Rory Gardiner's Webpage

19, Jun, 2011

Sunday 19th June 2011

Happy Birthday Dianne, cousin Corbyn who turned 7, and Colt who is six months old today (a ½ birthday)! 


I emailed Dr Stephen this week to organise Rory’s next MRI in mid-July at Starship.  In his reply Dr Stephen said  “I believe we should be looking at Rory as a survivor of medulloblastoma, and getting on with life as any other 9 year old boy is doing”.   This simple sentence caused me great relief.  We definitely get on with life, cramming in as much as we can, but I know I don’t consider Rory a survivor.  He is our walking miracle.  He made it through treatment and into remission, but on the survivorship curve he isn’t out of the woods yet.  He is in a holding pattern, we are all playing a waiting game.  He has 3.5 years to go until he reaches the magic mark of five years disease free, and is considered to have survived.  To hear Dr Stephen say he is a survivor it gives me hope, and dares me to believe he is going to make it. 


Another month has gone by.  Winter is in full swing in Taranaki.  It hasn’t been cold but it has been wet.  It has rained, and rained, and rained.  Even I have curtailed our outdoor activities as I battle to get wet muddy gear dry, and minimise winter viruses.  Even so we have been busy.  Carol and Dave from Forest and Bird took us on a tramp to the Hardwick-Smith bush block out the back of Mangamingi.  Members of Forest and Bird are trapping and poisoning animal pests in the block to protect biodiversity values, primarily kiwi.  They have a problem with feral goats and Sean is keen to assist.  There is a hut on the property, complete with gas cooker, generator and long drop, so we can stay the night.  We hoped to get out there this weekend but it has been too wet.  We visited Lake Rotorangi for the first time.  It is a dam on the Patea River surrounded by high papa cliffs.  A couple of house boats are moored where an old concrete bridge crosses part of the lake.  The boys had a fantastic afternoon playing paintball on Wendy’s brothers farm at Tarata.  To add to the fun it was misty, wet and muddy.  Sam and Sean managed to shoot plenty of players, and Sam got away without being shot.  Sean got shot protecting Rory who did plenty of shooting and was shot once in the side.  At the end of the day, when everyone was dry the families shared a pot luck tea in front of the fire.  One weekend when we couldn’t face the mud we took the boys for a bike ride on the coastal walkway.  Colt enjoys being in the front pack facing out watching the waves, and the people and dogs who walk by.  I was thrilled to see a Dabchick in a flock of 28 Scaup on the Lake at Te Rewa Rewa Bridge.  The coastal walk wouldn’t have been complete without an icecream from Iona dairy.  Last weekend the boys had a sleepover.  Sam invited his friend Jake and Rory invited his friend Ethan.  On the Sunday morning to stretch their legs we took them on the New Plymouth Port to Park 5km Fun Run/Walk.  It was a beautiful fine sunny morning after a night of rain, and we were a small group in a pack of 800!  It was pizzas for lunch at the East End skate park (I can’t believe boys do 360 degree flips on scooters and bikes), then on to cousin Corbyn’s 7th birthday party at Bowlarama.  The boys enjoyed a game of ten pin bowling followed by afternoon tea and cake. 


Rory received player of the day at soccer yesterday morning.  It was wet and very muddy.  The slipperiness made it hard for him to stay on his feet.  At one stage one of the other parents had to pick him up out of the mud and wipe his face.  Apparently all you could see were white teeth.  He has had a visit to the Dental clinic at the Hospital to get a couple of fillings.  I attended Rory’s Parent-Teacher interview, and Miss Smith and I have made some adjustments to his learning to support him.  Rory attended the school disco and it was neat to see him on the dance floor.  He is usually an obstinate wallflower.  He refused to dance at the Camp Quality party in spite of Mike’s best efforts to coax him out.   A surprise parcel arrived in the mail for Rory last week, a signed copy of ‘Legs on Everest’ from Mark Inglis the double amputee who climbed Mt Everest.  Sam and Rory poured over the photos in the book, with Rory remarking ‘that (frostbite) must have hurt ... and he must be brave”.


Sam also received player of the day this month at soccer.  He is developing into a good tactician and loves the game.  The intermediate students recently had inter-school sports and Sam was disappointed when only rugby and netball were on offer.  It was inconceivable for him to stay in class when he could be playing sports so Sam opted to play netball.  He helped lead his team to victory! Both boys have been attending kapa haka, and Sam has made it into the group for the Taranaki competition.  The children have been putting a lot of energy into practise.  Sam also enjoyed the school disco (which was at night for the seniors and intermediates), and has been practising his shuffling.  Sean went along as a bouncer and at the end of the night got up on the dance floor.  One of the mothers commented to me it was sweet, but Sean couldn’t shuffle! I attended a parent-teacher interview for Sam.  He is doing well overall but is blase about literacy.  In typical boy fashion he does only enough to get by.  He obviously hasn’t inherited his mothers passion for, or fussiness about, the written word.  I went along to the introductory session for Assist (gifted and talented kids).  The Principals of Inglewood and Stratford Primary gave the parents an overview of the programme, while the 24 children spent a day team building.  Sam will spend all next week on Assist.


Colt continues to grow and develop.  He had a 6 month check-up at Plunket, and is light for his age (7.4kg) and average length so he will likely have Sean’s build.  His blonde hair is growing and his eyes have reached a dark brown.  I am still feeding him two hourly during the day and he has started solids at tea time.  Last week he caught his first cold but he seems to be over the worst of it now.  Since developing the cold he has started waking once during the night for an extra feed.  The sleep deprivation has knocked Sean and I a bit.  Colt continues to spend Friday with Sharon the Porse Educator in Stratford.  He has settled in well and seems content there.  He has spent several Mondays with Nana Honnor.  The two of them amuse me as Colt asserts his authority and tries to get his own way while Nana tackles the challenge of managing a baby again.