After seeing a gynaecologist and having a pelvic exam recently, I have been feeling miserable for a few days, and now I am wondering if I should consider trying for another doctor, or if that would be a mistake. I want to know if what happened is acceptable, or if I am right in feeling that the gynae concerned is bad news, and I should look elsewhere.
The gynae did not have my MRI or ultrasound report (I have a large 9cm ovarian cyst, benign), but luckily I had brought copies. We talked and then he asked to examine me. When I was in the stirrups, he continued to chat and inserted a probe or gynae tool of some sort into me without giving me warning or explaining what he was about to do. We were looking at a screen that looked like an ultrasound as he pushed it in all different directions, and he talked me through what we were looking at, which was quite helpful, but it was only afterwards that I realised that he didn't say what kind of exam it was. Maybe it was a vaginal ultrasound? I felt a bit tearful during the exam but was doing my best to control it. It was a little painful when he pushed it in far, but not that bad. Pain wasn't really the issue, it was something else. I found the experience very disempowering and upsetting, which I was surprised by, as I have no trouble at all with smear tests. I think it may be because my smears have always been done by women (usually nurses) who show kindness and respect, and they always let you know what they're about to do. I was shaking and felt weak when I left the hospital, I wanted to cry, I felt overwhelmed. And then I had a bout of diarrhea, all a nervous response I suppose.
I think my distress was caused also, in equal part by the consultation, as a number of things alarmed me. He said that I may lose one of my ovaries; I asked how likely, and he said 60/40. I said I would prefer to keep it if possible and that I was worried that it might affect my hormonal balance if I lose one, he said 'no, it won't'. I said I wanted to preserve my fertility (I don't have children) and he said 'well if you do have endometriosis, getting pregnant will be very difficult anyway'. That was his answer, which I was very surprised about. I was expecting something along the lines of 'we'll do all we can' or maybe 'it may not be possible to keep the ovary, but we only remove organs with your consent and I'll do my best to not damage your ability to conceive'. I didn't seem to matter to him, and it seemed a foregone conclusion that i can't have kids now; I did not see him make a note of my wish to preserve my fertility. There were other things: my periods have recently become irregular/different, so I asked if there was a test that could show if I was perimenopausal, and he said 'no, there isn't'. I have since looked it up, and there is a test for this. I felt that he was unwilling to give information or answer questions properly, and there was no sense of us coming to a decision jointly. I left being told that I would have laparoscopic surgery that may become a laparotomy, that he would remove the cyst and look for endo, and that I may need more surgery later if endo is found. Since, I have been quite angry with myself for not asking the right questions or insisting on certain things, like a record being made regarding my wish to stay fertile, if possible. When I asked about recovery times, he seemed a bit annoyed and slightly incredulous that I was even asking. I think it's quite reasonable to want to know how long you'll be unable to work for, and if you'll need need care.
I will get an appointment quite soon, and I just don't know if it's right to have this person operate on me. My instincts say no, but he is the head of the team at that hospital and I think he is supposed to be an expert in endometriosis, so perhaps that is more important. I think I don't respond well to that power differential between doctor and patient when the doctor assumes total control and is not dismissive about your thoughts and questions; it's horrible to feel that you have no choice. It is my body, after all. I'd really appreciate some thoughts on whether my concerns about him are valid, or if this is just what's to be expected, or even if you think I'm being too sensitive. Perhaps it's more important to have a well qualified surgeon even if his manner and communication are poor?