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Rory Gardiner's Webpage

21, Mar, 2011

Monday 21st March 2011


We are celebrating fantastic milestones in Rory’s life this month.  He is still alive two years after being diagnosed with brain cancer on the 17th of March 2009.  On Sunday he turns 9, when two years ago we weren’t sure he would make it to 7.  And he competed in the Tryathlon at his school, ably holding his own.  A year ago he was so debilitated from treatment he could barely walk.  I looked at him this morning and noticed he is growing up.  His face is maturing, and thanks to the growth hormone he is getting taller.  I dare to hope he is also growing away, away from cancer and the memory of treatment which was so hard for him to endure. 

As usual we have been incredibly busy.  Prior to Rory’s visit to Starship we spent five days staying with Grannie and Grandad Gardiner in Whangarei.  We miss them, and it meant a lot for us to be able to spend some quality time together.  Grandad and Sean went hunting for sika deer in Russell Forest, and I made myself scarce while Grannie and the boys went shopping, lunched in town, and created their own Master Chef morsels in Grannie’s kitchen. 

It was our first visit to Northland since leaving in May 2010.  He aha te mea nui o te ao?  He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.  What is the most important thing in the world?  It is the people, the people, the people.  We were lucky enough to catch up with many of the people we hold in our hearts; Mr Russek, Whaea Danielle, Miss Hallet and the staff at Dargaville Primary; the Johnstons (Happy 9th birthday Kody, thanks Nana Seymour for the donations and Trudi for the yummy chocolate cake); Katherine and Korie; the Newmans (thanks for the tasty apple slice, lemon grass and apples); the Wilys, Sharlene and Hoani; Heni at Waipoua; Great Auntie Hillary and Uncle Hami (thanks for the sauce and jam); Great Uncle Harry and Pat; Denise and the Miller boys (Cole’s easter egg cupcakes were delicious); Hillary and Monica from DoC; and the Futures Team at Whangarei District Council including my great friend Dianne.  For Sean and I the whenua, the land, has always been equally as important as the people.  It is where we feel whole.  We managed to fit in a quick swim at Kai Iwi lakes, and an outing to Mimiwhangata for beach combing and a swim.  It was warm, sunny and peaceful. 

We spent the 15th and 16th in Auckland, staying at Ronald McDonald House.  At Starship Rory had an iv line put in his arm, and some blood drawn for tests.  This was followed by an MRI scan of his brain and spine.  As always it is a sickening wait to hear the results the following morning.  When Dr Stephen said it was all clear we always respond with disbelief as we prepare ourselves for the worst.  When the reassuring news sinks in joy always follows.  Our boy gets to stay with us.  Dr Stephen wants another MRI done at Starship in four months time in July.  Rory also had an Audiology appointment so new moulds of his ears could be made to refit his hearing aids.  This morning he had an appointment at Taranaki Base Hospital to meet the Paediatric Endocrin Specialist.  Rory has grown 3.5cm in 3.5 months and gained 1.5kg!  No wonder his famous green sneekers no longer fit him!  At this stage everything is going well with the daily growth hormone injections, although he will need a raft of blood tests over the coping month.  Rory also visited the Children’s Ward so he could get a second Hepatitis B immunisation (one to go).  Rory is very stoic with needles, he hardly flinches or makes a sound, even when the Doctors move the needle around inside his arm because they have missed the vein. 

In addition to the wonderful news of a clear MRI Rory competed admirably at Inglewood Primary School’s Tryathlon.  We entered him in the lowest category (Iron) as it was his first time at this kind of event, and he was quite nervous.  He completed the swim (two laps of the school pool) on his own, and was accompanied by Sam for the 1km ride (hard going on the grass), and 500m run.  In his heat he was first out of the pool, 3rd in from the ride, and 3rd across the finish line in the run.  At the end he was very tired but chuffed.  Sam was a great pacer!  Both boys are entering the Weetbix Tryathlon, Rory supported by Sean, at the end of the month.

Yesterday we celebrated Rory’s 9th birthday (on the 27th) with a party at Vertical Horizon, an outdoor adventure camp on the outskirts of Inglewood.  It was a hot sunny afternoon.  Rory was surrounded by his friends Alana, Ethan, Luke, Jack, Alex, Hayley and family (Nana and Poppa, Uncle Guy, cousins Sacha and Corbyn, and Uncle Jason, Wendy, Mikayla, and Logan).  The first activity was the Fly wire, riding a giant flying fox in a harness.  This was followed by the Flying kiwi, where the children were harnessed and pulled up into the air on a single wire.  They took a hearty snack break and opened the presents, then finished off with a swim in the lake, bombing each other and riding a giant mud slide.  There was much excitement and laughter.  It was wonderful to see Rory in his element. 

The rest of us are well.  Colt continues to delight us with his development.  He is now 3 months old, 62cm long and 6.2kg.  He dribbles a lot which the Plunket Nurse tells me is normal for a baby who likes to talk.  I have booked him to start with a Porse Home Educator in the first week of Term 2, so I have him with me a little longer!