Thursday, November 26, 2015

Rachel's right leg is healing well

Rachel returned to the orthopedic clinic for her first post-operative visit today.

Rachel's right leg is healing well

Rachel and her surgeon, John Dormans, have good reason to smile about her progress
Rachel and her surgeon, John Dormans, have good reason to smile about her progress Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Rachel returned to the orthopedic clinic for her first post-operative visit today. Her surgical wounds are healing well, and her x-rays confirmed excellent appearance and placement of the endoprosthesis. She is neurovascularly intact, and her legs are equal in length.

 The abduction brace that has kept her right hip immobilized has been modified with the removal of the lower portion today. As Rachel gets stronger, she will participate in physical therapy to allow her to go up and down stairs safely using crutches. Our ultimate goal is to help Rachel improve range of motion in her affected leg to allow her to function independently. Her uncomplicated recovery so far leads me to believe that she will continue to improve.

Best news: the margins of the removed tissue were free of tumor. Chemotherapy destroyed 90% of the tumor tissue prior to Rachel’s surgery.

I am extremely happy to report that Rachel’s energy levels and optimism are both high; her positivity and laughter remains infectious. She has maintained a great attitude throughout the course of her treatment. Rachel and her family are always a pleasure to see.

She will return to the orthopedic clinic in four weeks for another follow-up.



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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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