Cancer survivors’ guide to car buying

Purple sports car.

I assure you that this is not my new car.

If you’ve been following my blog over the past few weeks, you know that I’ve had a lot of time on my hands. There was the extended couch time, followed by the computer’s repair, and then a week of not having to cook. In order to fill that free time, I bought a new car.

Why would someone with cancer buy a new car, you ask? Well, I wasn’t sure myself. I’ve considered how many novels I’ll get to read before I die and how many new clothes I’ll purchase, but I figured a new car was not in the offing. J. seems to think I’ll be around for a while so she encouraged the splurge. Guess whose cup is half full?

I should be able to manage without a car, but I use the excuse (reality?) of chronic exhaustion not to. Calgary isn’t New York City or Toronto and public transit is not easy or quick. I’d use transit more if it were, and I know I’d be saving the earth if I did.

Instead, J. and I took my elderly car to the dealership, and bought a perky, fuel-efficient new car straight from the showroom. J. negotiated a great deal for me. (I know, all the hard tasks are hers. She has been cursed with unlimited domains of competence.)

Mike from Cars movie new yellow car, with two characters hanging out of it.

This is Mike’s new car, not mine.

Before we left, the finance fellow tried to sell me an extended warranty, but I nixed that idea pretty quickly. “I have leukemia,” I told him, “so I don’t know I’ll outlive the current warranty.” Yes, I pulled the leukemia card to shut him down. He was so flummoxed that he failed to mention I can purchase this extension right up to the expiry date of my current warranty. I plan to be alive and well then, so I may reconsider at that time.

In the meantime, J., who had much less time on her hands–she is our primary breadwinner, after all–sold my old car. A nice young fellow will hopefully get many more healthy and happy years out of her. She’s been a good car, a reliable and handy car, but I think it’s time for someone else to assume her care. Keeping my own body in one piece is work enough; I can no longer manage an aging car as well.

There’s only one problem with the new car: I’m terrified to park her. Shopping carts and car doors were inexplicably drawn to my last car, rendering a mashup of spots and dings on her once-pristine body. My new baby’s virgin black body will never get her first ding. As a bonus, I will likely lose weight from parking at the farthest end of every lot.

Front corner of black car with big red bow around it.

Could I handle a car like this? Maybe.

When you’re sick, it becomes especially important to set goals for the future. If you have cancer and you need (or want) a new car, just do it if you can. You could be around for a while yet. Me, I’ve now got a five-year warranty to outlive. No problem.


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