“Diagnose Gutartig” (A Benign Diagnosis) – Martin Joerg Hommel

I’m Martin Joerg Hommel, 33 years old; I live in Leipzig, Germany. I started having numb sensations on the left side of my cheek and face when I was about 28. After seeing a lot of doctors (including dentists and various neurologists) I had an MRI where they found the source of it all: a small-ish Epidermoid tumor touching my brain stem and trigeminal nerve. What was a huge shock when I first found out, quickly turned into a task that needed to be dealt with. I found a great psychologist and started making plans on either how to live with it or get rid of it.

After six months therapy I opted for surgery as the risk of the Epidermoid growing and starting to really cause trouble in a few years to come, seemed too risky. Luckily I found a wonderful skull based surgeon (Prof. Dr. Henry Schroeder at University Clinic Greifswald) who gave me a really good feeling right from the first time we met.

I eventually had surgery on the 11th February 2020 and was able to continue life as I knew it, after about 6 weeks. The surgery took 7 hours and went great. My last MRI in November 2021 showed no residue of the tumor.

The whole experience was scary and heavy for me, my partner and friends. But keeping up good spirits and having a very skilled surgeon made all the difference.

I’m a creative person, (I work in radio and television) so I had the idea to shoot a documentary about my journey. Partly because it gave me something to do and a way to work through it all, but also because there isn’t a lot of info about Epidermoids online. I hope my film will help new patients. The documentary is called “Diagnose Gutartig” (A Benign Diagnosis) and is available as a 9 part mini-series (with English subtitles) on Youtube here, as well as a much shorter version (30 minutes) which was broadcast by ARD (National German Television). (The videos are in German, but have very good English subtitles.)

Many thanks goes out to the Epidermoid Brain Tumor Society whose members have been highly supportive all along the way!