Rory Gardiner's Webpage

04, Oct, 2010

Monday 4th October 2010

I thought I would have plenty of time to keep the website up-to-date during the school holidays, but I was wrong.  The boys and I have been on the go from get-up until bed time every day.  Thank goodness they return to school in a week so I can rest and recover!

We watched the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games on TV this morning, hoping to catch a glimpse of Mandy.  We were all excited when we saw her in amongst the NZ team.  Mandy, is another one of the ‘girls’ to over-come adversity, and who gives many things her all.  Her website company ‘Smokeylemon’ manage Rory’s website, Mandy has achieved the status of one of NZ’s best at archery, and is a devoted generous Auntie, partner and friend.  We are hoping she does well in Delhi because she deserves it.  It was her birthday yesterday, which must be a good omen.  It has been a fortnight for birthdays in our circle; mine, Grannie Gardiner’s, Mandy’s and Heni’s, plus Sean and I had our 12 year anniversary.  There have been many wonderful surprises in the mail.  Thank you to; the Johnstons, the Millers, Auntie Teri, Dianne, Tim, Grannie and Grandad Gardiner, Nana and Poppa, and Uncle Guy for spoiling the boys and I rotten. 

The last week of school was very busy.  Rory’s teacher, Mrs Peters, completed per contract, and the middle group farewelled her in style with a shared lunch.  I helped with the set up and clean up and was just as sugar-rushed as the kids afterwards!  Both Rory and I will miss the patient caring way Mrs Peters brought order to the classroom.  She is being replaced with two teachers, who will team teach in Term 4.  I had concerns about the change on Rory, so wasn’t surprised when he didn’t cope well on their first day in the class room (last Thursday of term).  Unfortunately Sean dropped Rory at school as I had to go to the hospital for a pregnancy diabetes test (which thankfully was normal).  Rory didn’t settle, and was talking to his Teacher Aide about going home before lunch.  He had plenty of ammunition ready when I collected him at 1.30pm; he was tired, one of his ears hurt from the hearing aid, and someone knocked him in the face at assembly.  I could see there was nothing physically wrong with him but mentally/emotionally it was too much.  I took Rory to school on the Friday, and spoke to the teachers about what had happened.  I also had a chat to Rory.  He lasted the day and seemed more at ease.  It is a case of wait and see with regards to how he goes next week when he returns to school. 

I have had Rory’s numeracy level assessed by SPELD.  Overall he has been assessed as being six months behind his chronological age, but in some areas he scored 18months behind where he should be.  The tutor was of the opinion he would benefit from some support/tuition, so I am organising this for Term 4. 

Rory and I took the last Wednesday off school to support Sam at the Taranaki Primary Schools Cross Country champs in Hawera.  We had four seasons in one day.  It was wet and windy in Inglewood, snowing in Tariki and Stratford, then sunny and warm in Hawera.  The course was at the A&P showground and very muddy.  There were around 110 competitors in each race!  Sam was shocked by the number of children at the start line, and the speed with which they ran.  He finished in the middle of the pack at 52nd.  He was accepting of this, and it was a great experience for him. 

I attended a second ‘informal’ interview at Taranaki Regional Council (TRC), and was offered the Tree Trust Co-ordinator position.  The contract runs for two years, and consists of a core 10 hours/week, and an ‘additional’ 10 hours which can be worked if/when I can fit them in.  I have accepted the position, and start on the 11th of October.  I will be working 15 hours (3 days) per week, until I take maternity leave in early December.  TRC have been very accommodating, and we had an open frank discussion about balancing work and family.  Management have also spoken to Sean to express their support to enable him to meet his family commitments.  The boys and I have visited Sean in his office and met the other ‘Pesties’. 

The holidays have been busy.  The boys and I have done the usual things; 9 holes of golf with Nana at Kaitake  whereRory walked the course and played 5/9, the movies to see The Last Airbender, catching up on appointments (haircuts, cat vaccinations), and shopping in town, at the opshops, and at the annual Second Hand Book sale at TSB Stadium which is organised by the Operatic Society.  Sam and I have been stretching our legs with a brisk walk first thing in the morning four days per week.  The weather has miraculously improved, considering September’s rainfall in Inglewood was 220% of average.  We are now experiencing sunny warm days.  Sean and the boys mowed the lawn and planted the vege garden, and we have headed outdoors.  We walked the Te Henui walkway with Nana and Poppa, enjoying the multitude of Tui around our heads.  Sean, the boys and I tramped the Lake Mangamahoe circuit, enjoying a picnic lunch at the northern end of the lake.  This morning Nana, the boys and I headed up the northern side of Mt Taranaki to walk the Veronica Loop Track (2 hours).  It was lovely being in the green and hearing bellbirds sing.  When we arrived home cousins Jason and Logan drove up, and stopped for lunch.  On the spur of the moment we invited Logan to stay the night so the boys are keeping each other entertained. 

We had a fantastic day yesterday.  We drove north along the Taranaki coast to visit the Three Sisters at Tongaporutu.  The Three Sisters are an iconic Taranaki rock formation, featuring in many photos and paintings.  An hour before high tide we parked along Clifton Road and walked along the Tongaporutu River to the sea.  There were many caves in the cliffs, which Sam and I explored.  Underfoot it was a mix of black sand and squishy clay.  Out on the beach we saw the two remaining Sisters (one collapsed into the sea recently), and where a new Sister is being ‘born’ from the cliff face.  We beach combed for rocks and shells, and admired Kawau Pa (Island) the site of an ancient pa and burial ground reported to contain 200 graves.  Upon returning to the car we drove north to Mokau to get fish and chips for lunch.  We found a private picnic table, sheltered by flax, on the cliff top to eat.  It was hot.  Afterwards we found an access-way down to the beach.  The black sand on the upper half of the beach was boiling under our feet!  We walked south to the river mouth, stopping to chat to the whitebaiters and look in their buckets.  Sean jogged back to get the car while the boys and I rounded the spit, heading up river.  We met Sean half way to the bridge over SH3.  We were all sunburnt and tired, but blown away by a fantastic day. 

Rory has had his application for Growth Hormone approved by the Government Committee.  We will give him a daily injection into his stomach to replace the growth hormone his body is not producing because of the radiotherapy to his hypothalamus.  Hopefully the medication will boost his growth from 1cm/year to 3-4cm/year (average for his age is 5cm/year).  It will cost $20k-$30k per year for the medication.  Thankfully it is funded by the government.  He is due to begin the treatment on the 14th of October.  Next week we will meet with an Endocrinology Nurse at Taranaki Base Hospital so Rory can be weighed and measured, and we can be taught how to administer the medication, and the side effects to look out for.  Sean and I are nervous about Rory receiving growth hormone, as there is a theoretic risk it could make any remaining cancer cells divide more rapidly forming a tumour.  However his Doctors have told us this has not been observed in reality, and the longer we leave it the les time Rory has to grow.  I have also been busy organising Rory’s return to Starship in the middle of November.  It is amazing how quickly time passes between MRIs.  The next round of monitoring will require us to be in Auckland for three days.  I will be 8 months pregnant, and unable to manage on my own so we are planning to head up as a family.