Back to school

Celebratory cake July 2020

Today was a milestone …. Rory returned to Inglewood High for the start of Term 3 with his peers.  In September 2019, 10 months ago, Rory ceased being a student.  His life became consumed by treatment for osteosarcoma at Starship.  It was wonderful to see him put on his school uniform this morning and take a seat in Te Awhinatia, the IHS Learning Centre.  To celebrate the end of treatment and return to a more ‘normal life’ a special cake was made for Rory by Annette from A Love of Cakes.  This was organised by Gabby’s Starlit HOPE.  The lego themed cake was enjoyed by the staff and students from Te Ahinatia today and there is some for our dessert tonight.  Rory will attend school daily from 9-11am in August.  As with everything there needs to be a slow recovery.  Rory has the most energy in the morning so this window provides the best opportunity for him to participate and learn. We will monitor how he copes and adjust things accordingly. 

Rory enjoyed another morning with Jonny on Friday and some ‘brother’ time with Sam, Caitlyn and Corey on Sunday.  As Colt was at a sleepover for his good friend Cameron’s birthday Sean and I were able to slip away on Sunday morning, just the two of us.  We spent three hours hunting feral goats in a forest east of Tarata.  It is hard to put into words what it felt like.  It was wonderful to be away from everything, surrounded by the green.  I could feel my body working to cover the terrain but also the reverberation of what we have been through in my head.  It almost feels like there has been a forceful and violent shaking of my brain.  We have been through severe trauma with Rory over the last 11 years and the acute nature of the last 10 months has taken its toll.  I realised I need to do a better job at looking after my mental health if I am to continue keeping Rory afloat and driving his recovery forward.  It is hard to prioritise myself.  It feels selfish, like I am shirking my responsibilities.  I am not someone who worries but at the back of my mind is the nagging question ‘what if something goes wrong when Rory is in the care of someone else?’. I will not be there to keep him safe.  Delivery of constant care and being on high alert is all consuming and exhausting. 

I saw a quote on one of the cancer Facebook pages “I think the hardest part of cancer treatment is at the end – when everyone assumes you’re ‘cured’ and you no longer need their help.  You’re in your weakest most devastated state, plus you no longer have the mission you had when you began this journey: to kill the cancer.  The cancer is toast, but so are you, and now like a solider at the end of war, you need help putting yourself back together, only everyone has gone home since they assume the war has been won”.  This is also the truth for mothers of cancer kids who are the primary caregivers.  The health, happiness and achievement of their children depends on them. 

Rory has had a further two gym sessions with Dane.  He is trying hard but gets short of breath and tires quickly.  I can see him making small gains which is the best we can hope for.

Thank you to Annette and Gabby’s Starlit HOPE for helping us celebrating the milestone today with Rory.