What the "Foobs"?
So, each year after a single or double mastectomy unless you’re having reconstructive surgery my health provider offers the option to get a breast prosthesis. This year when I went in for my checkup I was greeted by this not-so-friendly, try-hard narcissist.
It was more than obvious to me that her chosen profession should not have been to work with the general public, let alone breast cancer patients. In my opinion, if you’re working with breast cancer patients, please take sensitivity training first. Please and thank you.
Her first mistake was asking the following line of questions:
- "How long have they been gone?" Me: "Who?" Her: "You know, your rack." And then she points at my chest. Me: "My breasts?!"
- "Do you feel different without them?" Me: "Is that a trick question?"
- "Why didn’t you get some foobs?" Me: "Foobs, what in the hell is that?" She responds, “foobs, you know, the slang word for the fake boobs to replace the ones removed by a double mastectomy".
At that point, all I had to give was a blank stare and sarcasm. Me: "Nursing wasn’t your first choice after graduating from high school was it?" Her: "No, I wanted to be a veterinarian; the animals don’t talk back. But that fell through, so now I’m doing this." At that point, there was nothing more for me to say. I was rendered speechless, which is very rare.
Offensive language for advanced breast cancer patients
The weeks that followed left me wondering and feeling a bit annoyed by some of the slang words, treatments, or even options where breast cancer patients are concerned.
I find “foobs” to be quite offensive. I doubt any breast cancer patient ever said, “Hey doc, how about writing me a prescription for some good old foobs?” This isn’t elective cosmetic surgery.
If breast cancer patients could get rid of the cancer without having to remove their breast(s) or worry about if the cancer will resurface in the breast tissue, I’m sure the majority of us would opt to keep our breast(s). I know I would. I had no choice, and reconstruction wasn’t an option because I have lupus.
So, when I hear words like “foobs” or slogans like, “fight like a girl,” I find myself triggered. To me, “foobs” feels like a knockoff of the “real” boobs. We’re not aiming for knockoffs (since our knockers are off); we’re not trying to put one over on anyone and make them think that we haven’t had our breast(s) removed by no fault of our own, I must add. We simply were used to having breasts and now due to an illness, many of us have had to have our breast(s) removed. Some of us happen to like how our clothes fit with breasts; therefore, we either have reconstructive surgery or breast prosthetics.
So this “foobs” code word is simply a humongous NO for me. I find it to be tasteless, insensitive and in most cases, it may cause women to feel a sense of shame for not having their “real” breast(s).
Many women suffer from body issues that were created by the mainstream media, which dictates what’s deemed beautiful. So please, if you will, in this imperfect world refrain from using words like “foobs” to body shame those of us who’ve had a single or double mastectomy when we choose to get reconstructive surgery or those of us who have no option but to wear breast prosthetics. Cute or clever slang words may still cause someone emotional harm. Let’s do better. It’s a NO “foobs” for me. What about you?
Have you gained new friends in your metastatic cancer journey?