Rory Gardiner's Webpage

11, Sep, 2011

Sunday 11th September 2011

I know many special mothers; Nana, Grannie, Wendy, Trudi, Tracey, Kaye, Katherine, Heni, Brenda, Jo, Janine, Cindy, Darlene, Sandy, Jo, Denise and Julie. I think being a mother is the most challenging, heart breaking, rewarding job in the world. I never planned on becoming a mother, it happened by accident. I consider myself lucky. I could have easily missed out on my three precious sons. They have improved my life, and keep me on my toes. Sam is growing up physically and mentally. He often asks me questions for which I have no answer, and his life is increasingly full of extra-curricular activities. Rory is a constant, and a dichotomy. On one hand he seems older than his peers (a human Yoda), but on the other younger and more vulnerable. He still holds my hand when we walk to school, gets confused and flustered by change, and needs an elevated level of assistance (much of which I know is a result of the treatment he has received). Even though he is in remission cancer’s legacy is part of Rory’s life; daily growth hormone injections, hearing aids, time off school (and travel) for hospital visits, MRI’s and blood tests, and a Teacher Aide in the classroom. Cancer’s legacy exists in my life as all Rory’s ongoing care and support needs to be managed. Colt is our baby. At almost nine months, and still breast fed, he needs mum, dad and his brothers as he grows and discovers the world. I often feel overwhelmed and exhausted by the relentless complex demands of the boys. It is compounded by working 10 hours a week. I know I have more balls in the air than I can manage, but dropping one of them is not an option. I have struggled this year, but I am determined we will continue to ‘live a life less ordinary’. We owe it to Rory, but some days I can’t. Some days I just get by. Thankfully I always find the strength to regroup and launch us into the world again.

I have put a lot of time and effort into trying to make the trip of a lifetime to Disneyworld a reality for Rory. I have approached many individuals and organisations for support but my request is often ‘outside of the square’, and there are many other worthy causes which people have given generously to. I feel like I have begged or borrowed from everyone I know, and many I don’t. I would like to thank Sandy from Hells Pizza New Plymouth and Stu and Callum from Hells Pizza NZ for their $500 donation. It is much appreciated. A journalist from the Midweek newspaper came and interviewed Rory on Thursday about his trip. We will be keeping an eye out for the story next week.

This month, three years after he last ran a primary school cross country, Rory competed with the 9 year old boys in Inglewood. I was proud to see him line up at the start line ready to go. One of Sam’s intermediate friends ran with Rory for support (thanks Muzza). Rory completed the course through a mix or running and walking. He was last home but happy with his effort, and so was I. After treatment I wasn’t sure he would run again. Rory’s goal next year is to complete the whole course running. It has been a month of mishaps. Rory hit his head in the hall one morning, his third bump/fall at school this year, so I had to pick him up and monitor him for the rest of the day. Two days he complained of a stomach ache, and he has pulled two teeth out. He missed a day of school for an endocrinology appointment at Taranaki Base Hospital. Thanks to the growth hormone he is now growing approx 4cm/year, up from 1 cm/year. He will have an x-ray to determine his bone age in a couple of weeks. His bone growth differs from a ‘normal’ 9 year old boy due to radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and the growth hormone, and needs to be monitored. Rory has been busy this month writing and practising his speech, and helping me complete the application forms for Camp Quality Central Districts which will be held in Hastings in January 2012. We watched the opening ceremony of the Rugby World Cup 2011 last night and the children at Starship were in our thoughts. We wondered if they could see the light show and fireworks outside their windows. At night we often turned the lights off in Rory’s hospital room so we could watch the glitter of Auckland.

Sam also lost a tooth this month (the tooth fairy is broke). He spent a week at Stratford Primary School on the Assist Gifted Kids programme. Colt and I went along on the field trip to Rotokare Scenic Reserve (a mainland island). Colt kept everyone entertained in the Education Centre with his chatter. Sam ran in the Inglewood Districts cross country event and got 3rd in the 11 year old boys section. He is off to the Taranaki champs in a couple of weeks. Soccer has continued to dominate his life. Yesterday Sam played in the Inglewood Intermediate team for an interschool game against Bell Block Primary. The Inglewood team won 9-3, and there were moments of brilliance and hilarity.

Colt is growing into a little man. He is sitting up unaided, and getting on his hands and knees ready to crawl. He has been waking a bit at night which has knocked Sean and I around. At the moment he has a dreadful cold. Colt is fascinated with books, and sensations on the bottom of his bare feet. He continues to enjoy being surrounded by other little people at Space, and playtime with Sharon from Porse. He takes delight in non-humans (birds, cats and dogs).

Adventuring is still on the back burner this month. We spent a day in the Hardwick-Smith bush block at Mangamingi where Sean did some feral goat control for Forest and Bird. We made a visit to Sandy Bay, north of Opunake, to explore the rare dune system. We saw NZ dotterel and several threatened coastal plants. We were lucky to have Barry Hartley, who has worked and studied at the site for many years, as our guide. On Father’s Day the boys made pancakes for breakfast and Sean enjoyed some ‘shed’ time. We had a big family lunch, then Sean, the boys and I went for a walk through Everett Park creeping close to two kereru roosting low in the trees. We enjoyed dinner with the ‘girls’, and their families at Darlene’s last weekend. The kids (all 13 of them) get along well together, and surfaced only for food, while we caught up on the news.

Happy 9th Birthday to Alana and Luke.