Thanks, Geocaching Friends

It’s generally not my practice to comment too personally on INATN, so take a look outside and check for pigs flying past …

Given kjwx’s ability to churn out posts, I doubt many would have noticed a drop in contributions by me (though a general increase in writing quality has probably been registered!). Since the end of November, I’ve been residing in Auckland, New Zealand so my son Zach (look up, he’s the one grinning on the site header) could undergo his third open-heart surgery.

Zachy immediately post-surgery

Zach was born with a rare congenital heart defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, where the left side of the heart (which is responsible for pumping the oxygenated blood around the body) is severely underdeveloped.  At five days old, he underwent his first open-heart surgery, followed by another three months later. Since then, he has had numerous minor procedures and stays in hospital.

Like all of my boys, Zach is a keen geocacher and has joined me on a huge number of ‘treasure’ hunts. His condition has meant he doesn’t always have the greatest stamina, but he makes up for it with huge enthusiasm. You’ll get to see him in action soon when we review the Geomate.Jr.

This trip to Auckland’s Starship Children’s Hospital was so Zach could undergo the third of his planned open-heart surgeries, called the Fontan, and have a tricuspid valve repair. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has a great video of the procedure:

Zachy a few days ago

We’re very happy to report that Zach’s surgery and hospital recovery went extremely well. We have just arrived home again and, though he is still healing, Zach is a much more energetic little boy. What is most amazing is that he has warm hands and feet for the first time in his life.

I wanted to say a huge thanks to all those in the geocaching world who sent their prayers and wishes our way. We really appreciated all the messages of support during our very intense stay in Auckland. Despite those disaffected few who like to criticise our geo-society, I can honestly say it is one of the most friendly and supportive communities I’ve experienced. Thanks to you all.

Needless to say, my productivity should increase in the next few days so stay tuned for more posts …


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  1. Pete

    Wow. What a story. I can’t even look at the top of your blog without cracking a smile.

    Having recently jumped from Berry to Galaxy, I was getting to the point of lighting a fire under you as to why there haven’t been any reviews.

    And today I discover you’ve been quite busy!

    All the best to Zach and all the family from my family. If I was a local, I’d be putting out a dedication trail for him!

    1. Cumbyrocks

      Thanks Pete. Being in Auckland with the new phone meant I had a crash course in making it work for caching…expect a review on it soon, about the same time cachesense for android is released!

      1. Pete

        …yes… (ahem).. I’m wreaking havoc with my testing right now.

        I’ll try not to distract Bruce for too much longer 🙂

  2. ErikaJean

    What a trooper!! I hope he’s out there caching up a storm soon 😉

  3. oz9els

    All the best wishes, of a speedy recovery from the other side of the earth, to the grinning little man – The banner picture warms my heart every time I see Zach.
    He looks like he in high spirits 🙂
    Happy christmas from Denmark

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