There's one positive thing that's come from Buddy Valastro's devastating hand injury: He’s grown even closer to his wife Lisa.
"My wife has been amazing. She's been a trooper," the Buddy vs. Christmas star, 43, tells PEOPLE in this week's issue. "We're going on 20 years now, and I think that we kind of checked all the boxes. But after you have an injury like this, and your wife helps you dry you out of the shower, that crosses another level."
"You get to really know each other, and love each other and be there for one another,” he continues.
On Sept. 20, as Valastro was fixing the pinsetter in his home bowling alley, his right hand became lodged in the machine and a metal rod impaled his hand multiple times between his ring finger and middle finger. He's undergone three surgeries so far and has been struggling with numbness and limited motion in two of his fingers.
Valastro is grateful not only for the support from Lisa, and their four kids, Sofia, 17, Buddy Jr., 16, Marco, 13, and Carlo, 9, but also from his fans.
"It really touches my heart," says Valastro. "I'm going to be trying to fight and get back to who I was for them."
Viewers have watched the Valastro family for years on their hit show Cake Boss. Now they will get another look at his home life along with his journey to healing for the upcoming two-hour TLC special, Buddy Valastro: Road to Recovery, premiering Dec. 23.
"When we did Cake Boss many years ago, it was my home and my family, but it was really more about my bakery, where I feel like this has my bakery, but it also has my home, my work, and my wife and kids," he says. "It's a different glimpse of who we are. And the thing is you look at where my kids were on Cake Boss, they were babies. And now my daughter's driving. It's crazy."
The show will also touch on whether any of his children will eventually want to take over the family business.
"It's kind of like, 'Hey, guys, does anybody want to do this? How am I going to teach you? I want to teach you from my own two hands, and how much can I still do?'"
Watch Valastro go against craft masters on Food Network's Buddy vs. Christmas, premiering on Sunday, Nov. 22 at 10 p.m. ET/PT — and follow his journey to healing on the upcoming two-hour TLC special Buddy Valastro: Road to Recovery on Wednesday, Dec. 23 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
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