News & Updates


Update on Bryan's Condition

 

Jul
21
Hi everyone! We are hoping you understand why it has taken us so long to post any updates. A lot has happened as you probably know and we are just praying that it is over and we can put all our focus back on Bryan where it belongs.
We have kept Bryan updated on everything that happened in Los Angeles the past few months but he usually forgets within days. Sometimes that feels like a good thing. We just want him happy which is why we have always tried to hide our emotions in front of him whether sad, frustrated or angry.
A few weeks ago Bryan had a seizure. When he was first hurt he had constant brain seizures and the reality of those still happening is there, so he will be on anti-seizure medication for the rest of his life. This was his first full body seizure and we are so thankful one of his amazing caregivers was there to let Bryan fall on him so his head didn’t hit the tile. It’s scary to think about if that had happened and we know the results could have been catastrophic for him. Bryan’s elbow and hip hit the wall on his way down. We had thought naively that we were passed ambulance rides to the emergency room and hospital stays. It was a reminder that with his injury and all the side effects because of it, that threat will always be there. Dave, Ann & Erin were in Los Angeles scared and feeling so far away. Thank God Bonnie and her fiancé were able to be with him. In the hospital Bryan was almost speaking gibberish and getting most of the questions wrong. In the hours and days following the seizure it was obvious how much it affected him physically as well as cognitively. He no longer was able to even attempt to use a walker even a few steps and was in constant pain. And when having conversations with him, his speech was slower, his responses were delayed and he would use incorrect words. We are so lucky to have amazing caregivers that stretch and move Bryan every morning, so slowly he is working his way back to where he was before the seizure.
He still enjoys going to the movies and sometimes because of his memory, he sees the same movie twice and doesn’t know it. He used to mostly love horror movies and Bonnie was his horror movie buddy, but now he seems to love them all. Most recently he saw and loved Maleficent and the Lego Movie. His personality changes at times are huge including what seems to be obsessive compulsiveness. That’s just part of the “new Bryan” who we love so much.

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Apr
01
March 31, 2014 - 3 years..

 

We’ve said this on each “anniversary”-March 31st 2011, at times- feels like yesterday. Other times, it feels like 10 or 20 years ago. But it’s now been 3 years since Bryan’s injury. We try to stay in the present, so when we think about the beginning and everything he’s been through-what we’ve all been through-it feels like forever. Remembering the phone call with the news, seeing Bryan for the first time, staying in an awful hotel on that first night just to be right across the street from the hospital…it’s all so clear in our minds that it feels like yesterday. Since that first night, Bryan’s daily struggles have broken our hearts. Despite everything, we just cannot express how proud we are of him.
 
We are participating in the 7th annual Walk for Brain Injury on April 26th. These past 3 years we have met so many people who had suffered a traumatic brain injury and/or their amazing family and caregivers. All survivors, all with different variations of TBI and all with a long road ahead of them.  Someone once told us in the beginning that “not all injuries are visible” and that is something we will never forget. If you would like to donate to our team for TBI research funding, please click on the link below.
 
Again thank you everyone for all of your love and support these past 3 years. We literally don’t know what we would have done without it.
Xoxo
The Stows
 
http://biacal.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.team&teamID=5738
 
Go Giants!
 

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Feb
18

 

Hi everyone! We feel terrible it has been this long since we have been able to post an update on Bryan. We have been having trouble with the website and it’s hard to believe this much time has passed. We are so sorry!
February 12th we celebrated Bryan’s 45th birthday! We are grateful and blessed to be able to share it with him. When asked how old he is he claims 35. We still can’t tell if he’s joking or not.  He has read all the birthday posts and received quite a few cards in the mail. He continues to be shocked and confused how all these strangers know who he is.
We wish there was something different to post, but Bry is pretty much doing the same as our last update. He works so hard physically and cognitively that he is exhausted most days. As his caregivers, Dave and Ann do their best every single day.
We recently shaved  Bryan’s head and it was shocking to see the damage to his skull. Seeing him stare at himself in the mirror was heartbreaking. Watching him touch the shunt that protrudes on the right side of his skull, the slightly sunken in left side and all the deep scars was heartbreaking. We tried to make light of it and told him that no one else would still be that good looking. Of course he agreed! We have mentioned it a million times, but his sense of humor is what keeps us all going.
We are coming up on 3 years since this happened and it’s hard to believe the support and prayers that Bryan still gets to this day. We cannot thank you guys enough for helping Bryan and us through all of this.
Love, the Stows

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Sep
30

 

We know people tell us we shouldn’t apologize for the lack of consistent updates, but we can’t help ourselves. We know people are anxious to hear how Bryan is doing. 
He seems to be having more issues with his memory and it understandably frustrates him. The other day we asked him if he remembered why he had memory problems he said “because I’m dumb”. It broke our hearts and we just had to remind him that is not true and it’s not his fault! So then we go through what happened to him and that he has suffered a TBI. He usually is pretty quiet after that, trying to process it all. All we can do is hug him and tell him he has us and we will never leave his side.
Physically Bryan has made some improvements, but it’s slow. He’s still not back to where he was before his set back while at CNS, but hopefully one day. He’s quick to point out that his left arm has very limited movement and that his left hand doesn’t open. It’s almost as if, at that moment, Bryan thinks that’s the extent of his injuries. When he’s unable to get in and out of bed, shower, get on the toilet or get dressed by himself he’s quickly reminded of his brain injury has affected everything else too.
Can we just say how amazing the San Francisco Giants organization has been to Bryan and our family? They invited him to the last game of the season yesterday and he had the best time. Even if he doesn’t remember it tomorrow or next week or next month, we took plenty of pictures to remind him.
Larry Baer, Kruk, Kuip, Flemming, Renel and Jeremy Affeldt came by to see him. Even though he had met most of them before, he never remembers and is so excited to “meet” them. He made us laugh when he shook Kuip’s hand and he gave his hand a kiss. We thanked Bry for giving us that moment because we won’t ever let him forget he did that.  Another family joke to add to our list.
It was days like yesterday where he is so happy that helps get everyone through the times when he is depressed but can’t express why. Seeing him surprised and so happy on the jumbotron is something we will never forget.
The standing ovation he received reminded us once again of the love and support people still have for Bryan 2 ½ years later.
Thank you!!

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Jul
31
The support Bryan and our family have received since our last update has been incredible. We really want to update more frequently but it seems time and life get away with us and suddenly it’s almost two months since our last update.
It’s so cute when we take him out and about and people recognize him. They want to shake his hand, say hi or simply smile at him. He’s always confused at how all these people know him and he always asks “do I know you?”, but he gets excited that people know who he is.
We are still figuring out about Bry getting all of his much needed therapies. We found out recently that he needs immediate attention on his nerve damage that is in his left arm, which prevents him from being able to lift it or open his hand. Additionally, he still needs to have the surgery for the extra bone growth. It’s been very frustrating and painful for him that he has all these physical problems and we just hope that none of them are permanent.
His memory is still unpredictable. Several times recently we have had to tell him that what he feels on the side of his head is a shunt and that he will have that forever. Every time, he acts like it’s the first time he’s been told. Sometimes he remembers about being a paramedic and other times he doesn’t.
We’ve said it so many times, but we just can’t express enough how happy we are that his sense of humor is still there. Again, there’s a little bit of a difference, but he’s still hilarious. It’s a great feeling to be able to sit around as a family and just laugh.

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Jun
06
Over two years ago, one phone call started us on this journey. We spent 6 weeks in LA, away from home, unsure if Bryan was even going to live. We then spent 5 months in San Francisco, closer to home but still a drive. Bryan was more stable, but we had moments where we could have lost him. Next, he was in San Jose for 5 months, where we were able to see more of what his injury impacted. We were able to have limited “conversations” with him and become acquainted with the “new” Bryan. He was similar to what we’ve always known, but he was also very different. There was some progress at VMC, but the insurance company felt he was no longer in need of this facility. The time came to look for a live-in care facility that focused on rehab. We chose a great facility -the Centre for Neuroskills in Bakersfield. Even though it was 4 hours away, we felt it was the best fit for Bryan. He received all forms of rehab every day, all while living in an apartment complex with 24 hour care. One of the four of us was with him every day.
After a long two years of being away from home, the insurance company has ceased payment for CNS, so Bryan has come home. Let us clarify something very important -Bryan could have benefited greatly by staying at CNS longer. We are so glad to have him home, but as prepared as we thought we were, it was a difficult transition. Bryan requires so much assistance and it is impossible for Ann and Dave to do it alone. Bryan requires 24 hour nursing care, but this is not covered by insurance. So we had to hire care givers in order to help Bryan to get up and showered in the morning, and get dressed and in bed in the evening. We are now the ones administrating his medical care, scheduling all his appointments, and preparing all his meals. We are not complaining…we have Bryan home! At first look and during conversations, Bryan appears to be doing better, cognitively. But to be with him as much as we are, we see what others don’t. The memory problems, the use of words that do not belong, the pain he is in and the stiffness in his body that prevents him from being able to do things on his own. Due to a huge cut in therapy coverage, Bryan has physically experienced a big setback. We do what we can at home, but he needs the 5 days a week that he grew accustomed to. We just don’t know how to get that for him.
Your support, love and prayers have gotten Bryan (and us!) this far and we can’t thank you enough.

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Apr
01
Yesterday was a very emotional day. March 31, 2011 our lives were forever changed. We find it hard to believe that two years has gone by…it feels like a lifetime ago. We look at Bryan and see how much he’s overcome in those two years. He amazes us daily and even though he doesn’t see how far he’s come, we do. We remember 2 years ago, and even recently, when we didn’t know if he’d even live. He’s had many hurdles along the way, hurdles that nobody should have to endure, but for him to be at this point…able to be with us this Easter, truly is a miracle. The obstacles Bryan and our family face now are so different than what we faced before, but they’re still there and we will get through them together. We still don’t know how things will be in the next two years but we do know this-No matter what, Bryan has us by his side every step of the way. The lyrics of this song are so meaningful to us, on so many levels. Bryan truly does have a light in his eyes, he always has and we hope he always will. We will continue to do our best to make sure he doesn’t lose that. These past two years have been emotionally trying and at times draining. When we feel overwhelmed or start to feel negative we need to remind ourselves, and each other, to breathe in and breathe out.

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Mar
04

Hi everyone! Since the last update, Bryan went back in the hospital for a third time. The staff was concerned about the swelling and color of his leg so he was taken to the ER. It was explained to us that, because of how damaged his veins are, it will take months for the blood clots to dissolve, and he was released after about a week. As usual, if it’s not one thing, it’s another. While in the hospital it was discovered that Bry had a bladder infection.  Bryan is in need of further surgeries for the extra bone growth, but the idea is very scary, since he will need to be taken off the blood thinners a day or so before the surgery. It’s obvious that Bry needs to be on blood thinners at all times, so the doctors need to really be careful. However, any surgeries have been indefinitely postponed.

As mentioned before, his hospitalizations caused huge set-backs for him, both physically and mentally. He gets confused easier and needs even more assistance than before. His therapies are limited due to pain but he has been able to do pool therapy in the heated pool, which he seems to like.  
It’s easy for us to get down about what happened to Bry and what he continues to go through. With that being said, we have talked to, met or read about other people who suffered from a TBI and we realize just how much worse it could be. There is so much still unknown about TBIs, especially the recovery process. Without physical, speech and cognitive therapies, there is no progression! Something has got to change. We aren’t sure how to do it, but know we want to help or make a difference any way we can.
One way we are trying to help is with the annual Walk for Brain Injury on April 20, 2013. Last year we exceeded our goal, but this year, due to Bryan’s medical emergencies, we have been unable to really establish a team, or to focus on raising money. We have included the link to our team page “Get Stow-ked” as well as the Biacal website to get further information on this cause.
We thank you all for your continued support, love and prayers for Bryan!!
 

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Feb
12

  Looks like a lot of you already know this, but today is Bryan's 44th birthday! With that, comes good news...he was finally released from the hospital, after 3 LONG weeks. We are so happy that he gets to go back to his apartment at his rehab facility that has become familiar to him during this past year and to people who know him and care about him. It's been a pretty tough and emotional few weeks, for all of us and obviously for Bryan too. Since day 1 we have always been very involved in every aspect of Bryan's care and have been vocal about issues. We realize now, after the blood clot development, that we will need to be even more diligent. We may have gotten a little comfortable in thinking he was out of the woods when it came to any major danger. This set back, which was both physical and cognitive, was a big eye opener. We have learned a lot over the last two years and we know him better than anyone. We know immediately if something is wrong. That being said, we are so thankful he's well enough to return "home", and resume his therapies. He's taken a big leap back, so he's going to have to work extra hard to get to where he was. As usual, we will be there to cheer him on every step of the way. 

For Bryan's birthday, we had this cake made by a family friend, which combines his Cowboys and his Giants. Ann brought it over to his apartment and it was planned to have all the residents surprise him. We can't wait for Bryan to be home so we can be together to celebrate his birthday. 

 

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Feb
07

Bryan is still in the hospital. The trouble is trying to find the right balance and levels between his blood thinner and anti-seizure medications. Due to this problem, new blood clots have formed. One of us is with him every day and it is really hard to see him back in the hospital especially for so long. This is a huge step backwards for him physically. Even with two people helping him, he can stand for only seconds. We are trying to keep his and our spirits up and are now hoping to have him back at his rehab facility apartment by his birthday next Tuesday. If not, then we celebrated at a hospital last year, so we will celebrate at another one this year.

 
Thank you so much for all the prayers!!

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Update July 21, 2014
Hello Bryan, Listening to older Queensryche and thought of you. Your parents continue to amaze and teach us all what family and community are. Many good families in world and glad you are a part of one, just as I. Ongoing perseverance is remarkable and something anyone reading your updates will learn from. We are all here for encouragement, prayer and to also learn on what an amazing family we are blessed to have met.

Curious if you are listening to any new tunes or what you enjoy when not listening to our San Francisco Giants continue to have great season.

Thank you Stowe family for the beautifully detailed updates. All of Byran's supporters know how busy you are so no need to apologize as we are the ones who are in awe of your spirit, faith and wonderful hearts.

I am sure I speak for many that all of you hopefully take time out just for yourselves to renew your spirit and observe something new that is there for you to enjoy. Make the time and smell the summer and honor all the strength you give to yourself. All of you are inspirational.

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Update July 21, 2014
Double hugs as I don't think my initial post went through. Bryan, you are truly an inspiration and are loved by so many, myself included. That goes for your awesome family, too. I am so sorry to hear about the seizures--how scary :( Please take care and I am also so thankful that the trial of the trial is behind you all. God Bless all of you.
Update July 21, 2014
Hi Bryan!
You are always in my thoughts and prayers and best wishes. I greatly appreciate your updates. I even had prayers petitions for you at St Joseph Church in Mountain View where I live. I will start another prayer petition very shortly for you and your family. You have a loving and caring family. God bless you and keep you in his care as well as your wonderful family!

Rosemary Lopez