In case you didn't catch it, Monday morning marked the official start of summer, 2010.

As a weather weenie it's something that I usually take note of. This time, June 21st was a little different. I was thinking about the last time I had a summer off, those coveted 3 months, when I didn't have to report for duty at a place of employment.

Think about that for a moment too. It turns out for me, I was 13. I won't say exactly how many years ago that was, but let's just say … it was a while ago. Yes at 14, I eagerly entered the "real world" and had the deductions on my pay cheque to prove it. I was a nerdy teenager, flipping quarter pounders under the Golden Arches -- that was the beginning of the end, to summer as I knew them.

Until now. Never in a million summers would I ever have imagined that I would be spending these months, and then some, undergoing treatment for cancer. That in itself, cancels out any remote suggestion that this is really a summer off -- or does it?

Of course I would never have planned this. The reality is, like many others, I have to deal with it and I'm thankful, at least, it's happening during the summer months. On occasion I'm actually enjoying some of the warm summer sun.

This month, however, is also posing some noteworthy challenges -- namely the G-20 summit. Leaving aside all the headlines it has generated -- for me, and hundreds of other patients, it means one thing -- A PAIN IN THE ASS. With a treatment scheduled for G-20 Friday, my personal game plan was put into play weeks before most announcements were made. I managed to move up the treatment to day earlier -- the Thursday.

As the paranoia continues to escalate, precautionary measures were put in place for all University Ave hospitals. Princess Margaret, understandably, is now re-scheduling almost all of Friday chemotherapy appointments to Thursday. I don't blame the hospital, in fact I'm not blaming anyone in particular -- I'm just speaking up for the little guy. I can't imagine the stress some families will have to go through trying to access the hospital in a timely and safe manner. My contingency plan includes spending the night before at a friend’s house in the north end of the city. I can only hope that will mean easier access coming south into town, rather than trying to navigate through a rat's maze of fences and security checks in the security zone.

I'm not sure what the solution is, but something should have been considered, especially for urgent care and the elderly (I don't count myself in either). For these people, it's crucial they be able to get in and out with out any delay or drama. I will certainly let you know how things unfold in my next blog.

Anyway, aside from that, I'm doing well. Everything has been going according to plan … for the most part. My last session had a few hiccups. The drug/IV drip was processed too quickly and started to burn my vein. (A note those having chemo therapy in the future: it's very important they use a heat pad to warm your vein. Apparently it allows the area to expand. Make sure you also tell them right away if you feel any tingling or burning.)

When I felt that burn, the drip was slowed down and we were on our way. I had to return 4 days later due to throbbing pain in that burned arm. The team was terrific at assessing the condition and making sure there was no serious damage, but it now means my right arm can no longer be poked liked a pin cushion. It's off limits from this point on. No blood tests, no IVs, no treatments. Not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, but I always liked flip flopping between arms.

Beyond that, the fatigue and aches and pains in general were not quite as bad as the first 2 rounds. However I have noticed a pattern when it comes to hair loss. I think all guys have a sixth sense when it comes to their hair, especially if they are losing it.

First of all, at the moment, I'm happy to report I haven't been Kojak'ed. It has thinned out quite a bit, but I still can use a brush and have reason to. It appears the hair starts to drop about 3 days after treatment.  I guess that's as the drugs cycle through your body. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I have been very particular in babysitting my dark locks.

One new tip I acquired on-line was to use a satin pillow case so the hair had a softer cushion and wouldn't catch. It sounded plausible to me, my wife confirmed it. Apparently, it’s a long-time ladies’ secret to avoid bed head on a newly coiffed do. Say no more -- we were on a mission to get some satin pillow cases.

I must confess I haven't done much linen shopping, and am glad for that. Have you seen what they charge for "quality" linen? It's outrageous!! 2 Satin pillow cases were 44 bucks. Again that's just the cases -- no pillow here. Nonetheless, if it helps I'm willing to splurge. What still perplexes me though, is that they are called "luxury satin"-- I must admit, to the touch it’s justified, but when you look at the says 100% polyester.

I'm no fashionista, but isn't polyester the cheapest fabric on earth? I know for a fact my McDonalds uniform was made from polyester. Shouldn't it be called perfect polyester and charged accordingly?? It's a good thing it does appear to be helping the situation so the Satin cases stay, and the $44 goes.

On that note, I'd better wrap up. I wanted to do so, by once again thanking you for all of your messages. Life is not simple, especially nowadays. We all get caught up in our busy schedules, yet so many of you have found time to send me a note, a special prayer and personal story.

I wish I could put into words what a difference your messages make. Not only for me personally, which is a great deal, but for other readers too, the community as a whole. Just the reason behind your messages and notes -- those are actions that honestly could change the world. It's a beautiful thing called kindness. Almost all of you have never met me -yet you have forever changed me.
Thank you and God Bless
Life's blows cannot break a person whose spirit is warmed at the fire of enthusiasm
Norman Vincent Peale