Saturday, March 28, 2015

The daring young girl on the trapeze

This morning I woke up feeling very tired. I also wanted to scooch down in my bed a bit, but it's really difficult to reposition myself in bed because I have to keep my hips in a straight line, and I'm wearing a big wedge pillow between my legs so I don't pop my new hip joint out of the socket.

The daring young girl on the trapeze

Rachel uses the "trapeze" to move herself in bed. She has to keep her hips straight and be careful not to harm her new hip joint.
Rachel uses the "trapeze" to move herself in bed. She has to keep her hips straight and be careful not to harm her new hip joint. Kurt Kovach

This morning I woke up feeling very tired. I also wanted to scooch down in my bed a bit, but it's really difficult to reposition myself in bed because I have to keep my hips in a straight line, and I'm wearing a big wedge pillow between my legs so I don't pop my new hip joint out of the socket.

Then, a nice man named Joe came in with a cart full of equipment. He had what the docs call a trapeze and he put it up for me over my bed. A trapeze is a kind of strap that hangs off a long rod over my bed. I can grab ahold of it to pull myself up and move around a bit in bed. When Joe was finished putting all the pieces together, I said, "Cool!" I can work on my upper body strength with this thing. I told my mom that we should take a picture and send it to all my friends' moms so they know I'm doing OK.

When my nurse, Sara, and a couple of nursing students changed my sheets this morning, I wanted to use the trapeze, but I was afraid I wouldn't be able to hold myself up for long. But I tried and I was able to move myself and help them. It felt good to be able to do something helpful. Besides, it was fun!


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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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