Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hi ya all

I'm home for another weekend and as Mark put in his recent post, home for good in FOUR days.
I must admit, despite wanting to see my family, I'm scared. I'm really not the same person who left for hospital five or so weeks ago.

But I am still as positve as ever. So maybe it'll be ok. Who'd ever have thought I'd be frightened of my own children? I can't believe I'm in this position. But I have a feeling, with team work we will be just ok.

I really liked Mark's recent post. So raw and honest.

Christchurch. My heart aches for you. I know if our current circumstances were different, Mark would already down there, sleeves rolled up and shovel in hand. He's good like that. Instead, I need him here. But our thoughts and love is definately with you.
The images are gut wrenching. It reminds me how lucky I am to be alive and kicking. I hope the bodies are retrieved quickly for personal closure and the rescuers can cope with their unenviable job.

I was born in Christchurch. Grew up there and know many who are very special to me. I'm pretty sure they are all accounted for, but I have a feeling I will hear of many people with connections to our friends and family. In tragedies like this that's just how it goes.

Many say that buildings can be rebuilt and a city can recover, but I feel differently. I know it is a blessing that many survived, but I'm a real building person. I believe people put huge amounts of love into their buildings. They work every day in them, creating strong relationships.
I feel very sad for the loss of what was ChCh. People will grieve these losses, just like the beautiful people they have also lost. I look forward to the day when ChCh stands up again, streches itself and becomes whole.

Changing the subject..............

I recieved a very special gift yesterday. A Pounamu fish hook from some very special people.
It hangs around my neck, close to my heart and very warm. Hei - matau represents strength and determination. It brings peace, prosperity and good health. A very warm thank you to the following people; Hilary, John M, Adam, Lynley, Pete R, Jo C, Robin and Valerie for thinking of me.
An extra special thank you to Matt who delivered the gift personally. We had a very quick, but great catch up, having not seen each other since about 1990. An old, but still important school mate. I feel so honoured to know these people, who were fellow students but older than me. Friends of my parents, it is obvious now that friendship can last over a long time and distance. I am so very grateful for this.

Wow, look at how much I have written. Another milestone met? Yeeeeehaa!!!!

But my neck now I guess I'll chat again at the end of the week.
Jaz xx

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Coming Home

Its been a tough few days for Jaz the girls and I as we watch the devastation of our beloved city Christchurch on the the TV and through messages from our family. I was born and bred in Christchurch and I have the same feeling in my stomach that I experienced a few weeks ago when Jaz was very ill.

There are no words I can say that will make things better and I can only imagine how those effected are feeling so all I will say is we think about you all daily and wish we were there to share the pain with you. Both Jaz and I talked today about if this was to happen anywhere in New Zealand the Cantabrians are probably the best equipped to handle this situation.

On the home front Phoebe had her first day at Daycare yesterday and I finally got into the office. I did worry alot about how she would cope but was pleased to find when collecting her how happy she had been with her new friends and toys. Next week she will attend on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. We hope to increase this another day when a space is available.

My anxiety levels have risen around not being able to work to my full capacity. I have always worked and have always given my employer the best I can possibly give so I find it very hard to be in this situation of working part time from the home and office. I know in time it will get better and I hope both my employer and I can work through this difficult time. To date they have been a pillar of support and strength which makes me feel incredibly loyal to the company.

Jaz has had another great week and has finally been given a discharge date. She will be home next thursday! Wonderful wonderful news. There is a real buzz of excitement in the house. It would have been 6 weeks since Jaz left for the hospital, it seems like such a blur.

Her recovery will continue at home, fatigue will be our enemy for at least another 6 months and then they intend to chuck in energy sapping radiation. She is alive and we need to be thankful for that but she did get quite upset today saying that regardless of all she has been through in 5 weeks the tumor is just the same.

Its something that I think will be a major issue for her as she comes to terms with having a tumor in her head for years to come. When you think about it, its very scary. The thought of having a growth nestled in the heart of your brain growing and taking up space. Will it remain benign? Will it cause a seizure? Will it shorten her life? Questions that we will confront the surgeon when we meet in the upcoming weeks.

Well thats about it from me this week, Jaz will be home again this weekend so Im sure she will publish an update on Saturday.

Love to all especially those in Christchurch

Mark, Jaz and the girls.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Jaz's update!!

Well life at rehab plus is actually ok. They work me so hard I have sore muscles to prove it.

Aside from the homesickness and missing mark and the girls terribly, I can now see a real purpose, and even progress. Phew!

For friends and family here's my list of recent improvements:

My right side is fully functional now. Just a remains a little weak. Physio is sorting that out,
My memory is coming back, slowly but surely. Things I couldn't do last week are suddenly popping into my head.
I dropped to 49 kgs in hospital and already have got back up to 53.5kg. YAY!!!!
I can now do several pages in a children's puzzle book. Of course it is rewarding because it is now EASY and every page is bringing success!!
I can walk up and down stairs, without holding on.
I can problem solve and calculate percentages with and without a calculator.
I can even take down accurate phone messages for everybody now.

And unfortunately this is about where I run out of steam. Stamina is not a current strength. But comes with time.
Until next week, I'll look forward to sharing with you again.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Week 4

Well its Saturday morning and Im lying in bed with Jaz and Phoebe watching Rory the Racing Car on the kids channel.

Jaz has just eaten her first breakfast of bananas on toast followed by a peppermint tea. Her eating habits now mirror that of a hobbit with frequent meals through out the day. I checked out her feet last night for any unusual hair growth!!!

My apologies for not posting this week, Ive just had so much going on with schooling, playcentre, work and running the household. We have tried to visit Jaz everyday and even managed to have dinner with her at hospital on Thursday night.

The girls have had a great week. Phoebe starts daycare next week so this week we visited every morning in preparation for the big day. I was upset about her having to go to daycare but she seems to really enjoy it, its only for 2 days at this stage and both Caitlin and Molly went at her age. Plus I really need to spend some time in the office. Not only to work but to have some Mark time again.
Caitlin had a sleep over with her mate Sophie last night, she was meant to join the junior choir yesterday so hopefully when she gets home this morning she will be able to break the good news to her very musical mum!
Molly always has good days, she amazes me with her ability to get on with things without a worry. Im a naturally anxious person and struggle at times with her attitude on life. How can it take 10 minutes to brush your teeth?
She lost a tooth early in the week which has been a real highlight for her as the tooth fairy came. I could almost see her trying to work out what her mouth was worth when she found the dollar coin in place of her tooth!!!!
Jaz continues to work hard and is progressing well. Changes are much smaller now but that was expected. The Occupational therapists and Physiotherapists push her everyday with physical exercises and normal day to day tasks. Her stamina has improved and yesterday when chatting to our good friend Neil Brown I saw my old Jaz again!!!
She is home again this weekend, yesterday we went to Stanmore bay Primary school to collect Molly. Jaz meet Mollys teacher and then caught up with all of her teaching and mum friends. It was great to her catch up and have some normality in her day. On a selfish note it was nice to see that our lives will get back to normal.

Well thats about it. Jaz will post a blog tomorrow, today we are heading out to visit a friends new baby before settling into the couch for the Crusaders Blues game tonight. Yes the phone will be off the hook as I watch Todds mighty men dismantle the flashy "try hard" blues! Jaz still needs regular sleeps so we all need to be mindful not to push her to hard especially me.

Have a great weekend


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sink or Swim

I'm going back to rehab soon, I'll leave you with a poem I wrote during the week.

Will you be the one to Sink or Swim:
or will you just float until the tide takes you where ever
I have a fight on my hands
A fight against myself - a battle of wills
A fight with myself - until I achieve my current goals
I want to scream "why me?!"
But I never bloody answer back.
Until then I'll just continue to........



Saturday, February 12, 2011

Hi...........I really am alive in here

Hey.................its me. Really!!!!!

This will be short post. But one that has taken a while to write and is completely full of love and gratitude.

To my well wishers. A big thank you. Your love, words and gifts have been beautiful.

To my girls. Your mum will come back, little by little. Have faith.

To my best friend and husband. This is your greatest challenge yet. I am humbled by your love and dedication.

So much to say, not enough energy.
Love you

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Home Visit

Today was a big day for all with Caitlin and Molly working very hard at school and Phoebe and I attending our very first Play centre visit together.

The ladies at Play Centre were fantastic making me feel very welcome and continuing to offer cooked meals and lots of support. Phoebe had a great time but I think I probably had the most fun playing in the sand pit with the boys. It was a great distraction from our current situation we both left just after 12pm absolutely exhausted!!!

Jaz had another productive day of speech and language therapy and physiotherapy. She continues to strengthen physically but still fatigues very quickly so her Doctor has allowed Jaz to come home this weekend.

The girls have no idea Im picking Jaz up tomorrow and I have to meet with the Staff nurse to discuss the rules of her release tomorrow!!

As she fatigues very quickly we are not allowed to take her out of the house, she will need bed rest every couple of hours and noise and other distractions must be kept to a minimum. But its going to wonderful for all of us to be together again for the first time in 3 weeks.

After talking to Jaz tonight she suggested over the weekend together she would like to write a post in the blog. So stay tuned for Jasmines big come back!

To finish Id like to say a big thank you to you all out there for your support and love. Even though we are along way away from family I never feel alone. This blog has gotten me through some tough times and pretty soon I know that it will help Jaz get through her transition back into life as she once new it.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Well Jaz has settled into her new room at Rehab Plus. Its a nice place. Her ward has 14 other patients mostly amputees and a few stroke victims. Its a very relaxed atmosphere where patients are expected to both rest and complete day to day tasks. The staff are great and we feel very welcome.

Her progress has slowed which is expected, she functions well but is very tired and still struggles to concentrate and stay focused on a task, but to be fair she is doing amazingly well.

She is now well aware of what has happened and is going through the grief and anger phase that I went through almost 10 days ago. She really wants to go home but also understands that she isnt ready yet. Tonight we chatted about what happened during the operation and how together we will manage the kids especially Phoebe, work and life together. It upset her and I reassured her that what ever happens we will manage together. Just as our wedding vows said "In sickness and in health "

On the home front the girls are enjoying my mothers cooking and Hayley and little Lillys company. Phoebe is starting to eat and sleep again which has been a big relief. Visiting Jaz has also helped and will be even more fun at Rehab Plus as there is a large yard the girls can play in when visiting.

Big thanks to everyone at Ashley School your cards and gifts were wonderful and put smiles on everyones faces.

Monday, February 7, 2011


Jaz is doing really well. Yesterday I bought her a portable DVD player. So as I write this Jaz is enjoying Billy Connelly in the comfort of her hospital bed!

Her recovery continues to progress her vision is improving along with strength and coordination.
She continues to surprise us all including the Surgery team.

The Hospital has decided this morning to transfer her out to a Rehabilitation Centre tomorrow. We are all very excited and so happy that we are one step closer to having Jaz home.

In regards to Jasmines results the news is good. Jaz does not want me to go into detail but her Dr has promised us they will put together a very good treatment plan.

Her tumor is very slow growing and at this stage is benign. Treatment will include a Shunt, Radiation and possibly Chemotherapy.

We meet with the Radiation team in 2 weeks to discuss the plan of attack.

We are both happy and relieved with the results and look forward to our time together and what ever the future has on offer for us.

To finish Jaz wanted me to thank everyone for their support over the past couple of weeks. Its only now that she realizes what we have all been through.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Visit

Jaz had another good day today. I took the kids in and we spent 3 hours together watching movies and catching up on hugs!

Mum and my sister Hayley arrive tomorrow so I have a busy day. I meet with the registrar on Monday with Jaz to discuss her results and future treatment. I will update the blog in full Monday night.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Just a quick update today. Im pretty buggered with this whole situation catching up. Evening visits mean I get home just before 9pm then if Phoebe hasn't settled it can turn my day into a long one.

Jaz continues to strengthen. Luke visited this morning as I didn't want to drag Phoebe up to the hospital again.

I have just gotten back from my evening visit. She is still very anxious but after a long chat about the what ifs Im hopeful that she will get a good nights sleep.
She is now very aware of the what ifs that might come with the biopsy result and amount of time away from home for rehab etc. I reassured her we should take things week by week and she asked that I be present for the results.

I dressed her in some new PJs lots of stripes, with her eye patch and stripy PJs I made comment she looked like a Wheres Wally pirate character. She scolded me with that lovely big smile!

Those of you that have sent her texts please be aware she cannot see her phone very well so don't be offended if you do not get a reply.
She is allowed flowers and cards etc now so please either send them direct to her Ward 83 Auckland Central Hospital or to our home address and I will deliver on your behalf.

I confronted the staff nurse in regards to the broken blood vessel during the operation, she explained that it was a consequence of the operation and that this was explained in the consent form.

Tomorrow I will take all 3 girls up to see her. A welcome reward for them all after a tough first week at school.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Another pretty good day today.

I've just got back from the hospital. Jaz still isn't ready for visitors or phone calls. She explained to me she wanted more time to get better before taking on the outside world. Im pretty sure her confidence will have improved by Monday

She is better physically but fatigues very quickly. I will know more about her overall condition after the Occupational Therapist calls me tomorrow.

I took Phoebe into see her this morning, it took little P awhile as Mum has a funny haircut and wears a patch over her eye. Her vision is stilled blurred and only sees double. It should correct itself in time.

Phoebe watched a DVD on our laptop while Luke and I chatted with Jaz. Then she finally came round and gave Jaz a big kiss and hug.
She happily left Jaz at the end of the visit with a wave and big smile. On Saturday I will take all 3 of them in and we will finally be together as a family once again!!

On the medical front we still dont have the biopsy results and the Registrar confirmed that other than the biopsy the tumor is pretty much the same as it was before she was omitted last Sunday. It was just too dangerous and risky to remove any more than the biopsy.

I asked Jaz tonight if she would like to contribute to todays thankful thursday. She replied

"Im thankful Im here today" Jaz xx

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

General Ward

Caitlin started college today. After kicking Molly out of the car as we drove past her school (not quite please don't ring social services) Caitlin, Phoebe and I headed to Whangaparaoa College. I was really impressed with the way they handled the new year sevens. All of the 7th formers were present to welcome the new kids and parents to the school and to steer us in the right direction. I never thought Id ever say this but high school kids seem so tall!! Anyway we were all nervous but Caitlin found an old class mate and then said to me "I think Im ok Dad" we kissed, Phoebe cried and I walked off amazed at how well she handled the whole situation!

Our Neurology support person (Adele) rang me this morning to discuss the future. We now need to start planning where Jaz will start her rehab.
There are still so many unknowns so I find it very hard to make solid decisions. Decisions that could see us possibly relocate back to Christchurch. When I think ahead I really struggle to work out how I could possibly juggle 3 kids, work, home and a sick wife miles away from my family. When everyone has finished visiting I will have to do all of those things myself. Then there's our house, full of stairs and multiple levels.
Adele suggested I made no decisions until I receive the results of the biopsy. Fingers crossed all goes well with that.

Jasmines progress continues to go from strength to strength. The Nurse showered and washed her hair last night so she looks and smells all lovely and Jasmine!!! She is able to walk short distances and now even goes to the toilet herself. Just needs a little help getting there.

Luke covered the morning shift and I have just got home from the evening shift. Because of fatherly duties I hadnt been to see her since yesterday morning.
She is improving so well. Physically the arm naturally tucks up against her chest but she is conscious of having to use it. She is now even starting to think about her future.
It was kind of weird for me because she often reassured me that everything was going to be ok. I feel so much better knowing that I have my partner almost back with me.

Tomorrow she has a 2 hour assessment with the Occupational Therapist and from there we will know when and how long Jaz will be at the Rehab centre.
It looks like her physical capabilities will come back faster than her ability to process information. But obviously after tomorrow we will both know more. Im just happy to have someone to hug again.
I mentioned yesterday that Jaz wanted to be well enough to be transferred to the general ward well they have decided to move her tomorrow morning a huge step forward.

I have a few people Id like to thank today. I do hope to speak to you in person some day but until then thank you to Paisley Jade and MNM. Jasmines blogging buddies who sent lovely gifts to Jaz today. I opened your parcels with her and read your letters and cards to her tonight. She was so happy and shed a tear. Thanks. She looks forward to a herbal tea in the ward tomorrow and uses her knitted man to exercise her right hand.
To Bob and Bernadette for the lovely gift basket that also had toys for the girls. Phoebe squealed with excitement.

Also the Play centre mums continue to pepper me with pies, quiche's, muffins, salads and cakes. You guys are just the best. Cant wait to catch up with you all next Wednesday.

The Nurses and Hospital aides also need a mention. They look after us so well. And of course are very proud of Jasmines achievements

Well as you can see we have an awful lot going on but Im pleased to say that Jasmine is making great progress. Stay tuned for tomorrows update.

PS I found a Speaker cushion at Bed Bath and Beyond. The last one in the country. Thanks to the girls at Albany for locating it for me.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Standing up!

After posting yesterday I had dinner with Luke and the kids then headed into hospital for my routine evening visit. A nice quiet visit where I can either read or relax with Jaz.
I found Jaz in pretty good spirits, a DR had just finished putting another stitch in her drain wound. We chatted for a while and then I noticed that her pillow case was wet. Her drain wound was leaking cerebral fluid!

We went through 2 pillow cases while I was up there!!! I headed home after much assurance from the Nurses that this often happens only to receive a phone call from the Nurse around 11pm saying they want to remove the drain all together and if she cannot cope without the drain the will have to ring me requesting consent!

No sleep last night!!!

She is managing to control the cerebral fluid in her head at this stage. Still closely monitored but if her good progress continues her operations for shunts (internal drains) will not progress this week.

Today Jaz continues to improve. She can now get in and out of her bed with a fair amount of help from a nurse onto a chair for meals. Breakfast and lunch today and maybe all 3 meals tomorrow. Progress continues for Jaz along with her being verbally and physically frustrated with the whole situation. But she has made her first short term goal which is to make it out to the general ward. With that comes increased visitor numbers (I can take all of the girls in at once!) telephone access and maybe a TV.

On the home front little Miss Phoebe has developed tantrums screaming she wants her mum. It cuts me to pieces but I hope in time she will grow to our current situation.
Molly had her first day back today. She immediately caught up with everyone in her class. She is our very forward carefree sociable girl. After having a chat to her teacher I wished Molly a good bye only to hear her telling her mates that Mum has something in her head and might die!!! Her mates commented how cool that was and I left the school blubbering!

I meet with my Manager from New Zealand and Australia today. My fear of not being able to do my job or lose everything Id worked towards was a major anxiety.
They assured me that everything was going to be ok and they would support my family for as long as I needed. I feel privileged to be part of the Irwin team and want to thank all of my buddies in both New Zealand and Australia for their support. I hope to be contributing to the business again very soon.

As I write this one of the mums from Phoebes playcentre has dropped off our dinner! The ladies have kindly set up a roster to provide dinner this week. I cant believe how kind people can be.


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