Midwest Physical Therapy Motivating Patients With Care and Education

*Story can be found in Women’s Edition Magazine, May 2018

Midwest Physical Therapy has opened its doors in a new and spacious location, in Suite 200 at 11640 Arbor Street. Owner Cheryl Wisinski is board-certified in women’s health and has been serving patients for more than 30 years. Cheryl specializes in healing pelvic floor issues, including incontinence, pelvic pain, painful intercourse, and other associated symptoms, including back pain that can result from weakness in the core muscles.

Cheryl’s specialization in pelvic issues began when the need arose years ago in her general physical therapy practice. “In my process of seeing women with a sprained ankle or other injury, they would say, ‘I can’t do this exercise because I leak,’” Cheryl notes. At the time, very few institutions offered a specialty or doctoral degree program in the field. Even now, there are only 3,000 specialists in pelvic floor issues in the nation. Of these, roughly 500 are certified, and only two or three of them practice in the state of Nebraska.

The new, larger office space can accommodate 20 to 25 patients per day, but that doesn’t mean they rush you through your appointment. At Midwest Physical Therapy, the staff works hard to dedicate the appropriate amount of time and attention to each patient and to serve their individual needs to the fullest. They always work as a team, meeting regularly to discuss treatment plans for their patients.

A philosophy that Midwest Physical Therapy lives daily is teaching their patients why and how each home exercise will benefit them in the long term. Empowering their patients with the tools they need to take home and heal themselves makes a real difference in a successful recovery. When patients understand why they’re doing each exercise, it makes them more likely to comply with the program, Cheryl says. “We use models and pictures. Half of the first session is teaching the patient about her body—where her bowels are, what her pelvic floor looks like, and how they interact.” Not all physical therapists provide that depth of education, but the staff members at Midwest Physical Therapy feel it’s important to help their patients in this way. “Patients get a lot more benefit,” notes physical therapy assistant Britnee Hoffner.

Strengthening a muscle takes a minimum of six weeks of consistent exercise. Even if patients intend to comply with the program, it can still be a challenge to keep at it. The team at Midwest Physical Therapy understands this hurdle, and they make completing the daily exercises at home as convenient as possible. Cheryl and her team focus on short challenges known as “red light” exercises because they know “no one wants to go home and do 30 minutes’ worth of exercises. We try to make it functional and allow them to fit it into their day.”

After 30 years in her field, Cheryl has gathered multitudes of satisfied patients. Marti Rosen-Atherton says, “When I walked into Midwest Physical Therapy, it was with a cane. I was hardly able to walk. By the end of treatment, I was both pain-free and well-informed about far more than just my ‘traumatized piriformis.’ Because of Cheryl’s thorough and holistic approach to maximizing wellness, I excitedly overcame the limits of 26 years of post-mastectomy lymphedema and other issues that I thought I’d just have to live with. I especially appreciate their affirming philosophy of creating therapist-patient partnerships in healing. It has made a remarkable difference in how I understand and take care of my body.”

It is this kind of success story that makes the work so valuable for Cheryl. “Working with patients with incontinence is so rewarding,” she shares. “Issues like incontinence may prevent people from even leaving their homes.” The team at Midwest Physical Therapy assists with both physical and emotional recovery; they are accustomed to handling sensitive subjects for patients who have had enough of dealing with leakage and other pelvic problems. “People tell us they wish they’d come to us a year ago,” remarks Kareena Torres, another physical therapy assistant.

Though they specialize in women’s pelvic floor issues, the therapists at Midwest Physical Therapy also treat other injuries as well as men with pelvic pain, constipation, and incontinence. In their new, larger space, Midwest Physical Therapy has the room to welcome a massage therapist as well as a dietician into their facility—two more aspects of wellness that help them inspire their patients toward total body health.

Don’t let incontinence hold you back any longer! If you’re experiencing urine leakage, constipation, or pelvic pain of any kind, get in touch with the team at Midwest Physical Therapy. For more information, please call 402-933-8383 or check out midwestpts.com.

CLC Landscapes Putting the “Care” Back Into “Lawn Care”

*Story can be found in Women’s Edition Magazine, May 2018

Corporate Lawn Care was started in 2008 and successfully served primarily corporate clientele. Over the years, as owner and operator Andrew Gangestad branched out into residential clients and other services, he decided to change the name. “‘Corporate Lawn Care’ just didn’t quite broadcast who we were and what we were about,” Andrew says. “I geared it more towards the landscaping side.” CLC Landscapes was born.

With a history of entrepreneurial spirit, Andrew began shaping the mold for what would eventually be CLC Landscapes when he was just a teenager. “I grew up doing this! I had a small business in high school doing residential yards,” he recalls. “I went to college in Lincoln to study horticulture, then came back and started going full-bore from there.” Andrew believes his degree in horticulture gives him an edge over his competitors and enables him to find the landscaping that is truly the best fit for his clients’ individual properties. His expertise in “plant identification, using plant material that is sustainable around the area, being able to use native plants to Nebraska and to the area—that’s all helpful.”

“Our business is about half commercial and half residential now,” Andrew notes. “Much of our business is landscape design, installation, and maintenance.” They are sure to use local vendors and support Omaha’s blooming economy because of Andrew’s heartfelt belief in the importance of small businesses.

To run a successful landscaping business in a four-season climate requires creativity and flexibility. Andrew wears many different hats at CLC Landscapes, and a lot of the change depends on the season. “In Nebraska, the winter is the most unpredictable of all seasons,” he says. “We do a large amount of commercial snow removal for a lot of our landscape maintenance clients, at office buildings, business parks, apartment complexes, and medical buildings. That consumes us for about half of the winter.”

You may be surprised to learn that they also do landscaping—in the winter, in Nebraska! “Yes, we also do a decent amount of landscape work, as well,” Andrew confirms. Last winter, for example, CLC Landscapes completed a large retaining wall project. If the groundwork can be accomplished in a timely manner to avoid the frost, there are certain projects that can be started or even completed during the winter months. In 2017, the company was landscaping until December 20th!

Currently, CLC Landscapes is capable of handling projects of virtually any size. Recently, pools have been a popular addition to properties, as well as outdoor kitchen and fire features that allow homeowners to make better use of their outdoor space.

What sets Andrew and his team apart from other firms is their ability to complete a project with no outsourcing whatsoever. “We are able to go in and do a large-scale project from A to Z and be able to do everything in-house,” Andrew elaborates. “A lot of companies may want to add some outdoor living aspects to a project and will use other vendors or subcontractors. When we get hired on a project, we do everything internally through our company. For example, if we’re working with a pool company on a pool project, we handle the retaining walls, the patio spaces, the fire and water features, the landscape lighting, the irrigation repair, the sodding, the trees—we handle every aspect of the landscaping.” From the homeowner’s point of view, it’s an appealing concept to cut out the hassle of working with multiple project managers. For Andrew and his staff at CLC Landscapes, it makes designing, implementing, and completing an entire project that much more satisfying.

CLC Landscapes has proven their abilities by following through and satisfying their current customers to grow their network in the community. Since their clientele is 80–90 percent referrals, they must be doing it right. “Taking a blank space and being able to transform it is rewarding,” Andrew says, “but I think the thing I enjoy the most about landscaping is working with clients. I go out and meet our clients, I’m working with them through the design process, and I’m also the person they call when they have a concern or a change to make. It’s a very one-on-one experience. I’ve been able to meet and network with a lot of great people in Omaha.”

Whether you’re looking for simple lawn maintenance at your home, dependable snow removal at your business, or a complete landscaping overhaul, Andrew and the crew at CLC Landscapes are ready to meet your needs. For more information on partnering with a comprehensive, locally owned landscaping company, call CLC Landscapes at 402-734-8088. CLC Landscapes is located at 2910 F Street, in Omaha. Find them online at clclandscapesinc.com.

Papio Creek Gems Custom Creations and Beautiful Beads

*Story can be found in Women’s Edition Magazine, May 2018

Kaffi and James MacNabb are the owners and operators of Papio Creek Gems, and they have been in business for over 16 years. Kaffi’s local, family-operated business is an extension of her background in retail and her lifelong passion for jewelry. Customers can rest assured that their jewelry is safe at Papio Creek Gems because it never leaves the store. “We can do everything in-house, from start to finish,” Kaffi shares. She works with her husband and their son, Martin, to design, create, clean, and repair jewelry, all right there in the shop.

One interesting aspect of running a family business is traveling for work—as a family. For years, Kaffi and her family attended trade shows throughout the country to show their wares. One summer, they visited Oregon, California, Minnesota, Colorado, Utah, Texas, and Ohio. Time at trade shows gave their children lots of exposure to beads and gemstones. They would play poker at night and use gemstones as chips, Kaffi recalls. “We even had some rubies in the pot at one point,” she says, smiling.

Currently, the business focuses primarily on gemstones and some costume jewelry. “I will always buy amethyst,” Kaffi says. “The question is only whether it is petite or big.” With new trends and styles coming out all the time, she always has her eye on what is new and exciting. “They discover a new stone, or they figure out a new way to treat the stone that changes the color,” explains Kaffi. She travels regularly to Asia to hand-pick the beads she wants to feature at the shop.

At Papio Creek Gems, they specialize in customized jewelry creation. With custom gem setting, they can deftly individualize all kinds of jewelry, from beaded to wire-wrapped to wedding and engagement rings. If a stone has fallen out of a cherished pendant or ring and has been lost, Papio Creek Gems can custom-cut another stone to fit precisely into the void. Kaffi finds this type of work incredibly rewarding. “When a customer leaves absolutely thrilled with something that we have repaired or created, that’s the good stuff,” she confides.

The team at Papio Creek Gems recently completed a fascinating project. They took a woman’s vintage set of crystal jewelry (earrings, necklace, and bracelet) and broke it down into a brand-new set that she could share with other members of her family. “She had us take it all apart, so everybody could get a piece of this favorite jewelry set,” Kaffi says. “We made a necklace for her, earrings and a pendant for her granddaughter, and eight bracelets for other female relatives.”

Because of their dedication to every piece of jewelry, their customers always walk away satisfied, even when Papio Creek Gems cannot complete their project. If something is beyond their scope, they will gladly recommend another local business. “I encourage people to stay with a locally owned and operated business,” Kaffi asserts. “I’ll send someone to another local store to get what she needs, with the hope that that store will reciprocate. I find that most stores do. I’d rather work with each other than against each other.”

In addition to custom jewelry creation, cleaning, and repair, Papio Creek Gems is also a store that sells gems, beads, and other jewelry-making supplies to hobbyists, individuals who make jewelry for a living, and other jewelry stores all over the country.  “We encourage customers to come in to see, touch, and compare products or bring in unfinished projects to find that perfect something to make it perfect. Colors can change immensely from stone to stone; to see it in person is the best way to compare.”

Papio Creek Gems also offers a variety of classes to teach jewelry makers and hobbyists alike about the fine art of jewelry design. “We can always offer great advice on how to finish something,” Kaffi says. “I think our prices are phenomenal, and our customer service is stellar.” Her customers agree. “I love this store and the owners,” says customer Kathy Winters. “They are always helpful and have beautiful choices for my projects.”

Papio Creek Gems offers local expertise in jewelry design, creation, and repair, as well as providing all the supplies and education you’ll need to start making your own jewelry. Support local business as they support you!

If you are interested in finding out about more of what Papio Creek Gems has to offer, please call 402-935-4367. You can also stop by in person at 3412 South 144th Street, in Omaha. For photos and inspiration, find them on Facebook.

Fleas, Ticks, and Other Maladies How to Protect Your Furry Friends

*Story is in Women’s Edition Magazine, May 2018

Spring is in full swing, and it’s time for pet owners to arm their pets against common dangers like fleas, ticks, rabies, and heartworm. As the sun comes out, so do other animals, and they may bring risks that can endanger the health of your pet as well as the cleanliness of your home.

Fleas love warmth and humidity, so a furry friend is their ideal environment. Females can produce up to 50 eggs in a single day, and these tiny pests can quickly become an issue on a large scale, infesting beds, carpeting, couches, and any other furniture your pet rests on. Females begin laying eggs within 24 hours, so it is essential to stay sharp and act fast.

The cardinal sign of fleas is excessive scratching, which, if left untreated, can lead to sores and skin infections. Adult fleas are typically no larger than a sesame seed, and they can be difficult to detect. One tell-tale sign is the accumulation of flea dirt—that is, the small black droppings left behind in your pet’s coat. Even if the bugs themselves are not obviously present, it is essential to take this as a sign of infestation.

Once you’ve identified the issue, your vet will suggest a treatment and extermination plan based on your pet’s needs and the severity of the infestation. In addition to treating your pet, you’ll need to treat your home by vacuuming carpets and upholstered furniture and frequently washing bedding, clothing, and other surfaces to lift and dispose of any leftover fleas and their eggs (some of which may hatch even after falling off their host).

Ticks are another common issue for dogs and cats. Found in tall grass and undergrowth, ticks can latch onto any animal that enters their vicinity. Dogs will most likely have ticks around their neck and ears or in the folds of their legs. Be sure to check between their toes, too. On cats, ticks typically attach to the neck and face area. Ticks can cause skin irritation, spread infectious disease, and even lead to anemia. This is because an adult tick can absorb up to 100 times its weight in blood!

Heartworm is a disease caused by foot-long worms that occupy the heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels of their host. As a result, infected pets can develop severe lung disease, heart failure, and other ailments. Affecting dogs and cats, wolves, coyotes, foxes, and even people, heartworms are insidious parasites that breed inside the host. Dogs are the ideal carrier for heartworms, and your vet can provide medication to treat your dog.

In cats, however, heartworms usually don’t survive long enough to breed. This sounds like good news, but it means that heartworm disease often goes unnoticed in cats, since they only host a couple of worms. Unfortunately, the medication used to treat heartworm in dogs cannot be used to treat cats, so prevention is the only way to keep your cat healthy. Talk to your vet about heartworm prevention. If your pet shows symptoms like persistent cough, reluctance to exercise, decreased appetite, weight loss, a swollen abdomen, or vomiting, seek help from a veterinarian immediately.

Rabies is one of the most severe viruses a pet can contract, as it affects an animal’s brain and central nervous system. This disease can occur in any mammal, including humans. It is spread through saliva (usually, from a bite from an infected animal) and penetrates through the closest nerve fibers to invade the CNS. Symptoms develop over a few weeks and include fever, seizures, hydrophobia, inability to swallow, irritability, and the classic frothing mouth. Once symptoms appear, however, rabies is nearly always fatal. If you see symptoms like these in your dog, be sure to bring your proof of vaccination to your veterinarian along with the infected animal. Post-exposure treatment is available for humans who are bitten by an animal whose rabies vaccination status is unknown. For pets, the best approach is vaccination. In most municipalities, it is required for pet licensure; check with your veterinarian.

Dental care is a great way to improve your pet’s quality of life. Weekly brushings that remove excess plaque and tartar can mean the difference between a healthy mouth and developing oral issues. Your pet’s teeth should be checked annually by your veterinarian. If your pet has bad breath, has broken or loose teeth, or refuses to eat, call your vet right away. Talk with your veterinarian about treats and foods that are designed to help maintain dental health.

With the right prevention, your pet may be able to avoid health hazards like fleas, ticks, heartworm, rabies, and dental problems. If a problem crops up, your vet can recommend the treatment tactics that are best for your pet’s needs.

Spencer Hawkins: The Bear Whisperer


Spencer Hawkins has encountered bears 24 times in his life.

One encounter happened when he woke up early to fish. Pausing to change his lure, he says, “something felt wrong. I turned over my shoulder, and from where I had just walked, a grizzly bear was walking into the water right at me.” With nowhere to go in deepening river, Hawkins called out for fellow camper Ben Bissell, who immediately came to the rescue, bedecked in nothing but boots, boxer shorts, and a shotgun. Then, the bear picked up a dead salmon from the riverbank and simply walked away.

The vast expanse of nature can be intimidating for some, but for Hawkins, it is his summer home. In the remaining nine months of the year, Hawkins is a counselor at Andersen Middle School. He enjoys telling his students about his travels, enriching their lives with his stories while imbuing them with a respect for nature and its beasts. 

Hawkins’ thirst for adventure started in college, when he and three friends began traveling to national parks in Utah and Montana to rock climb. One friend wanted to fish in the location of the film, A River Runs Through It, which gave birth to their new pastime. This gave way to a rock climbing trip to Devil’s Tower in northeast Wyoming.

The friends’ first big trip to Alaska was prompted by a friend about to enter medical school. They spent 35 days in the wilderness, relying on nothing but each other and their intuition for survival. Hawkins says, “We were really remote, so we had no help. You couldn’t call on your cellphone, we didn’t have anything that worked, so we just relied on each other, caught and ate a lot of fish, moved camp, got rained on, made a fire, and [moved to a] new camp.” Floating down the river for three weeks, the explorers ate only the plants available and fish they caught, which lead to noticeable weight loss.

Fishing has probably made them more attractive to bears. Once, while Hawkins and his travel companions were sleeping, they heard a rustling outside of their tent, and the sound of something rummaging around the surrounding brush. Hawkins, springing from his tent suddenly, saw a 500-pound black bear that had been rifling through the camper’s equipment take off through the forest, snapping trees in half like they were twigs. Luckily, Hawkins recalls, the bear hadn’t found their inflatable raft full of supplies down at the riverbank, which could have easily been destroyed by the massive beast, stranding them in the Alaskan wilderness with no way to call for help. 

Bears aren’t the only animal Hawkins has seen. While cooking freshly caught fish in the dark one night, Hawkins heard noise coming from the other side of the campsite. He shone a flashlight into the woods, where about 10 pairs of glowing eyes stared back at him from behind the foliage. A pack of wolves had come to investigate the culinary aroma. Following a one-minute stare-down that seemed like ten minutes, the winner of the fish supper was the humans.

Hawkins’ days of asking friends to run after a bear in their underwear may be behind him. These days, his trips tend to be more family-friendly, although he continues to frequent national parks.

“When you are rock climbing you have to focus only on what you are doing and the rocks and trees around you. The worries of the world, your everyday life, you don’t have time to worry about.”