Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Judging by my facebook news feed, I'm not the only one who spent a lot of their day looking back through Jeff Harris' mind blowing photography project. Read about it here.

A photo every day since January 1, 1999. A photo every single day, including the day he found out he had cancer in 2008. Including the days he went through treatment(s). Everything.

I followed this project a little after it started. Jeff was in a band with a couple of my friends & I had heard he was taking a photo of himself every day. What I didn't realize, mostly because I got absorbed in my own real life, is that he's been doing it ever since & he's still doing it.

Today I looked at the photo he took after his diagnosis. Then, I spent a long time looking at the weeks leading up to that day. Photos of a guy who had no idea he had cancer. I've done the same with photos I have of Gord - photos of a smiling, oblivious Gord (and me) - no idea what was up ahead. "I was dying in that photo and we didn't even know."
The thing is though, the thing that makes Jeff's project SO AMAZING (really, truly, insanely amazing) is that he has not let any of this stop him. I was deeply inspired to see a photo of his grueling surgery (which left him paralyzed in one leg) & then, in a photo dated one week later, he is smelling flowers in his garden.
He is out with friends. He is climbing. He is being funny. He is in pain. He is living.
His website is here: jeffharris.org

Some 'us' update:
My mom went back to Hamilton for a couple of days & tag-teamed Arlene in for back-up. Arlene spent the day with Gord on Sunday, then came back here to stay for a couple of days. I went to visit Sunday night but he was right out of it - I was watching a Scottish Tattoo on tv & even the bagpipes didn't make him stir (they did make my eyes well up, as did the highland dancers. I think I'm getting soft in my old age.) I stayed for 2 hours & kissed him on the forehead when I was leaving. He opened his eyes & looked a little freaked that I was there. I told him I'd be back in the morning.

His blood levels are taking a real nose-dive, which is to be expected - he got a third dose of Campath (the mega-drug to fight the GvHD) on Monday. Hopefully, the counts will start to creep back up in the next couple of days. He's exhausted, but still far more with-it than he was a couple of weeks ago. His liver enzyme numbers seem to be getting back into the normal range (Hoooooraaaaay!) and his kidneys are still doing good. The diarrhea is really slowing down as well, which is the biggest thing - and the consistency is starting to 'mush-up' (guys, it's gross, I know, but this is a big deal  & a pretty important indication as to how/if his gut is healing) When I reported this to the Dr he said "Okay, this means the bowel is starting to...." and then he made a big sweeping motion with his hands. I assume that is good. These improvements are important because I've been told that if after 2 or 3 Campath treatments there is no significant change in the GvHD, then there probably won't ever be.

Gord's mobility is still extremely limited - he's starting to move & use his left arm more, and he's got us doing lots of leg exercises with him, but he still cannot move them on his own. This is going to be a really long stay in the ole PMH - I don't mind though. 2/3 weeks ago I felt like he was hanging on by his fingernails. Now, I feel like he has a grip up to his knuckles, at least.


  1. I'm getting soft in my old age too! I don't know why, but this one made me tear up. A long stay, sure, but whatever it takes I guess. xoxo

  2. Kevin O'GormanJanuary 4, 2012 at 8:50 AM

    As a fellow new parent, I'm always ready to talk about bowel movements.

  3. Nicole,
    What a small world, Jeff and I knew each other as kids (our parents are old friends).

    Your posts really help me to feel connected to Gord - thanks for that!

    Give him a big hug from me. "Slow and steady..."

    :) pa

  4. My heart goes out to you and your families.

    Thank you for posting these entries. I too feel more connected to Gord because of them - thank you!

    Please give him another great big hug for me!

    If you need anything, please let me know.

  5. Slow and Steady! - Gordie knows all about that after all the time he's put in the trenches.

    thanks for the updates