When you have cancer, your car might last longer. Or not.

My wife and I have two cars, and mine hasn’t been driven much the past four years. At times I went for months without driving. I was too tired, and often the drugs I was taking for various side effects were undermining my sleep or preventing it altogether. Other drugs affected my concentration more directly; those pill bottles carried the “do not drive or operate heavy machinery” warning.

So for a while my car sat in a darkened garage, all by itself. It became quite lonely.

My wife’s car, although a year newer, soon had more miles on its odometer than mine did. That’s partly because it logged so many extra miles hauling me back and forth for my oncology visits. The round trip was over a hundred miles, and there were a few stretches of radiation treatments when that route became our daily cancer commute.

If any of this sounds familiar, keep track of those miles and include them with your other medical expenses. Ask your accountant; there’s a possibility that all those miles could have tax implications.

And if you have another car that’s now sitting idle, start it up and let it run for a while every week or two. It’s good for the engine, and if you don’t do it regularly you may eventually learn that your battery has died. Don’t ask me how I know.

Finally, when you do return to regular driving after a long pause, be extra attentive the first few hundred miles. You’re out of practice.

When you have cancer, your shoes may last longer. Or not.

I’m one of the most positive people you’ll ever meet. Most days, anyway.

For months I spent at least 16 hours a day in bed, either sleeping or wishing I was sleeping. I was exhausted, and I wasn’t happy about it.  But at least, I figured, I wasn’t wearing out shoes as fast. At least my shoes were lasting longer. That was something.

It’s possible, however, that you may experience, as I did, swelling and edema that makes it hard to squeeze into shoes that used to fit just fine. If so, you may need to buy a couple pair of shoes that fit your new feet. But don’t go wild at the shoe store; with luck, this side effect will be temporary.

You may also, however, lose some padding from the soles of your feet. That’s especially true for the fat pad under your heel. This doesn’t happen to everyone. But either way, consider shoes with plenty of cushioning.

And later, as your health improves and your feet begin returning to normal, you may decide to buy some new walking shoes—or even running shoes. Don’t be afraid to wear them out. Exercise may help prevent cancer, and the latest medical guidelines from organizations like the American Cancer Society and the American College of Sports Medicine suggest that it may also help cancer patients during their recovery—and even improve their odds of survival.

To sum all this up: cancer may not be a great way to save money on shoes. You may even decide to spend more. Because later, wearing out more walking or running shoes may quite literally help you walk away from cancer.

When you have cancer, everything is different. Even mosquito bites.

It’s summer here in northwest Wisconsin. We’ve had some warm, humid weather, and some excellent crops of mosquitos are hatching. And yes, there’s a connection between mosquitos and cancer. But don’t worry. Mosquitos don’t carry cancer.

Here’s the connection: If your oncologist prescribes some sort of immunotherapy, it will rev up you immune system so it works harder to destroy cancer cells. Your immune system may also react more strongly to other threats—including mosquito bites.

As mosquitos feed they inject saliva, which contains an anticoagulant so your blood stays nice and thin as they begin sucking up their lunch. Proteins in the mosquito’s saliva trigger your body’s immune system, which in turn produces histamines that result in redness, swelling, and itching.

After enough exposure most people develop a tolerance, and mosquito bites become less painful and itchy. (I’ve found when traveling, though, that mosquitos in other parts of the world seem to have something diffferent about their saliva. Initially, for example, bites from Norwegian or Chinese mosquitos felt like bee stings. Later, they weren’t quite so bad.)

The moral of the story: If you’re on immunotherapy, you may find that your body reacts differently to mosquito bites. Consider wearing long sleeves or using extra mosquito repellent.