Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trick or Treat?

Karl attempted to go trick or treating tonight, but the nurses wouldn't give him any candy. He even wore his custome! By custome I of course mean his helmet. I just hope we can get extra, extra large Yoda ears so he can look like his nephew. How adorable are Ethan and Kevin? Fact: Very. Ethan (Kari's little un) is the giraffe and Kevin (Alan's little un) is Yoda.

So not only was Karl denied his God-given right to trick or treat I also found out that in the children's ward they are given stickers to decorate their helmet! Age discrimination!

Karl really appreciates all the visitors these last few days. One of my mom and dad's old college buddies even came by. I thought that was pretty cool.

The antibiotics are still running their course. Karl is doing well but ready to be out of the hospital. He tells me everyday that he takes a walk to go visit Author. I finally asked who Author is last night. Yeah, its the painting at the end of the hall. I thought Karl was making new friends in the hospital. Whoops...

Pray that these antibiotics will kill the infection quickly. Karl's surgery went really well in that they were able to remove a lot of the tumor. With radiation/chemo they could hopefully get rid of the rest. But, again, they can't start treatment until this infection is gone.

Happy Halloween.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Best idea ever!

Karl has a few updates he wanted me to pass along but I'm really tired. But, I did just get off the phone with Karl and we agreed on something rather extraordinary. Epic if you will. So here's the situation: Karl's helmet is rather bland. Now there is a chance he's going to have to wear that thing for awhile. Solution? Turn Karl helmet into a Nascar car. That's right, like prime real estate we are selling of the decorating rights to Karl's helmet. For example, the center front is going to cost you a pretty penny whereas the rear left will definitely be more expensive. If you do purchase a piece of helmet you are free to take creative liberties (stickers, markers, etc.) We just ask for nothing Krass (get it?)...

We'll start the bidding for front and center at $20. Do I hear $20? We'll use this blog as the auction house. Post if you would like to bid.

The rear will go for $15, and the sides will go for $10.

You can get the top of the helmet for $5. Very few people see the top of Karl's head.

Let the bidding war begin!

This is awesome...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The funniest thing you'll see today, I promise

Before you all start scoffing at me for being a terrible brother, know that Karl granted me permission to "playfully" comment on his new errrr..."helmet".

I suppose I have a few thoughts, but the most substantial one that is banging around in my head like a pinball is if Karl is paying the University of Chicago some ungodly amount of money couldn't they at least give him a helmet with a smiley face sticker or something on it? Now don't get me wrong, from a functionality standpoint I'm sure this is tip top but it kinda looks like one of the helmets you buy your 1st grader when they attempt to ride their tricycle for the first time. I guess what I'm saying is the helmet is more "roller-derby circa 1972" then Spartan soldier.

After a pretty rough night in the ICU, Karl has slept farewell the last few days. Rose (the same nurse from our first U of C stay) hooked up Karl with, in my mom's words, "a big boy bed". Karl will hopefully be home in a couple of days. The doctor took a look at the incision and said that as soon as the plastic surgeon releases him, he can go home. And yes, Karl has now seen a plastic surgeon. You thought I was joking about Karl following in the footsteps of Tom Brady and marrying a supermodel. The plastic surgeon was brought in to stick up the incision.

Karl has also requested that I throw his email address on here so feel free to email him words of encouragement or ideas for how to decorate his helmet.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Foot Clan, Shredder and Karl after his third surgery

I spoke with Karl last night. He was a little groggy but for the most part pretty coherent. To be honest, I was pretty shocked how "with it" he was. I mean, he wasn't giving me a proof of the quadratic equation but he felt well enough to watch TV and a movie for a little bit as well as to write me an email.

As it turns out he will have to wear some "headgear" if he decides to go out and about frolicking around town. Sure at first we all thought this would suck to have to put on a helmet every time he goes to the bathroom at 2am. But then I had an epiphany. What if his helmet was like the one pictured above? That way not only would he the sweetest brain cancer patient of all time but then he could spend his Sunday afternoons battling the English department of U of C! It's brilliant!

But I digress...

To summarize, the skull was actually not infected. However it is the doctor's belief that replacing the skull "piece" would actually slow the antibiotics and at this point we need to get rid of the infection asap so Karl can start his treatment.

It appears as though Karl will be in the hospital for at least a few days so if you have some free time I think he would really appreciate visitors. Below is an email from Karl. The English teacher in me wanted to correct all of his misspelling but given the fact that he was probably typing with one figure and it was about 3 hours after a THIRD BRAIN SURGERY I thought I would cut him some slack. I'm not sure if "foot gifts" are 1) gifts for his feet, 2) something to do with the foot clan or 3) supposed to be "food"gifts. I'm pretty sure Karl is a member of the Foot Clan, a proud follower of the Shredder. Read below, last line...

God Bless.

i was thihnkning (i hjave a thimg 0on my rigjhjt index fiimnger sorry
the surgery was stucssessful they took out some bone
i have a stint by my ear to collect the fluid so i dont swell
dr yamini stopped by before he left and was happy wioth how it got cleaned
its all wrapped up but i guess its ouit of shape so i hjave a divit in my head
before the surgery i was really abouit them taking the bone out and more going wrong
i also didnt want a cathetire i hate those
my recovery this time was better because my throat wasnt sore and i could talk
i was awake a few miinutes aftersurgery and talking to the nurses in the icu
my room is in a hall withj opem windows to tje nuirsing station so its not real dark here lets see if io get any sleeo
prayer reqiest
i get some sleep last night my roommater needed a lot of attentkion
my head ache is constant
moms stress level and energy
all of my addorroing fans and friemds thanks you guys so much you are so supportive thanks for all the foot gifts and love

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Surgery Update


The bone is infected. Ok, I will do my best to relay all the information I just received from my mom as accurately as possible. Because the bone (part of his skull) is infected, they will leave it removed because at this point it is most important that they begin treatment (ie radiation and/or chemotherapy) as soon as possible but they cannot begin treatments until the infection is gone from his body. Putting the bone back in would mean that it would take longer for the antibiotics to take care of the infection.

So they removed the parts of the skin that are infected. This of course is problematic because stitching him up is more difficult with less surface area to work with. When it rains it pours I suppose...

Karl will have to stay at the hospital for a few days as the antibiotics run their course.

A few months ago I played at a worship service with a couple of friends of mine. The theme of the mini conference was "our eyes are upon you" taken from II Chronicles 20:12. In that passage Jehoshaphat's army was about to be overtaken. What he says is that "God I have no idea what to do, but our eyes are on you." I think that's kind of how I feel right now...


Still waiting. No new news. Mom is getting impatient...

Explanation of Picture

I forgot to include the reason for the picture in the last blog entry. That wrestler's name is apparently Brutus.

I'm sorry for the confusion, I'm sure most of you assumed that was a picture of Karl...

Surgery and the other Brutus

Karl went in to surgery today at 9am central time. I haven't heard any updates but mom is there at the hospital and I'm assuming she will pass them along to her favorite son (me if you're playing at home). I spoke with Karl yesterday evening. He sounded tired and frustrated. I think he's just fed up with seemingly having to do things over and over again. I'll let y'all know as soon as I hear anything. The biggest prayer is that the skull is not infected. Hopefully they can just go in, clean the incision and be done with it. He will be "put completely under" for this surgery so he will be pretty groggy today and probably a little bit tomorrow as well. The will more than likely keep him in the hospital for a few days for observation. I think he is looking forward to this the least. If you missed yesterday's post, Karl started showing the signs of infection last Friday and yesterday they went back to the hospital where they confirmed that it was indeed infected.

In an attempt to be egalitarian and unitarian (yes, I am quite aware that neither of those words actually fit what I'm trying to say but I'm home sick with the flu and thus a little "loopy") I have decided to include in this blog an email from a friend of mine defending his beloved Buckeyes and their murderous mascot. See below. Thank you for the contribution Jerome Lupin...

1) I'm pretty sure that if Laurinaitis and Hart are on the field, we both know who
won the game. Need I remind you that the Sweater Vest is 7-1 against
Michigan, or that it's been 2,165 days since Michigan has beaten Ohio State on
the gridiron? Read that number again because it's really high...and
embarrassing...for you.

2) Secondly, Brutus didn't kill Caesar. Caesar killed Caesar, with his arrogance
and complete disregard for Roman social, cultural, and ethical norms. Sounds a
bit like Rodriguez, doesn't it? However, I am not going to slander Caesar with
such a comparison. Anyways, Brutus the Buckeye is definitely named after the
guy in the photo that I've attached. And also, for the record, I'd like to submit
Hitler, John Wilkes Booth, Voldemort, and Jack the Ripper as the top four most
famous murderers in history, all ahead of Roman Brutus)

3) Wolverines can't eat poisonous nuts--this is kind of like rock over scissors.
What is paper you ask? Apparently the Boilermakers, who ran over my beloved
poisonous nuts quite effortlessly.

Monday, October 26, 2009

U of C & Another Surgery

First of all, does it take away some of the legitimacy of your higher educational institution when you have to insert an "of" between the two vowels? If you're not UC, does that make you any less of a college. I only ask because apparently the trendy way to say "The University of Chicago" is "U of C".

And yes, these are the things one learns when one spends a 25 consecutive hours at a hospital. Oh, and one learns that certain individuals (just going to throw it out there, they probably belong to the English department at "U of C") also have medieval battle reinactments on Sunday afternoons. Seriously. You should have seen the Samaria...

But I digress, Karl is on his way back to the hospital. Probably in the ER as I am writing this. It appears as though his incision is in fact infected. What this means is that Karl will have another surgery tomorrow to clean out the wound. There is a chance that the infection is actually from his skull. If that's the case they will have to remove the part of the skull that they removed. They would not replace that part for a couple of months because anything they put in would likewise become infected. He would have to wear a helmet to protect his head until the infection has left his body, which would then let them put a plate in.

So, yes, another surgery...Karl will have the surgery tomorrow and will be there overnight at least for tonight.

If Karl has to wear a helmet I suggested we get him a Bear's one. Karl also wanted me to remind all of you that Tom Brady's knee became infected after surgery. If Karl stays true to Brady's precedent he will struggle in the first few games of his PE class but by week six will be killing those 7th graders for six touchdowns.

Oh, and he'll probably marry a supermodel. That is, again, if he stays true to form...

Sunday, October 25, 2009


For all of you that failed ninth grade English, Brutus killed Julius Caesar...

How Karl's head is like Big Ten Football

There is a saying that people used to use to describe Big Ten football, "Three yards and a cloud of dust". Now this has somewhat shifted over the last few years with the emergence of spread offenses and coaches named Rodriguez. However, any true Big Ten fan knows that to win in November and December on the road in Iowa you have got to be able to run the ball. The thing about "Three yards and a cloud of dust" is that you don't get anywhere very fast. In fact, there are times when you think to yourself that the offensive coordinator may be taking too many fish oil pills when on 3 and 8 you run a draw play to the fullback. Undoubtedly, this unnamed offensive coordinator would probably respond by saying, "This is big ten football. This is how the game is played". Touche.

At this point you are probably thinking 1) Keith has lost it 2) Did you see Michigan put up nine touchdowns against Delaware State and 3) what does this have to do with Karl? Allow me to systematically address all three of these queries.

1) I ranked Karl's nurses based on their awesomeness. Need I explain this comparison?
2) It was Delaware State. Seriously. It was Delaware State. Karl could rush for a TD against Delaware State.


3) Karl is like Big Ten football because right now we are just plotting along taking what the defense gives us. Honestly, not too much has changed over the past week. He is getting a little stronger each day, and he is able to do a little more each day. But we are not in a position to bomb the ball downfield just yet. We need to soften the defense up a little more first (translation, allow for Karl to fully recover from surgery before he starts radiation).

This whole analogy makes sense to about 17% of you all I'm sure. Sorry.

There has been some continued problems with the incision bleeding. They aren't sure why this is continuing, but as long as it is not the brain it shouldn't be a problem. My mom is calling the doctor's at U of C tomorrow to makes sure that there isn't anything else we should be doing. I talked to Karl today and he said the only thing the doctor told him was to be sure the fluid wasn't clear. Apparently clear fluid could be spinal fluid.

I think that's all for right now. Again, if you would like to visit Karl you can email Kari (our favorite sister, and its not even close) at

PS I'm pretty sure Laurinitas is tackling Mike Hart after a 22 yard gain. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it Buckeye fans. Oh yeah, did anyone ever tell you that your mascot is a poisonous nut and your mascot is tragically named "Brutus" which just so happens to be the same name as the most famous murderer in history?

PPS Karl wanted me to add that "The Red Wings will win" and that Lovey Smith will not be coaches the Bears at seasons end.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Saturday Night

Karl sent me an email earlier today and apparently it was just fluid in his head. They were able to drain some of it (yes...that's gross...) which helped a lot to reduce the swelling and make Karl more comfortable. I'm not quite clear if the incision is still bleeding but Karl's email seemed to suggest that a lot of it was just general fluid. I haven't been able to speak to him directly yet.

If you would like to spend some time with Karl during this upcoming week that would be great. He's just really bored at home with nothing to do. You can email my sister at karizawada@hotmail It may be easier to email her to set up a time since I'm back in Boston now.

Saturday, October 24

You could say that Karl's Friday was somewhat of an adventure. You see, the incision on the top of his head started bleeding. Now its important for me to say that this is the "outside" of his head that is bleeding. Not beneath the skull; the brain is NOT bleeding. However, its obviously problematic if Karl's dome continues to bleed. So Fiscally Gator (Karl's nickname. Think Karl --> Carlton --> Carlton Fisk --> Fiskally...and I don't know where the gator came from) had to take three trips yesterday to the Zion clinic to get this thing figured out.

They tried putting another "headdress" on Karl but that didn't work, they tried cauterizing the vein of his head that is bleeding and that didn't work the first time but when he went back a third time they were able to stop the bleeding. Karl did just send me an emailing saying that it was bleeding again last night but not too bad. We called the surgeons at U of C and apparently this isn't abnormal. It becomes cause for concern if Karl bleeds a pint of blood.

Fiscally didn't sleep very well again last night. He was up at 4:00am and 6:00am because his back was hurting so much.

Karl's college football picks. Not very detailed but again, give the guy a break. He had brain surgery!

penn st over mich
ohio state will loose
illinois will loose

If you needed visual evidence for the conception and evolution of Karl's nickname I attached pictures...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cable Company vs. Insurance Company

I apologize I haven't blogged the last two days. I was in transit all day today back to Massachusetts and upon my arrival to the north shore of Boston I discovered that Comcast had disconnected my internet. After about 856 minutes of talking to the "techies" we got the problem solved. I don't claim to even begin to know what transpires in hell but I wouldn't be surprised if it involves being required to rotate between talking to the customer service departments of this two "juggernaut" companies.

But I digress...

Karl had an eventful night last night. Well, if eventful translates into terribly crappy. Basically he couldn't sleep at all. His back was killing him. He tried ice packs on his back, he tried walking around the house to loosen it up he even had my mom give him a massage (to which, I would like to submit, my mom be awarded the medal of honor for) but nothing helped.

Eventually he had to switch beds with my mom because her mattress is a little firmer, thus better for his back. He was up at about 4:30am this morning and just laid in his La-Z-Boy for a few hours then took a nap during a movie. So he was able to sleep a little bit. Hopefully tonight will be better.

I couldn't get this posted in time but Karl would like to predict that the Phillies will win 4-2 tonight and that Derrick Rose will miss the opener.

Monday, October 19, 2009


In case you needed of visual of Karl...

Big bear is hibernating

Karl is now home in his bed sleeping. Big bear desperately needed his queen size bed for his back. Again, he doesn't fit too many hospital issued anything.

He will meet with the oncologist and have his stitches removed on October 30. I recommended that Karl leave the stitches in past Halloween for trick or treating. No one laughed but me. I thought it was clever. Alas, again my humor is just simply above everyone's head. Sigh...

Karl's pain also definitely decreased throughout the day. I think this was a combination of pain medicine and prayer. I'm going to side heavily on the prayer. Thank you all for continually remembering Karl in prayer.

Some of you have been asking for Karl's address to send cards and things. It is below. If you would like to drop by and say hi to Karl you can email me at to set up a day and time. Holy crust, I am now OFFICIALLY Karl's secretary. I'm putting this on my resume.

Karl Krass
40233 Adelphi
Beach Park, IL 60099

Going home...

The doctor just came in and released Karl to go home. Apparently the fluid that they saw on the CAT scan this morning is actually just a combination of blood, fluid, etc from the surgery. It is located outside the skull, beneath the skin. This is a good location for the fluid because it is outside the brain. The fluid is probably just the result of two brain surgeries in about 2.5 weeks. The doctor said that the MRI and CAT scan look great, and that Karl's brain is healthy and is starting to expand and fill the void left by the tumor. So yes, Karl's braining is growing which of course means he's getting smarter.

We have to monitor the fluid and swelling on his head but the doctor anticipates that this will decrease throughout the next few days. If it doesn't he may need to get it drained but this appears to be unlikely.

Monday, October 19

Karl's having a pretty hard day. In the past when the nurses have asked "On a scale of 1-10, how's the pain?" he has said 4 or 5. Today he has been saying an 9 or 10. I don't think this is unusual; I think it has more to do with the anesthesia they used for surgery finally wearing off. I could be wrong, my undergrad is in English.

Karl had a CAT scan this morning at 2am and they did find some bleeding in his brain. They may keep him at the hospital for a few more days as a precaution, but they also could release him today. We aren't really sure at this point. His main doctor will be seeing him today. We are just waiting for his word.

I'll update the blog after the doctor comes. Either way, please pray for Karl's discomfort to subside.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Ammendment to previous post

I was just scolded by both my brothers for saying "go big blue". Apparently there is no "big" in the phrase. My sincerest apologies. I am embarrassed.

Karl just chimed in with "'big' is the appropriate adjective to describe "the house", not the color."

He is correct. I apologize to everyone in the state of Michigan...

NFL Picks

The Krass boys are watching football. When God decided to make sure church was on Sundays I'm glad he decided to make football on Sundays too. It makes for exceptional days (particularly when a substantial amount of the day is spent in the hospital). Thanks God.

Karl's week six NFL picks:

Baltimore @ Minnesota: 34-17 Skol Vikings

New York Football Giants @ New Orleans: 49-36 Saints

Detroit @ Greenbay: 50-0 Pack

Bears @ Atlants: 22-19 Bears

Karl's NCAA picks:

Michigan 63 Delaware State 6

Oh and Karl believes the groundhog will see his shadow. Write it down.

Yes, we realize that some of these games are actually in progress (and in Michigan's case happened yesterday). Karl just had brain surgery. Give him a break. He can make his picks whenever he well pleases.

Karl went for a walk today, without a walker. Alan and he walked for about 10 minutes. I think Alan won. Karl is slow. Just kidding. Well sort of, he is the slowest Krass brother.

Karl briefly spoke with a doctor this morning. Nothing real profound, basically he's doing well. The MRI revealed nothing abnormal. He will meet with the main neurosurgeon on Monday. On a side note, we found out that Karl's doctor went to UM. Go big blue.

Ps I included the picture of Mom and Ethan (Kari's son) basically because I think its a cute picture.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fish and Loaves

Alan: We need to figure out what me, you, Kari, Shannon and mom are going to eat for dinner.
Karl: That's why I ordered the fish sandwich. I figured the fish would multiple.

Karl is so considerate.

We are still waiting for the results of the MRI. As we are learning hospitals kind of shut down on the weekends. We will probably talk to the doctor on Monday. Karl slept a lot today.

Other than that, I'm not sure there is too much more to blog...

Karl requested that I mention that he no longer has any IVs hooked up.

Saturday morning

Karl is doing well. We got to the hospital around 9:30am. Karl said he didn't sleep real well last night, but well, he did have brain surgery yesterday. I suppose that's kind of expected. Probably even better news than the surgery going well was Karl being cleared to eat whatever he would like. And boom goes the dynamite. Karl has thoroughly taken advantage of U of C's excellent "catering services", as evident by the attached picture.

Karl will have another MRI today just to check in on everything. He had a CAT scan last night and everything looked good.

A lot of people have been asking what % of the tumor was taken out. Because of the type of tumor that Karl has it is both impossible to tell exactly what percentage they have taken out as well as how much remains. What we know is that the doctor got a "boatload" of it yesterday, which is obviously a good very, very good thing.

Oh and Karl's headdress is a form of religious expression.

Friday, October 16, 2009

"It went as well as it possibly could have."

That is a direct quote from our doctor. He said he couldn't have been more pleased with the results of the surgery! Praise the Lord! He was able to safely remove all of the tumor that was exposed and accessible. There are still parts of the tumor that remain, but everything that he was able to see he was able to remove and with, as of right now, no side effects. What this means is that Karl take the next ten days or so to recover from this surgery then he will begin radiation to remove the parts of the tumor that were unable to be removed surgically.

I asked the doctor if he could give a percentile of the tumor that was removed but with this type of tumor it is impossible to say for sure. One interesting little twist is that the component of Karl's brain that controls his speech is on the right side of his brain, which is common to only about 5% of the US's population. This meant that Karl actually didn't need to be awake during the entire surgery. Whoops. Oh yeah, Karl was awake during the entire surgery. But it makes his recovery much easier since he was awake.

I think we are all a little speechless right now. Now obviously this is just the beginning of a long and tough road to get rid of the rest of the cancer but at this moment its the first good news we have heard in quite awhile.

Thank you all so much for praying. At about 3:00pm today I heard a voice in my head say that Karl's surgery was going to turn out really well. Now whether this was an angel, the holy spirit I don't know but I've never really sensed something quite like that before. It was pretty cool.

Karl will spend the night in the ICU to make sure there is no bleeding in the brain, will hopefully move to a regular observation room at some point this weekend and will be home soon.

Here is a list of things we...well...listed while we were waiting for the doctor

1) Animals that start with the letter "d" (Alan chimed in with door mouse)
2) US Presidents (He forgot Clinton. 65% of you are smiling, 33% are scoffing and 2% are saying who?)
3) State capitals
4) The 1992 Dream Team (Laettner? Really?)
5) SWISS conference schools

I think that's it for right now, but we'll keep you posted.


first post surgery update

Karl is awake and coherent. He can speak and move the right side of his body. Mom, Kari and Alan have all seen and talked to him. We still have not talked to the doctor so we don't know if the surgery was successful or not.

I will keep you posted.

minor update

They are stitching Karl back up. We have moved up a few floors and are waiting for the doctor to give us a report. Karl will be in ICU in an hour or so. We don't know much about the surgery at this point.

sort of an update

We just heard that Karl's surgery is going well. That's it. Just that it's going well.

Surgery Update

The surgery has (just now...) officially begun. Karl was apparently cracking jokes and entertaining the doctors and nurses.

Estimation for the surgery is 10am-3pm.

Into surgery...

If you were still curious of what exactly my wonderful mother did to the insurance company, please consult the picture to the right.

Karl was wheeled away to surgery at 8:30am this morning. They originally told us they would start the surgery at 7:30am. Apparently, they meant central time and we were functioning in the eastern time zone. Or something, it's kind of confusing...

The surgery will take several hours so we...are...just...sorta...hanging out. Alan is doing his research (translation=reading comic books), Kari is relaxing (translation=proofing every word I write. Stop looking over my shoulder), mom is drinking tea (translation=she's drinking tea) and I am updating this blog.

I will update y'all when we receive any information.

Karl was in good spirits this morning. The nurses asked Karl to list some important people in his life, which he will have to recall post surgery to make sure that his brain is functioning properly. Below is his list of people. #1 is most important.

1. Mom
2. Alan
3. Kari
4. Kaylee
5. Keith

Kaylee is my mom's dog. Thanks Karl.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Yes, seriously. Karl didn't go back to the hospital today. Why you ask? A doctor's note. That's right, apparently we were all just whist away to 1989 and Karl is back in Mrs. Jackson's third grade classroom where you need a doctor's note to do anything. OK, its a little more than a doctor's note but honestly, not that much of a difference.

Karl's primary care physician at the Zion clinic needs to sign off on this pending surgery. He is very willing to do this. In fact he WANTS to do this. The problem, the Lake County board of surgeons wont respond to our doctor's calls.

Oh yeah, and there was a problem with the scheduling of Karl's MRI. So now he will have two back to back, or one REALLY, REALLY long one. This isn't a huge deal except for Karl is about as comfortable in the MRI booths as you or I would be with our fingers linked in a Chinese finger trap with a polar bear. Again, Karl's big. They don't make things to fit Karl-big.

The plan right now is that Karl will leave tomorrow around 9am, get the MRI around 2:00pm and have the surgery on Friday. But as you can probably anticipate by now, the plans may change...

Things that are hard to do (5 = easiest, 1 = hardest)

5. Conquer Russian (Unless you are one of Karl's nurses)
4. Actually read and ENJOY Pride and Prejudice*
3 Circumnavigate the globe in a row boat with one oar
2. Cubs winning the world series
1. Have something done when it was supposed to be done in the medical world

*#4 only applies to the male gender

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My mom, the wrestler

Per the suggestion of a friend of mine, I would like to submit that I am logorrheaic not verbose. I'll pause while you look up that word...Don't worry I had to as well.

Just got off the phone with Mama Bear (my mom) and the insurance situation appears to be all straightened out. An individual from Kid's Hope called today and confirmed that Karl is in the system for Cobra Insurance. We are still awaiting final confirmation from the hospital but it appears we are a go for Karl to check in to the hospital tomorrow and have the surgery on Friday.

I realize that only a small percentage of you will get this forthcoming allusion (namely my brother-in-law and oldest brother) but it is so etched in my mind that I felt the need to share it with you.

Imagine my mom standing in the center of a wrestling ring equipped with The Rock's elbow pads. Lying on the ground underneath her is the crippled body of "the insurance company". My mom rips off her left elbow pad and bounces of each side rope once before officially landing "The People's Elbow" directly in the sternum of the insurance company.

So yeah, my mom is kind of like a pro wrestler...

Explanation: my mom just kicked the insurance company's butt.

The firefox and the hound

Well, we figured out why the insurance company was dragging their feet. They were waiting to receive our first payment. This is only slightly problematic because we sent in our first payment, ten days ago.

Apparently this insurance company cannot receive online payments from clients that use firefox as their web browser. Nowhere on their website do they indicate this, they just assume that people will know. Right...

Therefore, they were waiting on us.

I'm not even kidding.

We went to Karl's online bank account statement and Chase processed the payment, the insurance company just couldn't accept it. That sound you hear in the background is me banging my head against my desk repeatedly.

We are supposed to know at some point today if everything went through. There is a chance that Karl wont be able to have the surgery on Friday if the necessary paperwork has not gone through their system.

I will keep y'all posted.

I literally cannot say thank you enough to everyone that has supported our family over these past few weeks. I'd like to think that I am a somewhat verbose person, but the generosity we have received from everyone has left me speechless.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Prayer Request

I just off the phone with my mom. The hospital, Kid's Hope (Karl's former employer), Humana (Karl's former insurance company) and Cobra (Karl's pseudo current insurance provider) are all dragging their feet and not returning my mom's calls. Essentially even though Karl is technically signed up for Cobra Insurance because no one will get back to us we cannot prove to the hospital that Karl is insured, therefore the hospital will not admit Karl and ultimately will not perform the MRI and surgery that Karl needs. This is giving my mom a huge amount of stress, and candidly, not something that she should have to worry about because we have done all that we can and are supposed to do. For those of you that don't know Karl quit his job in August to begin his student teaching to fulfill his last requirement before receiving his teaching certification from North Park University. He technically did not have insurance when this whole process started. However, by law your previous employer has to provide you insurance 30 days after you stop working (I believe its 30 days).

Have I expressed I much I dearly love the health care system?

At any rate, we are planning on going through with the surgery and are just hoping that everything will get squared away by Wednesday when Karl was supposed to return to the University of Chicago hospital.

Something else that my family can use this week: we will be going to the hospital on Thursday and probably will not be leaving for at least a few days. This may sound a little peculiar but you actually have to pay for parking every time you leave. We were wondering if someone would be willing to pick the Krass family up some snacks for our extended hospital stay. Just basic nonperishable items for us to munch on.

Right now we are not sure what would be more dangerous, walking around the neighborhoods surrounding the University of Chicago or attempting to pay the prices at the Au Bon Pain located in the lobby of the hospital. Its kind of like Russian roulette...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday, October 11

Karl had an eventful day. We talked on the phone for about 10 minutes. I'll just give you our dialogue:

Keith: How are you feeling Karl?
Karl: Pretty good, I have some friends over right now and we are just hanging out.
Keith: Cool
Karl: Oh, and I went to church today. It was great, really good to see people. I am pretty tired though. Do you want to know what was even better than church?
Keith: Yes?
Karl: I had the best grownup grill cheese of my entire life.
Keith: awesome.

Ok, it didn't quite go like that but you get the gist.

Praise the Lord, Karl has a la-Z-Boy! An answer to prayer. A giant THANK YOU to the family that provided Karl with this. I know my church in Massachusetts, The Harbor, prayed around 11:00am. Karl has a chair not long thereafter. Pretty cool.

I kind of feel like we are on a lucky streak. Maybe I'm pushing my luck a little bit but another Karl needs is a small fan (10" or so) for his room at home and his hospital room.

Thank you all for being so helpful and supportive.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sometimes you just gotta jump in the pool

Just a forewarning, this blog entry may lack a little "gusto". I actually flew back home to Boston today to tie us some loose end before heading back to Chicago Thursday to be home for Karl's surgery on Friday. All this is to say, I actually am not having daily contact with Karl. I will do my best to fill everyone in from afar.

I talked to my mom today and she said that Karl was feeling pretty good. Yesterday was such an uber long day with the two hour car ride from the hospital he pretty much was exhausted by the time he got home. He slept well last night and took a couple of catnaps today which really helped restore his energy.

OK, so one of things I have learned in life is that sometimes you just have to take a shot and swing for the fences (apparently in Argentina they say "sometimes you have to jump in the pool". I recently learned this, thus I decided to include it in the blog). Here's my swinging for the fences: something Karl actually really needs right now is a BIG, "bear-like" lazy boy chair. Right now he basically has to lie in his bed or sit in a chair in the living room that doesn't fit him all that well (picture the shorts that basketball players used to wear in the 70's. Not pretty I know...). It would be a great blessing to Karl if any one has a big old lazy boy lying around somewhere that they never use.

A huge thanks goes out to everyone that has emailed me and offered their prayers and asked how they could help. I sincerely apologize if I haven't responded to your email yet. I will do my best to get back to you ASAP.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday, October 9 PM post

Big Bear is home. We (Karl, Alan, mom and myself) are watching the Yankees vs. Twins game. Does anyone else hate the Yankees? Yup, I've now lived in Boston too long.

Karl just requested that I post on the blog that he would love to have visitors on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. If you would like to see Karl please call the house phone at 847-746-1749 before you come. Big Bear likes his sleep. Oh, and no autographs please.

If anyone has a wheelchair, we could really use one. Here's the catch, its need to be a LARGE wheelchair. Old Big Bear, is well, kind of big.

I apologize if I haven't responded to everyone's email. I hope to soon. A huge thanks to everyone that has offered their help over this past week.

Friday, October 9

I'm reluctant to say this, but Karl is coming home today. I only feel confident saying this because he is literally in the car right now on his way. I did not go with Alan, Karl's oldest brother, and my mom to the hospital this morning. I talked to my mom briefly after she spoke with the doctor this morning. This is the plan: Karl will be home until next Wednesday. On Wednesday they will check him back into the University of Chicago Hospital. He will get a special MRI take on Wednesday. This MRI is unique because they will ask him questions during the exam and map out what part of the his brain Karl is using to respond. They need to do this because on Friday Dr. Yamini and his medical team will perform a second surgery; this time with the sole purpose of removing as much of the tumor as possible. By "mapping out" Karl's brain prior to the surgery they will be able to determine where they can be more aggressive and where they will need to act more conservatively. The goal is to remove 70%-80% of the tumor before Karl begins radiation.

The type of tumor Karl has is called glioblastoma. You may have heard of this type of tumor recently because it is, I believe, what Senator Kennedy had.

You can google glioblastoma but basically they cannot remove all of the tumor because this it has small "fingers" that reach into the brain. You can remove the bulk of it but the small fingers are too many and too deep in the brain. The radiation will take care of these parts of the tumor.

I apologize if I just confused you all more. This is just how I understand everything.

It'll be good to have Karl home.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

What Van Halen has to do with Karl Krass...

Continuing in the trend of quoting aging rock stars who saw their popularity fade in about 1996, Sammy Hagar one sang, "here we go around, around, around."

We just met with Dr. Yamini the neurosurgeon at the University of Chicago Hospital. He strongly feels that it would be of no advantage to rush Karl into surgery today, tomorrow or even this weekend. Basically, Karl needs to have an MRI done to see exactly what we are dealing with (yes, I know, I feel like we've said this before), then the U of C team needs to review the MRI and the pathology reports, meet as a team and then decide what to do.

Essentially this team wants to reevaluate Karl on their own. Not that they distrust the previous team's prognosis but if they are to treat Karl they have to feel 100% confident in their analysis.

You know those 3D posters, "Magic Eye" I believe is what they were called, that when you stare at them crossed eyed they reveal a sea shell or a peacock? That's kind of what we feel like right now. The last two days we have been looking at the picture without our eyes crossed. Around 3pm today we started crossing our eyes, and now we are finally starting to figure out what the picture is. Its a schooner...or a sailboat...(Consult Mall Rats for this reference. Compliments of my brother Alan).

So...Karl is getting his MRI right now. As we understand it, Karl will (hopefully) be coming home soon.

Rose, the nurse, is awesome. Rose and Cathy could conquer Russia.


No surgery today. Waiting for an MRI.

Small answers to prayer

Karl's nurse today is woman by the name of Rose. Rose has made everyone in the family feel more comfortable. I know its "small" but she has already calmed my nerves. Small battles = small miracles.

Thursday, October 8, 2009 AM

I spent the night with Karl last night in the hospital room. I think he got a decent nights sleep, well aside from the steady flow of nurses and doctors that would come in every 2 hours like clockwork.

Being at U of C is a mixed bag of emotions. On one hand, Karl will have some of the best neurosurgeons in the world. On the other hand U of C has a "cold" feeling around it. Not because the nurses haven't been friendly and supportive to Karl, they have. We just don't know any one here and everything feels so foreign. Clearly Karl's health is most important, not his comfort, but it has just been a little bit of a transition.

I wish I could write more but I need to head back up to Karl's room. Needless to say, today is a big day for Karl. There is a chance that he will be having surgery at some point today. This surgery would be a pretty big one.

I'll try to post later tonight.

Obviously Karl needs prayer, but also keep my entire family in your prayers. Pray that we will "run and not grow weary".

God bless.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Change of Plans

There was a slight change of plans. Around 2:oopm today we met with the oncologist at Vista (Victory) in Waukegan. He strongly recommended that we consult a neurosurgical team at the University of Chicago Hospital. In sum, he doesn't think that radiation will effectively "shrink" the tumor unless more of it can be removed surgically.

At 6:15pm today Karl was transported to the University of Chicago. Tomorrow morning we will start meeting with the group of doctors and begin to formulate our plan of attack. Karl will undergo a slew of tests tomorrow and have several consultations throughout the day. The hope is that this team will be able to remove a significant amount of the tumor. The initial neurosurgeon's goal was to take a biopsy and remove as much of the tumor as possible. Because of the blood vessels that were growing into the tumor it was too dangerous to attempt to remove it. The U of C team will take a slightly different course with the surgery. The procedure in and of itself will be done slightly differently. We will know more about the specifics of the surgery after we meet with the doctors tomorrow.

Obviously we were a little surprised by the oncologists recommendation, particularly because we were being told for the few days that Karl would be home.

Please pray. Our God can move mountains.


In the words of Ozzy Osbourne, "Mamma I'm coming home." At some point today Karl will be discharged from the hospital. I think we are all ready for that. Well...everyone but the nurse that asked to listen to Karl's heart. I know she will deeply miss him.

We are (STILL!) waiting for the oncologist to come. He was supposed to come at 7am, then 8am, then 9am...

Karl was visited by the physical therapists today and successfully navigated a flight of stairs. He then showed up the occupational therapists by rattling off the three words he was supposed to remember. Renee thought that Karl had slightly lost his mind, but only because Renee isn't the person that asked Karl to remember the three words...Whenever that "three-word nurse" comes back...

I did some memory/speech exercises with Karl. He had to name animals that started with the letter "b". He said "bear", then "brown bear", then "big brown bear". Karl doesn't have a problem with adjectives. In all seriousness though Karl did really well with the exercises. I asked him to name 10 NFL teams and he named about 20. I asked him to name 10 presidents and he named about 15 (probably more than I could come up with...). Oh, and those of you that are blessed to reside in Montana, Karl still remembers that Helena is the state capital.

I was talking to Karl about things he needs. He had a really good idea. If you would like to bring Karl a meal that would be great, but his idea was to actually have people come over and prepare the meal for Karl with Karl. He also said it would be nice just to sit and watch a movie with someone. I'll let you know how Karl does when we move him home today but just keep this on the back burner.

If you are interested, email me and we can find a time. Karl has requested that we leave Friday open for "date night". Just kidding.

Thanks for reading this blog. You have no idea how therapeutic it has been for me.


The nurse just asked Karl if she could listen to his heart. I think she was hitting on him, Karl isn't so sure.

I'll update the blog after the oncologists come today. There is a chance he'll be home by late this afternoon.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Karl + Milkshakes

Karl has really, really enjoyed the milkshakes. Perhaps too much...

He has decided to embark on the treacherous "milkshake fast" for the next couple of weeks. Its kind of like the Daniel fast...

Basically, no need to bring any more milkshakes, ice cream, chocolate, etc for awhile.

We had a mystery nurse come in today and rock our world. The funniest, happiest and all-around best nurse we have had yet. Her name was Carol, but I'm pretty sure she was actually Aceso

(I'll pause while you all google search Greek goddesses. Here let me save you the trouble, she's the goddess of healing)

It was kind of like a summer fling that was the best two months of your life but ends abruptly when the girls says she's moving back to Texas and you will never see each other again. I'm pretty sure Carol wasn't actually assigned to Karl's room. I fear our paths will not cross again.


Tuesday, October 6

We received the initial pathology report today. The pathologists have an early indication of what it is, however we are sending the sample to MD Anderson for confirmation on the leanings of the Vista team. I am being vague intentional because we still have to meet with the pathologists as well as with the oncologists.

Earlier in this blog I believe I may have indicated that they weren't sure if it was benign or malignant. It is in in fact cancerous. We are just waiting to definitively confirm what level of cancer it is.

Once we figure out how we are going to attack this and what our next step is, I will let you all know.

I asked Karl if there was anything he would like to say to all his adoring fans. His response, "thank you so much for all the prayer and support."

Oh, and Sarah, the nurse is currently the "sixth man".

So here's a good one; two days ago the speech therapists asked Karl if he could remember three words. They are table, apple and penny. Karl is such a high achiever, he says these three words to every nurse that comes into the room. The speech therapists hasn't come back yet but when she does...lookout...

If you have any questions or would like to help out, you can email me at


Ps I just decided that our family verse moving forward is Zephaniah 3:17. "He is might to save".

Monday, October 5, 2009

Monday, October 5 PM report

First and foremost, Karl's afternoon nurse, Lit, is really threatening for the number "5" (center). She's only 5'O", soaking wet 100 lbs but she's quality.

Karl has now officially graduated to his Duke shorts and a t-shirt. No more scrubs! He had quite a bit of action today. The occupational therapist, speech therapist and physical therapist all visited Karl in the span of about 59 minutes. He did very well with each of them. He did walk about thirty feet down the hall with a walker! Needless to say, Karl slept very well this afternoon.

We are still waiting on the biopsy report.

Thank you so much for all your prayer and support. God bless.

Ps Karl says, Viking 33 Packers 30. Oh and Favre will get injured in the third quarter. He also said, "Just buy a stupid TV Brett."

Monday, October 5

I stayed at the hospital with Karl last night. He slept well. Well, until about 4:30am. Other than that he had a good night sleep. The swelling around his left eye has subsided substantially. Unfortunately because he has been sleeping on his right side, that eye is now swollen shut. Imagine Rocky at the end of Rocky IV. He had a CAT scan this morning. The nurse, Cathy (more on Cathy later), said it looked normal but the doctor will be in at 9:30am to confirm that.

No results from the biopsy yet.

Karl and I had an awesome conversation. As most of you know Karl has played basketball pretty much his whole life, and, Karl has had lots of nurses over the past few days. Therefore it is only logical that his morning we discussed who his starting five of nurses would be.

PG - Joby: Slightly unconventional at the "1" but she has tenacity
SG - Cathy: A stud. If they had all-americans in the nursing world she would be a first teamer. In all seriousness, Cathy's brother had a brain tumor about four years ago and she has been wonderful to my family.
Small Forward - Tina: She performed the EEG on Karl the night before surgery. Really nice and well...errr...Karl thought she was "not unattractive".
Power Forward - Marsha: Like Joby, Marsha packed a punch. She was Karl's nurse while he was in the ICU. Very friendly, very funny. Just an all-around player.
Center - We have had a couple of candidates but none that really fitted the bill. We still need one more front court player to fill out the roster.

Karl also suggested that we rank visitors but we decided that probably wouldn't be the best way to make friends...Again, Karl still has his sense of humor.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Answer to Prayer

First answer to prayer, Karl's appetite is back...with a vengenance : )

He likes ice cream. Milk shakes in particular.

Karl just asked if anyone had commented on his page, so feel free to make comments.

Sunday, October 4 PM post

I just returned to the hospital for the PM shift. Karl greatly appreciates the visitors but I think he is about to turn in for the evening. He was able to watch the Bears game with Alan (the oldest brother ) today. I think Alan was doing a majority of the watching but Karl would chime in with a question here and there. The swelling around his black eye is starting to minimize and our hope is that by tomorrow he will be able to open it fully. There is a little concern that the nurses aren't able to fully appreciate Karl's "baby blues". We are hoping Karl gets a little one phone number out of this whole ordeal...

Basically we are still in a holding pattern, awaiting the results of the biopsy. Until then we wait and pray. People have been asking how they can help our family. If you would like to help you could

1) Prepare meals for Karl.
2) Send the Krass family gift guards for restaurants, preferably one's that deliver. Again, meals have been a little hard to come by. The gift cards would simplify things a little bit.
3) Pick up some groceries for my mom in preparation for Karl's return.

If you would like to help out with any of these email me at or call me at 847-722-2810.

In the meanwhile, keep praying. A few weeks ago I was at a church service based around II Chronicles 20:12. In this passage Jehosaphat's army was about to be overtaken. The last section of verse 12 says, "We don't know what to do, but our eyes are upon you." Honestly we have no idea what is going on but our eyes are upon our Heavenly father.

I just asked Karl if he wanted to say anything to his adoring fans. His response, "Don't bother me I'm trying to sleep." Again, he still has his sense of humor...

Sunday, October 4 AM Post

I just spent a couple of hours with Karl this morning. He is improving and doing well. Karl does have a pretty nice "shiner" on his left eye, which is a normal reaction to the type of surgery he had. They changed is bandages on his head and the nursing staff has been great. Karl's favorite nurse is Joby but Kathy has been threatening Joby's elite status with her performance yesterday and this morning.

Karl is still in pain but they are giving him a little stronger pain medication. The best news is that they will be moving him out of the ICU as early as 10am this morning! His new room is #507. This is an indication that Karl is right on schedule with his recovery. Right now we are prayerfully awaiting the results of the biopsy. We have been told that we should know either Monday or Tuesday. Once we know what the tumor consists of we will know exactly what we are doing with and the best route to take in Karl's treatment. More than likely his treatment will consist of a combination of radiology and chemo but nothing is certain right now.

The hope/goal is to have Karl home by midweek. Please give me (Keith, his brother) a call if you have any questions are would like to help. God bless.

Prayer Requests:
1) That Karl will be able to keep a positive mindset.
2) The biopsy report will clearly show what we are dealing with
3) That Karl's appetite will return
4) That he can rest comfortable
5) That his black eye will go away!
6) Most importantly that God will perform a miracle and heal Karl!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Saturday, October 3

We just left the hospital for the evening. Karl is doing reasonably well. In fact he even asked me what time it was in Spanish today. Apparently they implanted an "SAP" button during the surgery. He is still in the ICU and is pretty groggy, however he is very coherent and aware evidenced by his implementation and usage of "Krass family nicknames"; as I am again affectionately known as "Stinky", Kari is "Reeree" and Alan is "Alby".

Right now we are awaiting the results of the biopsy. Once the know what the tumor is "made up of" they will know how to treat it most effectively. Our hope is that he will be moved out of the ICU and back home at some point next week. Karl deeply appreciates all your prayers.

I (Keith, his little brother) will do my best to update this blog on a nearly daily basis because as Karl said yesterday before the surgery "I'm kind of a big deal".

As you can see Karl still has his sense of humor.

Purpose of this Blog

Hi everyone! My name is Lisa Logan and I am a friend of Keith Krass's from college. I am setting up this blog to offer updates on how his brother Karl is doing so that everyone who cares about him and the entire Krass family can be kept in the loop during this unsteady time. Keith (and whoever else he desires) will have access to post so that information from all sides will be in a central location accessible to people across the country.

I am copying an email sent from John Prickett, another friend of Keith's from college, who spoke with Keith a couple days ago to get an update:

As many of you probably know at this point, it was found out on Wednesday that one of Keith's older
brothers, Karl, has two brain tumors. I talked with Keith earlier this
evening (Friday evening) and he wanted me to pass on an update of the
situation. Earlier today, Karl was operated on
and they found out that there were two tumors and that they were quite
large. There was no possibility of removing the tumors either because there
were blood vessels and other things intertwined with the tumor and all
growing together. They sent off a sample of the tumor for a biopsy. They
do not know for sure yet if it is malignant, but the doctors have said they
do think it is probably highly malignant. It will take a few days for the
results to come back. In the mean time, Karl is stable and will most likely
remain in the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital. Once the results are back from the biopsy, which will take a few days and maybe up to a week, they will determine what their next course of action will be. At that point they will have a better idea about whether they should or even can use chemo or radiation as a way to combat the tumor.

Thanks and lets keep lifting up the Krass's in prayer as we intercede for
Karl and the Krass's.