Rory Gardiner's Webpage

21, Dec, 2011

December - month of birthdays

December is a month of birthdays for us; Sam turned 12, Sean turned 40, cousin Mikayla 3, Colt 1, Grandad Gardiner is 21 again on Christmas Day, and Auntie Teri slides in before the New Year. Happy Birthday - with lots of love to you all.

We celebrated Sam’s birthday with a sleepover at Mackford Hut which is 8km up the Mokau River, and featured on tv programme Hunger for the Wild . It was a lads event attended by Uncle Jason and Logan, and mates Taylor, Tarn, Anthony and Jake. There was plenty of action; trailer rides, a giant tree swing, a mudfight at low tide, swimming and bombing in the river, goat hunting (tally 4), netting flounder (tally 5), trying to catch eels on a handline (tally 0), playing spotlight in the dark, spotlighting for possums (tally 3), and target shooting with the .22 (under Sean and Jason’s supervision). We had a roaring fire, a bbq dinner, and I made giant pancakes for breakfast (which Logan thought looked disgusting but were greedily consumed by all). On the way home on Sunday we stopped at Mokau for fish and chips for lunch. The lads were nodding off in the vehicles on the way home. It was a really enjoyable weekend. Jakes stuffed Hippo even saw some action hiding in the cupboard, the oven, the fire place, and hanging from antlers hung outside the hut.

The boys finished the year at Inglewood Primary School (IPS). They both received sufficient REACH points to attend the 100s club bbq which they were both proud of. We attended the IPS prize giving in the evening in the high school gym. It was a positive celebration of the student’s achievements. Sam performed with the Kohanga Moa kapa haka group and Rory sang with the middle team students. I am glad we made the decision to send the boys to IPS it really is a fantastic school. I attended the final assembly on the last day. The roof of the hall was lifting with energy and emotion as the Year 8 students were farewelled. It is a big step to high school for them. We visited the Christmas tree farm and picked out a tree which we have decorated. Colt and Fern pulled off the tinsel and decorations lower down so the tree looks a little like it is missing its drawers! We called in to Hell’s Pizza New Plymouth yesterday to wish Sandy a Merry Christmas and she gave Rory a bag containing $300 of donations from customers for his lessons in 2012 (thank you all).

There has been the most change in Colt over the past month. He turned 1 on Monday, and we had a family ‘party’ on Sunday afternoon (‘labour’ day). He liked being the centre of attention, playing with his brothers and cousins, and opening and trying his presents. As Sean was helping him blow out his candle he put his hands into the cake! He is fast on his knees, but is often on his feet holding onto things trying to shuffle sideways. He is into everything and has a cheeky grin with two top front teeth (his only ones). The cot has become something of a battleground and he fights being in it and going to sleep. We had to buy him a slumbersack as he kept throwing off/out all the covers. This has also been a challenge for Sharon at Porse who has been making an extra fuss of him due to his clinginess after the trip, and for his birthday (thank you). Nana Honnor has been helping me out with the boys since school finished so I could complete my last hours at work and attend some appointments (thanks mum). I am creating a website for the Taranaki Tree Trust (thanks to the staff at Smokeylemon Website Design) and it will go live in the New Year. Smokeylemon have also created a website for the Mellowpuff Trust who generously paid the airfares for Rory’s trip to Florida. It is lovely to see Mel’s photo on the front page ‘Believe and you will achieve’.

Tomorrow Rory, Colt and I fly to Auckland so Rory can have another MRI and see the Oncologist at Starship on Friday. We have learnt the spontaneous bleeding on his brain is called a cavernoma and is a side effect of radiotherapy. The majority of the time Rory won’t know it is occurring and there will be no symptoms. In most cases the bleeds resolve themselves but surgery is required if they start to cause brain damage, don’t stop, or are large. Depending on their size and location cavernoma’s can cause headaches, seizures, strokes and brain damage. They warned us when we agreed to radiotherapy there would be long-term effects but Rory stood the best chance of survival if we consented to the treatment. So we did. We have to learn to live with the results of this decision. We hope the MRI will show the bleed has resolved so we can head north with Sean and Sam to spend a few days in Northland with Grannie and Grandad Gardiner for Christmas.

We wish you all a Merry Christmas, a joyous New Year, and wonderful things for 2012. We are so glad you are in our corner. Lots of love Leigh, Sean, Sam, Rory and Colt xox