The Many Colors of Cystic Fibrosis: Black (Part 2)

Last updated: December 2022

In my last article, I discussed the impact of the color black on my journey with cystic fibrosis (CF). Let’s continue talking about black. You can read Part 1 of the color black here.

Fashion

For the most part, black hides stains. Hence, I was a big fan of the color black in my childhood. Cystic fibrosis (CF) results in a lot of discharge and mucus, things a teenage girl cannot publicize. So, if I was sweating excessively, black clothing was my go-to solution to hide the evidence. At times, though, due to the increased amount of salt in my sweat, the color black would call attention to the white outline that I secreted.

Black is also known to be a slimming color. Unfortunately, CF makes it hard for most patients to gain and maintain weight. Even with a high fat, high salt, high calorie diet (and extra enzymes), I never achieved my 100 pounds weight goal as a pre-transplant patient. “Eat a burger!” strangers and friends would yell. They were teasing, but there was merit to the phrase. Perhaps we should educate the public on skinny shamming in addition to fat shamming?

Black belt

Exercise is very important, especially for CF patients. Staying active is another technique to strengthen the lungs and to loosen any mucus. (Shout out to the many cystic fibrosis related organizations who offer patients the tools needed for proper exercise.) While my go-to exercise was usually musical theater related, I dabbled in a broad spectrum of activities. The coolest achievement was earning my black belt in karate. I am not a master of combat by any means, but it was a healthy social activity (and the “action card pictures” were cool).

Grief

Black is associated with funerals. I’ve experienced a lot of grief throughout my journey with cystic fibrosis. Many of my cysters and fibros have lost their battles with cystic fibrosis, so I’m thankful that my friends and family did not have to attend my funeral when I was transplanted back in 2019. This, however, is an ongoing battle due to a lack of antibiotics in the patient pipeline. I use black comedy, also known as dark humor, to cope with these topics.

Black Friday

Black Friday follows Thanksgiving Day and welcomes customers to participate in a global shopping spree at a discounted price. I always use this holiday to my advantage, purchasing bulk items such as masks, medicine organizers, over the counter medications, and pain relief tools. It’s worth noting that Starkid’s production of Black Friday is one of my favorite musicals.

Despite the fact that black is not the most soothing color in a health care setting, it does make frequent appearances in my journey with cystic fibrosis. Sure, a handful of them are negative. No one is comforted by a black bowel movement or black discharge. However, the Black Panther movies keep me entertained during long hospital stays. Black awareness ribbons represent sleep related disorders, and I’m hugely protective of my 8 hours. Plus, I recently dabbled in black coffee (sugar free!).

Can you spot the color black in your cystic fibrosis journey?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Cystic-Fibrosis.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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