In my first job out of college, I served as a reporter/photojournalist dual-threat at my local newspaper, covering breaking news and writing feature stories as well as documenting the whole 3.5 years through my lens. Some of my best times were spent out in the field and on the phone covering local stories.

For a full archive of my stories, visit this page.

Waiting for the call

New Los Altos resident with cystic fibrosis awaits organ transplants

Story by Diego Abeloos, Los Altos Town Crier

Los Altos resident Sharlie Kaltenbach chuckles whenever she recalls the puzzled look on a nurse’s face as she tried to listen for her heartbeat with a stethoscope.

There was none.

Kaltenbach calmly lifted her right arm.

“I told her, ‘Try here,’” said the smiling Los Altos resident, eyeing her armpit.

Sure enough, there was her heartbeat, thumping away in her armpit, leaving the nurse increasingly bewildered.

The episode isn’t all that uncommon for Kaltenbach, 32. Her right lung collapsed 15 years ago, shifting her internal organs, including her heart.

That’s just one of the many effects cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that affects the lungs and digestive systems of more than 30,000 people in the United States, has had on her body.