Tom's Weight Loss Journey

My name is Tom Basler...

       Through the years I have fought gaining weight.  I’m naturally disposed to being heavy, it runs on my side of the family. 

    In 2006 I had a near-death experience and spent 6 weeks hospitalized with a very serious lung infection.  I had a thoracotomy performed on me and was in recovery at the hospital for a month after the surgery.  After coming home I have never been quite the same physically.  Standing up for more than a few minutes is difficult.  Walking distance is almost impossible.  

    Since 2006 I have tried every diet known to man.  I can say I’ve lost 100+ pounds several times...  It always comes back, diets don’t work...  While I was in the hospital in ‘06, the attending surgeon asked me if I’d ever considered gastric bypass (weight loss) surgery and that I'd be a good candidate for it.  Actually I had investigated it, several times.  The first time in 1999.  At that time, recovery in the hospital was at least 2 weeks in ICU and 4-6 weeks down time at home... Also, the mortality rate then from that procedure was 10%...  1 in 10 people died...  As a new single father, no way...  I looked into it again in 2008 but the down time was still 4-6 weeks though the mortality rate had dropped significantly.  As a self-employed, working musician, I had no “sick leave” or “comp time”...  I couldn’t afford it... In 2016 during a routine cardiology checkup, the Dr asked me (different Dr) if I’d considered weight loss surgery.  I told her I’d seriously looked into it several times but just couldn’t afford to be out of work that long.  She told me that it’s all being done laparoscopically and many people are back to work in two weeks...  On December 27, 2016 I had my first consult at the Bailey Bariatric Clinic in Owasso, OK.  This began a process that’s taken over a year, 16 months to be exact, mostly due to insurance requirements.  During this time I've had every test you can think of: heart, respiratory, upper and lower GI.  I’ve had a nuclear stress test and a heart catheter.  And I also went through a thorough psychological exam and consult with a psychiatrist.  All part of the process...

   I have come through it all and now have a surgery date set for April 10, 2018, less two weeks away.  Originally it looked like my surgery was going to be late November or December of last year.   I had planned and arranged my work schedule to accommodate and had met all deductibles and out-of-pocket limits for my insurance.  So, if it had been done then I would not have incurred any more expenses on my part...

   Unfortunately, there were some glitches at the Clinic and it kicked my surgery into this year, causing another annual deductible to take effect...   I’m now faced with having to prepay over $4,000 the day I’m admitted for surgery...  I will also need to take a time off work which will leave me with no income for several weeks and there will be post-op expenses, too. I simply don’t have the financial resources at this time...  I had anticipated having this done last November during my slow work season and all deductibles and out-of-pocket limits had been met

    I’m hoping and praying for a small miracle and God to bless me so I can get this done...   I’d like to be around to see my grandchildren someday...

                It’s very difficult for me to ask this; but I could use your help. This operation is very important to me and my son. So much that I feel the success of this operation will get me out of this "Metabolically Obese State" that has caused me to be in a state of exile from a normal life. I long to be like you, my friends, and be able to do physical activities that make life so joyful. 

   Could you possibly offer any size of a donation to help me meet the deductible and expenses that I mentioned above? I would be eternally grateful, and by your assistance, in the near future, you would be able to see the fruits of your donation , by what I pray is a rapid, visible weight loss.

   I am so thankful for you; and will never forget your kindness and generosity in helping me be able to have my surgery…

A little of my history:

     I’m a 61 year old professional musician and have been working my craft for the last 35 years.  I grew up in State College, PA, the youngest of four children. I have a brother and sister still living in Pennsylvania and I lost my brother in California last summer to cancer.

   State College, PA my hometown, is the home to Penn State University.  I went through grade school, junior and high school, and attended Penn State majoring in Hotel and Restaurant Administration...

... I started playing piano at age 6, I also taught myself guitar and drums.  I later taught myself to play bass guitar. In 1980 I decided I wanted to try to pursue music as a full time career.  My focus was and still is playing piano.  I played “multi-keyboards” in bands for several years which gave me the ability to travel extensively.  During that time I performed in over half the US and I worked in the Caribbean and Canada as well.

     I settled with my new wife in Indianapolis and lived there for about 8 years.  During this time I was introduced to the Dueling Piano format.  That has been a game changer for me.  Since 1990 I have worked all over the US in Dueling Piano clubs as an entertainer, trainer, manager, and partner.  I have had the privilege to work on cruise ships and play in Europe as well.

    During this stretch I remarried and in 1991 was blessed with the birth of my son, Chris.  His mother and I split in 1995 and I was given custody of him.  He and I traveled together as I was opening clubs for people all over the US. We relocated many times.  I promised Chris that, no matter what, by the time he was ready to start Junior and High School that we wouldn’t move anymore.  As luck would have it, I was offered a “house job” in Tulsa, OK in 2002.  Chris was about to start 6th grade so we moved from Florida to Tulsa and we’ve made it our home for the last 16 years...  Chris is 26 years old now, a Navy veteran, and currently attending college while working part time in Tulsa.

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Tom Basler 
Tulsa, OK
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