Remarkable spirit of writer Weiss

I pulled in last Sunday’s paper from my wet porch, silently thanking the delivery guy who bagged it in plastic, opened it up, got rid of that mountain of unwanted advertisements, and finally encountered …
… Jeffrey Weiss. On the first page of the Arts and Life section. Which has a bit of weird humor in itself: Jeff is an artful writer, and here he’s writing the story of his own life.
It’s not often that someone embodies this rare combination of circumstances: a terrible cancer history…a “way with words” to describe what it’s like to be walking in such uncomfortable metaphoric shoes…and the outlet to put those words before a huge reading public. But Jeff has all these things — in spades.
A longtime reporter for the Dallas Morning News, he’s had to cut back greatly in the last few years. But here’s a good thing: This paper doesn’t desert those faithfuls who cannot be full-time faithful any more. Jeff is the second such person I’ve known; No. 1 stayed on payroll until he passed away. Reality says this is what No. 2 is looking at now. But something else is different: Jeff’s able to write about what’s trying to kill him. He’s reporting on himself, in infrequent but long, thorough installments. The latest was in last Sunday’s paper.
Going Out Like Fireworks is what Jeff has named this detailed, honest series. His current disease — yes, he’s had other cancers before this — is glioblastoma. It has already subjected him to surgery in which as much of a tumor that could be safely gotten was removed from his head. Of course his head was shaved at that time. Now, several months later, it must be shaved all the time, to accommodate the newest treatment. Called Optune, it involves electrodes and a close-fitting cap. What will this be able to do for him? The most modern of medical knowledge can’t yet answer that question.
You may think it’s remarkable that this man can tell about himself and all the personal difficulties that are the continuing parts of his disease. But if so, you don’t know Jeffrey Weiss. He’s a veteran reporter, used to collecting and analyzing facts, then shaping them into stories that educate. And this is his current story. He wouldn’t treat it differently from any other — with thorough honesty. And, in this case, without making any bids for pity. News is what it is. This is his news, to write about at this time.
There’s something else you might find remarkable if you don’t know Jeff: He tells his story with an edge of humor. An aging Trekkie, he’s now taking his own trek through what he calls “The Final Frontier.” For him, it’s brain cancer.
The show, he writes, had seven seasons of airtime life. “Seven years of survival would make me a winner,” Jeff says, because the life of someone diagnosed with glioblastoma is about 15 months. He is already several months past the time of his diagnosis.
Jeff is grateful to his oncologist for the good efforts that provide him with the best chances possible. He’s grateful for his wife, who has the training, the will, and the love to care for him at home. In one of several pictures that accompanied Sunday’s story, you can see her shaving his head in preparation for yet another placement of that potentially healing cap.
Now, let’s let him also be grateful to us. Please, every one of you, send your prayers. Put Jeffrey Weiss on the mishaberach lists of all your congregations. Remember the words the late Debbie Friedman penned for her musical version of that abiding prayer: “…for renewal of body, for renewal of spirit…” Jeffrey’s body isn’t in our hands, but knowing we hope that the Force is with him will surely be good for his already remarkable spirit.
And if you haven’t yet read his whole story, everything is available online at

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