If you’re tired of hearing good news about people with little-to-no medical hope who are amazing doctors by how well they are doing, don’t even bother to read this.
Okay, because you’re still here, I could not be more happy–and thankful to God–to tell you that my oncologist and dear friend, Dr. Marc Hirsh, had another encouraging scan! This latest 6-month checkup at Hershey Medical comes almost 2.5 years after he was diagnosed with such a serious and rare cancer that he and every specialist consulted thought his death was imminent.
But the large tumor behind his heart has remained stable for the past two years.
“I’m really happy I got a good report–the tumor hasn’t grown and actually is a little smaller (about 5X3 cm instead of 6X4 cm),” Marc told me. “Now I can enjoy another ski season and have time for traveling.
“I’m delighted my short-term prognosis is excellent,” he added with his usual penchant for cautious optimism.
That’s the word that Marc never actually used in our conversation, but I heard in his voice.
He’s a 71-year-old man forced to close his successful three-decade-long oncology practice immediately after his diagnosis, and still living in the shadow of cancer…and yet he feels contentment.
“I’m enjoying my life quite a bit,” he said. “I know it (the cancer) may or may not come back, but I’m pretty much enjoying life a lot.”
“Life” includes another cross-country excursion out West this fall to visit older daughter Jessi and family, as well as regular trips to Maryland to help out younger daughter Sarah with her son and two little foster girls. And of course, plenty of physical activities like swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, jogging, and biking.
And music is still a huge part of Marc’s life. For the past 30 years, he has ministered in song at our Prayer Support Group concerts for area cancer patients, their caregivers, and those grieving someone lost to cancer. After Marc’s diagnosis in May 2020, I honestly thought there never would be another concert, but this past Sunday for the second time as a cancer survivor, he extended healing through his beautiful music and wise words. .
Marc, a Messianic Jew, began by sharing his personal testimony through his original melody “Jesus Took Away My Blues” and ended with the words of the old song that always bring me to tears: “And when I come to die, just give me Jesus.”
“Trouble is inevitable, (but) thank goodness we can have Jesus in our life,” he reminded the 65 folks in attendance.
Marc also shared from Psalm 27:
The Lord is my light and salvation–so why should I be afraid?
The LORD is my fortress, protecting from danger, so why should I tremble?…
The one thing I ask of the LORD–the thing I seek the most–
is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life…”
Before the concert Marc mentioned to me that he really liked the new oncologist he saw at Hershey.
“When I asked him if he had ever seen anyone with my diagnosis who was doing well, he said ‘no’,” Marc recalled. “But he added that nobody has ever had the same treatment (radiation, chemo and hormone injections) that I prescribed for myself.”
And then the new doc reminded Marc of something he knew but was encouraged to hear again: “Even in the worst cancer, there are long-term survivors.”
Marc, we are praying that’s what you will be.
Please enjoy the very short music video of “Hope to Carry On” by Rich Mullins, Marc and Elizabeth’s favorite Christian artist.