment and having my surgery.

Having a prosthetic femur has its limits and they are the kind of limits that get in the way of being 12.

A few days ago, I was at a party with a bunch of my friends. There was a trampoline in the yard and my friends just couldn’t help themselves from jumping on it and having a great time. I don’t blame them. if I could have been in there with them I would have.

But my new normal with a prosthetic femur gets in the way. I’m pretty sure that jumping on a trampoline is one of those things that Dr. Dormans wants me to stay away from. That left me sort of sitting on the sidelines at the party. Eventually my friends came off of the trampoline and we hung out, but before long, they were back on the trampoline.

I know that my friends don’t intentionally leave me behind; they’re just doing what 12- and 13-year-old kids do. They’re playing.

To be honest, I knew that things would be different after my surgery and that there were things that I couldn’t do. I guess now the reality is sinking in. I know that all things considered, I’m lucky to be alive and to have the life that I have. I get to do most things and I can even compete with my swim team, which is more than many kids my age get to do.

But I do miss being just a normal kid.

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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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