Monday, November 23, 2009

The Bachlor: Zion, Illinois Chapter

Today Karl is going to the doctor to receive his new helmet as well as to be fitted for the new mask. Just by way of review, the mask will be used to protect Karl during the radiation treatments and the helmet will be used when Karl goes hang gliding. Unfortunately I was not consulted to design either the helmet or the mask. Apparently the "medical people" must think that my proposals were not "practical" enough. Hogwash. If Karl had the helmet I suggested not only would he not have to worry about falling and hurting his head he could also live free from the fear of the Persians invading Beach Park, IL. I feel like I'm taking crazy pills. Wouldn't YOU want to be protected from the Persians! Alas, another good idea of mine falls by the wayside...

Kari, my lovely sister, recommended that I announce on this blog a fundraiser that is taking place for Karl. There is a facebook page with all the details but I understand there are probably like 3 or 4 of you that don't have facebook (I am now facebook friends with my 9 grade science teacher and my mother. If Mrs. Krass starts "tweeting" I'm not coming home for Christmas. That is not a threat. That is a promise). The name of the facebook page is "Fundraiser for Karl Krass". They also didn't like my suggestion of "The Karl Krass Fund for People That Can't Read Good and Want to Learn to do Other Stuff Good Too." What's with people? I feel like my wit is tragically being unappreciated. Here are the details for the fundraiser:

Saturday, December 5, 2009
4:00pm - 9:00pm
Bee Street

There will be an auction for some items, a raffle, Karl will perform his spot-on rendition of Mariah Carey's "Always Be My Baby" and other various entertaining things.

Probably the best of all though, if you decide to attend you can participate in the auction for a date with Karl Krass. That's right ladies. You've heard of the bachelor, this is the bachelor Zee-Bee style. Oh and ladies, there is more to Karl than just the fact that he is really, really good looking...FYI I superimposed Jesse Palmer's face onto Karl's body in the picture above. And on a side note, Jesse Palmer is a horrible college football analyst. He should go back to just being "really, really good looking."

Friday, November 20, 2009

Prayer Request

Karl met with the radiologist yesterday. My mom said the meeting went really well. The doctor spent almost three hours with my family. Unfortunately we later learned that the chemotherapy pills that Karl needs are ummmmm...well....really, really expensive. Here's the prayer request, this morning my mom wrote a letter to the company requesting that Karl receives the treatments for free. Apparently this particular drug company provides medicine for patients if they can prove that they are unable to afford the treatment. Unless Karl becomes a professional cow bell player I don't think he will be able to afford the treatments.

Please pray that the drug company will approve Karl as one of the individuals that receive the treatments for free.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


I just got off the phone with Karl. He's awesome. He went to youth group last night and per junior high youth group tradition, old big bear played the cow ball with the worship team. I want you to actually stop and think about this. If you're at work close out of your email program, if you're at home turn off the TV and visualize this. Karl, all 6'9" of him, on the stage at the church playing cow bell to some Chris Tomlin song. In a word awesome. To quote Chris Tomlin, "indescribable."

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, follow this link

After listening to this song I want you to try to figure out where the cow bell fits. The answer? Anywhere. The cowbell is not bounded by meter, measure, time, gravity, space or science; especially when big bear is it's master.

Now for a more "medical" update: The dreaded insurance company as returned to the scene like Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze-stronger and much more "pointy". See the picture above. I'm exaggerating a little bit, but we do have to wait for the insurance company to approve of Karl's treatments and the new mask and helmet etc.

Right now the plan is for Karl to be fitted for the mask next week and start radiation (from Marvin the Martian's gun) after Turkey Day.

He is still receiving the antibiotics for the infection via his IV.

On a side note, the Fighting Scots are 1-0.

On a second side note, this is the second time that Shredder has appeared in this blog. How many blogs do you read that include Shredder? I mean seriously...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dr. Evil?

I apologize that I haven't updated the blog in several days. Mid-November brings a slew of things (including pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks. Mmmmmm...) including the start of the basketball season. Our first game is tomorrow night (broadcasted live at 7pm eastern time at and yes that was a shameless plug) so I have been uber busy.

Karl visited with the plastic surgeon today. In Karl's words, "He was a nice man. I shook his hand like 45 times in 10 minutes." That's awesome. I don't know why but that's awesome. According to this doctor, the incision was looking pretty good and the antibiotics seem do being doing their job. The doctor also mentioned that he would talk to Dr. Yamini (Karl's neurosurgeon who is better known as Adrian Brody) about putting the piece of Karl's skull back in. Karl met with another Doctor but Karl described him as arrogant so I refuse to discuss him in this blog. Maybe this excommunication will teach him a lesson. I attached a picture of him above.

If I understood my wonderful mother, Karl is meeting with the radiologist tomorrow.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Doctor Updates and Darth Vador

Last night, around 9:30pm, I talked to my mom and she gave me all the updates from Karl's doctors appointment yesterday. At 7:00am this morning when I woke up I realized that I forgot a majority of what she said. As the day has progressed I'm beginning to remember more and more, and I'm hoping that writing this blog will further jog my memory. My excuse, I was driving a Rabbi from Logan Airport (Boston) to Gordon College at 1am. Seriously. I'm not going to tell you what I do for a living. I'll let y'all's collective minds wander...

Ok, so Karl first met with the radiologist. He was a very nice man but it was decided that if Karl can receive the same treatments in Gurnee, IL there is no point in him driving to U of C. They said that this is in fact the case. Thus this meeting was very short. Karl will meet with a radiologist next week. During that initial meeting they will hopefully fit him for the "mask" he will have to wear during the treatments. The mask, as far as I understood, is to block the gamma rays (from Marvin the Martian's gun) from hitting the healthy spots of Karl's brain. The doctors proposed the mask pictured above. For the longest time we thought that it was problematic that Alan (Karl's older brother) collected comic books and "nerd" paraphernalia. How fortunate are we that Alan already has a Darth Vader mask! That should save us a couple hundred bucks!

I'm kidding by the way. Not that Alan has a Darth Vadar mask (and cape). He does. But Karl's mask and new helmet will probably look a little different. Oh yeah, and Karl is also getting a new helmet. That's not a joke. He is actually getting a new helmet.

Karl then met with his neurosurgeon and he was very pleased with how the wound was healing and he thought that Karl looked great. Good news obviously.

Then Karl met with his oncologist (i.e. Hans Gruber). To put in simple terms, Hans is awesome. My mom (I'm not quite sure how. Perhaps she used her ninja skills) was able to steal a glance at his schedule for the day. Apparently he set aside an hour to meet with Karl. That's pretty cool. These guys meet with like 46,000 people a day but he sat there and answered every single one of my family's questions. That's pretty cool.

So Karl's radiologist will be in Gurnee, but he will keep the same oncologist at U of C.

Lastly, the doctors mentioned again that in a lot of cases patients that come down with an infection actually have more successful radiation and chemo treatments. Apparently the infection works with the body to fight the cancer. Pretty wild. So, yes it stinks that Karl had to delay his treatments but at the end of the day it may actually turn out for the best.

One more word on Alan, it was his son that dressed up as Yoda for Halloween (consult Halloween posting on this blog). Are you noticing at theme emerging?

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Routine

Having been home for a couple of days now, I now fully understand Karl's routine. Every eight hours he has to take his antibiotics by way of a thirty minute IV drip. So every day he wakes up at 5am, then he takes it again at 1pm, then again at 9pm. He's able to do it himself but it can be somewhat of a hassle.

On Wednesday he goes back to the University of Chicago to meet with the oncologist, neurosurgeon and hopefully the plastic surgeon. While Karl was in the hospital we figured he should get some work done on his nose. Just kidding. The plastic surgeon was involved in the third surgery and restapling of Karl's head. Hopefully they will be able to take the staples then. They are actually probably the most painful aspect of the surgeries.

I think that's it for now.


"The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing."
Zephaniah 3:17

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pizza, Pirates, Ninjas, Thanksgiving and a full weekend

I'm sitting at my mom's kitchen table writing this post. So yes, I am back in Illinois for the weekend. Not only did I want to get back to help mi madre around the house and give her a little bit of a break, I needed to see Karl. Everyone has been telling me he was doing really well and moving around much more but I needed to see him with my own eyes. They were right. He is doing really well. He's getting around quite well. He's not quite to the point of running a triathlon but he is definitely doing well.

Just to recap, this was our weekend.

Ginos East
First I must apologize that this is written in bold. I can't turn it off. I don't know why. But yes, we went out for pizza last night. 80% of me wanted to come back home to see my family, 20% is always reserved for Chicago style pizza. I love Boston, seriously I do. Pizza in Boston is atrocious and actually laughable. Stick to seafood. You're embarrassing yourself. We went to the Gino's East in Lake Geneva. Pizza was very good. Here's how you know you're eating pizza in Wisconsin though, the couple next to us were eating salads and the family behind me ordered three flat crust pizza.

Seriously. I'm speechless. I'm not a smart man, but ordering a salad at Gino's East is like going to Texas and saying that George Bush wasn't a good president. Both can be hazardous to one's health.

Here's a question that came up during dinner. Why is Gino's East, Gino's East. Alan suggested that it is because you go east to get there. True, I suppose. But that's kind of like saying you can get to Boston to Chicago by going west...for like 10million miles...Please feel free to educate the Krass family on this one.

Pirates and Ninjas
After pizza Karl and I went to a post-Halloween, Halloween party. Ninja and Pirates theme. Karl's costume was the best. Its tough to compete with a 14 inch scar.

I went with Karl to church today. Karl always gets in good spirits when he's going to church and I think this is a good thing. It was pretty cool for me to go to Immanuel as well. It was a blast from the past as Bonnie Brook Baptist Church (my dad's former church) was a church plant from Immanuel in the 50s 0r 60s. The church I go to in Massachusetts is a church plant as well (insert shameless plug: is also a church plant and its just cool for me to see how the church grows, moves, adjusts, adapts but also perseveres.

After church we watch the Bears. Yeah...At least the Packers lost. Oh Packers fan, you are aware that the Buccaneers were winless right?

After watching JV football we had family Thanksgiving. I won't be able to make it back to Illinois for Turkey day so we figured we should have one this weekend. I'm 87% sure that the manna God sent down to the Israelites was actually sweet potato casserole. Mmmmmmmm...

I think that's it for now.

Oh one more thing. I have now been asked by about 6,770 people if I studied English in college. As a matter of fact I did. I take that question as a compliment. Do you still think I deserved that B- in intro to English Dr. Frankwitz?

Upward and onward.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Low carbs and the life of a "legend"

Karl had a pretty "full" day yesterday. He was able to go to church and watch some friends play basketball. He told me that it was exhausting but really good to hang out with friends and get out of the house for awhile. The nephews also came over yesterday. If you haven't seen Alan's son, Kevin, then let me just say you will never meet a more active kid in your life. I think Kevin, as a 16 month old, is actually in better shape than me right now. Karl also mentioned that he someone brought over a rather tasty meal last night (whoever that someone was, thank you). Lance Corley has been coordinating meals for Karl. Thanks Lance. I did get a good chuckle though from Karl's email though because apparently Lance requested that the meals be of the low carb variety. I love it.

The absolute best part of Karl's email? This is how it concluded: "
anyways that's a day in the life of a legend."


Over the last month I've found lots of encouragement through song. Below is a link to a song called "Desert Song". The lyrics from this song are also below.

Verse 1:
This is my prayer in the desert
And all that's within me feels dry
This is my prayer in the hunger in me
My God is a God who provides

Verse 2:
And this is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved
Of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flames

And I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon forged against me shall remain

I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

Verse 3:
And this is my prayer in the battle
And triumph is still on it's way
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise I'll stand

All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

Verse 4:
This is my prayer in the harvest
When favor and providence flow
I know I'm filled to be emptied again
The seed I've received I will sow

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Home and "the one arm man"

Karl made it home yesterday. I talked to him last night, and he was very tired. The drive home took a lot out of him. He has to be on an IV drip a few times a day to receive the antibiotics for the infection. Its not a huge deal, just another "annoying" thing.

I promised Karl I would include something that happened during his second surgery in the blog and I have forgotten until now. No mas.

Immediately after the surgery Karl talked to Adrian Brody (ie his doctor) and asked if they were able to do something (I don't remember what) during the surgery. The doctor's response, "No, because I only have two hands and the other doctor only has one."


Not to be a jerk or anything but doesn't it make sense for a doctor that is performing a highly complicated brain surgery to have two arms! Is that asking too much. I just envisioned the one-arm guy from the fugitive performing the surgery and Richard Kimbal bursting into the operating room and screaming, "I didn't kill my wife!" Karl then logically would say, "I don't care!"

It was later explained to us that the doctor only had one ROBOTIC arm. Ohhhhh....That makes a little more sense.

In my "research" I couldn't find the hospital that Dr. Richard Kimbal (Harrison Ford) practiced at in the movie. Does anyone have this information? If its the University of Chicago...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Under Pressure

Any time one can include a picture of David Bowie and Freddie Mercury in any sort of writing, one should always include a picture of David Bowie and Freddie Mercury in said writing. You may be asking, "What do Karl and David Bowie/Freddie Mercury have in common?" Well hopefully not a lot, but much like the song collaborated on by these two artists entitled "Under Pressure", Karl's head is somewhat "under pressure". I learned that the count my wonderful mother was referring to is the inter cranial pressure (ICP) count. The spinal tap was taken to test this pressure. Obviously its not good for there to be this much pressure. But with that said, Karl was released today to go home so they clearly aren't too overly concerned with this count.

So Karl should be home any minute now.

On a side note, Vanilla Ice you are a thief. You stole something that did not belong to you.

If you don't know what I'm talking about follow this link.

Andrien Brody and "The Count"

Since I made my ridiculously accurate comparison between Hans Gruber and our oncologist, Karl has requested that I find a similarly stirring "look a like" to our neurosurgeon. This one was slightly more difficult but after much thought and prayer I have decided on...

Adrien Brody.

Again, not flawless, but I'm not displeased either.

If you are asking yourself, "Who is Adrien Brody?" Shame on you. He won an academy award for The Pianist.

I talked to my mom last night about the results of the spinal tap. It was a pretty comical conversation in that the spinal tap showed that Karl had a high "count". Logically I asked my mom what "count" this was referring to. She had no idea. Just that his "count" was high. Ok...Well, Karl's "count" was at 27 yesterday. Normal is anywhere from 1-15. This could mean a couple things but it probably has just means that the infection is still present. The plan right now is for CT scan early in the morning at 4am, drugs at 9am and hopefully then home.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Spinal Tap

Unfortunately, this blog as very little to do with the band. Karl had a spinal tap this morning. They needed to figure out if the brain itself has become infected. To determine this they took a spinal tap to test some of the fluid from Karl's spine. As I understood it from Karl, the fluid in the spine is the same as the fluid in the brain. Therefore, they were able to test for infection without aggravating the brain itself. I asked Karl if they had the results from this test yet. I believe he said no, but I'm not quite sure because his lunch came as we were talking and lets be honest some things just take precedent.

Another "one more day" and yippie kay ya

Karl's CAT scan this morning revealed that one of the veins in his brain has become enlarged. This is either because the brain is naturally expanding into the space voided by the removal of the tumor, or because the vein is reacting to the infection.

Either way they want to keep Karl at the hospital for a few days. Apparently the nurses wanted encore numero dos of the Karl Krass show.

A few additional updates regarding Karl's treatment. He will meet with the oncologist on November 11th. This has little to do with his treatments but the oncologist really looks like Alan Rickman. Rickman is more commonly known as "Hans Gruber" from the film Die Hard.

I'm just waiting for the doctor to say "Yippie kay ya, stupid tumor".

Originally we were told that Karl may qualify for a clinical trial. Because Karl has an infection this is no longer the case. However, in blioglastomas they have found that radiation/chemo actually can be more effective after an infection. Apparently the infection works as a catalyst to fight the tumor. Karl will be able to receive his treatments at Northwestern Hospital, which is a blessing for the Krass clan since Northwestern is on the north side of the city. Karl will receive his chemotherapy by pill form orally and his radiation through Marvin the Martian's gun : )

Obviously his plan for treatment may change when we meet with the doctor on the 11th but that is where we stand today.

I have another idea for Karl's helmet. What if Karl was rewarded a sticker every time he does something awesome, like in college football. He goes for a walk, he gets a sticker. He says "Presbyterian Episcopalian" flawlessly, he gets a sticker. He beats Kari in chess, he gets a sticker.

I like...

Monday, November 2, 2009

One more day...

They decided that Karl needed to stay at the hospital for one more day. They said it is only precautionary and that they want to make sure the swelling is down substantially before they release him. This could be true, but I have my thoughts.

4. They still can't believe how huge Karl is and need to "observe" him to see if he is indeed 1/2 giant.
3. After going 3-2 over the weekend in chess, many believe Karl is the new chess master- champion. The U of C wants to call "shotgun" on his genius mind.
2. One of the nurses has developed a crush on Karl and can't bring herself to say goodbye.
1. They will just flat out, 100%, just miss Ol' Big Bear.

I spoke with Karl last night on the phone and he is just sick and tired of being in the hospital. As I have mentioned before he is just really, really bored. Hopefully he will be home by tomorrow. Feel free to send Karl stickers for his helmet. The $ thing was kind of a joke. Though I do think the funniest sticker should get a prize...

On an unrelated note, I was wondering if it would be ok if I shared something with you all? And there you have the beautiful thing about a blog. I can say whatever I want! You can't decline!


At church yesterday we sang a song by Matt Redman called "You Never Let Go". The bridge goes like this:

"And I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
A glorious light beyond all compare
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
We’ll live to know You here on the earth"

When we came to this bridge I kind of lost it. Yup, I started crying. There was just something very powerful in that moment of cooperate worship. I suppose there was renewed hope in that moment. But unique hope in that it speaks to something that transcends life on this earth. This song reminded me of Job 1:20 when, after hearing about a series of super crappy things happening to him, Job responds by worshiping. Job also shaves his head and rips his robes. I think God lavishes grace on us to mourn which eventually frees us to worship.

Thanks for bearing with me. And yes, I will now subsequently be made relentlessly by my family for admitting in this blog that I cried.

If you want to hear the song, here's a link to the youtube page:

Sunday, November 1, 2009

5 really good things happened today

As the title indicates, five really wonderful things happened today. They are listed below.

5. The Bears defense gave me 26 points today in Fantasy Football.

4. Karl beat Kari in chess today.

3. They removed the "drain" today. The "drain" was an IV-type thing that was being used to literally drain the swelling from Karl's head

2. Karl will have a CT scan tomorrow. If the scan looks good he will be discharged home.

1. I received a pledge today from someone to buy a sticker for Karl's helmet. I believe the Harbor Church has solidified the back, right-side of Karl's head.