IN DEPTH PODCAST: Award-winning reporter tells story of his own paralysis — 'the biggest story of my life'

Mike and Janice Sugerman
Mike and Janice Sugerman Photo credit Courtesy of Mike Sugerman

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Mike Sugerman calls it “the biggest story of my life.”

The award-winning journalist, who has spent the past seven years as a feature reporter for WCBS Newsradio 880, lost the use of his legs earlier this year as a result of an operation to repair a tear in his aorta.

“I was one of the unlucky 5% that we were warned about,” Sugerman said of his heart surgery.

He now gets around using a wheelchair.

His story is part of this week’s WCBS 880 In Depth podcast, which he helped produce.

In the podcast, Sugerman recalls thinking about reporting this story early on in his struggle.

“I was lying in bed in this fog of pain,” said Mike, who won awards for audio and video storytelling. “It’s just part of my nature. It’s what I do. I tell stories, and this was the biggest story of my life really.”

Photo credit Courtesy of Mike Sugerman

These days, Sugerman is learning to navigate life from a wheelchair. He is traveling to Manhattan a couple of times a week to take part in physical and occupational therapy.

He jokes that he’s learning to put his pants on now without the use of his legs.

“The toughest part is when you get it to the waist,” he said. “It could take 45 minutes to get your pants on.”

Sugerman credits some of his resiliency to his wife Janice and her unending support.

“It’s a full time job for her,” said Sugerman. “What happened to me happened to her, except she is my legs now. She’s an angel.”

Janice Sugerman, known by Janice Wright on air at WCBS 880, is a part time news anchor for the station. Both of them have been off the air since Mike’s surgery in late February.

The couple has love and praise for friends, family, caregivers and even random New Yorkers who have helped them along the way these past few months.

“We have seen nothing but kindness,” said Surgerman. “People are so nice to us.”

Photo credit Courtesy of Mike Sugerman

He isn’t sure he’ll ever walk again. His Doctors say the chances are not very good. However, that has not stopped him from pushing ahead in this new life.

Mentors from the Christopher Reeve Foundation are helping him navigate through some of the tough days.

Sugerman said they tell him that a year from now he is likely to say, “I can’t believe where I am from where I was.”

“I’m looking forward to that day and all the days after that,” he said.

Photo credit Courtesy of Mike Sugerman
Featured Image Photo Credit: Courtesy of Mike Sugerman