Adams Central student given hope, thanks to cancer research

Authored by Jim Langham on Jun 25, 2010

Adams Central senior Michael Hirschy admits that he was scared at first when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer in Bluffton. That fear was heightened when he was told that parts of the cancer had spread into the lymphatic system and lungs.
“I was scared until my doctor, Dr. Lawrence Einhorn, at the University of Indiana Medical Center in Indianapolis, told me how much progress has been made in treating that type of cancer,” said Hirschy. “Dr. Einhorn had personally developed treatment to combat the type of cancer that I had. He said that there was a 99 percent chance that I would respond positively to the treatments.”
Hirschy’s mother, Rhonda Hirschy, said that her son has always been so energetic and lived such a full life that it was hard to detect, at first, that he was in failing health.
Hirschy said that he felt that something was wrong shortly after the first of the year. In February it became evident to him that all was not well.
“In March one day, it hurt real bad,” said Hirschy. “We went to see a urologist at the Bluffton Clinic. He performed an ultrasound that confirmed the tumor. He told me that I had to go in the next day and have it removed.
“A week after another ultrasound was performed, further tests showed that it had spread into the lungs and the lymph nodes,” continued Hirschy. “A week after the surgery, I was taken to the IU Medical Center. They confirmed that the tests were correct; the cancer had spread.”
Rhonda said that doctors there told them that Michael was very fortunate because the cancer hadn’t moved into vital organs. The young man’s case was referred to Dr. Lawrence Einhorn, specialist in treating testicular cancer.
“This guy is the best doctor in this kind of cancer in the world and he only lives two hours from here. People come from all over the world to see him,” observed Michael’s father, Dary Hirschy. “This place (IU Medical) is something else. Lance Armstrong has been treated there.”
Treatment began immediately. The routine would include spending five days taking intense chemotherapy. There would be rotation between whole weeks of treatment and brief breaks. The rotation started on March 22 and was completed on May 17.
During the off weeks, he would confer with an oncologist at Parkview North, who had worked with Dr. Einhorn. The physicians would compare results and work together at monitoring his treatments.
While Hirschy’s parents were optimistic about their son’s recovery, they admitted that their hearts were passionate and concerned about their son’s illness. It was especially painful for them to see him go through the chemotherapy treatment.
“I was shocked and dreaded what was ahead for him,” said Dary. “Since the doctor was so positive about it all, we felt confidence in what he was telling us. The fact that he told us that Michael’s illness was very curable really eased our minds. It was just hard to see him go through chemotherapy.”
“It was so unbelievable to me,” said Rhonda of her son’s illness. “Everything just happened so fast that there wasn’t a whole lot of time to worry. We just moved along with the diagnosis and treatment. We didn’t have much time to dwell on it.”
It’s been over a month since Hirschy had his final treatment. Blood draws to test the tumor numbers have been extremely encouraging.
“In the first part of May all tumors were gone and the lymph nodes were shrinking,” said Hirschy. “Everything has basically turned out the way that Dr. Einhorn said it would. Right now I have to go every nine weeks to be monitored. Dr. Einhorn said that that should take care of everything.”
Hirschy admitted that he hasn’t quite returned to the life he had enjoyed prior to the cancer, but he’s well on his way. At Adams Central, Hirschy had been involved with cross country, wrestling, marching band and swing choir. He had also been involved with Campus Life and youth activities as his church.
“I’m feeling fine,” said Hirschy. “I can’t run as far yet as I normally could, and I can’t lift as much, but I’m feeling much better than I did a month ago.”
Both Rhonda and Dary had been involved in Relay for Life from time to time, but neither appreciated the full meaning of its impact until Michael’s illness.
“Money from Relay for Life goes towards cancer research,” said Dary. “Just think; if it wouldn’t have been for the money for that research, the treatment for Michael’s cancer might not have been discovered. I appreciate the American Cancer Society more now than I ever did.”

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