Storyteller Spotlight: Marcy Rubin

Longtime California resident Marcy Rubin wants the option of a peaceful death now that she's returned to her home state of Maryland.
March 15, 2019

Marcy Gray Rubin is not just an advocate for “Medical aid in dying.” She is a cancer patient as well. In her 40s she cared for her father, who was dying of metastatic prostate cancer. The last wish her family granted was for him to die at home surrounded by family.

At 55 years old, she learned her adored husband, Jon, was dying from lung cancer. She was by his side through every chemotherapy treatment, each clinical trial and blood transfusion, until they had run out of all options. Again, she met his last request – to die peacefully at home.

Five months later, Marcy was herself diagnosed with stage III breast cancer, the result of a random oversight by a radiologist. “It was as though she forgot her wallet or a pair of socks,” she says. “After that, the words chemo, radiation, double radical mastectomy pulled me deeper down into a place I had never thought I’d be. I had never smoked, drank half a glass of wine at most and had scheduled yearly mammograms since I was in my mid-thirties. The next year my life was all about cancer. I spent more time with my head in the toilet than seeing friends. There were days when I could not get out of bed. My days were consumed with how I felt. And most days all I could feel was pain.”

At the end of 2013 Marcy was told by her doctors that she was cancer free. However, she relapsed in the summer of 2014.

“I was now diagnosed with stage IV; incurable. Since then I have been on eight different chemo protocols. Several of them like Verzenio are considered the newest and most effective. But they do not work for me. My tumors, which are now in my lungs and liver, continue to outsmart the treatment. Like special opps soldiers determined to destroy me.”

Though she sometimes feels hopeless, Marcy is determined to stay alive until she can’t anymore. Unlike the devastating helpless she often feels, she is determined that her voice – and hers only – should determine the way she dies.

Marcy moved back to her home state of Maryland a year and a half ago to be closer to her family. Upon discovering there was no such option there she became an advocate/activist for the pending bill – testifying before House and Senate hearings, speaking to the media, and writing opinion pieces.

“Putting this bill into law gives me the same options as everyone else when it comes to my personal choice. Medical aid in dying does not prevent shutting out others. These people have many options — hospice, palliative care — etc. I just want my wishes to be equally respected and followed.”


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