The Many Colors of Cystic Fibrosis: Yellow (Part 1)

When I was a child, I fell in love with the show Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat and its colorful set design. Since that first viewing, I’ve realized that my journey with cystic fibrosis (CF) is chock full of colors.

My previous articles dove into the colors blue, red, brown, purple, green, and clear. Now, I’m keeping an eye out for the next color in the rainbow: yellow!

Call before you fall

Fall risk bracelets are yellow. Admittedly, they’re always the first object that comes to mind thanks in part to my original musical, “Fall Risk.” The story loosely follows my journey as a performer and CF patient through a bilateral lung transplant and brings awareness to the fact that everyone is a fall risk at some point in their lives.

While yellow is famously known as a joyful, energy-boosting color, I associate yellow with caution. Fall risk signs wallpaper the hallways of my clinic, my infusion stations, and my isolation rooms. “Call before you fall” decals fill my eyes with the color of sunshine and fall risk bracelets alert the nurses to my clumsiness.

Skin and urine

The yellowing of the skin is a warning sign of liver disease (CFLD). The color of your urine can be a warning sign of kidney disease. As a post lung transplant recipient, I keep a very special eye on my skin and my urine. Anti-rejection medication can aggravate my kidneys and liver, so my daily dosing must be spot on to avoid complications.


Yellow is also a marketing tool used to induce hunger in clients. When partnered with red or orange, yellow can stimulate a person’s metabolism. Back in the day, my dietician encouraged me to consume a high salt, high fat diet. My pancreas’ inability to process and absorb fat and nutrients would lead to malabsorption among other gastroenteric ailments, so fast-food would help me keep weight on.

I still drool at the thought of having lunch at the golden arches, also known as McDonalds. Think back to your favorite fast-food restaurants. Can you think of one that doesn’t include the color yellow?

In the next article, I will explore the yellow awareness ribbons that decorate my room. Can you think of other yellow objects in your health journey?

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