BAUERLE: I'm Back!

Ya, it's a long article but it may just save some lives!

January 21, 2018 - 9:00 pm

So, Bauerle and Bellavia returns to normal (is that possible?) Monday at 3 PM on News Radio 930 WBEN.

I would like to thank Tim Wenger, Greg Ried and Entercom Corporate for their kindness and understanding following my December 3 heart attack and December 10 quadruple bypass.  Also to my bro and broadcast partner David Bellavia, who had to go solo.

By my count I missed 35 work days, and not once did anyone pressure me. I am returning Monday January 22 because I want to, as I have medical clearance for 3 to 6 PM as I continue cardiac rehab. EVERYTHING has been cleared by at least two MD's, who understand that for me it is more beneficial to be active than sedentary.

WBEN management has been very,  very kind and amazing.

Many people have asked how I am feeling, and I am grateful, and want to answer that question so we can talk about interesting stuff from the get go without dwelling on me.

In a nutshell, I feel pretty darned good, and blessed to even be alive as I beat tremendous odds against survival given "The Widowmaker" and other severe blockages.

My maternal lineage gave me the cardiovascular disease predisposition, and the physicians agree that because I am in great shape otherwise, I beat the odds.Statistically, I should have died and had I not arrived at Gates when I did that would have happened, so yeah, that is a mind-f---. But there are people reading this who have children fighting for their lives, and I do not understand why God willed my survival when innocent kids aren't coming home. Or why better people than I are at Arlington or the Officer Down Memorial Page. I do not know why I caught a break and have prayed for understanding of that, but may never know, but "Survivor's Guilt" isn't my bag.

Curiosity? Absolutely.

Guilt? No.

People have asked if I have experienced depression after the surgery. Of course not. A lot of people do, but if you own firearms in Cuomo's NY State, would you really want to admit to that? I would suggest being very circumspect before allowing anything placed into your medical records like that.

But my honest personal take is that every day is a gift, and why would I be sad? Because of your love and prayers, I feel like the most blessed guy alive. I am happy to be alive. Period. Life is a gift and we all have a rendezvous with death. So why rush it?

But if YOU experience any depression PLEASE discretely address that with your physician. I can understand why people can lapse into self-pity, as there are many biological and biochemical variables at play. But I promise if you read Gerda  Weissmann Klein's "All But My Life" and watch her story on You Tube you will be more circumspect. She went through years of Hell, not a few hours of surgery. So did our friend Emina during the genocide against Muslims in Bosnia. They did not wallow in self-pity, and have been great examples.

You can get through any life-saving post surgery blues, but talk with your doctor if you have them,  because for many people it can be an issue.

In terms of the physical, I feel awesome as well, but fatigue more easily. That is normal. The muscle stiffness (rectus capitus and levator scapula) has SUCKED, because the surgeons essentially crucify you to open you up.

Thank God for Drs. Ken and Aaron at Munroe Chiropractic.

But I really haven't noticed much pain in the anterior thoracic region, except when sneezing. I only tried holding in a sneeze once and learned a valuable lesson: don't.

So while I am looking forward to getting back Monday at 3 PM,  I just want to urge you to know your family's medical predispositions, and which controllable variable lifestyle-choices increase your risk of life-ending blockages. And know the symptoms of heart-attacks.

In my case, and a lot of peoples', it isn't the Fred Sanford sudden "chest clutch" drama. My first symptom was about a year ago, when I developed chest-tightness and a shortness of breath while snorkeling in the Bahamas.


It took until late November for those symptoms to reappear, accompanied by this ineffable sense of impending doom. No reason for that. I have a great life, and many people for whom I care very deeply. But just had this weird sense that some bad sh-- was gonna go down. Bellavia even told me I was turning blue, and I did nothing.

So for six days I had obvious symptoms of cardiac issues and ignored them. My built-in defibrillator and pacemaker gave me a false sense of cardiac security. That fallacious idea almost killed me. Had I gone into cardiac arrest, it would have been like flushing a clogged toilet. The pipes were jammed. So...even though my blood pressure was always 120/70 (no meds) and my cholesterol ratios good, I was sudden death on two legs (a Queen reference) waiting to happen. I was a special kind of stupid. Ignoring chest tightness and shortness of breath AND the telltale sense of impending doom with no rational basis? Oy vay. Talk to your physician, as symptoms may vary and are often different for females.

PLEASE learn from my almost-fatal mistake. Look, no man wants to catastrophize or appear hypochondriacal. I get it. But better that than dead.

Thank you for your concern and prayers. You guys can never know how much your love and support helped me. Thanks to the staff at Gates Vascular Institute and Buffalo General.  Our preference is to talk about far more interesting stuff during the show than my heart and hospital stay.

Also want to thank the local music community for their love and support, and yes, I would gladly accept an award from the Buffalo MUSIC Hall of Fame. To them, I am Tommy Nerd, guitar player,  not a radio host, and I like that bifurcation.  Mrs. Nerd has been amazing, and my ex-wife Cassandra, mom, children and friends like Renee Zeno and sponsors like Ken Munroe, DC, Dr. Aaron and my docs and nurses have been over the top wonderful. A very special thanks to people of various faiths for the prayer army. To have Christians, Jews, Muslims and others praying for me? Knowing of that support still is capable of bringing me to tears of joy. Given my blockages, including "The Widowmaker", I had less than a five percent chance of survival. I shall strive to live up to the blessings bestowed on me. I am a fallible human being with vices and weaknesses like anyone else. But every day is a gift. And I am convinced your prayers and thoughts made a difference.  Thank you.

Tom Bauerle

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