Jim Chastain is a published poet, has penned two screenplays, is a widely respected newspaper and Internet film critic, and works as an attorney for the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals. He is a husband and father of two teenagers. What looked like a perfect life was overshadowed in 2001 when he discovered a tiny lump in the triceps of his right arm. After several reoccurrences, his arm was amputated. Journaling his experiences, he shared stories with his family and friends. Those writings became a book titled "I Survived Cancer, but Never Won the Tour de France.” You'd expect Jim's book to be about cancer, but it is really about finding meaning in life when "you are never quite sure the disease is really gone or what future problems you'll face as a result of your efforts fighting it off.” He speaks honestly of the seriousness of the cancer, but he also looks for the funny moments. It is a book that may bring tears but will also make you laugh out loud, because he tells his story with refreshing honesty and wit. If you'd like to meet him and hear him, I'll be introducing him as a guest of the James Hall Center for Mind, Body and Spirit in a public forum at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 22 at Pacer Fitness Center. The presentation is free, but it helps with seating arrangements if you'll make a reservation by calling 951-2277. Jim believes cancer patients need to laugh, need to be real, need to know from one who has been there what it is like, need to be known and need to find hope. He writes and speaks and holds out a hand offering these things to anyone facing a frightening interruption in his life. And then there is local banker Randy Royse, who received a cancer diagnosis at 6 p.m. Jan. 15, 2005. Randy, too, kept a journal. And his writings, like Jim's, are not about the bad news but the hundreds of good things that happened to him after the diagnosis. Randy writes about family, friends, co-workers and fellow church members; the letters, the phone calls, the visits, the hugs, the tears, the prayers; the cherry pie, the ice cream, the dinners; the friend who watched him carefully on the golf course following his surgery, and one day seeing him struggling to keep up with the other players, without saying a word, reached back to Randy with a golf club to pull him up the hill. Randy, too, is now making himself available to others facing a similar situation. And then I am reminded of Cynde Collins-Clark, an Edmond therapist and mother of an Iraqi war veteran who formed Veterans' Families United Foundation to help other families facing similar issues as her son. The Web site is www.veteransfamilies united.org. And my friend Sondra Woodruff, who following the death of her husband in 1992 began looking for a grief support group for her 9-year-old son Jason. Her search led to the formation of Calm Waters, a nonprofit organization that offers free grief-support groups for children either because of a death or a divorce in their family. These four faced something frightening and painful but found ways to make their experiences useful — a reminder to us all. Charlotte Lankard is a marriage and family therapist in private practice with Baptist Counseling Associates and director of the James L. Hall Center for Mind, Body and Spirit at Integris. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.