The Many Colors of Cystic Fibrosis: Yellow (Part 2)
In my last article, I discussed the impact of the color yellow on my journey with cystic fibrosis. Let’s continue talking about yellow!
Yellow awareness ribbons
Yellow awareness ribbons allow me to expand my search to related categories. Adoption, for example, is represented by yellow. For a long time, cystic fibrosis patients were thought to be infertile due to excessive mucus and frequent respiratory infections. I love children, but I knew my body would not be able to carry a pregnancy to full term (if at all) without putting myself or a baby at risk.
Hence, the thought of adoption was always on the table. The addition of Trikafta to 90% of the cystic fibrosis community has caused a baby boom, so it looks like a combination of adoption and pregnancy will fill the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s statistics.
Endometriosis is a condition that results from the growth of endothelial tissue in females and causes pelvic pain. I was diagnosed with endometriosis about a year ago. This condition tends to fall last on my list when compared to the health of my lungs and intestines, but it certainly makes my monthly visitor an unwelcome guest.
Cancer is represented by yellow too. I’m sad to say that I am extremely at risk for cancer as a post-transplant patient, especially in my colon or pancreas. Recent bloodwork shows that a bug I cultured post-transplant (EBV) is sky high, so I’m receiving weekly infusions of Rituximab at Duke University Hospital to reduce my risk of cancer. Other risk factors include exposure to sun and bacteria growth in undercooked food.
Obesity is one of the last colors represented by yellow, and it’s a major player in my life as a post-transplant recipient, Trikafta user, and cystic fibrosis related diabetes (CFRD) patient. As opposed to my childhood diet of McDonalds, I must focus on healthier, protein-rich foods like meats and chickens. Seeing my weight reach an all-time high of 135 pounds encouraged me to take my diet and exercise more seriously. Now, I’m a stable 121 pounds and my A1C lowered from 10.1 to 6.4.
Laughing through lengthy tune-ups
We all have a relationship with the color yellow. It’s the color of the sunshine that greets us through our bedroom windows each morning. It’s the color of egg yolks and other proteins that keep our weight stable. It’s the color of the lemons that keep our water fresh and our bodies hydrated. It’s the color of the bees that buzz around our gardens and the freshly soiled sunflowers that they pollinate.
It’s the color of SpongeBob SquarePants, the upbeat cartoon character that kept me laughing through lengthy tune ups. It’s the color of the smiley faces that decorated hundreds of my get-well cards. It’s the color of the post-it notes that remind me my anti rejection medication dosage changed.
Most importantly, it’s the color of my fall risk bracelet, the one that reminds me I get to tell my CF story every day.
Can you think of other yellow objects that relate to living with CF?
How has CF impacted your decision to become a parent?