Saturday, February 6, 2016

Things are going swimmingly

This past weekend was great! I spent hours in the pool on Saturday and Sunday and it felt sooooooo good to do a little swimming.

Things are going swimmingly

This past weekend was great! I spent hours in the pool on Saturday and Sunday and it felt sooooooo good to do a little swimming.

I was on the Monmouth Barracudas swimming team getting ready for the New Jersey State Championships when I was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma. I remember my first meeting with Dr. Dormans when he told me that I had to get a biopsy and might have cancer. He said that I may have been in my last swim meet. I was crushed. Now that I’ve had my surgery and am getting back on my feet and in the pool, I keep working Dr. Dormans over every time I see him. He is starting to come around a little about swimming, but he doesn’t want me doing the breast stroke because he’s afraid it might dislocate my shiny new cobalt chrome hip.

I have news: I don’t want to dislocate my hip, either, so no more breast stroke. I hope to get in the pool with my team this fall if Dr. Dormans says it’s ok. I’m working hard in physical therapy to get as strong as I can. Hopefully, if I get strong enough and do well with the team, I can compete again.

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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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