Sunday, September 21, 2014
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Second to last round of chemo!

Today I’m at CHOP for my second-to-last round of chemo. This is a one-day round so I’m in the day hospital. This is pretty different from an in-patient stay because we come in early in the morning and go home the same day. I like this because I don’t have to stay in the hospital overnight.

Second to last round of chemo!

Today I’m at CHOP for my second-to-last round of chemo. This is a one-day round so I’m in the day hospital. This is pretty different from an in-patient stay because we come in early in the morning and go home the same day. I like this because I don’t have to stay in the hospital overnight.

We do have to be here pretty early so I stayed in a hotel with my parents last night in Philadelphia so we didn’t have to drive the two hours from Sandy Hook in the wee hours of the morning. Actually, we spent the whole weekend in Philadelphia to celebrate my Dad’s birthday, as well as be close to CHOP for today.

We went out to dinner Saturday night and to the Reading Terminal Market on Sunday. I can’t really get into a normal taxi because my hip doesn’t bend that well yet after my surgery. The taxis here in Philadelphia have sort of a wall thing behind the front seat and the back seats don’t really have enough leg room for me (at least until my new hip is a little more flexible). We stayed at the Four Seasons and the people there were so nice to us. They let me ride in their (very nice) car to dinner and to the Reading Terminal. I want to send out a special thank you to the people at the hotel for helping to get me around Philadelphia.

My dad has been telling me and my Mom about the Reading Terminal ever since we started treatment at CHOP in February. I wasn’t sure about all the walking, but once we got there, wow, what a great place. I had some great macaroni and cheese and then I got some pumpkin ice cream (yeah). I’ll be going back there!

This morning Dr. Balamuth (my oncologist) came to see me before my treatment. She brought the results of my blood work this morning. I was actually scheduled to come in last Friday, but the last round of chemo kind of kicked my butt and Dr. Balamuth thought I would have a better chance of having blood counts in the safe range if I waited until today. She was right. My counts were great this morning to start treatment, so away we go. I hope I bounce back in time to start my next (THE LAST) round on August 26. That will be a five day inpatient round, but it will be sweet because that will be the end of chemo!


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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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