Rory Gardiner's Webpage

22, May, 2011

Sunday 22nd May 2011

Great Grannie Vujcich (Grannie’s mum) passed away last week so we made the long journey north to say goodbye, and to support Grannie during this sad time.  Great Grannie was a sprightly 84 years old and diagnosed with cancer (in the brain) in January.  We last saw her in March when she was at Auckland hospital for treatment, and Rory was having his MRI scan.  She was still bright, and enjoyed being surrounded by the boys (she had 10 children, 27 grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren).  The funeral service was in a small church in Kaikohe, and Great Grannie is buried in Kaikohe cemetery under a stand of totara trees.  Great Grannie had an impressive green thumb.  After her coffin was laid in the ground we threw in a flower to say our final goodbyes.  When we had all been past Grannie said the coffin was covered in flowers, and her mum was in her garden.  I was worried how Great Grannie’s passing would affect the boys but they were stoic, hardly leaving Grannie’s side.  Rory told me he tried hard not to cry, as everyone around him was crying and he felt sad.  I told him it was ok to cry, but we should also feel at peace because Great Grannie had a long, full and happy life. 

A month has gone by since my last blog.  The final few days of the holidays flew by, and the boys have returned to school (Term 2).  Rory continues to be subject to intermittent interruptions for medical monitoring and treatment.  He had his last Hepatitis B immunisation (he has now caught up) and the Flu jab for winter.  He has had a range of blood tests, and an appointment with the visiting Endocrine specialist from Greenlane Hospital.  At this stage, apart from the growth hormone, the rest of his endocrine functions are normal.  He will continue to have daily growth hormone injections, and monthly Vitamin D supplements.  The Doctors have been talking and it looks as though his hair loss is permanent.  He has a sparse fine covering over 75% of his head, and the hair grows in length, but there is little new hair, and some areas are bald.  He seems mostly comfortable in his own skin - we tell him he is lucky he is so handsome!  He is looking a little scarier now though with the loss of another tooth!  His Camp Quality log book/magazine arrived in the mail and he has poured over it, reliving the fun times with buddy Mike (who he adores), and who we recently had an email from. 

With the return to school comes extra-curricular activity.  Both boys are getting muddy at soccer practice one afternoon a week, with games on Saturday mornings.  Rory is swimming (in New Plymouth) after school one night, and Sam is continuing with guitar lessons.  He is also teaching Sean what he has learnt, and if I hear ‘Smoke on the water’ one more time I might set fire to the guitar!  Sam will commence activities this term with the Assist programme (gifted kids from Inglewood and Stratford Primaries), and Rory continues with tuition at Clever Kids for maths.

Colt is now 5 months old.  He is still being breastfed exclusively but is now holding a spoon and taking an interest in us eating.  He loves being in the thick of things; being held, sitting in the bouncer or facing out in the front pack.  He very much dislikes being out of sight of one of us, or when there is peace and quiet.  He is gaining greater control over his hands so we have to watch what he is grabbing around him.  He has settled in with Educator Sharon from Porse on Fridays, and I have enrolled him (and I) in the Space programme at Inglewood Playcentre on Tuesday mornings.  The Space programme is tailored for <1 year olds and their (mostly first time) mums.  It provides advice, information, and quality time.  I am very much the matriarch, being onto son number three.  But it is an opportunity to push pause on the rest of the world and for Colt and I to spend some quality time together, one-on-one, on his level, just as I did with his brothers.  Colt is also spending a day with Nana once a fortnight while I am at work, providing her with many amusing challenges.  Nana and I were both made a fuss of on Mothers Day with pressies, a family lunch, a walk on the coastal walkway, and then the boys took me to the Taranaki thermal spa.  They had booked a private pool.  While it’s not as relaxing when there are three young male mermaids in the spa, it was luxurious and pleasurable. 

We have been able to get out and about a bit in spite of the almost continuous rain.  One Friday night the boys attended a coastal planting event at one Taranaki’s key surfing sites (Ahu Ahu Road) which was organised for the NZ Women’s Surfing competition and supported by the Taranaki Tree Trust (who I work for).  The boys helped plant 1500 pingao and spinifex grasses.  Their reward was fish and chips for tea at Oakura River.  Rory attended a Surfing Clinic organised by Sport Taranaki and the Fitzroy Boardriders Club for people with disabilities, also held in conjunction with the Surfing competition.  He learned how to lie down on a surf board and catch waves, while Sam whizzed about on his boogie board.  We spent an hour at the Taranaki Cat Show (Rory has a thing for cats) in wonderment at the array of moggies present (Sphynx, Maine Coon, Bengal, Exotics).  We spent a day (after a spell of dry weather) tramping to the Pouakai Hut on Mount Taranaki.  The track is largely composed of packed earth, board walks, and wooden ladders.  It took us three hours to get to the hut, where we had lunch, and there was a breathtaking view over a valley I had never seen before.  The highlight for me was seeing and hearing Rifleman, and the boys confidence in the outdoors.  Yesterday we went the afternoon with the Child Cancer Foundation, sharing lunch with other Taranaki families and heading out with Chaddy’s Charters for a boat ride, in an old English lifeboat, around the Sugar Loaf Islands.  The boys enjoyed seeing seals swimming and on the rocks, and the movement of the boat as it crested the bumpy waves and sprayed them with salt water.