May 2012 update
We continue to be on the receiving end of wonderful news. Rory had an MRI scan of his brain at Taranaki Base Hospital at the end of April - and it was clear of cancer. He also had a full suite of blood tests and all came back within the normal range. Rory continues to grow at slightly less than the ‘normal’ rate on growth hormone. As a result the x-ray of his hand/wrist which they use to estimate bone age indicates he is a few months behind his actual age. Rory has seen Dr Stephen (who was visiting from Auckland) and Dr Sanders. They want to repeat his MRI in six months time. He has seen Dr Craig, the Endocrinologist, who was also visiting. Craig identified slight scoliosis (curvature) in Rory’s spine as a result of radiotherapy. This is something we will keep an eye on. We will need to repeat the blood tests prior to Craig’s visit in November. The further out we get from diagnosis with a continued clear result the more we dare to believe Rory is going to beat medulloblastoma, when so many children don’t.
On the 14th of May Sam spent the day at Taranaki Base Hospital having an endoscopy to test for coeliac disease (gluten intolerance). It was his first time under anaesthetic. He was quietly brave, even being wheeled into the operating theatre on his own without Sean or I. The Doctors took multiple samples of his stomach lining which were analysed under a microscope. Yesterday we received the good news that all is normal. He has an appointment with the Paediatrician in three weeks and she said it an explanation could be Irritable Bowel syndrome, but we will talk more about this then.
The boys continue to keep us busy. They loved spending the first week of the holidays at Grannie and Grandad Gardiner’s in Northland. The second week at home disappeared as they spent a day with Nana, caught up with some friends, helped me out, and had cousin Sacha stay. Sam and Rory are both playing soccer for Inglewood Football Club on a Saturday morning which has Sean and I running in different directions. Mike, Ethan’s dad, is coaching Rory’s team in the 11th grade, and Sam is with Coach Jon from last year in the 14th grade. Rory is swimming at the New Plymouth Aquatic Centre one afternoon a week and it is giving me a chance to let Colt become more comfortable in the water. Rory was awarded Inglewood Primary Senior Student of the Week, and came home with his 1st Golden Reach Award (25 points). Sean and I attended his Parent-Teacher interview. He is doing well overall but struggling to make progress in numeracy. Assessment of his ability is complicated by the requirement to time the tests as he still operates slowly and is easily confused. Rory and I attended his first session with Psychologist Dr Storey to see if she can teach him ways to manage his negative emotions i.e. anger. She has given him some homework to do to see if we can identify triggers. Rory’s class went on a trip to Rotokare Scenic Reserve www.rotokare.org.nz Sean went along as parent help. There was drama when Rory lost one of his hearing aids. I had to go cap in hand to the Hospital a few days later to try and source a replacement but the missing aid miraculously turned up at the school office (whew). The magazine from Camp Quality 2012 arrived in the mail and we spent ages pouring over it with Rory. It was a great chance for him to re-live and share what he did. There were many new stories we hadn’t heard. There are several photos of Mike and Rory in the magazine. Rory thinks the world of Mike, and Mike took wonderful care of him. Rory was very lucky to be paired with Mike for a second time.
Sam has spent a couple of days hunting with Sean. He was proud to shoot his first goat, hare, rabbit and possum. He also went on a class trip to Rotokare. I went along as parent help and I was impressed at how much more the kids know about our environment than I did at their age. Sam has been selected for the Inglewood/Stratford Assist (Gifted Kids) programme for the second year in a row, and they have had an intoductory day at Stratford Primary. He has also achieved his first Golden Reach certificate, and received Certificates for backstroke at the Town vs Country competition, and a body of work he produced for his teacher. At his Parent-Teacher interview Miss Burleigh said he is doing well overall but his writing is letting him down. At home we are now working on developing and proof reading his work.
Colt is now 17 months old and a real character. He adores the Muppets. His favourite word is Manamana. We bought him the Muppet movie and a Muppet poster for his wall. The boys play him the Muppets singing Manamana and Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody on YouTube every day. At the DVD store he took great delight into running into R18 room as the boys weren’t able to retrieve him. I had to come to their aid. At Playcentre he painted his hair blue, wore a head to toe ‘suit’ of blue foam, and refused to get out of the backseat of the visiting Policeman’s car. He loves being outside, and is off everywhere, especially at Saturday morning soccer. He has had his 15 month immunisations, and unfortunately has another cold. He loves animals and we have taken him to Pouakai Farm Park and Brooklands Zoo where he excitedly emitted a continuous stream of animals noises. Colt continues to enjoy Playcentre and a couple of weeks ago we went for a ride on the historic train in Waitara. He has been enjoying extra time with Nana lately as Sharon (Porse Educator) is away on holiday, and Nana has been helping covering so I can continue to work. Sharon left the daily diary she keeps for Colt with me to read. It is full of stories about the fun interesting things they have done. I have written some comments in, and plan on bringing it home more often.
It seems winter has arrived early in Taranaki. We have had many cold mornings (0-2o) with frost, and a week of continuous rain. We are in the process of re-insulating the roof of the house to improve our energy efficiency during the colder months. I still head out 4-5morning a week for a run or a ride but Sam and I have had to put extra layers on. We fit in our adventures whenever we can, guided by the weather. Last weekend we drove up the mountain to Stratford Plateau and walked up to Manganui skifield to the top of the bottom tow. The boys loved being in the snow, running, sliding and having snowball fights. We all admired the icicles hanging down from the cliff faces. Sean, Colt and I walked up the Puniho Track along the Stoney River and were rewarded with a great view of the mountain. At lunch Sean sat in an ants nest and they gave him some nasty nips in his nether regions Unfortunately I wasn’t very sympathetic (I laughed so hard I cried). We have taken the boys along the York Road Loop track where we learnt about gravel extraction on the mountain to form Taranaki’s roads. There were many beautiful kereru feathers on the track. On the wet days the boys have ridden their scooters along the New Plymouth Coastal Walkway. We had dinner with the girls and their families at Janine’s one Saturday night (it was lovely to see you all), and an enjoyable family lunch for Mother’s Day (Happy Mother’s Day Mum and Grannie – we love you both very much). I was spoilt by the boys with homemade cards, cuddles, lollies and a ring with cabbage trees on it from my favourite store (Kina). We spent a weekend away in Wanganui. We drove down on Saturday morning and went to the Market by the River. The boys had Whole Hog Sandwhiches for lunch and I had a yoghurt berry snowfreeze and shared Sean’s whitebait fritter. We were impressed with the giant lolly straps. We visited the Turakina Bird Recovery Centre with the Kiwi Conservation Club. The passion of one woman, Dawn, is resulting in the rehabilitation of many sick and injured native birds i.e. NZ falcon, Tui, Kereru, Heron, including those from Taranaki. We spent the night at Scoutlands at Lake Wiritoa. We caught the elevator up inside Durie Hill and descended the many steps. We went for a walk along Castlecliff beach, going out onto the north mole to watch the fishermen, and played on the playground by the Surf Lifesaving Club. I remember visiting this playground as a child with my parents. We went for a swim at Splash Centre where they have two hydroslides and a lazy river which you float around and is lots of fun.
I want to finish this month’s blog with s clip from YouTube. It shows the cancer kids from Seattle Children’s Hospital in USA performing Kelly Clarkson’s song “Stronger”. www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihGCj5mfCk8
Our children are our inspiration.