What the ultrasound tech said

I had my transvaginal ultrasound today. The transducer looked remarkably similar to a curling iron.

I find myself almost paralyzed by fear tonight due to some things the ultrasound tech said. She also took a lot of pictures, which worried me. In the midst of taking all these pictures that felt excessive to me, she said, "What did your doctor say about the exam yesterday?" I told her she said it was normal. She then said, "Did she do any type of internal study?" I said, "Why? Do you see something?" Knowing full well that she was not allowed to tell me (why did she start the discussion in the first place, then?!)

She quickly backtracked and said, "Oh, I was just curious. I am not allowed to say anything. Sorry." I was so upset and terrified by her comments that when I got up to leave, my knees were shaking.

But she was not done with me yet. On the way out, she asked, "Did you come with anyone?" I said no. She gave me a super fake smile and said, "OK, you can go out that way then."

I shook all the way over on my walk to the gyn's office. I gave the receptionist a note that I felt something was wrong with my ultrasound and I needed to talk to someone and asked her to hand it to the doctor's assistant.

The doctor's assistant came out in a few minutes. She was very compassionate with me, but said that I have to wait until the radiologist reads the ultrasound. I know that the doctor had the pictures already in the computer, because I asked the ultrasound tech how long did it take to get them.

I was hoping the doc would be willing to talk to me but I guess I have to wait. I'm so scared.

Report post

17 replies. Join the discussion

The tech was unprofessional and obnoxious. They should never say anything like that. They are not supposed to say anything about anything that they see. I'm so fed up with crap like this that if it were me, I'd talk to her supervisor. Not to get her in trouble, but to correct the problem so she doesn't continue to terrorize patients.

At my Dr's office, the radiologist always reads the test, writes the report, and sends it to my Dr.No one else is allowed to tell me what is says-only my Dr.

Waiting stinks. That's all there is to it. I'm so sorry this happened and I pray that you find peace in the midst of this.

Report post

Brown Eyes,

Thank you so much. I agree that it was obnoxious and unprofessional. It was also obviously to satisfy HER needs ("I was just curious"). Like, "how the heck did they miss THIS?" that was my interpretation of what she said. The tone was more neutral than that, but it was the timing in which she said it, amidst taking all those pictures, and the fact that she basically had to ask twice, that got me really scared.

So then I am thinking, it's cancer, and if SHE can see it, then it must be REALLY bad...

After she said, "I'm not allowed to say anything, sorry." I SO wish I'd said, "Well then why the heck did you start the conversation?!"

I am a health care professional myself, and our code of ethics is that we don't ask our clients questions to satisfy ourselves, for our own desire for information. That is considered unethical. Everything is always supposed to be for the benefit of the client.

When my MD's medical assistant came out to talk to me, she asked me what the tech said, and I told her. She said that my doctor will be talking to the tech.

I was proud of myself for going over to the gyno's office and trying to get some answers. I needed to do that. I wanted to try to prevent myself from suffering unnecessarily, or prolonged, over this. It was an important step for me in not just "taking" what happened and going home alone to suffer. There is nothing I can do at this point but wait, but at least I tried!

Also, at the beginning of the test, she asked what symptoms I was having. I told her, even though I'd already written them down on the form. She said, "Those sound intestinal to me." It really ticked me off, because everybody keeps putting their two cents in about that, and I just want them to shut up--it's ovarian cancer I'm trying to rule out. If I'm there, it's for a reason. I want everybody, including the doctors, to stop thinking they know my body better than me!

I don't think these techs realize how anxiety provoking these tests are, that I was reading her behavior for any little sign. I will have not do that anymore. But even if I hadn't been trying, she provided it.

It's just so hard the way they do these tests. Why don't they have someone who can read it right away, or a doctor right there, who can say, it's nothing, or, it's something and wait for the report. Even that would help.

The ultrasound seems to have triggered my pelvic pain, because I'm having more of it tonight.

On the drive home at dusk, I passed a beautiful meadow. The moon was coming up over the trees, and I had a moment where I felt that either way, it was OK. I felt aligned with the natural order of things. I will try to hold on to that moment, because it did bring me some peace.

Report post

I would have rather she flat out told me what she was thinking them hem hall around. When I had mine years ago, the lady call in another tech, and they kept whispering to each other and I could tell something was really wrong and it took forever and
it hurt because that was what brought me in there in the first place - pelvic pain. Anyway, I kept say, what, what do you see? "We can't say anything" is all they kept saying, but still kept whispering to each other. I did not like that at all !

Report post

I'm sorry you had to go through that but just remember that no matter what you can and you will fight and it will be ok. You are incredible and courageous, rise above and believe in you! We all love you so very much! We are here for you, the ultrasound tech isnt and wasn't!

Report post

It used to be that way with mammograms. I know it has changed and radiologists are now required to talk to the patient before she leaves the building. It must have been because of all the women crying NO!, we WON'T wait. Looks like we have another battle to fight!
Mimi

Report post

That was extremely unprofessional of that tech. But I know it can be done quickly, the readings and such. When I had an ultrasound in 1999, I knew the tech saw something, but I did not ask her about it, and she didn't say anything. I could just tell by how she was doing the exam. My gyn at that time had felt something in the exam, sent me up within the hour for the test, then right back down to her office. Within an hour of the test, I knew I had tumors on my ovaries, and 3 days later I had the hysterectomy w/BSO. One of the tumors was a low malignant potential, which turned into the tumors I have now.

I hate waiting too, for results of tests!

Stay strong, it is scary having to wait, because of everything you can think of that can be wrong, and of course we always will think the worst! We are here to support you!

Report post

Wow... that happened to me as well! I was just recently diagnosed and my 3 month check up was the week before thanksgiving and this past Monday I had my ultrasound. The lady was really nice but just in the middle of my ultrasound she was asking me when was I diagnosed, if I had chemo, when will I be seeing my doctor? it just made me worry because I felt like OMG something is wrong!!! I didn't bother to ask her if she seen anything because I know she will say oh I can't say. so now I have to wait until I get a call from my doctor's... I been trying not to think about it and just be positive that everything is good but just sucks that I have to wait so long... :(

Report post

I don't know about you, but when I have a CT scan, I get the CD of the scan right then and there. I don't get the radiologist's report until I see the gyn/onc.

Report post

I know you're scared. It's okay to be. This waiting around for test results is one of the hardest aspects of diagnosis. I wish the medical personnel truly understood how anxiety causing it is.

When I had my U/S, I was scheduled only for the TV. The tech said very casually "I think I'll do an abdominal one, too." The nurse practitioner had been unable to find my right ovary on pelvic exam the day before, so I figured the tech was on a treasure hunt for the missing ovary.

I really didn't know what to expect, never having had any kind of U/S before. When she said the doctor would talk to me soon, I figured that was just protocol. Soon found out otherwise, and the rest is history.

I commend you for taking charge and trying to get your results. I am so sorry you have to worry and wait. Please let us know what you find out. We would be thrilled if we had to turn you down for membership in our exclusive little club here!

Report post

Thank you so much for your generosity! You are all so kind and I have learned so much in the short time that I have been here! I am sorry to hear that others have gone through similar and worse experience at the hands of techs.

I got the results today. They did not see cancer, but did see approximately 1.8 cm of fluid in my fallopian tube...MD said roughly the size of a marble. She said she can't say for sure it's causing my symptoms, and can't say for sure it isn't causing my symptoms.

I have been booked into a follow up appointment to discuss the results in person with her this Friday. She recommend a wait-and-see approach, perhaps repeating the CT scan and ultrasound in a few months, but also acknowledged the possibility of surgery if I felt that I needed an urgent answer.

Of course I need an urgent answer! I have been miserable every day since the beginning of July or August. I want them to open me up. I realize there are no guarantees that this is what's causing my symptoms, but I am willing to take the risks of surgery right now for even the POSSIBLE tradeoff of having a normal abdomen again, and also for the POSSIBLE earlier diagnosis of OC if that's what I have, or possible other diagnosis.

Based on the experience of women here, I feel that she is over-relying on the diagnostic tests as indicating that there is nothing serious going on.

Why would you tell a woman who is symptomatic to "wait and see"? That just doesn't make any sense to me. I have already "waited and seen" since August, and my symptoms are getting worse. I am telling her the ways in which my gastro symptoms are weird and don't match IBS, and she is still willing to gamble with a wait and see approach?

I may ask her for a consult with a gyn oncologist. I will probably get the 'you're crazy' or 'you're catastrophizing' look again, but at least now I have something to back it up--they found SOMETHING.

I hope that this is not the beginning of some very bad news, but for now I'm CELEBRATING the fact that they found SOMETHING and that I believe I was RIGHT about my own body. And that I have someone's attention other than a dumb gastro who keeps lumping me into a throwaway diagnosis.

I have Kaiser, and they don't give you the results of anything right away. I had a mammogram a year ago and had to wait a few days for the results. That was also hard. I am very glad to hear that some here have been able to get results right away. It makes such a big difference than to be sent home terrified to worry and wait. Mimi, you are right about the battle.

I am thinking of getting the tech's name and writing a letter to her. Not a rude letter, but an educational letter. The gastro is also going to get a letter once I find out what is going on definitively. That one is going to be a bit more preachy.

For now, I hope you will celebrate with me my progress towards an answer today!!!

Report post

One more thing...regarding bloodwork...my alkaline phosphatase value was low, 31, where the lowest normal range is 37. Any thoughts about what might cause that? All other liver values were normal, and diabetes and urinary tract infection have been ruled out as possible causes of my frequent urination.

Report post

I would definitely urge you to see a gynecologic oncologist. Although we certainly share your fervent hope that this is something other than ovca, in case it is, you need the right kind of expert. And a gyn/onc is that person. I wouldn't take no for an answer.

Good luck with it all.

Report post

Jennali,

Thank you. I will definitely take your advice. I feel the same way about going to a gyn onc.

Report post

it is only an ultrasound tech who spoke out of line. praise God you have so many friends to give you advice and support. Carry on , don't let a comment like that get you down. love monica

Report post

If it's any comfort, I was told the ultrasounds they worry about are the ones that show solid tissue or solid and fluid areas (like mine did).

I did get my last results at the time of the mammograms, but for the past 15 years, I've had to wait for a card in the mail, like the result of a PAP smear.

I went through somewhat of a similar experience a few months after I finished chemo and was still having what we thought was gall bladder problems. The ultrasound tech kept muttering and having me move, and going, "Hmm!"

Finally, I said, "Look, I know you can't tell me anything, but I finished chemo for ovarian cancer just a few months ago. Are you seeing anything you don't usually see?"

"Oh, my gosh! I'm so sorry!" she said. "I didn't realize I was talking out loud. I'm just having trouble getting everything lined up so I can actually see your gall bladder! I don't see anything wrong."

I'm so sorry you had this experience.

Push until you get the answers you need. You're doing a great job of advocating for yourself.!

Report post

I totally understand this part of your emotions:

"I want them to open me up. I realize there are no guarantees that this is what's causing my symptoms, but I am willing to take the risks of surgery right now for even the POSSIBLE tradeoff of having a normal abdomen again, and also for the POSSIBLE earlier diagnosis of OC if that's what I have, or possible other diagnosis."

But I would like to offer some friendly food for thought on that. I had to be opened up to have two tumors removed. Since then, because of cutting through the abdominal muscles, my abdomen has NOT been the same since. I was in pain off and on before the surgery, but since the surgery, although I'm not in pain, my abs have never felt quite the same again. They are definatly a lot weaker.

I know the "wait and see" part of this sucks-believe me I know! But, I wish I had someone to tell me about the possible conseqences of having an abdominal surgery before I had it.

I will pray for you today and I hope you will be OK.

Report post

mon, yes, I am so thankful to have friends for support and advice. Thank you for the reminder!

verlinda, good for you for addressing the tech's comments! That takes some courage.

Marie, thanks for offering your perspective on the risks of surgery. I'm sorry you had a lasting negative effect from it, that totally sucks! It is easy to think that surgery will be a panacea so I thank you for this perspective. I have been giving this some thought because the ultrasound report did not recommend immediate surgery--it said to wait and see 2-3 months what happens. I have a follow up appt Tuesday, I will ask the doc her opinion on that.

Report post

This discussion is closed to replies. We close all discussions after 90 days.

If there's something you'd like to discuss, click below to start a new discussion.

Things you can do

Support OCNA

Help the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance reach its goals and support people like yourself by making a donation today.

Donate to the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance

Discussion topics

Support OCNA

Donate to OCNA

Community leaders