Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Archive: January, 2012

POSTED: Tuesday, January 24, 2012, 8:22 AM
A physical therapy session.

Hello, my name is Brad Cooper. I am the primary physical therapist working with Rachel in this outpatient setting. I am not writing because I was asked but because—after getting to know Rachel and reading the blog—I feel compelled to do so.

Yes, I am the physical therapist who suggested that Rachel increase her treatment sessions to three times per week instead of two. Although Rachel made a face and rolled her eyes a little (because she knew she would be giving up a day of swimming), she did not hesitate. Rachel has been very consistent and compliant with her treatment and exercises and has been progressing well because of her hard work.

Working with Rachel is all about her laugh and her smile.

Rachel Kovach @ 8:22 AM  Permalink |
POSTED: Monday, January 9, 2012, 5:41 PM

Hello, my name is Paul Buerck. I am head coach of the Monmouth Barracudas, Rachel’s swim club. Rachel’s parents asked me to write a blog about coaching Rachel in her return to swimming.

The journey with Rachel has been one that was, sadly, too familiar.

Rachel has always been a hard worker. She loves to swim and dance. She would come into practice straight from dance class and apologize if she was even a minute late. Having had sisters that danced growing up, I respect the amount of strength and energy needed to dance. To have Rachel come directly to swim practice and jump right in without a complaint showed her drive and dedication. As we began the swim season last year, Rachel (who never complained) mentioned that her leg hurt. At first we thought maybe it was the kicking action in her breaststroke, and then thought maybe she had pulled a muscle while dancing and that it hurt more in the pool. The truth turned out to be more serious.

Rachel Kovach @ 5:41 PM  Permalink |
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.

Onco Girl
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