Sunday, January 31, 2010

Part II

First and foremost I botched the last line of the previous entry. It was supposed to read, "Maybe God's love is the answer, we just don't understand the question". That really took the sales out of the the punch line. Dang it. Sorry.

Anyways, Karl emailed me today with some information from this past week.

Ok, here's what makes Junior Highers unique. Karl not only had to answer the, "Dude why are you wearing a helmet" question 500 times AND had a kid hit him in the head, by Wednesday they didn't care anymore. I can just hear the conversations in my head. One friend asks another one, "Hey what's the deal with Mr. Krass' head?" and the other responding, "Dude I don't care, that was like so two days ago."

Karl apparently taught the kids how to bump, set and serve on Thursday (impressive for a volleyball newby). The other activity he had them do was stand on an exercise mat and open it only using their feett and move it across the room. The picture below is the image I have in my head.

Karl has two more weeks of student teaching.

Now for the bad news, Karl has an appointment on February 17 but won't have the surgery to put the plate back on his skull until March 10. That means he will have to wear the helmet for awhile longer. Total bummer.

2 Part Sunday: Part 1

I have quite a few thoughts I would like to put in this blog today so I would like to introduce the first ever two-part entry. This first entry is a rather random observation that came to me during the church service this morning and the other is more of an actual Karl Krass update. They sorta both apply to Karl but I felt weird including them in the same blog (basically, it would be too long for people to read and they would lose interest. I'm tricking y'all by separating the posting into two different entries...)

So without further ado...

This morning at church we sang this song. There is a line in the chorus of the song that goes like this, "Your love heals every disease, your love is everything." Now just for a little history, I heard this song the first Sunday I was back in Boston after hearing about Karl's illness. My response to this song: I was 100%, completely and totally, royally PISSED! I mean, the melody of the song was great, the whole congregation was singing, it was for all intensive purposes "worship". The only problem, is that I don't think it's true. Now I'm not implying that God's love is incapable of curing all diseases. It certainly can. But the song seems to be suggesting that is "does". If this were the case, my dad wouldn't have died of cancer 12 years ago tomorrow (I'll blog more about that tomorrow). Believe me, we prayed for my dad, other people prayed for my dad, my dad prayed for my dad, etc. At the end of the day, God's love didn't cure his disease.

So about four months ago when I heard this song I, well...just left church. Not the building entirely; I just went outside into the loggia (by loggia I mean foyer but I told a friend today that he needs to start incorporating loggia into his every day vocabulary) and just sat there stewing for about 45 minutes. A friend came out and we talked for the entirety of the sermon. I felt a little bad after the service but I was just so doggon angry.

Fast forward four months. We sang that song again today, and for whatever reason I wasn't so pissed this time. I've been thinking about it all day and I've come to a somewhat profound realization. You see, this morning before church the Lord put it on my heart to read Mark 2: 1-5. I thought it had something to do with the small group I'm leading tomorrow but it actually was to prepare me for this song today.

If you're not familiar with the story, I'll briefly summarize. There was this dude, the bible doesn't give him a name so we will call him Lex Israel. Lex was paralyzed. Lex's friends heard that this guy named Jesus was going around healing the sick. Lex's friends were obviously pumped to take Lex to Jesus. Unfortunately there were so many people there that they couldn't make it to Jesus. There solution: climb on the roof and the lower Lex down to Jesus via a hole in the ceiling.

I wish I were that good of a friend.

Anyways, Jesus is SO moved by the love that Lex's friend's have for Lex that Jesus says to Lex, "Son, your sins are forgiven." Ok, here's what this is so significant. Jesus was uber impressed by these friends and more specifically the FAITH of these friends. To reward Lex, Jesus decides not to heal him but to forgive his sins. To Jesus, the forgiveness of sins is way more important than the ability to walk.

Maybe the point isn't actually that God can heal diseases. Maybe to God, healing someone is like Lance Armstrong riding his bike around the Vatican City (.17 square miles). It's just not that big of a deal. Believe me, I hope that God heals Karl and that even as I'm writing this I hope that tumor is nonexistent. But maybe we're missing something. Maybe there's this bigger picture that God is painting that we don't and never will understand. Actually, you know what, there has to be a bigger picture that God is painting that we don't understand.

Now I realize fully well that I'm not the one with cancer, and part of me thinks even as I'm writing this "Keith, you're full of crap. You are just trying to justify God's inaction." Maybe. But the more I think about illness and pain and suffering my soul just naturally looks for something deeper, something that actually does make sense amidst the crappiness of life. And for some reason, this whole praying for healing thing just feels like I'm skimming the surface and that there is something way deeper that I'm just not getting.

I'm reminded of 1 Corinthians 13:12 where Paul says, "Now we see but a poor reflection; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." I don't understand all this right now, but I think one day I will.

You want to know something pretty ironic, for all you savvy bible scholars out there 1 Corinthians is often referred to as "the love chapter." 1 Corinthians 12:8 says, "Your love never fails." Maybe the song actually is right. Maybe God's love is actually the question. We just don't understand the answer...

Part II coming shortly.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Let's track Karl's first day of student teaching by the numbers:

150 - Times he answered "Why are you wearing a helmet?"
1 - Junior Higher that actually hit him in the helmet
1 - Junior Higher that almost lost his life for hitting Karl in the helmet
3 - Times Karl has played the game of volleyball is his entire life
4 - Classes that Karl is supposed to teach volleyball to
2 - Rules of volleyball that Karl knows

Talk about a tough draw. I will acknowledge that the Krass family isn't quite the Mannings in our athletic prowess

but I would like to think that we are pretty versatile in our knowledge of athletics. If you add up all the sports Krass kids played in high school, Kari = 2 + Karl = 3 + Alan =3 (Alan actually was on the golf team. Consult link below for example of Alan's Golf swing) + Keith = 4 you got a total of 12.

Three of us played at least one sport at the collegiate level etc etc. So is it too much to ask that Karl would get basketball, football, soccer, I'll even give you floor hockey but volleyball? In the words of Gob Bluth, "Come on!"

But anyways, Karl said that day one of student teaching wasn't too bad. He didn't do a ton of teaching, mostly observation, but he hopes to gain more responsibility as time progresses.

I was talking to someone today about the blog. She asked if I had updated the blog yet today. I hadn't. But one thing she did say is that since reading the blog she has started journaling a little bit more. I must admit, I hate journaling. It's boring and often its really hard to get motivated to write. However, if you are going through "something difficult" I highly, highly recommend it. Since Karl got sick I started writing more and more. I have 54 pages worth of "thoughts" in a word document right now. It has been wonderfully therapeutic.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Back to School

Much like Adam Sandler in the academy-awarding film "Billy Madison" (I think it won the Oscar for cinematography) Karl returned to school today. Albeit, under slightly different circumstances. Because Karl apparently hasn't endured enough pain and suffering over the past few months, he has decided to continue the completion of his student teaching. To do this he must...gasp...spend eight hour a day with junior highers teaching gym class.

I mean seriously, how scary are these kids. I get the shivers...

In all seriousness, this is a pretty substantial undertaking for Karl so please be in prayer that he will have the strength to make it through the day.

Generally speaking, I don't want to speak for my entire family but just pray for a "resurgence of energy". Cancer can be such a difficult thing for an entire family because its just draining. OBVIOUSLY it's hard for Karl but I know its been hard on my family dealing with all the insurance and medical "issues" and for me its been hard being 1,000 miles away. To put it very plainly, it's just exhausting. In addition, February 1st is the 12 year anniversary of my dad's passing. I was talking to my mom a few days ago and we both agreed that this time of the year is just kinda difficult.

I've been thinking alot over the last few weeks about the numerous ways that cancer, I think one of the biggest things that I just keep coming back to is how cancer never takes a day off. Pretty much every other "thing" in life, takes a siesta or vacation. Cancer just "stays". Every so often when I'm feeling particularly discouraged I watch the speech below from former NC State basketball coach Jim Valvano. I thought about what scripture I should add at the bottom of this particular entry but this just seems more appropriate.

It's long but I recommend watching all of it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

1 More Day!!!!!!!!!!!

Before you start criticizing me for how cheesy this picture is, as you may or may not know I enjoy adding pictures to this blog. Karl has one more day of treatment. So obviously I google searched the word "victory" as this is clearly a sizable victory and this was the first image that popped up on google images. So there you have it. Yes, the poster is probably hung in every 3rd grade Baptist church Sunday school classroom in Georgia but I wanted to include a picture so there you have it.

So yes, Karl has one more day of treatment (Hallelujah!). I asked him yesterday if he was glad (I couldn't resist putting a picture of an acapella group in my blog. If you or your parents didn't listen to Glad, you missed out).

that is treatments were over tomorrow. His response, "YEEESSSSSSSSS, of course!" Right. Touche. Of course, he's glad.

Karl is hoping to get about three weeks or so in of his student teaching starting on Monday! Please be in prayer that Karl will have the energy to deal with junior highers for about eight hours a day five days a week. A believe in a God that can perform miracles.

I mentioned in one of the previous blogs that Karl was going to a camp with his junior high youth group this past weekend. Karl said he had a lot of fun. The kids played broomball and football, and did, you know, what you do at those kind of camps. My favorite part of the conversation though was apparently there was a kid there this weekend that was kinda...errrr...gullible to say the least.

They told this kid that Tom Foolery and Balley-Hoo own a restaurant in a neighborhood called Hi Jinx in Paris. There they sit around drinking chicanery all the day long. Oh yeah, the restaurant is located directly under the Eiffel Tower.

Priceless. I love it...

P.S. per my tradition, I google image searched "Tom Foolery" just to see what would come up. Awesome. Tom Foolery apparently was a Canadian rock band circa 1979. Priceless...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

4 More Days, Daniel Craig and Lamar Odom ruining Rhode Island

I just got off the phone with Karl. The first thing he said, "How come you didn't compare me to Daniel Craig?" Point taken. After consulting the picture above I believe Karl's point is valid. The similarities are startling. I mean they BOTH have blonde hair and blue eyes. It's eery...

Karl has four more days of treatment. I asked him how he is doing since they isolated the location of the radiation and he said he is just more tired than usually. Yesterday he took a four hour nap. He said even his legs feel tired, which I thought was kind of interesting. Karl is hoping to continue at least part of his student teaching after this chemo/radiation cycle is done but a lot of that will depend on whether or not he has enough energy. Please pray that Karl will be energized. He is going to Camp Timberlee with the junior high youth group of Immanuel this weekend, so again, pray for lots and lots of energy.

Our conversation then progressed to Connecticut as I will be recruiting in that "state" tomorrow evening. Instead of summarizing, the conversation is below:

Karl: What's in Connecticut?
Me: Nothing, I think Hartford maybe. Oh and Yale.
Karl: Why do you hate it so much?
Me: Why is Everest the tallest mountain? Some things are just inherently true.
Karl: Is Connecticut on the water?
Me: Yeah, most of it. Rhode Island is right next to it as well.
Karl: What's Rhode Island's deal?
Me: Even less than nothing, I don't even consider it a real state. Them and Delaware. There could be 48 states in the union for all I care.
Karl: Didn't Lamar Odom come from Rhode Island?
Me: Yes. Thank you for making my point for me.

Thanks for ruining a perfectly good state Lamar...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Radiation Photos

I don't mean to make light of Karl's treatment (well, actually I sort of do) but am I crazy or does the second photo remind you of that scene in the James Bond movie "Goldfinger?" Don't remember what I'm talking about? See below.

The good news though Karl, it usually works out pretty well for Bond in the end. See below.

This of course, got me to thinking, which Bond is Karl most like? First i thought maybe he was Timothy Dalton but I quickly realized he was very much the Gary Cherone of the bond series (Only 3 people got that. Go to for full information) appearing only briefly before everyone realized that he wasn't actually the right man for the job.

Then I settled on Roger Moore

Let me tell you why...

Moore's best work was in "A View To Kill" which features Jaws as the bad guy. If ever there was a Bond that could defeat Jaws it would be one that is most similar to Karl. In fact, I would pay a stupid amount of money to see Karl and Jaws "throw down". They are in fact, almost exactly the same size.

Ok, I have no idea where I'm going with this. If you would like to send Karl a word of encouragement please leave him a comment on this blog. The days get long and boring during treatments and he couldn't use a little pick me up at times.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Minor Update

I spoke with Karl last night and he was watching a movie with Stephen Baldwin and Luke Perry. In case you didn't read that correctly, last night Karl was watching a movie with Stephen Baldwin and Luke Perry. Imagine the amount of movies that Karl has watched on Netflicks if he settled on a movie with Stephen Baldwin and Luke Perry. It's actually somewhat frightening. The best part of it all though, in my "research" to find a picture of Stephen Baldwin I came across Seriously. Do me a favor, if you have some time to kill PLEASE go to It'll be worth your time. Did you know that he has a new novel coming out? I bet you didn't. See, these are the things that you miss when isn't your home page. If you don't know who Stephen Baldwin is, he's the least talented Baldwin (which is saying a lot) and he co-starred with Paulie Shore in the film Biodome. I'm pretty sure Biodome won like 13 Oscars; second all-time to Titanic.

But I digress...

Just a quick update on Karl, he has a little over a week more of treatments. Up until this point the radiation wasn't necessarily focused on a specific point. It was more "broad-sweeping". Starting tomorrow it will be more focused on the area of the tumor that was removed.

That's all for now.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Pastor Juan

One of the perks of my current living situation is that I periodically get sneak previews into the sermon that will be preached on Sunday at my church. This, of course, is due to the fact that one of my two roommates is the college pastor of the church I attend. This morning he informed me that he will be preaching on the first chapter of Joshua. Brief synopsis: Moses dies, the Lord selects Joshua to lead His people. This sermon is the third installment in the sermon series on "Journey into 2010". John specifically will be preaching on fear and how fear itself often builds walls in our life that prevent us from doing what we should/want to do. OK, I'm not exactly sure that is what John is preaching on but I sort of deduced that from our brief conversation.

I couldn't help but start thinking about what role fear plays in situations like Karl's. What I'm realizing is that fear rarely affects the patient. What I mean is that although I'm sure Karl is somewhat scared about all that is happening to him, just managing the endurance to battle this thing on a day to day basis is pretty darn brave. No, I think fear affects the family much more. I know I'm scared. What's frustrating is that often times I think fear replaces faith. I'm not implying its impossible to be of profound faith yet still scared; but I think often times we actually feed the fear instead of the faith. I'm not saying that when a family is going through a disease they should say things like, "We're not worried, God is in control." If you can say that, that's wonderful. But that is pretty tough stuff to say. Right now I'm in the place where I can say, "Lord, I'm scared to death but for what it's worth I'm putting my minuscule faith in you." And you know what, I think God is OK with that.

I've also been thinking what I would say to Karl if I wasn't so doggone scared. Well...yes, I'm using this blog as an indirect way to tell Karl how I'm feeling. By and large guys don't share how they are "feeling" with each other so give me a little bit of a break. But if I could say whatever I wanted to Karl I would say this.

First Karl, know that I love you. Often times our family doesn't express this. But know that I do. Know that the night I spent with you in the hospital before your first surgery was one of the most special nights of my life (I just reread this, and realize how awkward that sounded. I was on the floor. He was in the bed.) I know it wasn't the most "comfortable" nights for you, but for me it was maybe the first time where I felt like you and I let go of any barriers between us. Karl, I don't think you and I have ever talked about dad's death but I want you to know that I truly believe dad would be proud of you and that he loves you deeply. Karl my prayer is that you will fight this thing like a Banshee. I love you Karl.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Plastic Surgeon

Karl met with the plastic surgeon on Tuesday, and we have good news! The surgery was successful. There is a picture of Karl below. What? Too soon? Too off-color?

But I kid. Karl did meet with the plastic surgeon on Tuesday. Karl has two options for replacing the part of his skull that was removed due to the infection. The first is they could put a plastic piece in place. This is certainly less invasive than the other option but I guess this sort of operation has a high risk of infection. Given the fact that Karl has already had one infection this may not be a good route to take. The second option involves bone and skin grafts and essentially creating a new skull from the existing skull. I don't quite understand how this works but I couldn't get a hold of Karl last night. This surgery would take upwards of twelve hours...

Either way, Karl has roughly one more week of treatment and they wont be able to perform the surgery until at least four weeks after his last treatment. They have to allow time for the skin to heal. This was tough news because Karl is very sick of having to wear that stupid helmet.

We did receive some good news though, my mom heard back yesterday from an organization that helps patients cover medical expenses. They said they can provide some help for Karl's bills. We don't know exactly how much "some" is but I'm quite certain that some is more than none. This is particularly helpful because Karl's monthly insurance payments increased with the new year.

One quick update on his actual treatments, up until this point the radiation (from Marvin the Martian's gun) was more broad sweeping. I guess the remainder of his treatments will be more concentrated on the specific area where the tumor is.
I think that's all for now...

Monday, January 4, 2010


On January 1, 2010 Karl turned 30. I'm very appreciated of the fact that my mother chose to give birth to Karl on January 1. I'm pretty sure I have never forgotten his birthday. A special thank you to all the people that were able to come out for Karl's birthday party. I know he very much appreciated it. Festivities included watching the hockey game played at Fenway (pretty cool), watching the Rose Bowl and eating pizza and a Scooby Doo cake. Yes, as the picture indicates Karl had a Scooby Doo cake.

On Tuesday Karl goes down to the University of Chicago to meet with plastic surgery. The Mr. Universe competition is fast approaching and Karl was thinking about getting a little bit of a tummy tuck. I kid. No, he's meeting with the doctor to schedule a surgery to attach a plate to his skull to fill in the part that is missing due to the infection.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and New Years. God bless.