Yesterday I learned that my dear friend and the mother of home vermicomposting, Mary Appelhof, author of "Worms Eat My Garbage" and "Worms Eat Our Garbage", and publisher of "The Worm Café; Mid-Scale Vermicomposting of Lunch Room Waste" and "Worms, By Gosh!" is suffering from peritoneal cancer. Mary has been a patient at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnnesota for treatment of this very aggressive form of cancer for the last three weeks, but she is not doing well. The cancer began as a uterine tumor that spread to the peritoneum (lining of the abdomen). Surgery to remove the uterine tumor has left her in a weakened state that prevents doctors from beginning chemotherapy treatments vital to effecting some measure of control over this fast-growing disease. They anticipate beginning chemo next week, and will hopefully allow her to go home once it has begun, but Mary’s prognosis is not good.
Mary has been unable to communicate with people not in her immediate family for the last three weeks, and had just yesterday gotten the message out to me that she is ill. She asked me to let everyone know why she has been absent and unable to respond to phone calls and email.
Those of you who’ve been fortunate enough to meet this amazing woman know that she is a lively and vital person. In her trademark tie-dye t-shirts and carrying a rubber earthworm in her pocket, she energizes every room she enters, and charms all to whom she speaks. Mary seeks out the thoughtful and creative who work to improve social conditions and advance environmental responsibility, lifting them to her shoulders, supporting their work, and promoting their activities. Many, myself included, owe much of our success to her staunch support. Though she is just 5’2" many have seen further because they stood on the shoulders of this giant of a human!
Illness is foreign to Mary, and complaining is not in her nature, so this situation has been difficult, but you can bet that she is handling it with her trademark humor and positive attitude. Our beloved Worm Woman can and always does find something good in the worst of situations!
Thank you all for your prayers and healing thoughts for Mary!
Kelly Slocum ~ (360) 253-5465 ~ firstname.lastname@example.org