Rory Gardiner's Webpage

20, Dec, 2009

Sunday 20th December 2009


Rory's eyelashes and eyebrows are growing back.  From a distance it looks as though someone has drawn them on with eyeliner, but if you look up close you can see the baby hairs (3mm long).  It has surprised me how dark they are.  Rory was blonde as a baby and had sandy hair prior to his diagnosis. 

Today we have had an early Northland Christmas with Grannie and Grandad Gardiner as we won't be with them on Christmas Day.  The boys were excited by the presents under the tree.  The Rapid Fire Nerf Guns which fire 35 foam rounds in quick succession were a big hit.  The boys targeted Sean who was pretending to be a turkey, and the bottoms of family walking past have been fair game.  Grannie Gardiner cooked a beautiful lunch and dinner.  The boys and I made pine cone Christmas trees and decorated them this afternoon.  They had pride of place on the dinner table.  Sam and I collected the pine cones when we went out hunting with Sean a week ago.

Yesterday (Saturday) we had lunch at our good friends the Millers.  There were eight boys in the house aged from 6 to 13 so there was plenty of activity.  I was pleased to see Rory playing with Cole (aged 6).  Rory has been largely isolated from his peers this year, and finds it difficult play with others as he is self-conscious and can't keep up.  Sam went off with pre-school mate Lewis easily.  This left Denise and I, and Andrew and Sean, to catch up over lunch which was relaxing and enjoyable.  After leaving the Millers we then hopped across town to a bbq put on by one of the team I work in at Council.  It was a sunny hot afternoon and Sam and Sean took advantage of Jan's swimming pool.  Rory couldn't swim because of his stitches and dressing but threw dive sticks for the boys to retrieve from the bottom of the pool, and fished with the noodle (Sean was the fish).  At one stage Rory nearly fell head first into the pool and I was out of the neighbouring seat instantly.  It gave both Rory and I a big fright.  I realised then I am going to struggle to overcome my fear of something happening to him, of losing him.  I worry when he is out of my sight, and I am paranoid and on edge he may have a fall or develop a temperature or be emotionally hurt (he has made some comments about how other children think he looks like a freak).  I have to force myself to step back, to not treat him like he is going to break.  The rough and tumble games with Sean and Sam easily frighten and upset me, although I know both are being careful.  I know I have to let Rory go back to being a normal boy, I would want this if it were me.  But it is hard.  We came so close to losing him, and there is no guarantee the treatment he has received has been enough.  When we spoke to Dr Stephen this week he said there is "no curative treatment for Rory in NZ if he relapses".  I love him so much and can't bear the thought of a future without him.  The bbq was very enjoyable.  The Policy and Monitoring Team at Whangarei District Council are a neat group of people who work well together.  It has been a pleasure being part of it (thanks Dianne for your assistance the paperwork!). 

On Friday we managed to get away from RM House on time in the morning, even a little before.  We nearly missed Lyn who was dropping in a Smiggle surprise for Rory.  It was a neat green pencil case with some supplies for school, plus a great green Christmas card with Rory inside it in bright bold letters.  Rory has carried around the pencil case almost all weekend!  Our special pit stop on Friday was the Born to Bead studio  in Auckland.  Lisa-Jane Harvey and her volunteers make the Beads of Courage for all the children with cancer in New Zealand.  Lisa opened her studio for us and made two special robot beads to add to the boys collections.  We were all fascinated to watch her work, and the boys got to choose special features for their robots.  On the way home we called in to see friends Mat, Jo, Mia and Oscar for a cup of tea and an exchange of parcels (thanks Jo).  We have really enjoyed catching up with them.  We finally made it in the door at Whakapara at 4pm.  Sean and I were out the door again at 5pm and driving over to Dargaville.  Our friends, earth family the Newman's ,had some meat in their chiller for our freezer for Christmas (thank you Greg and Tracey, and Happy Birthday Nikau).  We stopped for a quick chat and to admire the harakeke (flax) and wave designs Greg had created in their newly sealed driveway.  When we went through our mail when we got back we were touched to discover Christmas cards from Abi at the Child Cancer Foundation, and Mrs Stevens from Dargaville Primary, with vouchers to help us out at Christmas.  It is very humbling to have the continued support of family, friends, the community, and people who brush past our lives, even though Rory's treatment is complete.  It is an unknown future for Rory, and for us, and it is comforting to know we are not alone.