Dancing for “Stable”: My oncologist has cancer (Part 10)


As an adjective, Merriam-Webster defines it as “not changing or fluctuating” and gives it synonyms like firm, solid, steady, secure, fixed and strong.

Those words have positive connotations and especially when applied to a disease not considered curable. Like the very large, very rare, neuroendocrine carcinoma of thymus origin lurking behind the heart of my oncologist and dear friend, Dr. Marc Hirsh.

When I got the good news last week that his scan at Hershey Medical Center once again showed the tumor was stable, I was elated! However, as you can see, my text response was decidedly understated. That’s because I was sitting at a nice restaurant with three women who had driven half an hour to meet me and discuss broadening their cancer support ministry–so, it didn’t seem appropriate to be scrolling through my phone for just the right celebratory emoji!

Marc’s Hershey visit was with a new oncologist (his former one retired) who had mountains of records to read regarding this incredible journey which began in late May 2020. Marc was so sick and the prognosis was so poor back then that he immediately closed his three-decade old, solo-oncology practice.

Because no effective treatment was known, Marc devised his own protocol consisting of monthly hormone injections, daily radiation and an oral chemo.

“So far your regimen is working,” the new oncologist told him.

Marc isn’t ready to give the treatment all the credit because he also believes in the healing power of God.

“Whatever the reason (the tumor is stable), I’m just grateful to have the time,” he told me me on the phone.

So I asked this 72-year-old beloved physician, husband, dad, and grandfather how he uses this gift of “extra” time (besides enjoying family!).

“I read four or five hours a day–books on medicine, philosophy, science and theology; newspapers and magazines,” he replied. “I exercise an hour or two a day, play piano about an hour.”

Oh, and he’s rereading the entire Bible–something he first did in 1973 at the age of 29 after a  good-looking lifeguard at his apartment pool promised him that “if you pray and read the Bible with an open mind, God will reveal Himself to you.”

Marc and the lifeguard have now been married 42 years and shared the ups and downs of life together–including both being diagnosed with COVID-19 in December after attending Marc’s family reunion in New York.

Elizabeth’s symptoms resembled a mild cold. But with the nearly 2.5-inch tumor behind Marc’s heart and one of his lungs damaged from an initial collapse, he fared much worse.

“I had very serious symptoms and was surprised how much pain I had,” he said.

Flat on his back for two weeks, his oxygen levels dropped, but never so low as to need intervention. Both are grateful for vaccinations and boosters, which they feel may have saved his life or at least prevented hospitalization.

Marc admits that he was “slightly worried” heading into this last checkup because of lingering COVID-19 symptoms. But after he and Elizabeth got the good news of “stable” they celebrated.

“When we got home, I poured us each a glass of Moscato (wine) and we danced to some old 45s,” he said. “It was nice.”

Marc, we rejoice with you both that the tumor is “unchanging” and most of all that our God is too.

Jesus Christ never changes! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. –Hebrews 13:8

As always, I close with a song by Rich Mullins, Marc and Elizabeth’s favorite Christian artist. This one is called “You’re My One Thing” and based on Matthew 5:8 in the Sermon on the Mount, one of Marc’s favorite passages.




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    • Diana Klunk on March 15, 2023 at 9:06 AM
    • Reply

    What a wonderful message to start my Wednesday with! Marc, and you Lynn, were both instrumental in saving my life 16 years ago, and to see pictures of Marc and Elizabeth enjoying life and celebrating their love for one another, their family, life and God together, and reading about his great results is just the inspiration I need to get out and live my life with more intention. God bless you all❤️

      • Lynn on March 15, 2023 at 10:00 AM
      • Reply

      Hi Diana,
      So nice to hear from you! When I was meeting with the three ladies I mentioned in my blog, I told them about you and all the great resources you had at LifeChanges Boutique. They may contact you for some ideas 🙂 And it was my honor to walk with you on your cancer journey and my joy to see how the Lord led you to start you business for His glory. Keep shining for Him. Love ya!

    • Maggie Rowe on March 15, 2023 at 5:38 PM
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    Lynn, I miss most of what’s on FB but I am so thankful I saw this, not only because I’m so thankful that Marc’s tumor is stable, but because of the friend I am so very concerned about. As my friend Carole often says, “When it comes to stage four, your diagnosis is not your destiny!” And a certain author I know and love (whose initials are LE) encourages thousands through her books in print. Grateful!

    1. Hi Maggie,
      I’m so glad this encouraged you and I appreciate your kind words about my ministry. “Stable” would be very good news for your friend down the road. We used to quote Norman Cousins in our cancer prayer support group: “Don’t deny the diagnosis; defy the verdict.” Love you, too!

    • Brian Sackett on March 16, 2023 at 12:37 AM
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    Thank you very much Lynn, for the update on Dr. Hirsh. Both of you did so much for LeAnna and me. Can never thank either of you enough for that. I will always love and pray for both of you. Love and Thanks, Brian

    1. Hi Brian,
      I was so excited when I saw your comment today. Meeting and becoming friends with you and LeAnne was a highlight of my years in Marc’s office. You were such great people to have in our Cancer Prayer Support Group and I’ll always be thankful for the ways you both reached out and encouraged others. Love you too!

    • Esther Gullion on March 20, 2023 at 4:34 AM
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    This is such wonderful news. This very special physician saved my life not only once but twice. Today, at 80 years of age, I’m in California where I attended my oldest granddaughters wedding. Thank you Dr. Hirsh and the Good Lord and Lynne for keeping us informed. Continued prayers are yours for a long and happy life enjoying your family.

    1. Hi Esther,
      So nice to hear from you! How wonderful that you could be there to enjoy your granddaughter’s wedding–I remember how grateful my mom was to be at our girls’ “special” days. Thanks for your prayers for Dr. Hirsh and I, of course, join in thanking the Lord for giving him more time here with us. (And aren’t birthdays great after you have cancer? I turn 70 this year) 🙂 Love you!

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