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Author combats health crisis

By Dennie Hall Published: December 10, 2006
What worse news can a young man get than to be told he has cancer?

That was the fate of Jim Chastain of Norman. He tells about it in his recently released memoir, "I Survived Cancer: But Never Won the Tour de France” (Hawk Publishing, $19.95).

Here’s the author’s description of the book: "It’s a combination of essays and poetry (predominantly humorous), which focus on the highs and lows from a rather torturous cancer journey. It’s basically a look at a husband and father in crisis mode as his world is literally falling apart.”

Chastain, who works as an attorney in a state appeals court and as a professional writer, learned in 2001 of the cancer in his right arm. Age 37 at the time, he underwent surgery at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and then had six weeks of radiation in Oklahoma City. Other surgeries were to come in the following years, finally resulting in the amputation of his arm. Though cancer-free now, only time will tell whether the disease will return.

With a loving wife, a daughter, a son and many relatives and friends, he bravely fought his malady. The emotions he felt during the hospital stays — fear, despair, hope, questioning — all are described in prose that is flowing and masterful.

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