Sorting a Lifetime of Books
ELDER MUSIC: Patsy Cline

GRAY MATTERS: Update on Saul

SaulFriedman75x75 Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Saul Friedman (bio) writes the weekly Gray Matters column which appears here each Saturday. Links to past Gray Matters columns can be found here. Saul's Reflections column, in which he comments on news, politics and social issues from his perspective as one of the younger members of the greatest generation, also appears at Time Goes By twice each month.

[NOTE FROM RONNI] While reporting on Medicare and home health care in this column last month, Saul wrote about one of the most common accidents that afflict elders, falling, and his own recent fall. Now he has been diagnosed with stomach cancer. But I will let him explain, as he did in an email he sent earlier this week:

“I'm anxious to get back to writing, but better to hold off until we see what's in store.

“This week I will be getting my new denture, then later in the week a conference with the oncologist to see what my options are. Near as I can tell, the cancer in the stomach is slow-growing and in its earliest stage.

“Only two options, radiation and/or chemo, here in Annapolis or Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, which would be a shlep. Radiation is usually a daily thing; chemo is weekly. But they are both weakening. I am truly optimistic, but the question is how much strength will I have. I'll be better able to tell in a few days.

“I have signed up again for home health care, which will keep track of my general health (blood levels) during the next few weeks. And I'll be doing physical/occupational therapy to regain my muscle strength.”

As Nance wrote in a comment on last Saturday's post: We wish you wellness and well-being, Saul.


Thank you Ronni for forwarding with his permission Saul's message bearing his signature honesty and facts. My heart goes out to you, Ronni, as Saul's close friend and colleague. And to you, Saul, as you navigate this road. May you continue to keep your soul and muscles strong as your medical team partners with you on your care. I am sending healing thoughts from Tel Aviv.

Sending all the positive energy I can to you, Saul. Wishing you well & looking forward to hearing from you again & soon. Dee

As a new follower of your posts, Saul, I have come to look forward to your hard hitting insightful analysis - thank you - and stay strong through these treatments knowing you have many supportive readers who wish you the very best for a complete recovery!
Scotti, Oakland CA

Hoping that recovery is fast and as painless as possible. I have so enjoyed his columns over the years!

Many prayers for your healing, strength, and recovery. Catholic prayers work too!

As the onco haa probably told Saul, stomach cancer is that rare cancer of an internal organ that can be beaten. And so much the better if the tumor's growth is slow and has been caught early. He'll be back contributing his invaluable insights to As Time Goes By before we know it!

Saul, do what the docs say and get well soon. We need you!

I am so sorry that you have to go through this, Saul. I am grateful that they caught it in time and that your prognosis is the best.

Please heal rapidly and come back soon with your wonderful columns. I am sending healing thoughts your way.

I miss you -- barbara

Healing thoughts fly your way Sol, I will miss your good words for a while but know you will come back full of the proverbial piss and vinegar!

Wishing you a swift and easy recovery. My heart and thoughts are with you.
I miss you, too ....
Your devoted fan, Miki

Well that's tough and I wish him all the best with the treatment.

We send you a lifetime of good thoughts. We miss you and your clear thinking.

"Getting old ain't for sissies" (Bette Davis said that)
and the one of the hardest parts is seeing your friends get sick and suffer.
Be strong Saul!

Good luck, Saul. Thank you for sharing with us.

Joining the others in hoping that the care you receive builds your strength and for a swift recovery ... Be well.

My mother-in-law had stomach cancer and had her stomach removed! No colostomy or anything, just connected the esophagus to the small intestine. She is fine, eats in small amounts and is careful about some foods, but had no chemo or radiation. She is quite thin. Just thought I would mention this as an option that lots of people don't know about! best of luck to you! I am a colon cancer survivor, 12 years ago.


My best wishes to you for comfort and peace with treatments so that you can get well and return to your column. I really enjoy reading your column.

Best wishes to you, Saul, from a faithful reader.

Let the abundant harvest of all the help and care you have shared with others comfort you through this difficult time, Saul. Know, there are many pulling for you and focusing on your speedy recovery.


What a surprise to hear this news--and just like you to bring us the truth of your own situation. I'm very glad that you've caught the illness quickly and am sending tons of positive energy and wishes for healing and smooth recovery. Your nurses will take good care of you I have no doubt. Looking forward to more words of wisdom from you as soon as you feel up to putting pen to paper. Take care and know that we're thinking about you out here!

Best wishes to you Saul, in making the tough decisions and keeping up your strength. I look forward to your return, if only to update us on your treatment and recovery. My heartfelt wish is for your full recovery and return to your excellent commentary on current affairs.

Saul, so looking forward to your return. You are one of the best writers I have ever read, and so thoughtful. Good luck with the medical world for health and peace of mind.

I am so glad Saul let you share that email with us, Ronni.

Saul, your contributions here have been directly helpful to me and to so many others. You've spoiled us with your work. Sending you every good wish for resilience and for your return to TGB.

Saul, God Bless and get better. I learn each time I read your work. Please continue as long as you can.


Very best wishes, Saul, for a speedy and full recovery.

Good luck, Saul, and a speedy recovery.

I am very sorry. I wish you all the mental and emotional and physical strength you need. I will miss reading you but I will be thinking of you, like so many others.

REFUAH SHLAYMAH to you, Saul. May your recovery be fast and complete....remember until 120!!!All the best...ditto as above.

I join the legions of admirers and devotees of you and your great writing on all the issues you cover for a medical plan to bring you back to snuff and yourself. We are lined up with good wishes.

Pauline Nager

Sending positive and healing thoughts your way.

As I have just turned 50 last year, I have a while to go before Medicare and social security kick in, but I have printed out all your posts and keep them in file for when the time comes. I'm especially thankful for your post on reverse mortgages as that issue was always a mystery to me, but no more, thanks to you.


Thank you for sharing this. All best wishes to you! I enjoy your posts very much and look forward to more!

Take care of yourself!

Thinking of you and wishing you well, Saul. I'll look forward to whatever writing you may choose to share here in the future, whenever.

My thoughts and prayers are with you,Saul---you must get better quickly---we need your insight and your wisdom. You truly are a voice in the wilderness!!!!!!

Saul, Sending along positive energy for good health to come your way soon. As you can see in these comments, we have been enriched by the thoughtful writing you have shared with us.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)