Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

Introducing a new puppy to a reactive dog

29 Dec

If you read about Whiskey, you will see the struggles we had with him since he came to us. He is our “project dog,” but we love him. He was fine living with our Golden Retriever, Ares, who was already here when Whiskey arrived. Ares passed away in April and by Christmas, we thought we would like another dog in the house. But, would it work? Could we get Whiskey to accept another dog when he is so afraid of and reactive to dogs? Well, we went into this knowing the worst case scenario is that we have to rehome to newcomer but we are going to try our best to get over this hurdle, we have gotten over so many others with this dog! Our new puppy, Mochi, a Samoyed, came to us at 4 months of age. She has been with us 3.5 weeks. Our planned introduction is SLOW SLOW SLOW.

1. First week: we didn’t do too much, just let them out at different times in the house and crated the other, they got used to the smells, etc.
2. Second week: we started counterconditioning (did some in week 1 too), click and treat both dogs when they see each other. At first, Whiskey was very weary and would give Mochi the Border Collie eye and look like he wanted to eat her. At one time, when switching dogs, he got close to her and would have nipped, had I not pulled him away.
3. Third week: Had more time so we did BAT training with him, walk near, click and treat, and walk away. We have them on either side of a gate, focused on getting treats from me but could easily see each other.
4. Fourth week: We moved to a couple new things this week, play is very motivating for Whiskey, so we had him chasing a ball in the house with Mochi on leash nearby and both could see each other. We then moved it outside, Mochi was just tied to a tree (with a long line) and Whiskey was on leash, playing ball. We then even went to taking Whiskey off leash, but he had the ball to distract him and he ignored her (even though he was free to charge her if wanted). We had an ecollar on as a backup but never needed it. We followed that with him and her together outside near each other (on leash) and just being relaxed. We will keep trying to get a little closer as we hope to convince him that she is not going to hurt him.

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Review of Enloe High School Wake County Magnet School

24 Oct

Are you thinking about Enloe high school for your child? There are so many glowing reports, right? Well, I am going to give an honest good and bad review of the school.

1. This is really good – teacher quality overall seems very good, better than the average my kids have experienced at other schools.
2. There is a lot of arts for kids to take classes in: Theater, Dance, Visual Arts, Band, etc.
3. They have a great Computer Science 4 year program (IF your child can get a spot…)
4. They offer a lot of AP classes with quality AP instructors.
5. The school has great diversity with a mixture of multiple races: Asian (including Chinese and Indian), Hispanic, White, Black
6. The school offers many different foreign languages, not just 2 or 3.

1. Your child will live and breathe school work – for some that may be a plus, for me, I believe in balance and my child spends too much time on academics
2. The school is competitive, not directly but more indirectly because teacher expectations are so high and the student body is a high achieving student body, it puts pressure on kids
3. There is not a lot of choice in classes – students HAVE to pick all these alternatives (some they may not even really want but are forced to pick a certain number of alternatives) and if put in one of those alternatives, they CANNOT ask for a change to other classes.
4. There is very little flexibility in scheduling and in the school in general because it is so overcrowded.
5. Courses like C&C which high achieving students will be encouraged to take will grade very harshly and on things such as the ability to cut other students off in seminar circles and if your student doesn’t have the right personality for that, well, too bad, they do poorly. They also will give an outrageous amount of work to students, freshman C&C is more like a 200 level college course than a high school freshman course – students can gain a lot from it but they will WORK for it.
6. Your student may choose to attend the school for a specific program like computer science and then not get a spot in the class.
7. If your child isn’t a “star” in areas of theater, etc. they may never get a chance to explore and grow by being on stage in a production (or so I have been told).
8. I have emailed my child’s counselor twice and never get a response, I have emailed the principal about an issue and he never got back to me, so parent communication is not a high priority.
9. There have been guns brought to school, “death lists” created, and staff has not done a good job of making parents feel secure about how these issues are handled.

My kid has friends so she wants to stay, for now, we will but we have had better experiences at other schools. In fact, we liked Southeast Raleigh Magnet HS a lot, it had problems too but we found ways around those issues by using dual enrollment instead of AP classes (their AP teachers were terrible) – I hope this review helps people know both the good and the bad about the school.

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Oral Conscious sedation dentistry … what is it really like?

08 Oct

I am not ashamed to admit that I have a phobia involving my mouth, teeth, and throat area.  Because of this, I avoid certain things.  Vomiting scares the crap out of me and I run from vomiting children, yes, even my own…., I panicked through a neck ultrasound that was done, and I avoid the dentist.

So, after escaping two years, I started feeling a pain I couldn’t ignore so I went in.  One of my front teeth need a root canal and crown.  Another nearby needed two fillings.  On top of that two theeth were slanted poorly, causing food to collect often that would soon lead to future problems.  So, I decided to be proactive this time in hopes of saving me more work later, I would just get four crowns on my four front teeth.and the bad one would also need a root canal.  The insurance will pick up a piece but I will be stuck with a lot because they don’t do preventative measures in these cases.

The thought of going through 4 crowns with 1 root canal seems horrible to me, so I am doing conscious sedation.  I hope it works!  The plan is no food or drink after midnight tomorrow.  Tuesday morning, I wake at 7am and take 2mg of Lorazapam.  Hubby drives me in and doctor assess if I need more meds.  Then we start…I will blog about how it goes and feels afterwards… even if I am still high on drugs and then make a,more,coherent version after… wish me luck… TO BE CONTINUED…



Your kids about to drive… how can you keep them safe? Cars to consider

08 Jul

My son got his permit at age 15, fast forward a year, he barely drives.  He doesn’t really want to drive and isn’t very good at it.  Six mnths later, we realize we need to get him driving more.  We increase the frequency but still, no one feels good about it.  More time ticks away and now we are down to a few months before the start of school.  He HAS to drive by the end of the month.  He has no transportation to his college classes from his high school.  We start driving daily.  He drives in our car.  It has a blind spot warning, which I love and precollission warning and breaking.  But, the car is big, hard to park, and doesn’t have other safety features I wanted.  So I started showing around.  I wanted to spend under $20k and it had to have:

  1.  Lane keep assist, this will beep if you leave your lane
  2. Steering Assist, this steers you back into your lane if you go out
  3. backup camera
  4. pedestrian brake assist, will brake automatically if radar spots pedestrian
  5. high speed and low speed break assis – if you are going to crash, car will notify you and auto brake (may just slow you down so your crash isn’t as hard or completely stop you, depending on speed)
  6. blind spot detection mirrors can be installed ($650)
  7. adaptive cruise control, car auto brakes based on distance between cars and set speed

The 2017 Toyota Corrola LE met these goals and came in just over $18k when all costs are added in plus 8 years of oil change package I bought.

The car was sporty look, we got white with grey inside.  It gets decent gas mileage, it drives well for a lower end car.  And most importantly it was the only car I could find with all the safety options on a low end car.  Many other models were missing one of the things on my list, they might have all but no,adaptive cruise control or another might have a funky blind spot camera for one mirror but not he other.  Or the cars didn’t have steer assist or they wouldn’t auotbreak in all settings.

So, this we think is he safest affordable car out there and my son will be trying for his license this month in his new Toyota Carolla.

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Tips for rehabbing a fear aggressive dog- Solid K9 please help!

04 May

We started with a severe case of fear aggression in an 8 week old full bred border collie pup.  He was fearful of everything, he was weary of playing, he was unsure of our other dog, he growled at half the people in the family such as the two young girls and one son. He would growl at every stranger he saw and he didn’t like to be held or touched.  At a dog park, he stayed with his big brother at first and did okay but as he got more afraid, he started getting aggressive and started attacking the other dogs.  We tried him with a muzzle and he muzzle slammed them.  We had people try to pet him with his muzzle on and he would try to bite them. Off leash he would stay with us but started venturing further out to scare away the bad guys, barking and showing teeth.  One man just laughed since he just a puppy and I came and got him but a child got scared and ran and that made him run after him and nip his leg.  Nothing too major but it made things clear to us, he needed help!

We hired 3 different trainers.  Fired the first one on the first day.  The second one was an e collar trainer and he went to a board and train but he took a very harsh stance and Whisky is very fearful, so harshness breaks trust so although we learned somethings, he regressed because he was too heavy handed for his temperament.  The third trainer was a positive trainer, she didn’t do e collars but we encorperated what she taught us that heled his anxiety, that was working, along with what was working with the ecollar to find a mix that seemed to work for him.  We used it lightly for small things and use it for big things that were serious at medium but not use it for every command that he would follow anyway without the collar anyway.  Too much collar causes great anxiety for him, so overuse is a problem for him but used correctly for him, it is a great tool.

We work on densenitisizing him to many things that triggered him, one at a time and on obedience at the same time.

  1.  Easily crate trained
  2. when guests come over, he will want to go to door but will go to bed on command.
  3. sleeps by self in gated area near open crate
  4. will wait for dinner politely if asked
  5. will take turns pulling meat off  a bone with his brother while I hold it
  6. can take any food from him
  7. will play ball with strangers (wouldn’t when young, was too afraid of them)
  8. Ignores people on walks (barked and lunged when young)
  9. can ignore people in house IF I can trust they will ignore him(most people I don’t trust the people, they think they know better), so we crate or gate him 90% of time
  10. cant have people touch him, big no, will bite.  Not too hard but enough… after he has bonded with someone consistently for a few months, he will approach them and make it clear, they can touch, he might climb in their lap.  He loves touch from us.
  11. he will do touch games for treats with strangers
  12. dogs are a big trigger, on a walk, he will ignore 75% of time unless other dog initiatiates.
  13. dogs walking by his yard, set him off big time, he can be called away, if alone, will usually listen on first call, if his brother is out there barking (brother never listens), he won’t listen until 4th call.  I reward every time.  If collar is on, he comes right away.  He will distract himself from the stress by bringing us a ball or frisbee to throw.  It is all anxiety.
  14. if a dog comes to edge of gate, He will try to bite him and goes crazy.  Harder to call him off, collar I can on high, words, not until up to six tries or if I throw a ball.
  15. His brother is a huge instigater, he acts much better when his brother is not out there but we don’t have control over brother, old sick dog, didn’t do well with e collar.
  16. He can chase our cats, getting better.  Cats mostly stay upstairs and dogs stay down.  Sometimes cat decides to come down, dog rushes cat, 95% dog listens and I call him and he listens and cat runs up stairs, once he caught cat.  We separated them, no damage done to either.  He also chases bunnies that he could catch but chooses to,run slow,because he likes the chase and doesn’t really want the catch part.
  17. Goals:  Trust him consisting with people (but that means trusting people to follow his rules, no look, no talk, no eye contact, and NO Touch, and no fast movements)which may not be realistic?
  18. Goals:  Get him conditioned to,accept other dogs, he lives with one fine now and he likes,to play, he just needs trust and coping mechanisms, but how,do,we get there, saw videos but I don’t have access to calm beta dogs to practice with…
  19. Goals:  be able to take a vacation again!! please!  Everyone says kill the dog, but we love him.

would love to hear from Jeff Gellmen at


Mathematics- the best curricular approach, why was it so hard to think of?

08 Apr

This is going to be a multi-part post outlining a very intuitive but common sense approach to making math work for ALL students in our schools.

It requires some flexibility and learning to do things differently but will be the solution to mathematical success for our country.

Step 1:  what are your goals?  Before you can meet an expectation, you need concrete measurable goals.  I would suggest that each state set these up in order but not by grade level, just sequentially.

** Example:  Learn to understand the meaning of fractions, when fractions are appropriate, how to do arithmetic with fractions (multiply, divide, add, and subtract).  Along the way learn skills that are needed to teach these skills like LCM and credits cross cancellation.  Have student solve and write one and two step problems that use fractions.  Do applications with fractions like altering a recipe.   Students should test at 90% before they leave their his unit.

Each unit builds on old skills, can incorporate old skills and includes applications.  Each unit stands on its own and students do not progress until they pass each unit with 90% or better.  They also should have regular mixed reviews, they must pass to show hey are retaining old information.

Each Math grade is marked by what level you are in:

you can move as fast or slow as needed and those who struggle will have a smaller ratio of teachers to students to help them.  Students further along can get extra pants by helping those who need it.

  • Sampe School


(form sake of ease, lets have 8 students)

Students 1,2 are at about same level and are working at level 1, they work on counting to 10 and matching quantity to the numbers.  They also learn about symbolic addition and subtraction and subtraction with stories of there were 2 cookie, mom baked 3 more and put them on the plate, now there are 5 cookies on the plate.  The OR Amy had 4 cookies, her friends ate 2, now she has 2 cookies left.  Fnally, the learn about counting by 2 and exploring what even means.  They also learn and match core shapes and discuss how many sides they have.They do many hands on and teacher directed activities related to these concepts.  Some are concept build and some will be tested.  They practice for the tested skills.  Can they match quantity with number?  Can they count to 10? Can they tell which number is even ? And can they match a number sentence to a story problem read to them?

Another 3 students can already do all that or do it so quickly, they are moved to level K2.  In this group, students have to explore numbers from 11-15.  They have to learn to count by 2’s to 20.  They begin to do addition and subtraction with the numbers 0-5.   They also have to match it to stories.  They study odd numbers.

Another 2 students are in K3, here they count to 100.  They count by 10’s and by 5’s to 100.   They look at the numbers 1-100 if even or odd.  They add and subtract with 0-9 digits and with two digit number where you don’t carry.  They introduce the idea of place value.

The last student is smart enough that she is doing grade 1 math in kindergarten, so she in in Level 1 math.  She learns place value for thousands, hundreds, tens, ands, ones.     She starts writing bigger numbers, she learns how to exchange for place value and the difference  between states c and dynamic addition.  She also applies this to subtraction.  She starts looking at data and graphing.  She can now count by 2,3,5,and 10 and they investigate the patterns of 9’s.  She leans to apply her knowledge to real world problems and think of problems where she might need her math skills.  All of these skills are tested and she stays at this level until she has 90% mastery.

First Graders may find that they did not finish all of the K goals and may not start at level 1 or they may be ahead and may be doing much higher level work.  No levels, except for the K levels are associated with a grade and a K student doesn’t have to finish the K levels after leaving K.


once all the levels are determined, the goal will be that all students take four full years of math and meet the minimum of finishing the highest level which will equal 90% mastery of Algebra 1,2, and Geometry/Statistics/Finance blend for graduation, with a prorated number of levels required for grade promotions in between.

College bound students are enoured to finish all levels and one additional courses beyond such as PreCalc, Discrete Math, Or statistics.

STEM students are encouraged to finish all levels plus pre Calc, Calc AB, Calc BC, and if possible AP Stat.

The difference with this and the current plan is that it breaks Math into small pieces and goals with required mastery of that area before moving on.  The focus becomes quality, not quantity.  I would rather graduate an A student in Math 1-3 than  D/F student in Math 1-4.





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AP courses: Has the teacher prepared your student for the exam? A guide for parents and teachers

15 Jan

AP, or advanced placement classes are a great way to challenge students academically and for them to earn college credit while in high school.  In order to get credit, the college must accept AP credit and the student must score high enough.

Question:  Why doesn’t my child’s school accept AP credit?  There can be many reasons but one reason is that the AP course is not rigorous enough to equal the college class at that college.  For example, Calculus BC does not go very deep in its curriculum and an engineering student relying only on what he or she learned in an AP class would be behind their peers who took the college class at a competitive engineering school.  Examples include AP Calc BC only has students do a few basic integration techniques and typical Calc 2 classes add more techniques and go deeper into the ones the AP Calculus teach, for instance,  the AP class just introduces like partial fractions while colleges goes into partial fractions in many different forms.

Even if the college a student is attending accepts the credit, a student may find that he or she has gaps that will have to be filled in even if he or she scored a 5.   However, most students in that situation would be capable of the self learning needed to fill in the gaps. However, I would be hesitant with a 3 or a 4 in such a situation.

As for the courses themselves, we want students to be successful.  There are many times where the course is not a prerequisite for future courses and getting that credit allows a student to take other classes instead or take a lighter load or even graduate early.  So, what do we look for in a teacher who is successfully preparing students to get strong AP scores.

First, we want them to be familiar with the curriculum and the test.  They need access to both the test questions and sample scoring.  They should have questions (both multiple choice and free response) that go with each unit so that as students work through a unit, they get practice with questions from old AP exams.  The teacher should be going over these questions with students and having students practice free response questions on their own.  The teacher should then have students award points as they pick through the things graders will be looking for to award points.  In English, essays should be graded and students should have class discussions on why certain scores were awarded and what was missing should be used as teaching examples.  In English, there are some great resources that show what essays deserve what level points and why, this should be part of the lesson.  In math and science, making sure the intermediate steps, units, significant digits, etc. are visible are important.

Each unit should be divided into time to learn the material and time to review and practice the material with an eye to how the test assesses you.  The exams for the student can then be all AP questions (mix of multiple choice and free response) or at least 50% AP questions and 50% teacher made questions that help students further retain important material (remember, testing can be a method of learning if done right, not just assessment).

I would make the same recommendation for the final to teachers. Choose a variety of years rather than the most recent test as students might just study that.

Parents, if your child is in an AP class and has not been consistently doing AP problems, i.e. the teacher is not using an optimal approach, you will need to take matters into your own hands.  Get a couple different prep books from the beginning of the course, have your child work problems that match what the teacher is covering, if they can’t, get a tutor.  Better to take care of things now then try and cram at the end when there is not enough time to change things.  Look online, there are many old tests available.  Three weeks before the AP exam, your child should be practicing full AP tests, correcting them, finding mistakes, and taking another.


Tom took AP chem at a school with a teacher who wasn’t the best.  He did do some practice problems from AP exams so his parents thought it would be ok as he was getting an A.  However, the teacher moved too slowly and only covered 3/5 of the curriculum and by the time his parents realized this and started sending him to a,tutor to learn the material he wasn’t going to get to, there wasn’t enough time.  He scored a 2 on the AP exam.

Sandy took AP Calc AB with a teacher who never taught it before.  Her teacher never had them do any practice AP problems and also got behind in teaching.  Sandy’s parents got her a tutor right away and kept her one step ahead of the class and had her practice AP and CLEP practice problems.  When her teacher ran out of time and skipped over all the importance applications that Sandy knew would be on the AP exam, she and her Mom decided to study for the CLEP test and switch to taking Calculus at the community college rather than continue taking AP Calc BC with this teacher.  Sandy feels that the kids who were in her class will not be prepared at all for the material on the AP exam.

Jeff took AP Physics 1 at his high school.  His school did not offer the Calculus based AP Physics C class but he decided to start with AP Physics 1.  Like Sandy’s teacher, Jeff’s teacher never once gave them an AP question.  She rarely gave them tests and instead assign projects, he didn’t even have labs.  He skipped class a lot since most of the time his teacher did nothing, despite this being an AP class.  He never even had homework.  He scored an A without an effort but saw no point in taking the AP Physics 1 exam, instead, Jeff bought two Physics books, a college text and an AP Physics C prep book.  He is spending his time learning to link and expand the physics he did learn in Physics 1 and the Calculus he knows and is planning on taking the AP Physics C test instead this spring.

Sam took AP computer science online.  His teacher had the write programs every day.  He had quizzes every week and the quizzes were AP computer science questions.  Each test was AP multiple choice questions and the midterm and final had both AP multiple choice and AP free response questions as well.  He also had a homework assignment with AP free response questions. So, when it came time for Sam to take the AP test, he had already had lots more of practice.  Sam scored a 4 on the AP exam and will get college credit.

Chris took AP environmental science, his teacher had them write answers to free response questions from old AP tests in class all the time. Her exams were also a mix of AP questions.  Before he took the exam, Chrismtoo, had a lot of practice and he scored a 4 on the exam.

Cara dexided to self study for AP English Composition.  She bought a prep book and studied all the literature terms and practiced the multiple choice.  She felt comfortable with her score there and focused more on her essays.  She learned about each type you have to write and read examples of good ones and why they were good and then looked at bad ones and why they were bad.  She would practice each type a couple of times with her parents offering feedback based on what other had written in her book.  It only too 3 weeks to a good handle on this t and she scored a 4 on the test.

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What to know before you consider a tummy tuck / Adominoplasty

22 Feb
  •  This is a very difficult surgery.
  • Don’t compare it and how well you did in other surgeries.
  • Don’t listen to your friend , Sally, who was at work in one week and running in 5 weeks. Everyone is different.
  • Know the different ways the surgery can be done, drainless, drains, or quilted with small drains.
  • Know the doctor really well, make sure you are comfortable with his practices if the worst happens. Ask him, if I have complications, how often will you see during those times.  how will I know what complications to look for? How often can I call or text or see you if I am having problems?
  • Ask about scar revisions and how those work.
  • Read all paperwork and make sure you know the risks, what they mean, what to look for, what will happen, how they fix them, etc.
  • After your surgery, your surgeon can have very different ideas of care than other doctors.  It is wise to trust your gut and get second options if needed.  RealSelf is a great resource.
  • Understand what is being done.  How long is the surgery.  What other procedures will be done, for example, lipo and where?
  • Know what to expect after surgery.  Will the lipo areas hurt and be bruised.nnhow how long does that last?  Should it swell?  How long?  What happens if I fell a lumpy area or squishy area or a really hard area?  What if I have certain types of pain that are different from the regular pains.
  • If I need wound care, how often are you going to see me?  Can I text whenever something worries me?

Before re getting a TT know that this is a BIG surgery.  Expect 2-4 weeks down and then slowly building recovery from there.  Everyone is different, some heal faster, some even slower.  You also don’t know who will have wound issues.  You need good home care and support.

Things to buy are:

  1.  A walker, it will save your back
  2. lip balm
  3. books or music or movies but stuff to do while hanging out bored
  4. eventaully need scar cream, I like Mederma advanced scar gel.
  5. you also should have a shower chair
  6. you also might like coconut oil to massage stomach with and can use on the scar.
  7. throat lozenges (you don’t want to cough)
  8. protein for healing
  9. zinc, vit c, and bromelein for supplements


Know now things like that you are most likely getting a vag lift … This means, your pubic hair line goes up to your scar now and you have a lot more hair than before.  It also repositions the vaginal opening so sex feels different.  The angles are off, it takes some getting used to.

Know that your mons pubis area can get quite swollen and look distirbing.

Know that many people have belly button problems.  Swelling can last for a long time.  It gets the worst between weeks 3 and 8 and then starts to get better but you still get swelling at the end of the day or after exercise,

Read my post on wound care, look at the photos, this happens to people, could you deal with it if it was you?  I liked drainless but drains may have saved me from all my wound problems, so I don’t know. Ideally, I would want a quilted approach with 1 small drains at the flap.

There is tightness, numbness, healing, etc issues to think about.  It really take at least one year to recover, that is a long time.  At 2 months now, I still have some swelling, lots of swelling at my open wound, I have one wound still open and another closed, I have a belly button trying to heal, and I have a ton of tightness in my lower stomach.  I also have hard scar tissue forming in large areas near the scars that are painful.  It is less flexible and will throbb.

It it is a big surgery. More than just, yeah, let’s go get my stomach flat today.  Good luck with your choice.  Most women don’t regret it but do wish they were better informed about what to expect.





Caring for and packing an open wound

22 Feb

Wound Healing Tips:  Photos / Images of wound healing over time


You can get an open wound from many different reasons, in the end however, we are all dealing with the issue of how to get it to heal quickly.  Many wounds come from surgery when an incision does not stay close or there is tissue death, necrosis, that must be managed. It can also come from an infection.  My wound came from a seroma of fluid putting pressure on my incision and therefore, causing it to open.

I will give advice in general and in story mode based on what happened to me.  Your wound could be any size.  It will have a length, width, and depth.   It also might tunnel through closed layers of the skin and have a width with in the tunnel.  What matters most is knowing the dimensions so you can measure progress.  My wound was about 2 inches long, 1 inch wide, and 6 inches deep in a tunnel that had a diameter of about an inch.  It was pretty big.   Suggestion: Measure and record your wound size.

Initially, my wound looked terrible, it had black stuff in it (pic 1) and it was unhealthy looking.  It actually needed something called debridement.  This gets rid of unhealthy tissue so new tissue can grow.  The doctor felt around with a long Qtip and packed with wet gauze and saline.  Later, I had to replace the gauze and do this twice per day.  This action does help slowly debride the wound but better and faster methods can be used such as lightly scraping with a scalpel or using Medihoney, which I eventually used and this helped debride the wound very well.


Wound needs debridement – pic 1

Wet to dry dressings

Wet to dry dressings pic 2


I have a video link on YouTube that shows me doing the wet to dry packing of the wound.  Remember that this is a deep hole, so it is like a magic trick of disappearing scarves. The link is at

When doing these wet to dry dressings, I would have to cover the wound up with something (the dry part of wet to dry dressings) to catch all the fluid.  It was a mix of exudate and serous fluid.  In the beginning, there was a lot of it.  I would cover it with a maxi pad or even two at night and stick them to the side of my underwear to hold them in place.


First two weeks not doing much, pic 3

For the first two weeks, the wound only got bigger.  It was looking healthier but it did not get smaller at all.  You see in pic 3 that it didn’t do much but by pic 4, the skin is pinker and healthier but the size looks a little bigger.

Once we saw the healthy smooth, red granulation tissue, we knew that healing could start taking place.  I would intermittently use regular saline gauze and the gauze with the Medihoney on it as you saw me do in the video.  I also purchased Medihoney  rope so I could completely pack it with Medhoney.  It was about $60 for the rope,and about $16 for each tube of the paste.  I bought on Amazon.  They sell all kinds of Medihoney products.  The gel and paste are similar but the gel is thicker, I found the paste worked best for putting on a gauze before packing.  The rope is long sheets of honey on a gauze-like alginate that you pack directly with and the honey melts into the wound and then you pull out the gel piece after a day or two.  Read all the benefits of Medihoney and you will be impressed.  It speeds healing, decreases pains, gets rid of infection, and helps keep you from getting an infection.  After 2 weeks of wet dry packing and Medihoney, I started feeling the wound tighten on the inside. Read the rest of this entry »


Can a tummy tuck help my back pain?

20 Feb

Photos from before and after at end of post.

There are a few studies that show an Abdominoplasty or tummy tuck has helped improve back pack in some patients but most evidence is subjective.  If you ask a plastic surgeon, they will tell you it might happen but not to count on it.  I felt strongly that a tummy tuck, specifically the muscle repair was going to provide me relief.  The reason was based on my specific back pain issues.

As I began searching for the causes of my back pain, I kept coming back to a couple of things.  My pain was a lot of musculoskeletal pain from being out of alignment. I would joke that I was a car that just needed a front end alignment, you know what, I was right and didn’t even realized it for a long time.  My legs were off so I walked with a wobble, this set everything else off and my hips were off, my knees hurt, my legs hurt, and most of all my back hurt.  Doctors would tell me that I had to use my core more to hold up my back.  One PT had me tighten my core, to be honest, I couldn’t find my core.  There was nothing to tighten because the muscles were so separated that they didn’t work.  I don’t know why any of these doctors or specialists couldn’t see the big picture and say, hey, your abdominal muscle separation is causing you a huge problem or at least, if your muscles were repaired, your core would be able to support your back so much better. I really had almost no core support and on top of that I was forward heavy.  You know how women with very large breasts get breast reductions to help with back pain, well, all my insides were essentially herniating between my separated abdominal muscles and pushing out giving me this giant belly that caused all this forward weight on me and ruined my posture, hurting my back.  I may have looked like I had a fat stomach but my weight told a different story.  I wasn’t that overweight.  And after I had the surgery, if it had been fat, my stomach would have remained rounded and it didn’t. It just needed everything pulled back behind the abdominal wall.

After looking at my situation:

  • Posture is terrible, leads to pain
  • Posture can be fixed with less weight pushing forward from belly
  • Weight is reasonable so bulge is most likely from ab muscles not holding organs back
  • Cant get any contraction of core muscles now
  • Doctors stress tight core will really help my pain

It seemed to me that I could medically benefit from a tummy tuck / admomhinoplasty with muscle repair.  Could I get insurance to cover it?  Maybe but doubtful.  It would take so much work and effort and even if they found it medically necessary for me they don’t want to,set a precedent so they would probably deny for that reason alone.  I cared more about my health than fighting an insurance company so we just paid out of pocket.

Results?  It has only been two months so the jury is still out.  I have noticed a significant difference in my posture. I have core strength that I did not have before.   My body is adjusting to the new posture and I feel changes.  My right knee used to hurt, now my left knee hurts, but hopefully that means I am putting more even pressure on my joints.  My hip pain and back pain is currently down 40%.  That might change as I am dealing with complications from the surgery and have open wounds and scar pain right that hurt more than the back, so I haven’t been able to fully cut back on meds to see if I can go lower because I need them for the wound pain right now.  In another 6 months (or a year at most) I hope to have this wound and scar stuff fixed and can better evaluate the original pain.  However, so far I am very encouraged.  I also look much nicer now that my abs hold back my other organs.

stomach protrudes

stomach protrudes


abs now hold in all organs, only a little fat, lost 10 pounds after surgery

abs now hold in all organs, only a little fat, lost 10 pounds after surgery