NORMAN — Last August, Jim Chastain went home after a doctor’s appointment and told his family he had cancer — again.
The first time Chastain, 44, found out he had cancer was in 2001. The rare form of the disease ultimately led to the amputation of his right arm. This time, it was different.
“Basically, it was a death sentence,” Chastain said. “This time, it was, ‘you’re not going to survive this.’ ”
Doctors told Chastain the longest he would live is four years. It’s been eight months since he got that news. He’s hoping an aggressive form of chemotherapy will put him in a position that will allow him to have surgery that could extend his life even further. He is currently undergoing his 15th round of chemotherapy to fight the cancer that grows in his colon and liver.
“It turns out it’s a completely different type of cancer that grows at the top of the colon and metastasized to the liver. Once cancer grows there, it’s hard to get rid of,” he said. “The good news is there are many more treatment options that can make the life expectancy longer, but I was told it’s not curable.”
While Chastain has had a lot of practice dealing with cancer — he got most of the grief, depression and questioning God out of the way the first time — the second time around is no easier.
“It’s a head game. You realize that time is really, really precious now. It’s been precious for five years before that, but now it’s a ticking clock,” he said. “For the most part, it doesn’t get me down. I’m really good at compartmentalizing.”
A husband and father of two, Chastain worries about what will happen to his family if cancer wins this time.