Sunday, December 27, 2009
I've never seen the movie "The Legend of Bagger Vance". However, after a quick perusal of IMDB.com I have come to learn that his movie details a particularly inspiring performance by Rannulph Junuh. Apparently this round of golf (based on a true story) is well equipped with drama, failure, redemption and success. Some would argue this was the great game of golf every played.
But I say nay.
Others may argue that Tiger Woods' US Open match on a torn ACL was the greatest game ever played.
But again my friends, I say nay.
No, one Karl Krass played the greatest game of golf known to man on December 25th. Yes, my friends, Karl Krass won the Annual Krass Invitational! He defeated Shannon! The streak is over!
Let me paint the picture: Karl was leading by two strokes going in to the ninth hole. Shannon plays the hole BEAUTIFULLY and evens the score. The game would then be settled by a one hole playoff. The hole started in the corner of my mom's front yard, beyond the ditch (which was full of water) and ended on the other side of the driveway just past Shannon's car. Karl's first shot landed in the driveway (water hazard). His second shot...one inch from the pin.
I tip my cap to you, Karl Krass, to a job well done. If you look real close at the trophy you will no doubt realize that the spoils of winning the Krass Invitational is indeed the Timothy Award from AWANA. I'll give someone a nickel if the can correctly guess what member of the Krass family won that award.
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. I think the Krass family did (at least I did).
Switching gears a little, I know this blog has somewhat "veered" from simply updates on Karl's health. The reason for this is that Karl's treatments haven't varied much over the last few weeks. But I do promise you that if there are any updates I will put them on this blog.
Please keep praying.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
As of today Karl is half way through his first cycle of radiation. I have gone with him the last few times. It's pretty wild. Karl goes, scans his card, flips through two to three people magazines, is called into the back and fifteen minutes later he reemerges. That's it. Its pretty wild.
Because we are at the half way point I thought it would be appropriate for me to give a midseason report card (a la Sports Illustrated or ESPN).
Mother Krass: A+
These last three months have obviously been very difficult for my mother, but she has been more than resilient. Put plainly, my mom is just one tough son-of-a-gun. Never have a heard my mom complain and she has had the same attitude as she did when my dad died. This is the hand we were dealt, now what are we going to do about it. Her entire demeanor has been very inspirational.
Everyone keeps saying things to me like, "I can't even imagine how tough this has been on you (referring to me)." They are right, it has been difficult. But think about how tough this has been on Karl (a point my mom brought up two nights ago). Karl has maintained a very level head (no pun intended) despite these less than ideal circumstances.
Kaylee is my mother's dog. And now my mother is mad at me for giving Kaylee a B-. Kaylee ate an entire subdivision of ginger bread houses this morning. She's lucky I didn't fail her.
Ethan & Kevin: B+
Karl's nephews. They make everyone smile. If you ask Kevin who is favorite uncle is he says "Kar-All". And yes, when 1.5 year-old turn one syllable words into two it is adorable.
Ok, that's it for now because Karl asked me to share about one of the Krass family's Christmas traditions.
Every Christmas we have our annual Krass Invitational. This invitational is a golf tournament (usually in the snow) which consists of Karl, myself, Alan and Shannon. The course is all over the back and front yards and if the weather cooperates on the pond in the backyard. Whoever wins the hole (which usually mean's hitting something with your ball) that person throws the object to the next location and we play on. Here's the real kick in the pants: a Krass a never won the invitational. Shannon ZAWADA (Kari's husband) rails on us every year. He's won like five years in a row. Well no longer my friends. Tiger's "transgressions" have motivated me to bring back the good name of golf. Shannon, you're going down.
Happy Merry Christmas Eve everyone!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
I love Christmas (and Hanukkah for that matter). What I don't love is loosing to an inferior opponent in Fantasy Football but that's for another day. Back to the matter at hand, we are currently getting 1-3 inches of snow right now in God's Holy Land (Illinois). And I love it. Think about it, how many Christmas movies have you seen WITHOUT snow? Let me answer for you. Zero. Well, I'm as happy as a Georgia peach today.
Karl very kindly reminded me last night that I may have missed out a few details about well...err...Karl in my last post. He reminded me that the blog was actually about him. Touche.
About two weeks ago Karl had his pick-line removed. The pick-line was used to administer the antibiotics for infection that Karl picked up in the incision from the surgery. This means that the infection is gone. Right now the piece of the skull that they originally had removed is still not back in place. Karl has a doctor's appointment in January and hopefully by the end of January they will be a metal plate in the place of the skull.
I can think of several reason why this would be advantageous
3) At 6'9" with a strong head, Karl will no doubt be called up to the national team in time for the world cup. Can you say corner/free kick specialist?
2) Haven't YOU always wanted to headbutt someone and have it not hurt?
1) Karl want have to wear his helmet anymore.
I went with Karl to get his radiation yesterday. He told me that basically its like an X-Ray machine. He can't feel anything while its happening but he did say that he can taste metal in his mouth afterwards. I think this is because the radiation treatments are really the government performing a an experiment on Karl and grafting anamantium to his skeleton. To understand this consult Alan or watch X-Men Origin: Wolverine.
Monday, December 21, 2009
I'm back. After a somewhat lengthy hiatus I am returning to the world of "blog" and like Rocky in "Rocky IV" or Bruce Willis in "Live Free or Die Hard" I may not be as quick and squirrely as I once was but I'm a little bit wiser and perhaps even a little bit more skilled at my craft. And since it snowed in the Midwest, I can put together a sweet training montage of me carrying oxen and cutting down evergreens and before you know maybe I can defeat Socialism too.
But I digress. Yes, this is my promise to be more diligent with the blog. In fact, although it isn't quite new year's just yet it is my new year's resolution to update more frequently. Just think of all the great ideas that have been swirling in my head for the last two weeks. Its actually kind of frightening.
OK, first an update on Karl. Currently he is in the state of Indiana (Side note: Indiana claims to not only be the "crossroads of America" but also "the childhood home of Lincoln. Listen Indiana, Lincoln belongs to Illinois. Period. That's like Bill Wennington and Stecey King taking credit for the Bulls six championships. You don't know who Bill Wennington or Stacey King are? Exactly. And the whole crossroads of America? Don't push your luck Indiana. You're just ahead of Connecticut right now and that's just because you produced the greatest movie of all-time. Ruth Rosentrater feel free to chime in and defend your state if you can think of a good rebuttal).
But I digress...
Karl, Alan, Jennie and Kevin are heading back from Michigan after spending the last few days with both sets of grandparents and my aunt, uncle and nephew. Its always good to see family, particularly when its close to the holidays. Overall Karl did pretty well but I think the drive was a bit much for him. I'm hoping to convince him to either go Christmas shopping with me tonight or to go see Avatar. They had to leave early this morning to make it back for Karl's treatment.
Just for the sake of review, Karl takes two chemo pills (named temodar) seven days a week. Five days a week he receives his radiation treatments. We don't know if the treatments have been "effective" just yet. Karl will get a slew of tests and scans when the five weeks is up. Today is the beginning of his third week.
Please continue to pray for Fiscally Gator (Karl's nickname. Long story...)
OK now for just general musing. Many of you know that I consider Bill Simmons to be one of the greatest readers of all time. He is. It's science. Anyways one of the things that I enjoy most of reading William is that every so often he has a mailbag. Readers are invited to email Willy their questions. So here is the launching of the karlkrassupdates.blogspot.com mailbag. And yes, I'm giddy. You can email your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment on this blog. They can be questions regarding Karl and his treatment or how I would rank the top ten states in the US (and yes this list does exist in my head). Basically the questions can be about anything.
Before I leave, I would like to list my top five Christmas songs. Some of them are obscure, some not. All of them are awesome. Boom.
5. All I Want for Christmas if You - Mariah Carrey
4. Anything from the Nutcracker - (Saw it last Thursday. Awesome Every time. Thanks Steph!!!!!!)
3. Silver Bells - Sleeping at Last
2. Go Tell it On the Mountain - Aaron Espe
1. Oh Holy Night - Josh Groban (can we just make Josh Groban President of Christmas and grant him a monopoly on all Christmas songs?)
That's it for now. Adios.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
I apologize I haven't updated the blog in awhile. I must be honest with you all. I was holding out for more money. You can only do this pro bono thing for so long. I mean, lets be honest in the words of The Joker in "The Dark Night", "If your good at something, never do it for free." My agent talked to Karl's agent and we settled on three peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a player to be named later.
Right now I am in Port Huron (every time my Grandma Krass says this I laugh. She pronounces it Port Ur-rin. C'mon that's funny), Michigan visiting my Grandpa and Gramda Jamison. Actually I'm sitting on their computer right now writing this. Karl, Alan, Jennie and Kevin (Yoda) just got to Milan, MI where they are visiting my Grandma Krass. Later tonight I'll head back their direction.
So yes, Karl is feeling well enough to take a car ride 5 or so hours from the Chicago area to the Ann Arbor area. He also hasn't been vomitting since the first few treatment. He does however get easily fatigued unfortunately.
Again, I apologize for the lack of "posting" these past few weeks but I hope to really kick it into high gear during this Christmas season.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Warning: In the following post I tread very closely to the line of "nerdy English major." I will however, not apologize for this fact. I merely feel the need to warn you all. I also realize that by writing an entry that doesn't include pictures and becomes "Englishy" I am removing all likelihood that Alan my older brother will read this entry. Alan reads, but only if the word "novel" is preceded by the word "graphic", as in comic books. Sorry Alby.
So I've been thinking a lot over the past few months how life is really this great big story. It includes characters, protagonists (think Luke Skywalker Alan), antagonists (think Darth Vader Alan), climax, plot development, etc. I think subconsciously we are all waiting for some sort of "rising action" something that will either "improve" our story or in some cases just change the direction of the story. This rising action comes in a lot of ways, getting married, having kids (I know everyone says this but my nephews are actually the cutest kids on the planet. If you disagree you are actually incorrect. Your opinion is wrong), changing jobs, moving, etc. And in some instances the rising action comes as a result of some really unfortunate situations, ie Karl's health.
What is interesting to me is that all of humanity is connected and invested in the "big" story. What I mean is that when "the plot thickens" (or bad things happen to good people) every person on this planet wants the good guy to win. And we all invest in the story and empathize with its "action".
And I think this is because people just really like good stories.
Think about someone like Lance Armstrong. His story was good because he won like 37 tour de Frances. He story became GREAT when he did it after being diagnosed with cancer. I think this is because we all NEED to believe in a story. We NEED to believe that there does exist this really qualified author (there is by the way) that knows just how to rope in his reader. Like any good story, we have no idea how the thing will end but the more we know about the character the more we know about his struggles the more we want him to "win" in the end.
Right now my brother's story is reaching a point of tension but I know the Author has got something up his sleeve. Maybe more than "knowing" that he has something up his sleeve, I BELIEVE he has something up his sleeve.
Which obviously begs the question, if Karl is Luke Skywalker, who is Darth Vader...
I had to include a picture for Alan.
I think what got me thinking about all this was an email that I received from a friend of mine. Instead of me retelling what happened I just included it below. Its a pretty cool story.
My Dad had talked about Karl in church awhile back to put it on everyone's "prayer radar." Anyway he was in Wal-Mart yesterday and a sister of some regular attender asked how Karl was doing. My Dad updated them I guess on what he knew from the blog ( I have no clue who the person is). Anyway the woman had a daughter or family member with brain cancer (or at least that's my understanding) and I guess opened up her wallet and gave my Dad the $20 she had in there and asked that it gets to your brother. So, its just a little bit, but I will have twenty dollars for you to bring to your brother. I know not much, but something.
Monday, December 7, 2009
I was reading through Psalm 139 this morning. What a reassuring and "peace-giving" Psalm. Particularly as it pertains to my brother's situation. God not only created my brother, but he created him exactly how he wanted to. I do not believe that it is God's desire for people to become ill, but I do people that God is in control. I understand that the belief that God is ultimately in control is the road block for many people but if we can get to the point where we are willing to say, "God I don't understand what you are doing, but I trust you", he gives us such peace. This Psalm speaks to that peace. I can't really explain it, but knowing that God knew what he was doing when he created me, you and my brother just offers me a little reprieve from the anxiety.
1 O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.
5 You hem me in—behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, [a] you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,"
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to [b] me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake,
I am still with you.
19 If only you would slay the wicked, O God!
Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD,
and abhor those who rise up against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Below is an email from Karl. I edited it slightly. Just make sure you read until the last line. I literally almost fell out of my chair laughing. I haven't heard how the fundraiser went last night. After I talk to Karl I'll update the blog.
Today I got up at 5am and did the IV (for the infection) in bed until 8am. Then I had oatmeal and toast, took a shower then took the chemo pills. Micah [Karl's friend] took me to radiation and chemo radiation. It was ok. The mask wasn't as tight and took only 15 minutes. then we went to chemo and sat in the waiting room for 45 minutes. Then I went in and talked with the nurse and started to feel queezy. I laid down on the table the doctor gave me a Iv drip and some medication mixed in. Then I moved into the chemo room were there was lazy boy chairs and other people doing iv chemo.
Then i got home and showed Micah were the ingredients for home made bread were. Micah made me some toast. I ate one piece before i saw it again. Next I showed the chimney sweeper where the fireplace was then sat down and watched tv. I puked but it was mostly dry heave because i didn't have any food in me. Then I cleaned up the garbage can and just stayed in my chair. Kari came over and hung out for a bit Ethan was Ethan, grabbing everything he could reach. I started to watch a movie. Yes a drama on netflix then mother came home and mother made me some grilled cheese and I ate some apple sauce and a chewy bar. Now i am watching the Bulls and waiting till 9 to do my drip and go to bed.
Sorry very random but very detailed so that was my day.
I think my day was ok because i used old spice swagger in the the shower.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Thanks for the contribution Jerome.
Initially I was not really sure why Keith asked me to guest blog. He’s definitely not out of material. When I asked him for some ideas, he promptly rattled off about twenty different ones (including this gem: inexplicably, Kyle Orton is Karl’s favorite Chicago Bear—the picture above should make him rethink that terrible decision). It’s also not because I’m some kind of medicinal genius: when it comes to science, I’m about one notch above Ron Burgundy (“You're just a woman with a small brain. With a brain a third the size of us. It's science.”). And it’s not because I know Karl super well. Big Bear and I have broken manna (a.k.a. Chicago style pizza) together, but beyond that I do not possess a cache of Karl stories like the normal author of this blog. The only thing I really know that has relevance to this blog is Keith himself.
And then it hit me. Keith, the selfless brother that he is, has worked tirelessly on this blog for some time now, and like any normal runt of the family, he needs some attention. So, I’d like to use my brief bit of space to focus on Keith. He is a wonderful friend, brother, son, etc., but here’s what you should really know about him:
1) Keith is actually not from Illinois—he is a Wisconsinite.
2) Keith’s favorite punctuation mark is the semicolon; every time you read this blog from now on and see a semicolon in the text, you should know that it made him smile to use it.
3) Keith roots for the Michigan Wolverines, who have not beaten THE Ohio State Buckeyes in football in 2,204 days. Read that number again. It’s large.
4) When Keith fake runs (you know, like when you’re coming out of the game and you should hustle off the floor but you don’t want to sprint because then you’d look like a nerd or Sammy Sosa, neither of which is very flattering), he looks like a deer bounding through the woods. I say this because Keith makes fun of my fake run, and it’s high time I strike back.
5) Keith likes to clean the living room when he gets nervous about Michigan games. This was always a win-win for me because by the end of the game, I’d have a Buckeyes’ victory and a clean apartment.
6) Keith bikes in spandex. Questionable.
7) Keith has an arch-nemesis named Edward Cookson.
8) Finally, if Keith were to stumble upon a magic lamp and be granted three wishes, here’s what he would choose: Karl’s health, a Cubs World Series crown, and a pumpkin spice latte. Since we know that one of those will never happen, make sure to keep praying for Karl’s healing and if you see Keith, treat him to some Starbucks.
Just to clarify, he takes the chemotherapy pills one hour before radiation. The radiation process itself takes only about 15 minutes but the process of getting the mask on takes quite awhile and the mask itself is rather uncomfortable. It extremely tight so Karl is unable to move his head around but it basically very uncomfortable. The only positive is that once Karl has the mask on his body becomes very "rubbery" and he can do things like swallow grenades, make fake guns come out of his hands and date Cameron Diaz (if you need help with this one follow the link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110475/). A picture of his mask is below.
So a normal day for Karl is to get up and take his IV drip (for the infection) around 5:30am then he eats breakfast. He can't eat an hour before or after taking the chemo pill so he has to take the pill by 9:45am so he can have his radiation treatments at 10:45am. He will have radiation five days a week for four or five weeks.
We hope to see you all at the fundraiser tomorrow!
I just texted the guest blogger. I know you are all eager for his post...
Thursday, December 3, 2009
I talked to mother Krass this morning and got the full scoop. There is lots to report so I shall now enter into the sacred land of "the bullet point". Before I begin I would like to raise a glass to the individual that invented the bullet point. You are a god among men.
-Karl had his first treatment of radiation and chemotherapy today. The chemotherapy pill has to be taken 1 hour prior to or 1 hour after his radiation treatments.
-Karl was denied a free subscription of the chemo pills. There are a couple of different routes my mom is researching but please continue to pray that we can find a way for Karl to receive these pills for a reduced rate.
-I was inaccurate yesterday in my statement that Karl was going to see Hans Gruber today. He is actually going to see Dr. Metta and Dr. Metta. No I am not a charter member of the department of redundancy department, Karl's oncologist is named Dr. Metta and his radiologist is named Dr. Metta. I have attached pictures of them to avoid confusion. I know only about 7% of you get this joke, but it was funny to about three of you (its not a joke that Karl has two doctors that share the same name).
He also is going today to get his helmet refitted. He has been having more headaches of late but Karl seems to think its just because his helmet doesn't fit right. I attached a picture of Karl and Kevin (Kevin is Karl's nephew) each sporting their helmets. Karl is the one on the left...
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Apparently Karl was slightly displeased with the "banter" that was my last post. About 46 seconds after I told him I blogged he texted me with additional information.
Tomorrow Karl will start his first treatment of radiation (from Marvin the Martian's gun), get refitted for his helmet (to compensate for his growing intellect) and meet with Dr. Nicholas , the oncologist (ie Hans Gruber. I can't remember if I gave photo evidence before so here it is).
I just called Karl for a little more information regarding his first treatment but he didn't answer. He's probably practicing his interpretive dance. When I talk to him I'll update y'all a little more. I do know that the treatment will take place in Gurnee in one of the Greenleaf offices. For all of you that are not from the Holy Land (Illinois) Gurnee is about 15 minutes from la casa de mi mama. Sorry I don't have a ton of information at this point.
I received two emails from people regarding my Connecticut comments. They are below.
"I am kind of excited at the prospect that Connecticut is the most overrated state. I didn't even know we qualified to get into the argument. Outside of Fairfield County being bloody rich, 84 west of Hartford being a black hole, and turning out incredible basketball teams (I know we lost to Duke who is, ahem, overrated. But still. . .), Connecticut is pretty unremarkable for better or worse. I mean, we lost the Whalers to North Carolina!"
This is true.
"...Connecticut the most overrated state...i have some words for you..."
I must apologize to all of you that call or once called Connecticut home. I'm sorry. I'm sorry Connecticut sucks...
We still haven't heard if Karl will qualify for the free chemo pills. Please continue to pray for that.
Oh and one more thing, I'm exploring with the idea of a guest blogger on Friday. Lets just say that this person once professional wrestled as a famous pharaoh, was named defensive player of the year in the TCCC, placed third in the 2008 Gordon College Bromley Olympics, thinks he's a giraffe, cooked over 250 strawberry pancakes in one day and knows the lyrics to every DC Talk song. It should be epic.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Just to remind y'all there is a fundraiser for Karl on December 5th. Not only can you win a date with Karl you can also watch Karl perform a rather moving dance interpretation of Phil Collin's "In the Air Tonight." Information for the fundraiser is below.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
4:00pm - 9:00pm
Bee Street 3077 Sheridan Road Zion, IL 60099
Karl received his new helmet yesterday but unfortunately it didn't fit. I keep suggesting helmets but they won't listen to me...I think its because Karl is getting smarter by the day and his brain is expanding. If you are ever flipping through the channels and you come across a special on how the Straight of Gibraltar was built and you think to yourself "Gee I wonder who actually watches these shows." Karl does. Seriously. Ask him, I bet he could even tell you that Gibraltar means "Tariq's Mountains" in Arabic. With the amount of "down time" Karl has, I bet he's learning a lot about useless information.
Karl requested that I post on the blog that several of his friends are not pregnant. He gave names. I will not. You're welcome friends of Karl.
This a little do to with Karl but I have some post-Thanksgiving thoughts that I need to get off my chest.
9: I read in an article yesterday that the Silverdome (previous home of the Lions) sold for 583K. What?!?!?! If five of my college buddies dropped of out college after our first semester and saved the money we would have spent on tuition we could have bought the Silverdome. Just think about that for a second. We would have renamed it "The Awesome Dome".
8. In an unrelated story if the Silverdome was sold for 583K how much would the Lions go for? $29 is my estimate.
7. Better question, do you think Lion's fans even like watching the Lion's on Thanksgiving? Are there still Lion's fans?
6. Having spent four days in Saco, Maine I have deduced that Maine is the most underrated state in the Union
5. Connecticut is the most overrated
4. Delaware shouldn't even be a state
3. Sweet potatoes are too good to be a vegetable
2. Settlers of Katan is the greatest board game of all time
1. God bless a day where it is appropriate and actually expected to eat 5 pieces of pecan pie for dessert.