Rory Gardiner's Webpage

28, Oct, 2009

Wednesday 28th October 2009


We have returned to Starship for Rory's fourth and final cycle of high dose chemotherapy.  I almost can't believe he has been trying to beat the cancer since the 17th of March.  Where have the months gone?  How did we ever get through it?  Returning to Auckland, to the apartment, and to Starship was almost like coming home.  It has been our base for the majority of this year, and we are familiar and comfortable with the goings on.  When we enter ward 27b we know most of the Doctors and lovely nurses by name, and they greet Rory warmly.  When this cycle is over we will have to learn how to live a 'normal' life all over again, and we will have to come to grips with what we have to do for Rory when he is in remission. 

We finished packing at this morning, and were on the road from Whakapara at 10am.  It was a stop start trip due to the road works and heavy traffic.  We took Sean's truck down in addition to the car as we have managed to accumulate a bit of gear in Auckland which we will need to bring home (it has been in storage).  We arrived around 1.30pm, and were lucky to again be allocated a RM apartment in the Waldorf building.  We are now on level 9, room H (directly below our old apartment).  We did some rushed unpacking and headed over to Starship for Rory's finger prick blood test, and clinic appointment with Dr Stephen.  Unfortunately we were running late so missed Stephen, but we saw another oncology doctor.  There will be no change to Rory's chemotherapy protocol.  We will have to manage his hearing loss once we get the results of the final tests at the completion of chemo.  Rory's weight has remained stable at 23kg while we have been home, and he hasn't grown at all this year remaining 120cm.  We were allowed out for dinner, Japanese and wood-fired pizza on K-Road, before admitting Rory to his old room (16) on ward 27b.  He has had his plugs and dressing changed, his milkshake is running, and Nurse Suzie is currently organising the fluids for his hyper-hydration which will run over night.  Sean and Sam have returned to the apartment. 

Yesterday (Tuesday) when Rory woke up his ng tube was blocked, and nothing I could do worked to clear it.  The boys and I headed into town, to the Pathology lab for a finger prick blood test, then up to Ward 2 (Children's) at Whangarei Hospital.  Nurse Rai replaced Rory's ng tube.  He vomited up a fair bit of thick clear saliva when the ng tube came out, but sucked hard and swallowed a lot of his ice block to get the new one down.  It isn't a pleasant experience and it always makes him gag.  Rory got a neat bead of courage, a purple glass ring with two coloured circles on it like a cupcake.  His blood results were ok.  His white blood count was 10.7, and his neutrophils 8.9 so he didn't need a dose of GCSF, and it was ok for chemo to proceed.  His platelets were a bit low at 65 which explained the large bruise he got on his thigh when Sean injected the GCSF in the weekend.  In the afternoon Rory (our number one chef) helped me cook lemon honey, made creations with the playdough and plasticine, played the Playstation, and helped Sean clean his rifles when he got home from hunting.  The boys have grown up around firearms as they are valued and respected tools of Sean and Grandad Gardiners jobs.  They know not to touch them, and show sporadic interest in them.  We were reminded how easy it is for an accident to happen with some sad news from Dargaville last night.  One of the first friends Sam made when we moved to Waihue was accidentally killed with a firearm before school yesterday morning.  He was 10.  We were shocked by the news, and our hearts go out to his family at this terrible time.