Marv Taking Charge

ISBN: 9781632695901

Author: Lois Hoitenga Roelofs


A Story of Bold Love and Courage

Lois Roelofs always knew that Marv, her husband of fifty-five years, had strong convictions. So when he was diagnosed with “very aggressive” small cell lung cancer, with a few weeks to a few months to live, she accepted that he wanted to die on his own terms—refuse chemo, choose quality of life over quantity, and die at home. She tells their story in a mix of personal notes, family and friend emails, and public blog posts written during Marv’s illness and her first months as a widow. At the time, she could find no personal accounts of refusing treatment and living with the resultant uncertainty.

Lois wrote this book to honor her husband Marv’s request to tell the story of their experience when he chose to refuse treatment for a diagnosis of small cell lung cancer. Family, friends, and readers of Lois’s blog in real time confirmed interest in the topic of refusing treatment. She wanted to show her readers that achieving patient autonomy, doing what’s right for them, is possible and, implicitly, to caution readers never to blindly follow medical advice.

Marv Taking Charge will be helpful to those facing the critical decision of whether or not to treat a terminal illness. It will help answer questions such as 1) what can happen after the diagnostic visits, 2) when to sign up for hospice, 3) what can be expected from hospice, 4) how to spend the time during the uncertain period when all persons involved are waiting for the worsening of the patient’s illness, and 5) what can happen during the progression of the illness.

Four main points include:

1) patients should have the right to have their physician ask about and listen to their priorities before they present treatment options,

2) patients will be living with the uncertainty of the disease’s progression,

3) patients can live purposefully when their days are numbered, and

4) patients should identify and draw from their sources of support, such as faith, family, and friends.

The main theme is patient autonomy, having the right to make decisions regarding care.


Author Bio

Lois Roelofs holds a PhD in Nursing Science. After retirement in 2000 as Professor Emeritus of Nursing at Trinity Christian College, she plunged immediately into her longtime interest in writing nonfiction, initially inspired by Anne Lamott and Natalie Goldberg. Continuing her love for learning, she completed the four-year University of Chicago Basic Program of Liberal Education and has completed more than thirty writing workshops. In her first book, she told the story of her forty-year nursing career, Caring Lessons: A Nursing Professor’s Journey of Faith and Self (Deep River, 2010). After fifty years of living in Chicago, she now resides in South Dakota near her daughter’s family and shares a winter home in Arizona with her son’s family; at both places, Lois can enjoy her mochas, the dubious fun of aging, and chats with kids and grandkids. Follow her blog at



Retail Price: $16.99