Journal

Journal entry by Kellie Weckstein

We hope this message makes you think of Dan today and smile.

The kids and I are walking/running again this year in the "Hope It's A Beach Thing" 5K supporting Brain Cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (Harvard).  This group of amazing people drew our family close four years ago and they can't seem to get rid of us.  See their website below for pictures and video of last year's event, which was hosted in memory of Dan.

What:  Brain Cancer Fundraiser
Where:  University of Dayton  (Humanities Plaza)
https://www.hopeitsabeachthing.com/
When:  October 12, 2019
Time:  9AM check-in, 10AM start

If you are planning to join us for the walk/run or to donate, please consider joining team "Howell About a Cure"...We joined their team this year in support of our friend Andy Howell who continues to bravely fight his brain cancer with the support of his wife Kate and son Charlie.
Join us on their team following this link:
https://danafarber.jimmyfund.org/site/TR;jsessionid=00000000.app20102b?fr_id=1340&pg=team&team_id=4999&NONCE_TOKEN=2FE7389D7BF5ED94B852B8FFF64B4C98

I've also established a link for "Team DWeck" as we have maintained each year.  Either team is a great choice...going to the same great cause.
https://danafarber.jimmyfund.org/site/TR?fr_id=1340&pg=team&team_id=5025

Just a quick update on other happenings...This year, we launched the www.goresilience.org website to provide details of our plans for The Resilience Scholarship Fund, which was established in Dan's memory.  See the site for more details on the program or to donate.  In June, our team  awarded scholarships in the Oakwood, Kings, and Lakota districts - with plans to expand to (2) more school districts in 2020.

Thanks to all who have contributed nearly $35K to our fundraising efforts over the past year, including the Lumberjack Leaders at OJHS who raised $2,146 for the scholarship through a shirt sale, and chairs of The Blues Bash - a local event coming up in November which will contribute to the scholarship fund.  We are additionally grateful to the Oakwood Schools Foundation who honored Dan with a brick in alumni plaza outside the OJHS office.

Thanks all for taking a minute to think about Dan and our family.  We appreciate and love you very much.

Kellie
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Journal entry by Kellie Weckstein

Dan's life was celebrated yesterday with a ceremony and reception at Temple Beth Or in Dayton, Ohio.  We were all lifted by the 500+ people who attended, and equally as lifted by the remaining community of friends and family who have supported us in prayer, thoughts and actions over the past few years. 

The CaringBridge entry below was read on my behalf at Dan's service by his friend Bruce Wickham.  Though I don't have in writing to share here...Thanks to Rabbi Chessin, Dan's nephew Alex Frank, and Dan's brother Jerry Weckstein for their speeches which made the celebration so perfect for Dan and our family.

With love and appreciation,
Kellie & Dan  
............................................................................

I started my final and most difficult CaringBridge post the day after Dan died.  Since then, I hadn't been able to cobble together enough clear thoughts to complete a journal entry that seems good enough.  How do you summarize all the things you want to say about the most important person in your life?  It’s impossible.  On Dan’s advice, I’m going to “keep it simple” – He liked to say that whenever he thought I was overcomplicating things.

Dan loved broadly and deeply.

  • Starting with his family…Dan parented with complete joy.  He laughed, made us laugh.  Collin and Casey were the most important thing in his (and my) life.  He taught them ridiculous things like Adam Sandler movie lines and alternate ways to use a poncho.  They called him “the papa” and their bright eyes and smiles showed you they thought he was adorable and perfect.

  • As a husband… I could write about our relationship, our friendship, our adventures…every way Dan made my life better.  There are so many things I could say.  But, Dan’s greatest expression of love was trusting me with his care these past three years.  He let me lead.  He let me decide.  He followed.  He trusted.  He offered me his life and asked me to protect it.  I’m so lucky and so grateful and I made sure he knew it EVERY DAY. 

  • As a son…Dan would refer to himself “the bad son” – though his siblings would say he was the favorite.  He embraced this moniker and used it as permission to get out of family events he didn’t want to attend.  Dan loved his parents deeply and he made them laugh harder than anyone.  Don and Caryl may never find out the truth about how Dan broke his leg in college…or what “really happened” that day with Opal on the school bus…but the humor in the way Dan told these stories will never be forgotten.  In fact…while writing this I contacted Caryl to clarify details of the broken leg story.  Her comment was, “We were told he broke his foot two times, so each foot had a turn.  We were told he tripped on a hole in the ground.  Now we think he jumped off a roof or cliff.” 

  • As a friend…Dan connected authentically.  He appreciated his friends – and they (you) always felt that from him.  I heard often that Dan got so excited about the things he was doing…”You just wanted to be part of it.”  He was lifted and inspired by so many in his path, and it was obvious people were lifted and inspired by him. 

  • Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the privilege of sharing in Dan’s experience of his family, friends, and the greater community.  In person, Dan got to connect with only a handful of you directly.  But…each day I read to him every card, every email, every text, every CaringBridge comment.  SO many of you surrounded him (and his family) with love when he needed it most.  He was SO grateful.  One of my favorite messages was from his friend Dave, “Like so many others…I’m just not ready to let him go.”

One last comment as I “keep it simple” for Dan…

When someone like Dan dies from a disease like cancer it is commonly said that they “lost their battle” with the disease.  The disease wins.  My ask for everyone reading this:  Don’t give the disease the power.  Don’t let the disease win.  Dan didn’t.  Dan beat GBM.  He connected with family and friends deeply.  He made things happen.  He lived his FULL LIFE in so many ways.  He fit his next 44 years into the last 3 years.  GBM took his body but NOT his life.


www.gofundme.com/resiliencescholarship

Journal entry by Kellie Weckstein

I am heartbroken to announce to those who don't know yet...Dan died peacefully shortly before 7PM on Tuesday night.  You will hear more from me in the coming week via this site, but for now I wanted to communicate details of his funeral arrangements and memorials.

Daniel Kory Weckstein of Oakwood, Ohio passed away on August 28th after a resilient battle with brain cancer at the young age of 44.  Dan is survived by his wife Kellie, children Collin and Casey, parents Donald and Caryl Weckstein, sister Debbie (Larry) Frank and brother Jerry (Caryn) Weckstein.

Dan was born in Xenia, Ohio on September 6, 1973.  He graduated from Centerville High School, received a Bachelor’s of Education from Indiana University and a Master’s of Education from Xavier University. Dan was a beloved Teacher, Coach and Vice-Principal in the Cincinnati area prior to becoming the Principal of Oakwood Junior High School in Dayton, Ohio where he positively impacted the lives of many students and teachers. Dan enjoyed spending time with his family, coaching soccer, being an entrepreneur and cheering on the Bengals and Hoosiers. His willingness to help others and put family and friends in front of himself will be greatly missed by all.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be sent to The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center (DUMC 3624, Durham, NC  27710).  Additionally, the Weckstein Family has established a gofundme site with plans to develop a Resilience Scholarship Foundation (www.gofundme.com/resiliencescholarship) to honor Dan and his family into the future.

Funeral services and a celebration of Dan’s life, with a reception following, will be Monday, September 3rd at 12:00pm at Temple Beth Or, 5275 Marshall Road in Dayton, Ohio.  Our family will receive condolences starting at 11:00pm and will continue as part of the reception.

Journal entry by Kellie Weckstein

It is with deepest sadness that I'm writing this quick update to Dan's status.

Dan had a major seizure on 7/31 at 7AM.  On guidance from Duke and our local doctors Dan was admitted to the hospital and had an MRI which showed significant disease progression.  The low-grade residual tumor surrounding his February surgery site transitioned to a high-grade glioblastoma, spreading up from the corpus callosum and down near the brain stem.  Additional tumor sites appeared in three new areas of the brain and treatment options are exhausted.

Are we surprised?  Completely.  My 7/20 update to this blog paints a picture of a happy family celebrating a year of hard work and acknowledging the end of a perfect summer.  It was hopeful and authentic.  We had settled into our new normal.  There were challenges still but we were encouraged by the pattern of good MRIs between February and July - and expected (similar to Dan's 2015 surgery outcome) that we would have another couple disease-free years before we had to think about GBM again.

Are we devastated?  Completely.  We have always been truthful with Collin and Casey about Dan's disease, so the kids are both aware of how serious it has become.  Protecting them is our #1 priority, so we decided to keep news of Dan's prognosis private from the Oakwood community in effort to allow them to start the school year without additional emotional burden.

What do we need?  Dan started hospice care at home, but transferred yesterday to inpatient care.  We are hopeful he will return home this weekend once pain is effectively managed.  Please pray for our family's physical and emotional comfort.  Please reach out expressing support with cards, text messages @ 513.465.3043, or comments within this blog.  All are read and we have found great comfort in that kind of support.

Sending our deepest love and appreciation...
Kellie & Dan

Please enjoy some pics from first day of school...

Journal entry by Kellie Weckstein

Sitting here on Friday night at Miami Valley Hospital seems like the right time and location for my next (and long overdue) update.  Dan's doing fine - just continues to have blood issues which require transfusion.  No big deal.  He enjoys the "turkey hot shot" on the MVH dinner menu and we were able to check in and place the order before the cafeteria closed.  Point Weckstein!

We blew past the "what's next" portion of my last update and also blew past Dan's 3-year cancer-versary.  When I say "blew past" it was more like blowing out candles with asthma.  It hasn't been easy and words seem too vanilla to describe it well enough for anyone to imagine.  Dan has been resilient, emotional, and brave.  We've been strong and weak, but always hopeful.

So what's happened over the past few months?  Dan finished radiation and other assorted wound healing and took up his Optune (electronic cancer treatment) device again.  He tallied @ 100 therapy sessions, multiple blood transfusions, two more overnight trips to the hospital, weekly blood draws, and a new IV drip medicine called Avastin.  And...its all working!  Dan's last MRI was end of May, which showed decreased swelling and shrinking "flair" area.  Next MRI will be 8/6.

Is he ready to run a marathon?  Not yet.  There is still long way to go for Dan to gain his physical strength back.  His was a major surgery and the post-surgery steroid regimen has weakened his hips and arms, which makes certain things hard for him.  But...I say "not yet" because I truly believe if he wanted to eventually run a marathon it could happen.  He sets goals.  He achieves them.  He saves his energy for the things that are most important to the people he loves - watching Collin's school play, visiting cousins, attending a friend's wedding.

The best example I have of Dan's commitment to his goals happened a couple weeks ago when we were visiting our house in Michigan.  The house (which we rent out to afford) has a big, beautiful beach, but requires a 168-stair descent to reach it.  A neighbor allows us to use their cable car to reach the beach, but Dan wanted to make it to the beach using our stairs.  And he did.  Twice.  The descent was a challenge, but "the climb" was our marathon.  It took 49 minutes and 6 seconds to achieve the first trip up.  A few days later I was in Nashville for work and a batch of pictures came across my phone showing his second trip down.  This time he went out in a kayak and shaved 14 minutes off his climb.  He did this with near-transfusion level hemoglobin.

It's nearing 2AM (we've long been home from the hospital) and I need to push off to bed.  I just want to thank everyone who has supported Dan's "climb" as part of his official care team, or as a supportive friend or family member.  We've leaned on you daily for the past few months and we are so grateful.

Want to see us?  Join us for (or donate to) the "Hope It's a Beach Thing" Walk 2018.  This is our third year of participating in the walk, which was just scheduled for September 8 (Saturday) on the campus of University of Dayton.  The walk raises money for Brain Cancer Research in partnership with Dr. David Reardon at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute @ Harvard.  Dr. Reardon is not our doctor but has been a trusted resource for us since Dan's diagnosis.

Thanks so much to all who have supported us in this walk in the past.  If you want to join us or donate in honor of Team DWeck please sign up here.     XO Kellie & Dan

http://www.hope.jimmyfundevents.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=1180555

Journal entry by Kellie Weckstein

Apologies for the late reply...We got home on 2.13.18 around 10PM and have been settling in to a new routine over these past few days.

Dan's hospital stay was a little longer than expected.  He came out of the surgery with humor and strength and spent the next two days exhausted and asleep most of the time.  The tumor they ablated was big and deep, so although they got 95% of it Dan's body needed some extra time to bounce back.  So, our time at Duke started 2.3.17 and lasted 10 days.

Dan's siblings (Jerry & Debbie) were at Duke during Dan's stay and as a team we were with him around the clock.  He needed help eating, walking, advocating for care, so we all served those purposes.  And...as expected...he served us with his sense of humor.  e.g.  Doctors regularly held open Dan's eyes, shining a flashlight in to check for pupil dilation.  Dan chirped, "Bright light!  Bright light!" in the voice from the "Gremlins" movie.  He also (when asked about me, Jerry, Debbie) found it funny to tell doctors, "I've never seen these people in my life!" This is generally not a good way to pass a cognitive test if you were wondering.  Several times he called me his "supposed wife" and looked at me suspiciously.

It has been great to be home.  The kids were incredibly brave being away from us for that long and we thank my mom Pat for staying with them in our home the whole time, with help along the way from Dan's parents Don and Caryl.  We are so thankful for friends and the incredible Harman staff for being their support team during this time.

What's next?  Dan can't yet climb stairs, so we sleep in the downstairs family room.  Recovery from this surgery will be a bit more challenging than the one in 2015, but Dan is rising to  the challenge.  We have a team of PT/OT/Speech/Nurse care coming to the house over the next several weeks to get things started.  Treatment-wise Dan will start daily radiation sessions this week which will likely last 20 days.

What do we need?  Most days Dan will have 1-2 therapy appointments, which are pretty exhausting for someone fresh out of surgery.  We are scheduling appointments and naps so Dan can spend the rest of his awake time with our kids.  Meals and visits are not a need right now but prayers, notes of humor or encouragement (email/paper) would be perfect.  Best email is:  weckstein.dan@gmail.com

Thank you so much for your support.  We are truly blessed to have so many good people in our lives.

In appreciation,  
Kellie & Dan

Journal entry by Kellie Weckstein

Dan entered surgery @ 4PM today and it was @ 9PM when we met with the surgeon.  Roughly 95% of the tumor was addressed with the surgery, which was a great outcome.  The tumor had been growing roughly 1.5 cm per week, so as days went on there was risk the outcome percentages would decline.  This was not the case.  Applause.  Our talented surgeon Dr. Fecci ablated a 6cm x 4cm tumor successfully.

While Dr. Fecci is feeling very positive, he emphasized there would be significant swelling that may make Dan's physical and cognitive symptoms appear worse before they get better.  I'm happy to report Dan appears to be recovering well so far.

Always with a sense of humor...Dan's first words to me were "rocky road" which was expressed in the voice of Sloth from "The Goonies" movie.  During his cognitive test with the ICU nurse (when asked if he was aware of his location) he reported he is in Astoria, Oregon...another "Goonies" reference.  And he also reported our children are named Donrico and Juanita.  The nurse would not describe Dan’s answers as “helpful” but I think they are a great indication of “normal”.

I won't make light of things completely.  Dan just endured a major surgery and there is still a little tumor actively growing.  It has been a hard day, and GBM is a bad disease.  Fighting it will be a tremendous physical and emotional challenge for Dan, our family.  There are (minor) symptoms Dan is expressing in recovery that aren't fun.  But for now we are going to call it that "This one goes to the Reds!" 

Next update will come when Dan leaves the hospital, which we expect will occur within 2-3 days.

Thanks for reading this message...and for all your support.

With love,
Kellie & Dan

Journal entry by Kellie Weckstein

I'm sitting here after a couple hours of cobbling together last minute travel plans for our trip to Duke today and couldn't have imagined two weeks ago I would be drafting this message and facing the week ahead.

The hazy white "flair" we had been watching since last summer turned in to a glioblastoma some time between Dan's 11/30 MRI and the one he just had on 1/18.  That's what this disease does - It just shows up.  We knew it, but we didn't expect it at the same time.  Does that make sense?  Clinically Dan had beaten the GBM odds, so we spent the past 2 1/2 years living our best life and EVERY DAY feeling grateful for Dan's recovery.  The recurrence on 1/18 was a colossal emotional beat down, which seemed insurmountable for about 30 seconds til we realized we had work to do.  We've spent every waking second since then plotting the right course.  It hasn't been easy.

Dan's new tumor growth is a "distant site recurrence" meaning it is far away from his original tumor site.  GBM most commonly shows up near the original site, so they consider Dan's to be uncommon.  It is in the splenium of the corpus callosum, which is the part of the brain that connects both hemispheres.

Can it be surgically removed?  No.  The tumor is too deep in the brain to surgically remove using traditional means.  There are too many important things around it.  Too risky.  But read on...

Is Dan a candidate for the polio virus immunotherapy at Duke?  No.  Dan's tumor is bi-lateral, meaning it spans across both sides of the brain.  Bi-lateral is an exclusion factor for the polio therapy.  Duke does not presently have any clinical trials for which Dan qualifies, though other cancer centers (like MD Anderson - we went to Houston this week for consult) have some options if we need them in the future.

What's the plan then?  Duke and MD Anderson agree that the best course for Dan is an ablative (burn out the tumor) procedure called LITT.  This is something new that is only available in certain major cancer centers.  We will check in to the hospital at Duke tomorrow and Dan will have LITT surgery on Monday.  We will stay in Durham for several days after, then will return home to Dayton.  A couple weeks later Dan will start radiation and possibly chemotherapy.

Do we feel good about the plan?  Yes.  The LITT procedure is just as good as having surgery.  It will de-bulk the tumor, removing 90-100% of actively growing cells.  Then the rest will be radiated.  Dan responded really well to radiation last time he had a tumor.  No regrowth for 2 1/2 years.

What part of this is not fun?  Dan's new tumor has caused some minor physical and cognitive changes we hope will recover.  Physical changes are motor/coordination.  The change that has been most difficult for Dan has been some minor short term memory loss, which seems to be recovering with the help of some steroids that have reduced swelling. 

These things aside...Dan and Debbie continue to have a very full desk of real estate buying and selling activity.  Dan is backing in to a consulting role on their Team Weck for a couple weeks but expects to be full strength for Spring selling.  He says their clients like Debbie better than him anyway. J

How is Dan’s spirit/morale?  Dan’s whole personality and sense of humor are 100% intact.  He has always been a very hilarious patient.  e.g.  He often tells me to put out a "Help Wanted" sign when I do things like make him get out of bed, take a shower, or eat something too healthy.  Or...quotes a favorite movie line, "Don't tell me my business, devil woman!" 

What do we need?  Most important to Dan (and me) right now is to keep things normal for Collin and Casey.  School has been an incredible help - we are so grateful for the support plan and intangibles that help our kids feel secure right now.  We leave for Duke today while they stay behind with family.  Please don't burden them with questions about Dan.  Also please if we are with them at sporting events or in the community allow them time with us without asking questions about Dan's cancer.  We are so grateful that you care enough to ask, but are just trying to keep things positive and normal for them.  We promise to make updates to this journal about Dan's progress.  Thank you so much for your help with this.

I have to wrap things up here...We have to go!  I have one more quick thing to offer on Dan's behalf.  Starting to not have good grammar too since I'm in a hurry so please forgive...

Anyone who knows Dan knows he is a major U2 fan.  The wall behind me right now is covered with albums including most recent "Songs of Experience"...and in June he and I had an incredible trip to Vancouver to see U2's Joshua Tree tour.  One of Dan's favorite U2 song is "40".  In the 80’s and 90’s the band ended most shows with this song.  Each band member would exit the stage separately one at a time – The ceremony of it was really powerful.  We have been lucky to see them end a show this way recently, which was a huge treat for both of us.

Today I'm thinking about this song and how much it inspires Dan.  I started thinking about its meaning.  The song was written by U2 based on Psalm 40.  Because art and music and religion are personal...my interpretation may not be the same as yours.  I think the song speaks about resilience...not giving up hope...staying strong...striving and "singing a new song" to carry yourself through tough times.  To me this song represents how Dan has approached his fight with GBM and beyond that how Dan has approached his life.  It just makes sense that he loves this song. This is the song that inspires our family and our fight this week.

Feeling lucky to have friends and family on our side.
With love and appreciation,
Kellie & Dan


https://www.gifts.duke.edu/?additional_designations=The+Preston+Robert+Tisch+Brain+Tumor+Center+3912597

Journal entry by Kellie Weckstein

Happy New Year, friends and family.  We are humbled to post this message on Jerry's behalf.  Appreciating all of you and those tiny superheroes named Collin and Casey who are even stronger than their parents...
Dan will have another MRI in the coming weeks and we will report more then, but for now...

Message from Jerry Weckstein, Dan’s older brother:

As we head into the new year of 2018, it is hard to comprehend that it was 2.5 years ago that my brother Dan (I call him Squid) was diagnosed with grade 4 brain cancer.  It was June of 2015 when my brother crashed to his kitchen floor and with him the life he and Kellie had known crashed down too.  This note is not to “reminisce” on those hospital visits and doctor phone calls, this note is to celebrate the last 2.5 years and to hope for many more.

 

This note is a thank you to all of you who have helped out Squid, Kellie, Collin, Casey and Chili.  To thank all of you who have sent a note, made a phone call or dropped off cookies.  And most of all, to thank all of you who have thought/prayed about Squid.  Whatever you are doing is working, so please keep it up.

 

Back in 2015 we were told a GBM was in Squid’s head, some word that I cannot pronounce and had no idea what it was.  I have never looked up GBM and have never looked up life expectancy with it, but I definitely knew that it was the worst of the worst.  You have to be really strong to deal with a GBM, and this is Squid.  He is Squid Strong. 

 

But you know who is really strong?  It is Kellie.  She called the ambulance, she saw Squid wheeled into surgery, and she received the C-word from the doctor.  It is also Kellie who makes sure that the kids are living normal lives.  It is Kellie who changes Squid’s magnet stickers on his now bald head.  It is Kellie who continue to excel at her job, working all hours of the day.  Kellie and Squid’s strength have enable them to make good lemonade out of some really bad lemons.

 

You never know what may happen to you in life.  But it is what you do with what happens to you that makes the biggest difference.  Squid and Kellie are doing all that they can for their family and for those around them.  Talk about “getting off of the mat”, they are doing family workouts on the mat (literally). 

 

Squid can no longer be the great principal and role model that he was, leading students to exceed and encouraging teachers to make a strong connection with the students.  But he now has the time to coach Collin’s soccer team, be home for Casey after school and start a successful Team Weck real estate partnership with my sister.

 

He can still be a role model for adults and kids alike.  Showing them that although he may have sticker magnets all of over his bald head, carry a backpack of batteries everywhere he goes and look different than everyone else; it is strong confidence in yourself that people will see and respect.

 

People ask me all of the time how Squid is doing.  At first it was a tough question to answer, but now I do not mind.  I used to want to say “Well, my brother has killer brain cancer, how do you think he is doing???”  But what I am now able to say is “He is doing great.  Considering the guy has a hole in his head and brain cancer, he is coaching his kid’s soccer team, golfing with a battery backpack attached to him, in a successful Realtor partnership with my sister and spending a lot of time with his family.”

 

But please never forget that Squid does have brain cancer.  Never forget that he and Kellie have to be so strong for their family and for themselves.  And never forget that it was 2.5 years ago that such a bad thing happened, and how being strong can make many good things happen too.

 

Again, thank you to all of you who have helped out Squid and his family.  Thank all of you for your strength in being strong for Squid, Kellie and their family.  Thank you for thinking/praying about Squid.  Happy New Year to you all, and please keep doing whatever you are doing for Squid and his family.  There will be plenty more new years to come.

 

Jerry

 

Journal entry by Kellie Weckstein

There's still time to sign up!!        What:  www.hopeitsabeachthing.com         Date:  October 21, 2017 (Saturday, 9AM registration and 10AM start)
Details:  The event is a laid back (kid/stroller friendly) 5K walk/run (supporting Glioblastoma research) on the campus of University of Dayton.
<Click Here To Register>    Select "join a team" and choose "Team DWeck" to join our team.
Thanks to everyone who has signed up to walk or run in this year's event supporting Dan's fight against glioblastoma.  Team DWeck is the #1 team in number of participants for the second year in a row.  We feel grateful for all the support...both at this event and from everyone else reading this message, offering prayers, and lifting us with encouragement.
 
Dan had an appointment at Duke on Wednesday.  We had a sneak-preview of the MRI the week prior with our Dayton surgeon so expected there wouldn't be any surprises.  We are certain every time we go to Duke that we are in the right place for treatment.  It is reassuring to know that the docs we meet with see this kind of cancer every day.  It's also scary when they don't know how to fix it.  This latest "flair" on Dan's corpus callosum is confusing them.  We are so relieved that there is again "no change" to the MRI, but it's hard not having answers to why this new area is showing activity.  Plan is to stay the course and have next MRI in 6-8 weeks.

Silver linings to this trip?  We didn't have much time for debauchery this time in Durham.  I arrived in from New York at midnight to meet an already-sleeping Dan, who spent the night alone watching a USA soccer loss at a Durham "American Outlaws" bar.  We made time for waffles at our favorite dive and enjoyed a cup of coffee at the elusive student union.  We had previously never been able to find the student union - We think finding the union is some kind of admission test for freshman prospects.  (We just weren't smart enough to find it.)

Other stuff from this month...Collin's soccer team won their tournament today!  Casey started art classes in town at a place called Lula Bell and soon begins weekly cooking classes with her grandma.  Kellie had just about the coolest work trip ever in Malibu.  And...Dan had a weekend of food, friends, and golf at our house in Michigan with (6) of his favorite IU hooligans.  We are all loving this beautiful fall weather...

One more fun nugget...A couple weeks ago the four of us had a Skype interview with HGTV to be on a show called Beach Hunters.  They wanted to feature our Michigan house and have us "pretend shop" for other beach houses in Michigan.  They said the hurricanes threw off their production and they were looking for alternative sites to film before the end of the year.  Anyway...fairly certain we did not get selected, but it was a fun experience (for us and the kids) to meet with the casting director in our hour-long interview.

Thanks to everyone reading this for checking in on us.  Dan is doing well and feeling good.  We are feeling very happy to have a very unchanged MRI and are looking forward to seeing friends and family at the Hope walk this weekend.

xo Kellie & Dan




Journal entry by Kellie Weckstein

Saturday was a normal day for us...It was so rainy that the four of us enjoyed some lazy time at home.  Dan was sitting on the couch next to Collin browsing for soccer posters on the computer.  He handed the computer to Collin and got to his knees to crawl to the kitchen.  This didn't seem strange - We are always on the ground playing with our dog.  Then Casey said, "Dad is acting weird!"  This also didn't seem strange.  Dan always acts weird.  In a flash there was an emergency.  We know now that Dan had a seizure.  Dan doesn't have seizures.  He hadn't.  Why now?  And...who knew a seizure can include someone not moving, not breathing...bleeding from mouth?
Flash forward one minute...and our amazing and brave kids return with adult neighbors to help...with Oakwood EMT a second behind.  We are thankful for all...and continue to be amazed by how brave our kids have been through all this.

Dan was taken to Miami Valley Hospital where he remained until yesterday afternoon.  He had amazing care there, which included (28) tests...MRI/CT/PET/etc. He was "combative" when checked in and required (12) people to hold him down including wrist and ankle constraints.  I put this in there just to give him some street cred...Don't let the nice guy smile fool you.

Dan's path to diagnosis found a brain lesion (solitary subcortical rim-enhancing lesion in the right temporal lobe with adjacent subtle parenchymal flair signal abnormality)...In simple terms this is a 6.4mm tumor with a 15mm enhancement (maybe more tumor or just swelling) around it.  They checked for other tumors in the body and one small "node" was found in lung, but was said to be unsubstantial.  This suggests his brain tumor is "primary" which means it originated in the brain.

Did the tumor cause the seizure?  Yes.  Definitely.  Tumors in the right temporal lobe are often linked to seizures.  He is on seizure medicine now to control against future seizures.  He is on "seizure restrictions" for the next (6) months, which (among other things) means no driving.  And...he is not to be left alone, so you will either see us carpooling around Oakwood together...or will see the red Cadillac in front of our house when his parents are kindly keeping watch.

What's next?  Dan will have surgery to remove the tumor on Tuesday, June 30th.  The surgery will last @ 5 hours, during which they will remove the tumor and test the "enhancement"...and will determine next steps while he is actually on the surgical table.  If found to be malignant he will start radiation a couple weeks later.  If found to be "nothing"...we will hug our kids tightly, thank God, celebrate...appreciate all our blessings...and "enjoy" another Bengals season cancer-free!  :)

Do we need anything?  Yes...prayers please!  Thanks for asking... :)
As needs arise after Tuesday we will be certain to post/request via this site.  Thx again!
xo Kellie & Dan


Dan’s Story

Site created on June 25, 2015

Hello, friends and family!  News of Dan's diagnosis of grade/stage 4 glioblastoma has led you to this page.  We feel grateful to have your prayers and support.  Thank you for understanding how crazy things have been if you haven't received responses to texts, emails or calls.  We appreciate you and feel blessed to have you in our lives.  We created this Caring Bridge site to keep you in the loop about news and updates as we have new info.  Please select "notifications" and you will receive an email each time we make a journal entry.
Love, Dan & Kellie

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