Friday, April 29, 2011

♫ Music ♫

I love music! I've been listening to my iTunes on shuffle for the past two hours with the White Sox game on mute. As long as I can remember I have always loved listening to music whether it was "Oldies 104.3" with my mom in the car, classic rock with my dad, Spice Girls and Nsync CDs (my brother called them N-stink and 98-disease for 98 Degrees), or my Ipod while I'm driving with the windows down. I really like to learn the correct lyrics for songs and I love when songs have meaningful lyrics (that's a whole other post though on lyrics I love). I never really liked country music growing up, but it's definitely grown on me and I will admit that I love it now! I am VERY excited to go to Country Thunder with my friend Karissa in July!!!
Currently, some of my favorite people to listen to include:
Rascal Flatts -- They're the group with the most songs on my Ipod! :) I've seen them at least twice in concert and will see them again this summer.
Taylor Swift -- Her latest CD is amazing! Saw her in concert when she was opening for Rascal Flatts and she was pretty good. She was just starting out and I didn't know her songs too well, but I love her now.
Lady Antebellum -- Wonderful. I'll be seeing them this summer for the first time.
Keith Urban -- He's beautiful and so is his voice. I would LOVE to see him in concert one day.
Carrie Underwood -- Great concert performer :)
Zac Brown Band -- One of my new favorites, awesome voices. I'll be seeing them this summer also!

Non-country favorites:
Jason Mraz -- Love his music and he puts on a great concert!
Maroon 5 -- Adam Levine is sexy and has a beautiful voice!
John Mayer -- more of his older stuff --I've seen him twice in concert
Michael Buble -- I'd love to see him in concert, it's great dancing music.
Jack Johnson -- "Better Together" was our wedding song
Steve Miller Band -- Good classic rock
Lucky Boys Confusion -- What I'm listening to right now
Nsync -- Yes, I still listen to them! Saw them when I was in 7th grade on their No Strings Attached tour.
Sara Bareilles -- Don't have much of her music, but I love her voice.

As I mentioned before, I love singing in the car - it's definitely one of my favorite activities! :-) Whenever a song comes on that I know, I just have to sing; I can't help it, even if I don't really like the song. I also really like to listen to a song on repeat several times if I'm trying to learn the lyrics or if it's really powerful to me. I love playing music really loud and singing along. This is why concerts are amazing because you can sing as loud as you can and no one can hear you! My friend Catie and I used to find songs that we love with really sweet lyrics and play them for each other while we would "soak" in the lyrics. We would always say to each other, 'you just have to soak this song in'. I'll have to do another post or two soon with some of my favorite lyrics/songs; there will be a lot! I'm open to new music, so please feel free to share some of your favorites! :)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Doctor Visits 101

I had my doctors appointment today and it went pretty well, but before I go into more detail, here is some vocabulary and medical terms to help when I go into more detail. 
PFT - Pulmonary Function Test - A series of usually 3 breathing tests to assess my lung function.
FVC - Forced Vital Capacity - Measures the amount of air exhaled when lungs are full to when they're empty.
FEV1 - Forced Expiratory Volume - Measures the amount of air you can forcefully blow out in the first second of the FVC (
Chest X-ray - I get these to see how much mucus is built up in my lungs - I'll have to see if I can get a digital copy of one to show you.
Blood work - I get blood drawn annually to check my vitamin levels. When I was younger, I never took my vitamins and my levels were very low, but now I am taking them everyday thanks to my lovely pill organizer. Seriously, if I didn't get one, it would make taking all of my vitamins and other oral medications so much more difficult! (People with cystic fibrosis have a hard time absorbing nutrients and vitamins, so I am on a high-calorie diet and take lots of vitamins -A, D, E, and K- to maintain my health and weight.)

Having cystic fibrosis means that I need to see a CF specialist every three to four months to make sure that my lungs (and everything else) are doing well and that I'm staying healthy. When I was younger and in the children's clinic, I only had to go to the hospital for my appointments once a year to get all of my major testing done including my blood work, PFTs and a chest x-ray. My dad used to call this my "thousand-mile check up" because I had to go to the University of Chicago Medical Center in Chicago which was at least an hour away -without traffic - from where we lived. For the other appointments in the year, I was lucky enough to only have to go to a small clinic which was about 30 minutes away and not in the city. 
Now, I still see my doctor (and nurses!) every three to four months, but I am part of the adult clinic and have been since I turned 18. Since the number of patients in the adult clinic is much smaller than the pediatric clinic, I have to go into Chicago for every appointment, even if it's just to see the doctor. It takes me about an hour and a half from where we're living now, with no traffic, and it's about 150 miles round-trip. Today at the doctor, I didn't have to get any major tests do so I thought I'd be in and out, but of course I had to wait forever. I arrived about 45 minutes early because I never know how much traffic I'm going to run into driving into Chicago, so I always give myself an extra hour. 

Here's today's PFT results:
FVC: 2.98 L/second, or 76%, FEV1: 2.61 L/second, or 82%
This is pretty good, the number I usually look at is the FEV1 or the 82% which to me is a B-.

Last doctor's visit on December 9th, my FVC was 4.43 (113% = A++!) and FEV1 was 2.72 (86% - solid B). 

So I obviously decreased which I'm not happy about but I kind of expected, but I'm also getting over my nasty chest cold and I'm on antibiotics so I'm really hoping the next appointment will be a lot better. My last doctors appointment, I was very excited about my results and that's where I'd like them to be so I just need to keep kicking my butt and making sure I'm doing my treatments twice a day and coughing as much as possible to get everything out. I am planning on starting to exercise (which I should be doing, but I'm too lazy) this summer, so hopefully that will also help.
Hopefully this gives you a better understanding of why my doctor appointments are so important and why I do my treatments...and how much one chest cold can affect my lung function. I am always curious to know what "normal" people's PFT results would be just to see how I compare. 
Well, that's all for now. Tim's waiting for me to finish writing this so we can go bring some garage sale stuff to his aunt and uncle's house...he's reading over my shoulder waiting for me! :-) 

Saturday, April 23, 2011


A lot has been going on in the past couple of weeks. We finally got our sublease taken care of! It was a lot of back and forth between the person who was taking it over, but it got finalized this morning. Even though they were 40 minutes late (huge pet peeve of mine!), everything was signed and the keys were handed over! We now only have one HEALTHY place to live and one rent payment to worry about. :-)
We've also been doing a lot of work around the house lately, trying to get settled in. We did a little bit of yard work, but mostly worked inside. Shelves have gone up, more boxes have been unpacked and as of yesterday, we started painting. Our landlord said that we can pretty much do whatever we want in the house (as long as we don't paint the walls black), so we are pretty lucky. We painted the living room yesterday and are planning on painting the bedroom and office/dining room soon. It was a lot more work than I thought it was going to be yesterday, but the living room looks great; we both really like it!

In other news, I have my first job interview this coming Friday. I am very excited, but also very nervous because I've never interviewed before and this could be the only interview I get for a job for the fall. The school that I am interviewing at is about two hours away from where we are living, so that definitely has increased discussion between Tim and I. We finally found a place to live that we both really like, that we're settling into, and then I get an interview two hours away. I applied in that area because a lot of Tim's family lives near there and I thought I would just widen my search for a job - not thinking I'd actually get an interview! But just because I have an interview, doesn't mean that I am going to be offered the job. I don't know how many people they are interviewing, or if this is even just a screening process, so we'll see. I'll hopefully know more next weekend after my interview. Wish me luck!
Health-wise, I haven't been feeling the greatest lately. The week after the Great Strides walk, the temperature dropped and the following weekend it was snowing! I don't really know if weather changes can have an affect on my health, but it definitely seems like it. It started off as a stuffy nose and some congestion, and I thought maybe just my allergies were acting up because of the crazy weather, but over the past few days it's turned into a nasty cough producing really thick mucus, thicker than usual (the joys of CF) that is very hard to get out. I just started an antibiotic yesterday so hopefully that will help soon. I've also been getting a lot of it out with the help of my treatments. The job of one of my nebulizers is to loosen the mucus and the other is to make it a little thinner so it's easier to get out. I have a doctors appointment scheduled for Thursday, so I will be able to see how much my lungs have been affected by all of this. Hopefully my lung function hasn't gone down too much so that I can work to get it back after this bug is gone.
I think that's about all that's going on with us lately. It's been a busy couple of weeks and there's a lot going on in the upcoming weeks as well. I'll be keeping you updated as things come about. :)

Monday, April 11, 2011


The first annual Great Strides in DeKalb was a complete success on Saturday! The weather was beautiful, there were more than 130 people there, and we surpassed our fundraising goal by over $4,000! The DeKalb Great Strides site raised over $19,000!!! I am so excited that I got to be such a huge part of the planning process and it was fun to see it all come together so well. I had so many family members, friends and co-workers out there to support me on Saturday, it felt great. :)
Here are some pictures from the event:

Registration & t-shirt table - everyone getting ready before the start

Tim (my husband) and Chris hanging out

Part of Team Veitengruber - Tim's family :)

I did the opening comments, thanked the sponsors and teams. Then I
gave a quick little speech about myself before counting down to start walking.

Along the route

Aunt Linda & her work friend Claudia

Grandma & Aunt Shirley coming to the finish! :)

My brother and I (can't believe he's almost as tall as me!)

Part of Colleen's Friends & Family with Team Veitengruber
Thanks so much for all of your support everyone!!!

Pointing to me - I'm the reason they're all here! :)
Supportive staff from my work!
Thanks for coming out everyone! :)

It was such a fun day! One more huge THANK YOU to everyone who came out and showed their support, and to those who donated. I can't wait to do it again next year! :-)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

One Final Reminder!

This will be my last reminder to all of my readers about the Great Strides event in DeKalb this Saturday at 2pm! I'm very excited for this event to finally take place because I've been involved in the planning of it for several months. I am also excited that it's going to be so close to home for me and that I am able to involve the school district where I am working. I have had lots of coworkers show interest, sign up, and start donating to Great Strides; I'm glad that I can help other people learn about CF and raise awareness in a new place. As of today, I have 15 people registered online as part of my team, that's the most I've ever had! It makes me feel so lucky to have such wonderful friends and family (especially my new in-laws) showing their support for me and the CF Foundation.
I really hope you can take some time on Saturday and join me in walking for a CURE for Cystic Fibrosis! We will all be walking rain or shine, so maybe just pack that umbrella, just in case! Currently, the weather channel online is saying "20% chance for showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, high near 70"! Not too bad! Sunny and 70...the perfect day to get some friends together outside and walk for a good cause! :-)
For more information, you can go to Colleen's Friends and Family's Great Strides page.

Hope to see YOU there!!!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Our New Home (lots of pictures)

We are finally moved into our new house/apartment (LOTS of unpacking still to go!). I like to call it our house, but we only live in the upper floor and have access to the basement. It has been a long, exhausting weekend, but with some great help we were able to move just about everything into our new place.
We ended up getting the keys a couple days early, so last week before we moved in, Tim and I came to clean up a bit and make a couple repairs.
Me sitting in our "dining room/office" eating our first lovely meal of Burger King.

We did lots of cleaning before everything was moved in. This is our living room.

Here's more of the dining room/office, just behind where I was sitting.
To the left is the kitchen and bathroom.

Tim standing in the doorway of the bathroom. There's our little kitchen, too.
Friday evening, our friend Chris came over to help load the U-Haul with most of our things. 
Our bedroom at the old place, in the process of moving things out.

I'm definitely going to miss my giant closet (yes, that's my wedding dress behind the door).

Caught them off-guard when they were coming back inside

Our big kitchen in the old place during the move.
Wish I took a picture of the ugly brown 1970s stove.

Taking a break...they worked very hard!

Friday night Tim moved the mattress into the living room
because he needs a TV to fall asleep and our bedroom TV was
already in the U-Haul. It was like a slumber party!

Saturday morning, Tim and I were up pretty early to finish packing up the U-Haul with last minute little things. Then we took it over to our new place and started unloading. Our friends Chris and Karissa were kind enough to come over and help us unload everything. This is what it looked like after we got everything in....there's still quite a bit to do!

The living room in the new place. This is just inside the front door.

The right side of the living room; view from the front door.

Our bedroom. Not a very good view, but there's not much to see in there.

The dining room/office room which is currently just FULL of boxes.

The right side of the dining room/office. 

Kitchen and bathroom. Not much going on in here either.

Crap all over the counter in the kitchen until we find a home for it.
Also, the lovely border that will be coming down!

A view of the dining room/office from the kitchen.

Chris brining in the couch cushion for the couch Tim is building. 

Tim and our friend Ryan taking an entertainment center apart in the yard. Ryan came as soon as
the U-Haul was empty. He moved a few boxes into the basement. He also brought
a case of beer, which made the guys happy.

Tim, Chris and Ryan

Chris, Ryan and Tim. We went to Fatty's Saturday afternoon for lunch.
Today, Tim's been working all day, so I ran some errands this morning and started doing laundry. I am determined to wash everything before it goes into storage or in the basement because it all has a very strong cigarette smell from our old place (sheets, towels, blankets, winter clothes, etc). We also had Comcast come and install our TV and internet, so I feel connected to the world again. It's going to be a long week of unpacking and moving boxes around after work each night, but I'm looking forward to getting settled in here.
We have another busy weekend ahead of us with the DeKalb Great Strides walk this Saturday!! I'm sure lots of our family is going to want to see our new place while they're up here, so we'll have to work our butt's off getting this place to look nice!
A huge thank you to Chris, Karissa and Ryan for their help this weekend! It would have been very hard to do all of this without you! :-)