Rory Gardiner's Webpage

26, Nov, 2009

Thursday 26th November 2009


Several people have asked me how long I intend to continue with our journal on Rory's website.  I think people think Rory's journey is complete, when this is far from the truth.  The past eight months of treatment is merely the first stage of a very long journey.  It is going to take Rory months, possibly years, to recover physically, mentally and emotionally, from what he has been through.  It is going to take hard work, and a large amount of support.  The greatest factor which effects how far he will go in life, apart from the medical intervention, is the level of input of his parents.  We have to be the drivers of his physical therapy, his education, and his outside interests.  This will effect our careers, what we can earn, and what we can do with our lives.  Rory will never be like other children again.  Cancer is a life sentence, and there is no guarantee it will not return.  No one can say how long Rory will remain in remission.  If he relapses the fight will begin again.  In addition to living with this knowledge the treatment he has received (surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy) come with nasty side effects, learning difficulties, seizures, problems with growth and maturity, and  secondary cancer, to name a few.  We do not know which of these will strike Rory, or when.  We have to take each hill as it appears.  So I am going to continue to write, not every day, as there are now not enough hours in the day, but every 2 or 3 days.  I hope people will not give up on Rory, or on us, although I know the going is arduous.  We do need you, and value your support immensely. 

We have had a full on day.  It was an early start (5am) as Sean had to take some visiting Australian Wildlife Rangers out to hunt deer in Russell Forest.  The Rangers are trying to eradicate fallow deer on Fraser Island in Australia, and have come to NZ to glean some knowledge from Grandad Gardiner and his Deer Response Team.  Sam and I headed out at 6am for an early run and had to contend with logging trucks and milk tankers.  Rory decided he wanted pancakes for breakfast so we made a big batch, then ate about half.  We drove over to Dargaville, and our first stop was the Crawford ranch.  I had missed saying goodbye to Brenda when we left, and missed her on our first return visit, so today I was determined to see her first.  Her youngest son Ethan was home with a cold/sore throat, so it meant a slight detour to the Tangowahine flats, as opposed to her workplace in town.  We timed it well so I got to meet her husband Dave.  We had some laughs sharing mischievous boys stories.  Sam had a burn up and down the driveway on his old motorbike.  We continued on our journey and stopped at Dargaville Primary.  It was athletics day and the whole school was outside competing and playing games.  It was lovely to catch up with Trudi and Kody (who is recovering from pneumonia), and Kathering and Korie.  The warm welcome of the staff and children touched the three of us.  I know the boys were reluctant to leave.  They slipped right back in like we had never been away.  Congratulations to Hoani and Johnnie for winning the 9 and 10 year old boys athletics trophies. 

In the middle of it all I snuck away for my much anticipated 'proper' ladies haircut.  I haven't had a haircut all year and was feeling very nervous.  Debbie (the owner of Blondy's) was gentle with me, and put me at ease.  I must admit when I undid my ponytail I did feel rather a mess and admitted I was long overdue for tidying up.  Somehow I came away with more than I expected to.  Debbie cut three inches off my hair, layered it so my growing out fringe is blended, then added a few blonde highlights.  After 1.5 hours I left the salon pretty shell shocked.  I'm still not sure it's me when I look in the mirror!  The haircut was a wonderful gift from Brenda (thank you so much .... no photos yet though I'm too shy).  After school we drove up to the Kauri Coast Office of the Department of Conservation for smoko.  I had made a cake so the majority of the staff sat around the lunch room table to share it, and their news.  It was wonderful to see them all; Heni, Dianne, Awhi, Theo, Karen, Ollie, Darren, Muzz.  I miss working for DoC, and being part of their team.  It was particularly good timing as tomorrow is my good friend Heni's last day at DoC.  She is returning to Waipoua Forest to work for Te Roroa.  It was good to give her a hug and wish her the best.  Everything today took longer than I anticipated even though we only made four stops.  It was a long drive 'home'.  Sean and the Aussies only beat us back by five minutes, and they looked pretty weary too.  Although not as weary as they could have been because Sean was nice to them and slowed his pace so they could keep up!

Yesterday (Wednesday) was a quieter, but not slower, day at Whakapara.  Grannie doesn't work Wednesdays so the two ladies, and the two boys, got stuck into a number of activities.  We continued with the NDT programme.  We have given up on the commando crawling for now as Rory's lumens make it uncomfortable.  For the left handed activity we made lego creations.  The boys visited the NZ post website and sent off their letters to Santa, and I tried to get through the mountain of paper work for Make a Wish.  We baked a cake and a meatloaf for tea, the boys helped me wash the car, and we had a bit of a go at the playstation.