News & Updates

Entries for July 2011

Hi everyone,

This week for Bryan has brought minimal response, a lot of sleeping and a CT scan that showed excess fluid. This means we wait and see if he can start absorbing the fluid on his own. If he doesn't, then there will be talk about another lumbar drain (draining slower then before), or possibly a shunt or another form of drainage. We did get him to pucker twice to get vaseline on his lips though. Between his mani/pedis, and moisturizing his face and skin, he's still the great looking guy we all know and love.

This week for us brought a range of emotions. We get frustrated, sad, happy, name it. We his seesters, Erin and Bonnie, went with the music that we grew up with and love thanks to Bryan for this update. Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne. Like the line says, "I'm living with something that just isn't fair," and "I'm going off the rails on a crazy train." This has been a crazy ride, but we are all on this train together.

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Hi everyone…as you know, last week was a roller coaster of emotions for us. We had the high of Bryan getting the bone flap put in, to the low of him experiencing a seizure and needing emergency surgery to remove it. We didn’t know after, what that meant in terms of his recovery. Then, the all time high (to date) of him mouthing his last name. The days after that, his responses slowed down. A CT scan showed he did have extra fluid around his brain, which could be the reason he was getting sleepier so yesterday they decided to put in a lumbar drain. It was the less invasive solution to rid the fluid. An hour or so later, his heart rate dropped drastically and he wasn’t becoming as alert as they had hoped. We also noticed that his head looked more concaved then usual. They clamped the drain and took him for another CT scan. They think that the drain was actually working too well. After having it clamped, his heart rate went back up and this morning, the nurse reported he is responsive.

When Bryan is asleep, and not responding, a song always comes to mind that Brian, our LA friend included on the CD he made us all…Waiting for My Real life to Begin. We often wonder what Bryan is dreaming about, and if he’s resting, knowing that he needs the rest because what he’s going through now is not what his real life will be. A part of the song that really sticks out to us is, “I’m walking in my old footsteps, once again. You say, be here now, forget about the past.”

Bryan has proved his strength throughout all this and we know he will continue to amaze us all.

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Hi everyone! Today brought great news! We were told at the hospital today that this morning Bryan was very alert. The nurse practitioner told us he had both eyes open, his right hand was either trying to give a thumbs up or hold up two fingers (they were fairly certain that was what he was doing). He also closed his eyes and opened them on command….and, when asked what his last name, he mouthed, “Stow”. The nurse practitioner, his nurse and the neurosurgeon witnessed this and they are very sure that is what he did. When we got there they gave him his dose of Dilantin so he then was fast asleep so we didn’t get to see anything, but that is ok…we were still very excited!

As always with these steps forward, we are aware that it’s intermittent, and there will still be some steps back. Even before the surgery, when he was at his best, his response to commands were not consistent. We remain cautiously optimistic.

We picked Eye of the Tiger for this update because, not only does Bry love to work out to it, but like the song says, Bryan isn’t going to stop….he’s just a man, with his will to survive.

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Yesterday was a rough day for Bryan and an emotional one for us. Bryan had to have emergency surgery yesterday morning due to massive amounts of fluid building up that caused a 30 second seizure. Dr. Manley removed the bone flap that was put in on Friday and he found some sort of growth he had never seen before. The growth was removed and a filter put in to help drain the fluid from his head. The four of us couldn’t get to the hospital fast enough, where we stayed all day by his side. Our saving grace was that Dr. Zada came up from Los Angeles to see Bryan. Dr. Zada has become like one of the family and we had a great visit with him! He spent a lot of time with Bryan and by the end of the day saw some movements and slight right eye opening.

During these past (almost) 4 months we have met other families in similar situations. Isaac Gomez from Los Angeles (also a paramedic and a father who had brain surgery) and his family offered us such comfort. And now a family so far from home (Ireland) at their son/brother/friend’s bedside every day. Mark was in America playing in a sporting event when he got hit and is in ICU with a brain injury with Bryan. When you pray for Bryan, please pray for these families as well.

The song for this update, Calling All Angels, is our request for angels to watch over the Gomez family, the McGovern's and the Stows. To help them heal, and help us, their family remain strong.

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Bryan's surgery went well. After a couple minor complications, his bone flap was put in. We got to see him after hours of waiting. We told him we were here and made sure to tell him how great he did and how good his head looked! Like Dr. Manley said, setbacks are expected. Bry is extremely sleepy and isn't following commands. But, he DID just have surgery on his head, so we will wait. One of the nurses shaved him after we left yesterday and he looks really good (Bryan, not the nurse. Although, he looks good too). 

Until next time!!!!!




Happy Friday to everyone!

Today was a big day for Bryan. First thing this morning he went in for surgery to have a special made bone flap put in. If you remember, Bryan had his bone flap removed back on April 1st to ease swelling. Dr. Manley feels that putting the bone flap in now is a positive move for Bryan and could help with his recovery. At the very least….Bryan will have a perfect shaped head! The bone flap is an exact replica of the right side of his head.

At the moment we are writing this, we are waiting for Bryan to get out of surgery. We are expecting him to be recovering for the next day or so. Dr. Manley warned us that someone with a brain injury who has surgery will have a minor setback with his alertness and responsiveness. So we are prepared.

We came across this Switchfoot song and the lyrics say it all. Bry, everyone is here, and everybody is waiting…

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Another week, halfway over. Amazing how days fly by, yet mesh together at the same time.

 This week, so far, has been good to the Stow Family. Bryan got many visitors, both old friends and new. Jeremy Affeldt stopped by to see Bry, as did Dr. Gruen, the chief of neurosurgery at LAC.

 On Monday, Bryan’s nurse informed us that Bryan actually opened his mouth when she told him she had to take his temperature. Later in the day, Dave and Bonnie got to see it twice, Bryan opened his lips slightly when she held the thermometer up to his eye level. The actual movement wasn’t huge, but the meaning was.

Every day, the nurses put Bryan in a cardiac chair, where he’s sitting up. His room has a TV, but when he’s up in his chair, there isn’t a lot of room so the TV is to Bryan’s left (which, is his most active arm). When the TV is on, Bryan is focused on it. So, Bonnie turned it off to try and get Bryan’s attention. She got his attention; he turned his head to her…however, his left arm then slowly moved up, and out. Towards the TV. We honestly believe he wanted to turn the TV back on!  (Must have been an exceptionally good episode of American Chopper). Usually, his arm goes up, or down…not out.

 We want to let everyone know that everyday we are so thankful for the support and the words of kindness. As we said before, we have taken over this site in its entirety. We have spent time going through the emails and the notices and found ones that maybe weren’t responded to or there was a delay in response.  We just want to let everyone know that we are working through them and we apologize for the delay!!! On a side note…in one of the emails, a supporter had written a poem for Bryan. It brought tears to our eyes and we wanted to share it with all of you.


A Prayer for Bryan (Stow)


Libby Mullin


He has the love of family and many a friend

After a ball game it almost came to an end


A crime committed against him that outraged us all

His spirit is strong, not willing to fall


The country rose up to help care for his needs

Strangers showed compassion and good deeds


The angels in heaven whispered "Bryan just wait"

The Giant's Ball Park,  you'll enter their gate


A call for your soul will happen another time

Stay strong and fight, you are in your prime


Something good  always comes from that which is evil

Many lessons are learned after tragedy and upheaval


We pray for your future, good health and happy days ahead

One day you'll wake up and get out of your bed


Continue to heal and draw on the love that surrounds

Your Face Book page with new friends abounds

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Dr. Manley and his team have been lowering the dosages of the last three medications Bryan is on. The past few days he has been moving his legs a lot and not one, but both eyes have been opening! It's a waiting game right now. And so we wait. And on days like this we start thinking. Which, if you know our family, can sometimes be dangerous. :) We have been thinking a lot about the past together as a family and things we could have said or done differently. Then we also start thinking about why this happened and wishing to go back in time and have Bryan safe, healthy and happy again. We hold out hope that he will get there again, but in the meantime we continue to talk to him, remind him of funny stories, read him posts or just play him music while we work on his hands and arms.

Music has always been a huge part of our lives, especially Bryan's. We always find ourselves drawn to certain songs depending on how Bryan is doing or just our moods. This Coldplay song perfectly describes how we have been feeling and the message we're trying to convey in this post. Don't wait until it's too late and you are wishing and praying "to go back to the start".

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Happy 4th of July everyone! We hope you all stay safe today. So far, it's only 10:15 and the weather outside is beautiful.

Bryan is about the same as before. However, his fever has been down since the 29th and we found out that he doesn't have any infections. This is great news and hopefully this means Dr. Manley can proceed with the shunt. We have heard from many people that this could, while eliminating excess fluid, help with his responsiveness. 

Nothing on our end changes. We still go in and talk to him, play music, read cards and comments. Just like it has been since March 31st, and just like it will be from here on out...all positive, no negative.

While the family has always been the ones creating the updates, we owe the credit for this website to Jo and Eric Crisp. When all we wanted to do was be with Bryan, they maintained the website and for that we have to say a HUGE thank you. The family is now taking over the website in its entirety, now that we are back in the Bay Area. What does this mean about the online auction? We aren't sure yet...however, some items were auctioned off at the most recent fundraiser and the rest of items donated will be auctioned off at upcoming fundraisers. We will be posting pictures! Thank you to everyone who donated items! And again, thank you to Jo and Eric... 


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Stow Family Album

Bryan & Mom (Ann)