Rory Gardiner's Webpage

28, Mar, 2010

Sunday 28th March 2010

Happy 8th Birthday Rory (for the 27th).  It is a gift to continue to have you in our lives.  We couldn’t love you more.  xoxo  mum, dad and Sam

When Rory was diagnosed with cancer in mid March last year we didn’t know if he was going to live to celebrate his 7th birthday, and here he is at his 8th.  Whenever Sean, Sam and I get to make a wish we wish for Rory to remain in remission, so he is with us for his 9th, 10th, and beyond.  This is worth more than material objects, and our own selfish requests.  Rory’s 7th birthday was spent in the High Dependency Unit (HDU) on the Neuro-surgical ward of Starship Hospital.  He was recovering from surgery to remove the primary tumour from his brain, and we were looking down the barrel of further brain surgery to remove the secondary tumour.  There was a drain protruding from Rory’s head to manage the hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain), he could barely walk, and his eyes weren’t working together.  His immediate family gathered around him, Sean, Sam and I, both sets of grandparents, and Uncle Guy.  It was both a joyous and a somber occasion.  We were thrilled he was still alive and had retrained his wairua, but afraid of what was to come.  We decorated a corner of HDU, he ripped open plenty of presents, and Grannie baked a sponge cake but we couldn’t light the candles as it would set off the fire alarms.  The Nurses on the Ward made a fuss of Rory and spoiled him with presents.  Although life is far from normal this year he is free to live it up doing little bloke things. 

Rory’s teacher, Miss Hallett, made a special fuss of Rory on Friday.  She organised a surprise birthday for him in his class at lunch time.  When I arrived at school she snuck me away to show me the Yoda cake she had made.  Wendy is great at art and is a talented cake decorator.  The cake was an awesome likeness (and tasted pretty good too)!  The children started the day marking their homework in pairs.  Rory worked with Liam.  Brody proudly showed the class the cup she won for being the best 8 year old girl swimmer in the school.  The children decorated their name poems for their profile sheets, while Rory worked with Miss Hallett on a photo essay of his Make a Wish trip.  After morning tea the children did a writing exercise preparing a poster advertising an event to be held in Dargaville, and had waiata in the hall with Whaea Danielle.  While they were gone some senior students, Sam included, helped decorate Room 7 with balloons and streamers, and set up the tables for lunch.  I loosely supervised, and cooked the cheerios.  Trudi kindly volunteered to help arriving with the hot chips.  Whaea Danielle brought the children back to class after waiata when the bell rang for lunch.  There were many gasps of amazement and the children were very excited.  It took Rory a few seconds to cotton on to what was happening.  He was very happy, giving me the thumbs up several times.  The children sang Happy Birthday, and Rory blew out the candles on the cake which he proudly told the class was Yoda the Jedi Master.  The children enjoyed hot chips, hot dogs, cheerios and fizzy drink for lunch.  This gave them plenty of energy to pull down the streamers and play volleyball with the balloons when they were finished eating.  Trudi and I eventually shoo’d them outside for fresh air, and to burn off their lunch, while we cleaned up (thanks for all your help Trudi).  After lunch the children had a relaxing afternoon, working on their Topic profile sheets and constructing a race car track Miss Hallett had bought.  Before home time Rory cut the cake and all the children had a piece for their afternoon tea.  Rory had a quiet moment with Miss Hallett after school and thanked her for the day, and the present she had given him (Thank you Wendy it was a super day).  We had a full car on the drive home as Kody, Korie, and Chuckie (Room 3’s puppet) came to stay for the night.  The boys played the Nintendo’s on the long drive back to Whakapara.  They busied themselves with lego creation before dinner, stopping only for a short burst on the playstation.  Rory had requested American hotdogs for tea, and banana splits for dessert.  The boys curled up on the couch to watch Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen in their pjs before bed.  Kody, Korie and Rory slept in Sean and I’s bed and they were a funny sight tucked in together hidden inside the mosquito net. 

Saturday was Rory’s birthday.  The boys were up at 6.30am and finished the Transformers dvd (it’s a real boys flick) before filling up on pikelets for breakfast.  They delighted in squirting the cream from the can onto their pikelts (Sean making the biggest guts of himself).  They walked up the back to see Grandad cutting up a wild deer he had shot, then launched back into lego creation.  Nana and Poppa Honnor and Uncle Guy called to wish Rory a Happy Birthday.  Around 9am we all sang Happy Birthday and crowded around Rory in the lounge while he opened his presents.  There were lots of lovely cards and treats (Thank you everyone).  The boys liked the lego table and scrambled to put all their creations on it to form a city.  The main activity of the morning was Lazer Maze.  We had booked two sessions in town.  When we arrived we were surprised to discover a generous anonymous person had called in the day before to pay for one of the sessions (Thank you very much whoever you are).  Lazer Maze is a dark indoor maze.  It is partly illuminated with neon lighting, and you wear an electronic vest and carry a gun to shoot the ‘enemy’.  The boys had a great time.  Sean (of course) was the best shooter.  He crept quietly around the course, popping up to surprise us, even shooting us in the back!  The boys and I decided we would team up against him to get even!  We were hungry when the game finished so we picked up a couple of pizzas for lunch and shared them on the lawn at the playground at the Whangarei town basin.  Sam, Kody and Korie enjoyed the playground but Rory hung back.  He is reluctant to try playgrounds, and doesn’t seem to get pleasure from them anymore.  After lunch we went to the Aquatic Centre for a swim.  We went into the semi-enclosed circular section of the pool and created a whirl pool by running around and around.  Heaps of children came in to join us.  The whirl pool got stronger and faster.  Rory enjoyed floating round and round in the middle carried by the water.  He was laughing and smiling.  We all rode the hydroslides.  Sam and Kody rode both slides, while Rory and Korie rode the family slide with either Sean or I.  We finished the afternoon with a soak in the hot pool.  Sean, the boys and I headed back to Whakapara after the boys had been picked up.  Grannie Gardiner had made a sponge for Rory’s birthday cake which we ate for dessert after we sang Happy Birthday and Rory blew out the candles (and we all made the same wish we always make). 

Today (Sunday) we caught up with our good friends the Millers at the Glenbervie Family Fun Ride.  A number of trails (5, 10, 20, 30 and 40km) had been organised through the pine forest.  Sean, Denise and Andrew rode the 20km track, Brad, Lewis and Sam covered the 10km and Cole, Rory and I went out on the 5km track.  Cole rode his bike enthusiastically along the track with the other riders leaving Rory and I in the dust.  Rory walked for a couple of kilometres holding my hand or the buggy, then rode as he was tired.  We got to the 2.5km mark (turn around for the 5km) and were enjoying ourselves so decided to go on.  We ended up completing the 10km loop.  The last 2km were a bit harder and rougher than I anticipated up, then down, steep uneven minor forestry roads.  At one stage I thought me might be lost but a txt from Sean indicated we were still on the right track.  Rory and I got back to Forest HQ two hours after we left.  I think Sean was ready to send out a search party!  We sat and ate our sausages in bread during the presenting of the spot prizes.  Afterwards we called in to the Millers for a coffee and a catch up.  They gave Rory a birthday present, and Cole enjoyed showing Rory how the Beanz worked.  We have spent the remainder of the afternoon catching up on odd jobs.  Rory has had a therapy session, and he and Sam have been building lego on the new lego table.  We are looking forward to a feed of homemade fish and chips for tea as Grandad Gardiner went fishing this morning.