Just over 2 weeks ago I started with my radiation treatments. From start to finish there are 25 treatments. Viborg Hospital doesn't have a facility for radiation but luckily Herning hospital opened their new facility over the summer. Why luckily? Well, for me, it means that I only have to drive 30 min to my treatment - had they not opened I would have been driving over an hour each way to Aarhus instead.
Each morning for the last 2-1/2 weeks I have gotten up at 6:30 am to be in the car at 7:00 for the drive to Herning. The first few days it was light when I left the house but that's no longer the case - darkness has descended upon Denmark. I have had 15 treatments to date, which means there are only 10 left - woohoo! I have to say that all in all the drive hasn't been as awful as I feared.
Before all of this started, 'radiation' was just a word. I knew it was a treatment of some kind but I honestly had no idea what it was. As it turns out, it's rather uneventful. Radiation is basically a high-intensity x-ray. The treatment itself doesn't hurt a bit, but you can end up with skin that looks like it's been sunburned and that has now started for me. So far, not too bad, but there are still 10 to go!
This is how it all goes down each morning... (all times approximate!)
6:30 - get up and shower while Ole and the dogs stay in bed
7:00 - drive to Herning dodging potato tractors along the way (more about that later)
7:30 - arrive at the hospital and swipe my card to let them know I'm there
7:35 - go to cubby area and get my bag that contains my hospital shirt
7:36 - sit and page through year-old gossip magazines and will the door to the nurses to open
7:45 - door opens, my name is called
7:45 - go to changing room, remove clothes from waist up and put on hospital shirt
7:46 - nurse opens back door of changing room and leads me to treatment room
7:47 - remove hospital shirt and lay on machine
7:48 - lay on machine table with green laser lights shooting from all angles of the room
7:48 - listen to nurses tell me, in danish, to move my butt a little to the right and my shoulders a little to the left, etc., until I'm properly lined up in the machine.
7:51 - nurse says "94" which I assume is some setting specific to me
7:52 - music is turned on and nurses tell me they're leaving the room now and to lay still
7:52 - panic for a second while I figure out whether or not breathing is permitted while laying still
7:53 - lay there while machine makes funky noises and spaceship like parts move around me
7:55 - have obligatory hot flash while laying there
7:55 - nurses re-enter room and tell me it's now okay to move
7:56 - ride machine back to starting position
7:57 - sit up and put on hospital shirt
7:58 - walk to changing room, remove hospital shirt, put on burn cream, get dressed
7:59 - deliver bag with hospital shirt back to cubby room
8:00 - leave hospital and drive home
So, there you have it, all you ever wanted to know... and lots of things you probably never cared about.